Writing Illuminations

Before embarking on any storytelling, I have a couple of announcements to make. Firstly, I will be going out of town this weekend for a friend's wedding. 2016 must be the Year of the Betrothed. I have been invited to four weddings so far this year! At any rate, I will be back on Monday morning, and although I could cook on Tuesday, I have had a reality check from my superhero advisory board. They said that it would be certain death to attempt to write a newsletter, plan a menu, shop, and attempt to carry out everything else that goes into making Govinda's weekly meals all on that one day that I fly back in to town. So the short version of the story is that we will take next week off from cooking. If you like what we are offering this week, please feel free to stock up and order extra.

Secondly, those of you who have been with me for a while know that I love to write. I love to write so much that sometimes the menu becomes obscured beneath paragraphs of witty (I hope), carefully-crafted text. As much as it thrills me to write all that copy, and as much as it thrills some of you to read it (and thank you to those who do!), I am aware that there are others out there who just want to read the menu and order food (and yes, I love you all too, even though you just skipped this section). I have been thinking for some time about how to serve both interests at once. I considered posting the full descriptions on my website and having an abbreviated version here in the newsletter with those convenient "Read more" hyperlinks at the end. The issue with that is that it requires much more forethought and planning - the blog would have to be published up on my website before this newsletter is even written. We are not there yet... So today I had an idea, a breakthrough. Because my email list service software does not have spell-check (what is up with that?!), I copy and paste the menu descriptions onto my Facebook page before sending the newsletter out. Today I waxed lengthy on the Fried Rice description, as I was giving you all an overview of the recipe. It looked like a respectable length over on Facebook, but was waaay too long in the little column format we have here. Bingo! I put a "Read more" link to the Facebook post where you full-experience folks can read the complete description, without the hurry-up-and-eat folks having to scroll past a lot of text to get to the next photo. Let me know if this system works for you, and I will attempt to implement it more regularly.

That said, here is a quick story. This morning I read a wonderful allegory called "Shipwrecked Prayers." Since I was procrastinating the writing of this newsletter, I took the time to share it on Facebook and was inspired to write this introduction for it, "The mysterious and fine art of praying for someone - when we send light and love to another, we too become illuminated." I pictured a graphic showing someone sending light out into the distance from their hands. The praying figure's face was illuminated from the backlight of their hands, as if he/she was holding a flashlight without a back on it. Realizing that this was a perfect graphic illustration of the effect that praying for others has on our own heart and consciousness, I took to searching the internet to see if someone had already put this concept into visual form. No dice. Artists out there, we need to work together! Cyberspace needs these memes. ;-) Until my artist on a white horse appears, I wanted to leave you with at least one inspiring graphic. Be blessed y'all! We will be back on Sunday, May 1st.

This Week's Menu:

Entree #1 - 9-Vegetable Hot & Sour Soup

After the last time we made General Tso's Chickpeas and the Asian Coleslaw, I received several very enthusiastic requests to make it again - right away! Well, we just have so many fabulous recipes to make, that it takes a little time to cycle back through them to get back to a repeat favorite. And now, here we are - at the menu of Asian Delight! I was really, really impressed with this soup the last time I made it. It is super filling, without being heavy, full of color and nutrition, and incredibly flavorful. A little tamari, a little rice vinegar, a little ginger and jalapeno, and a whole lot of fresh vegetables make this soup something to salivate about. *GF

(photo eatswellwithothers.com)

Entree #2 - Chinese Fried Rice

Ah yes, speaking of repeat favorites... It feels like it has been a hundred years since I last made this delicious fried rice recipe. This is actually my own adaptation of a recipe in Kurma Das's Great Vegetarian Dishes, which by the way, is a cookbook that I highly recommend. My version calls for first scrambling turmeric-dusted tofu (so long scrambled eggs!) and fresh ginger in some serious, dank sesame oil. Read more here *GF

(photo Great Vegetarian Dishes)

Entree #3 - General Tso's Chickpeas

This is a fantastic and simple version of a popular North American Chinese restaurant favorite. General Tso dishes encompass many variations on this theme - some protein battered and deep-fried and then served with a sweetish spicy-ish sauce. Thanks to Shannon, over at Yup It's Vegan, for creating this low-fat, high-taste chickpea version. I am happy to say that when I made this dish for a catering event recently, I heard several "I usually don't eat chickpeas/broccoli, but I am going to try a little bit... Oh my God! This is really good! Can I have a little more?" Heehee! Secret mission, Vegan Infiltration, accomplished... *GF

(photo yupitsvegan.com)

Side Dishes:

Brown Rice - $1/serving (1 cup)

Sesame Ginger Black Rice - $3/serving (1 cup). I had originally found this recipe last summer on the Village Harvest Rice website. Mysteriously, it is no longer there. Fortunately my good friend Kate had turned me on to Pepperplate.com some months before that. Have I told you all about Pepperplate? For you cooks out there, this is a must-have recipe storage n' more website. That is all I will say about it for now, since this is supposed to be about how incredibly tasty this rice is. Think about the distinct smell of sesame oil, the zing of fresh ginger, and the beauty of finely shredded carrots and delicate white sesame seeds atop this nutty black rice. Um yeah, is it time for lunch yet? *GF, soy-free

(photo vibrantwellnessjournal.com)

Asian Confetti Slaw w/ Peanut Dressing - $6/lb. I happened upon this blog while searching for an entree one week. I am excited to offer you an Asian salad that is as beautiful as it is thematic. It is a perfect compliment to General Tso's Chickpeas. The finely shredded veggies, the pops of color and flavor from the edamame and the cilantro, the crunchy flecks of sunflower seeds - it all just looks like confetti for your mouth! One thing you must know, is that I am as much a connoisseur of fine writing as I am of fine dining. The author of the blog where I found this recipe compared the appearance of this salad to party confetti. Then one of my customers asked for "Confetti Slaw" when placing her order last time, and don't you know, I loved that name so much, I decided to keep it! *GF

(photo aspicyperspective.com)

Chocolate Adzuki Bites - 2 for $3, 4 for $5. Chocolate for dessert again? Yes... but isn't "chocolate" just a 9-letter word for "nectar of the gods"? Chocolate is especially lovely when combined with other nutritious ingredients, so then you can't help but feel healthy about your dessert choice. In this recipe, cocoa is combined with sweet, creamy adzuki beans (stealth protein, y'all), pecans, and dates. So simple, so to die for... *GF, soy-free

(photo cleangreensimple.com)

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