It was right about six months ago that I last did a menu with some of these Moroccan dishes on it. Since I am learning the fine art of not reinventing the wheel each time I do something, I re-use previous newsletters so that I only need to change the photos and links for the dishes which I am not repeating. Besides saving me a little bit of time, reusing old newsletters allows me to take a trip down memory lane and remember what it was that I was doing 6 months or a year ago. Oddly enough, the 6-months-ago newsletter that most closely matched this week's menu was a restaurant review of Acme in Carrboro. It also happened to be the first date with my current someone special. He had taken me to dinner there, where we ate several delicious vegetarian side dishes, including their oh-so-tasty yet oh-so-crisco-y (?!) chocolate dessert. Now, that was a fun memory!
It was great to look back this morning and reflect on how things have changed for me, both personally and professionally, since December. I am not sure how much I have shared with you all about my plans to expand Govinda's Catering. In December I submitted an application for the Carrboro Farmers' Market. A couple months later I was accepted as a guest vendor. (Yay!) Since that time I have been working on getting set up in a bigger (more official) kitchen. O.M.G. The paperwork and beauracracy involved are killing me! I spent months agonizing over some required paperwork from the Health Department, only to discover last week that I should have actually been dealing with the Agriculture Department all this time. Can I hear a "Keep Calm and Carry On" from the audience? These are the moments when I feel like I am plowing through quicksand. Because the to-do list to reach my goal continues populating with more and more official paperwork and compliances, I feel like I am not making any progress, even though I am completely busy doing stuff!!
So today when I saw a meme that looked something like this,
it resonated with me. Now, the original meme had a couple of grammatical errors, as well as an error in content. Yes... I admit it... I fact-checked. I researched. That's how obsessive I am about accuracy. I just couldn't bring myself to use something with so many mistakes, even if the message was what I wanted to share. My research eventually led me to this inspiring (at least to me) interview with Howard Schultz and Entrepreneur.com. After reading it, I felt so inspired that I took my little perfectionist self over to Picfont and to make a meme of my own that I could be proud of.
Now I am not a coffee drinker, nor am I a big news-watcher. Thus I must honestly confess that today was the first time that I had heard of Howard Schultz, and of his well-intentioned, but not so well-received initiative to talk about "Race Together." Well, whether or not you think the man is just another out-of-touch, arrogant billionaire, the fact remains that he is a billionaire (3.2 billion net worth to be exact). He didn't become that wealthy by an inheritance event or by a lucky roll of the dice. He became successful by working at it, and most likely by working on himself, every. single. day. Trust me, I own a business - a tiny business. Even with this tiny business, I have to wake up each day and make a conscious decision to continue to grow it. One cannot make that kind of conscious decision to push through the obstacles (and OMG, the obstacles!) without a good deal of determination and a healthy measure of Grace.
For any of you who want to grow your determination, who are eager for Grace, who get excited about achieving new heights, who have a great idea that you want to turn into a great business, and who long to be better tomorrow than you are today;
I, along with 10 other incredible business women and our business mentor, Leslie Flowers, will be hosting the Excelerate Experience event on Friday, October 14, 2016 at the NC Biotechnology Center. This will be an amazing opportunity to rub shoulders with and learn from some of the most experienced, inspiring, and successful women in our area. Govinda's Catering will be featured at this fancy event in a blindfolded dessert taste-testing. More info to come!
I know, "oooh la la," right? Let me tell you, opportunities like these are what keep me going when the paperwork trail seems so very long... Please come and check it out!
This Week's Menu: Entree #1 - Marrakesh Vegetable Curry This week's menu has a North African/Middle Eastern theme. It all started right when I was contemplating the different things that I could make with the summer veggie bounty that now surrounds us. I pictured this dish (which is ah-mazing, jus' sayin') and then started rounding up the other North African top performers that we have made in the past. This curry, is outrageously rich in flavor. It combines chickpeas, succulently cooked vegetables, Moroccan spices like turmeric, curry, & cinnamon, slivered almonds, raisins, and a little orange juice. Hold on a second, I think my head just exploded. Let me pull myself together... Okay, I am back to say I hope you like this luscious curry as much as I like describing it. Intricate flavor combos like this are exactly why I find Moroccan cuisine so appealing. *GF, soy-free
Entree #2 - Moroccan Inspired Carrot, Sweet Potato, & Lentil Soup More veggies! More veggies! This creamy, carotene-y soup has been a favorite every time we make it. What you see in the title is what you get in terms of ingredients. Don't let this short list fool you, though. Spiced with Harissa Paste and Ras el Hanout, a blend of 12 different exotic spices, this silky bowl of goodness sings in your mouth and all the way down to your stomach. *GF, soy-free
Entree #3 - Dal Makhani Regardless of the theme of the menu, I like to include at least one Indian dal. Our customers (you all) have so steadily requested and supported the Indian dishes, that you just can't have a menu without dal. Dal remains, after all, the main daily protein source for millions of people on the Indian subcontinent. This dal recipe calls for whole urad dal and red kidney beans, both major protein powerhouses. The beans combine with tomatoes, whole spices, slow-cooking, and a dollop or two of cream (in our case coconut cream) for a truly decadent-ish version of Indian dal. *GF, soy-free
Moroccan Lemon Mint Quinoa -$2.50/serving (1 cup) To be the real deal Moroccan side dish, this should be couscous. Yet no matter how you slice it or dice it, couscous is not gluten-free. Quinoa is, however. Not only is quinoa gluten-free, it kicks butt nutritionally, as it has more fiber and protein than brown rice. Additionally, as a seed, it is a complete protein, rather than a partial protein like most grains. This is all to say that once you combine this strong-armed seed with lemon and mint, both your taste buds and your conscience will fall in love with it! *GF, soy-free
Green Beans & Carrots in Chermoula Sauce - $6/lb. I made this cooked salad once upon a long, long time ago for a catering job. Then as unfortunately happens, I forgot about it. I have been receiving a lot of encouragement to make more salads. Being that it is summer, I thought that made sense. I had a vague memory of a Moroccan warm salad, thus I went looking back through my files. Voila! I found this delightfully simple recipe. The only ingredients called for are steamed carrots and green beans and Chermoula sauce, which is a North African pesto-like sauce made from fresh cilantro, parsley, olive oil and spices. Oh so simple, yet oh so irresistible! *GF, soy-free
Chocolate Lava Cakes - $4/ea. O chocolate cake, O chocolate cake, your yumminess delights us! Your cake is dense and succulent. When you are gone, your loss we repent. O chocolate cake, O chocolate cake your yumminess delights us!
Every single time I have made these sweet treats, I haven't made enough of them (for every dozen sold, we need a dozen for the fam & samples). It is difficult to describe just how moist, rich, satisfying, and downright special these cupcakes are. Thus I have no other choice but to revert to Christmas carol (think "O! Christmas Tree") adaptations to express my feelings about these sinlessly delicious treats. *GF, soy-free
Cinnamon Walnut Blondies - $3/ea. or 2 for $5. As if we didn't have enough delectableness to choose from right? Now there are even more options? I know... I am not trying to make your choices more difficult, really. It's just that 1) we do have some very special customers who can't do chocolate; 2) I have been waiting for some time to work in this new recipe and try it out; and 3) these blondies have a super-secret, super-nutritious, ingredient. Are you dying to know what's in them? Let me start by saying that they are gluten-free, dairy-free, and oil-free. So if they are devoid of all those things then what is in the recipe?! Lean in close and listen carefully - the secret ingredients are cashew butter and chickpeas. So when your children say to you, "Normally you don't let me have 3 cookies in a row. Why are you doing it now?" you can just smile and say that you were feeling generous. Stealth nutrition at its best... *GF, soy-free