The Gift of Today

I want to make sure and get this newsletter out to you all before the last minutes of before-work time pass, so I will be unusually brief. Yesterday was the celebration of Holi at the Hillsborough Krishna Temple. It was a happy day for me. I have had a fair share of tragedy in my life, and it was interesting to me to note how it took some internal work for me to just be in that happy moment without fast-forwarding to the point when "this too will pass." In times of sorrow or frustration we can take solace in knowing that those times are temporary and will pass. However, in times of celebration and joy, this awareness does not necessarily bring the same comfort.

Once upon a Facebook excursion, I came across this quote, which helped me immensely in my quest to be content in the present moment. (photo brainyquote.com)

Here are some photos from yesterday taken by my friend Ananda Lila, a wonderful photographer and artist.

Teenagers somehow always look good in colors.

There was no age limit to playing with the colors!

Our own

dear Radha with her son and a friend. Happy Holi everyone!

This Week's Menu:

Entree #1 - General Tso's Chickpeas

In the Govinda's Catering menu rotation, an Asian menu has come to follow closely behind the menu with kofta on it. There can be no Asian menu without this dish on it. General Tso's Chickpeas has easily become one of our top five favorite recipes. What makes it so special? Maybe the fact that it is kinda sweet, kinda spicy, and incredibly healthy? Just look at those buff, power-packed chickpeas; that brilliant, chlorophyll-rich broccoli; and those beautiful bell peppers, just bursting with Vitamins A, B6, C, and K. Don't let all that nutrition fool you, this dish is so yummy that even anti-broccoli folks (kids & adults alike), can't get enough of it! *GF This dish normally runs a little spicy, please specify if you would like the mild version.

(photo yupitsvegan.com)

Entree #2 - Hot & Sour 9 Vegetable Soup

When I looked back at the last rotation of this menu, I noticed this soup was not on it. Criminal! I had to fix that asap. For those of you who have yet to sample this soup, let me just tell you that it is mind-blowingly tasty. I have thought so every time that I have made it, and more importantly so have our customers. It is full of fresh veggies- bok choy, savoy cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, peppers, and of course, chewy cubes of tofu. For any of you OCD counters out there (takes one to know one...), you are correct, I did only list 8 veggies. This is simply because the original calls for onion, which I always replace with my magic, sauteed, hing-spiced cabbage secret ingredient. Lastly, a touch of vinegar gives the soup a fantastic sour zing that makes all the other flavors pop! *GF, available without tofu upon request

(photo joanne-eatswellwithothers.com)

Entree #3 - Cauliflower Manchurian

Cauliflower Manchurian has become one of those "don't-you-even-think-of-making-this-menu-without-me" kind of recipes. The first time Radha made it, everyone who ordered it went crazy over it, and I totally understand why. It was as incredibly delicious as it was popular. You see, you start by battering the cauliflower in a rice flour tempura-like batter. Then you fry them to a crispy yet chewy perfection and cover them with the Manchurian sauce. And the sauce! The sauce is a tomatoey glaze mix of Asian spicy, salty, and pungent flavors. As far as I can tell, there are few things better than crispy, sauce-glazed veggies to lift you straight into culinary heaven. *GF.

(photo Radha McNamara)

Side Dishes:

Brown Rice - $1/serving (1 cup)

Black Rice Salad - $3.50/serving (1 cup) Today at the Krishna Temple is the celebration of Holi which commemorates, among many other things, the arrival of spring. With temperatures predicted to be well above 50 degrees every day this week, it finally feels like spring to me too. Maybe that is why I felt compelled to build a menu with so many colorful vegetables. We have made a black rice salad on several prior occasions. This is a slightly different recipe that I couldn't resist on account of its gorgeous color combinations - red & yellow bell peppers, orange clementines, and the brilliant greens of edamame and snap peas. Against the backdrop of nutrient-dense black rice, these veggies become absolutely stunning. *GF

(photo flavorthemoments.com)

Vietnamese Rainbow Spring Rolls w/ Ginger Peanut Sauce - $3/ea., $4 w/sauce. Continuing with the multi-colored spring theme, I couldn't wait to add these spring rolls to the menu. These fresh Vietnamese spring rolls, from over at the Minimalist Baker, calls for beets, carrots, peppers, and fresh herbs (hence the rainbow allusion). Combine all that nutritional beauty with a ginger peanut sauce (one of my favorite sauces, ever!), and you have something simply irresistible. *GF, soy-free (sauce contains soy, spring rolls do not)

(photo minimalistbaker.com)

Chinese Almond Butter Cookies - $1/ea., 6 for $5. We made these cookies for yesterday's market. It was delightful to watch people sample a bite and then exclaim "That's a good cookie!" Some folks would add, "especially for being gluten-free!" Which brings me back to my philosophy of both cooking and kirtan - you may have your niche, and yet, if your product is good enough, it will be appreciated by people outside your niche. At any rate, the consesus is that these are dang good cookies, made with almond butter, almond flour, rice flour, and organic cane sugar. *GF.

(photo veganinthefreezer.com)

Chocolate Covered Banana Bread Bites - $1/ea., 6 for $5. Some time back my foodie sweetheart was telling me about some wild and crazy Chocolate banana bread Danish pancakes. He wasn't able to send me the exact link, so I turned to my friend Google. I did find the recipe he was referring to, as well as a bevy of other similarly outrageously decadent recipes. This particular recipe came to mind because we had a little mishap at the commercial kitchen last week. You see, they have fabulous convection ovens that can back 10 or 12 racks of things at a time. The oven also has a wicked fan in it that interferes with how things rise (think marine flat top instead of muffin top). Radha and I discovered that the top and bottom racks are out of the way of the fan. We tried putting our banana muffins on the top and bottom racks - perfection! They all rose gorgeously, and then within 20 minutes (vs. 60 in the conventional oven), they were burned on the outside! Not all of them, but way too many of them for me to not to feel grouchy... The muffins taste lovely, as usual, they just look unsellable. What to do?? Aha! Cut the burned parts off, and dip them in chocolate, of course! (If you don't do chocolate, no worries! I will save the lightest, non-burned muffins for you.) *GF

(photo theliveinkitchen.com)

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