Monday, May 07, 2007

Indian Food Party, A Fruity Cake & A New Family Member!!

In my last post, I mentioned that we had stopped at an Indian grocer in Redwood City on our way home from Mendocino... well, it was lots of fun, and it inspired me to have an Indian food Dinner Party. I invited my mom, my dad, and my aunt L. My little nephew also came along!

Here is some of what I got at the store:
4 bottles of Limca soda (which we drank a lot of when we were in India)
2 bags of crunchy Indian snack mixes (Moong Dal - not spicy, and Madras Mix - quite spicy)
4 Pre-made Indian food meals to keep in the pantry for moments of desperation
1 can of jackfruit in syrup - why not!?

I also got 3 different kinds of parathas from their frozen section. They must have had about 70 varieties to pick from! Most of them were vegan too, which is awesome. I picked out : Whole Grain, Filled with Peas, and Flakey! Those flakey parathas were one of my favorite discoveries on our trip to India. Oh, they are GOOD, so I was very excited to see how these frozen ones would turn out.

For appetizers, I served our two Indian crunchy snack mixes, and fresh coconut.

Here is the whole spread (or almost the whole spread) - Aloo Mattar (Potatoes with Peas), Red Lentil Dal, Fresh Peas with Coconut, Green Beans with Cumin and Fennel, Sauteed Plantain, and of course - 4 cold bottles of Limca! I also made a huge pitcher of vegan Mango Lassi... it was so good! All of these recipes are from Madhur Jaffrey's "World Vegetarian" cookbook, except the Dal, which is an old PPK recipe and is one of our all-time favorites. The Mango Lassi was also from the Madhur Jaffrey book, & I just used plain, unsweetened Wildwood soy yogurt. MMM. I've never actually had a lassi before, because they are never vegan, so that was a real treat. Sorry we didn't get a picture!

Here is the 5-star Red Lentil Dal from the PPK. PLEASE do yourself a favor and go make this recipe. It smells and tastes just like all the dal we ate in India... so so so good. This is the most complicated recipe of all, and it only takes about 40 minutes. (Most of which is not any work on your part).

Next up, the Aloo Mattar from "World Vegetarian". Also very good, not very spicy, but a lovely flavor, and especially a good balance with the other dishes. I used 1 1/2 lbs. of potatoes instead of just one pound. Definitely recommended. Other than boiling the potatoes, this is a 15 minute recipe.

Green Beans with Fennel and Cumin from "World Vegetarian." These guys are pretty spicy, and nicely undercooked, so they maintain some crunch. Not my favorite dish of the evening, but a nice addition to the overall offering, & worth making for sure.

Here was my favorite bit! The Green Peas with Coconut from "World Vegetarian" - wow! I used fresh English Peas from the farmers market and even splurged on a fresh coconut. (Any suggestions for what I should do with the rest of my fresh coconut?) It's a lovely, lovely dish. Definitely recommended.

Sauteed Plaintains - also from "World Veg" - although one hardly needs a cookbook. How delicious! I've never actually made these before, but we've got another plaintain in the fruit bowl just waiting to be cooked up. lovely!

Here are the parathas all cooked up - YUMOLA! Clockwise from the top left: 1 whole grain paratha, 2 flakey parathas, and one pea-filled paratha. All delicious, although those flakey ones were a real stand out ... they didn't disappoint at all. Looks like I'll have to go back to Redwood City just to get more of these!

For dessert we each had a small scoop of Sharon's Coconut Sorbet from Trader Joes... and we didn't get around to photodocumenting it. If you live near a TJ, and you haven't tried that stuff - I MUST recommend it HIGHLY!! It's amazing, rich, and vegan. Unbelievably good.

All in all, it was a great dinner party, and a delicious feast. I even dressed up and wore the salwar kameez outfit that I wore practically every day when we were in India. It's so beautiful. I wish I could wear it more often, but it feels too weird & out of context to be a white westerner walking around the streets of Santa Cruz in Indian clothing...


Last night, some of my fellow yoga friends invited Musty and I and our friends K&D over for dinner to celebrate K&D's upcoming marriage. Our hosts won't be able to attend the wedding, so they wanted to do something special. I was honored to be a part of it, and it was a really great evening with friends. Since I love making desserts, I volunteered & this is what I brought!

It's the "Tropical Fruit Gateau" from "Great Good Desserts Naturally" by Fran Costigan. I really love that cookbook - the whole thing is vegan desserts that use no refined sugars. This was delicious!!!! It's an orange cake, sliced in half, and layered with a Lemon-Lime tofu cream and fresh fruit. For the fruits, I used Mango, Cherries, and Strawberries. A wonderful dessert, indeed!

AND!! Last but not least!!

I present you with the newest furbaby in our family: He is a little boy dog, and we adopted him yesterday from our local SPCA. So far we are calling him "Snoopy" because he looks a lot like Snoopy. Now, we already have two great girl dogs - Stevie Wonder & Dottie Bonkers, and a wonderful cat named Yummers... so when I had a dream last month that we had 3 dogs, I was suprised at how I couldn't get it out of my head! In my dream, it was so fun and wonderful, and I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Musty, great guy that he is, was totally up for it - so we got to work looking for a new friend. Our next pet had a lot of personalities to match up with (canine, feline, and human) - and it took us a few outings to find someone that captured our hearts. Snoopy looks like a puppy, but is actually 3 years old. He's still adjusting to his new surroundings, so we don't know his true colors just yet. I'll keep you posted!
Here's a picture of the two of us together. What a cutie he is!


  1. I'm in love with Snoopy! You two already look like best friends.

    Your gateau is beautiful and looks delicious. I only have "MORE GGDN" and now I want the first book too!

    You know I love Indian food and I would have LOVED your dinner party! I will definitely try ALL those recipes. The Peas Paratha looks really good. My Indian market only has a few bread choices. I can't believe yours had 70!

    You look mahvelous in your Indian garb!

  2. Congratulations on your new family member. He looks wonderful!

    That food looks great, too. It looks like Snoopy has entered a gooood family!

  3. Congratulations on your new family member! Snoopy really does look like a puppy still.

    The indian food looks so good. It's hard for me to find pre-made Indian food here, though I used to sometimes find it where I lived before.

    The cake is beautiful! No refined sugar too. Everything looks so healthy and artistic.

  4. The Indian food looks so good. I love Indian food and love to check my local Indian grocery store, it is lots of fun.

    Your new family is so cute!

  5. what an amazing Indian spread! I have a lot to learn - limca? parathas? jackfruit? I do know that it looks fabulous, and I'd love to try it all. It's so fun that you even wore your traditional outfit.
    your fruit dessert is so artful - beautifully done - what a treat for everyone! and congrats on snoopy - you both look very happy together!


  6. O, all the food looks beautiful! I am defininately gonna make that dal.

    Your desserts looks great! I have Fran Costigan's book too, but she uses such expensive ingredients so I haven't made much recipes of hers...

  7. That dessert is beautiful!

  8. Snoopy is so cute!! Congratulations!

  9. Anonymous6:30 PM

    i almost feel like i taste the food! yum!!!!

    cute dog!

  10. welcome to Snoopy!!!!!! he is such a cutie, and you look SO happy with him. COngrats to you & Musty.

    Your food, your gateau, your salwar kameez, all very excellent. One day, when you least expect it, I'm just going to show up at your house and expect you to feed me endless wonderful food! Just a warning! (I'll promise to wash all the dishes- lol)

  11. Anonymous6:38 AM

    What a great spread! I really need to get that World Vegetarian book one of these days. I'll have to check out our tiny little Indian grocery to see if they have the parathas.

    And Snoopy is so cute!!!

  12. I'm in love with your furry new friend! What a great dream come true! ;)

    Your Indian meal is surely a feast after my own heart... everything sounds divine. What a great theme!

  13. what a feast...i could smell the wonderful spices.
    oh your little friend is very sweet. congratulations!

  14. I love Snoopy! He’s a real cutie! What a fantastic Indian feast! And your dessert is beautiful…you are so arty with the fruit!

  15. Mm-mm, that Indian feast looks awesome. For your leftover coconut, you could dice it and fry it in a dry skillet until lightly browned, and just eat it as a snack. I think I saw that on "Survivor (!) a few years ago, and it's really, really tasty.

    Your dessert is so pretty. The book you mentioned sounds really interesting, too.

  16. This food looks SO good! I love that you used fresh peas and fresh(!) coconut - I bet that tasted incredible.

    Congrats on your new family member! He is so adorable! I can't believe he's three years old - he looks like such a little puppy. Awww! Isn't it awesome when you turn your good dreams into reality?

  17. what a happy post!! I <3 it. Your new pup and that lovely cake in particular!

  18. Fran Costigan8:55 PM

    Hi from Fran Costigan
    The cake looks amazing. Wow. When I read about the coconut sorbet I thought I should llet you know there is a very special coconut sorbet recipe in my second book, More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally. I use more granulated (but unrefined and organic) sweeteners in the newer recipes in response to the students who said they wanted less expensive options for sweeteners.

    Love your blog.
    please check out my new website

  19. Wow!
    What an honor! Thanks for stopping by my humble blog, Fran! I'll definitely check out your new website... sounds great. Your second cookbook is on my amazon wishlist... especially now that I know there's a coconut sorbet recipe in there.
    your fan,

  20. Just wanted to say hi because I've been reading your blog for a while now. I absolutely LOVE ethnic foods and I'm definately going to check out the recipes you suggested here.

  21. I can't wait to meet Snoopy. So cute!!! All the food looks so good (as usual). ;-)

  22. COngrats on adopting Snoppy! What a little cookie--I am sure he will be a wonderful addition to your family.

    And wow--I am full after looking at all of that Indian yumminess.

  23. What a great picture of you & your new furbaby! Congratulations! I heart Snoopy already.

    Your feast looks divine & I love that gorgeous outfit- I'm so glad that you wore it for your dinner- think I have to go have an indian meal tonight.

  24. Anonymous7:55 PM

    Snoopy is adorable. His size is just perfect for squeezing and hugging. I'm so happy you rounded out your cute little family with him. I wish you many years of good memories.

  25. Great post! I have been holding out and not buying Madhur Jaffrey's "World Vegetarian" cookbook (only because I already have waaayy more cookbooks than I can use), but your post convinced me and I just bought it! Also, your new canine companion is adorable, so congratulations!

  26. Nice post! Love Snoopy...
    your dessert looks the way u decorated with fruits.
    Also the peas n coconut looks interesting...will try..
    Do visit my blog at



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