Tofu Done Two Ways

With every pack of tofu, there is about 4 dinner meals, so I will normally make two different recipes. With this container of tofu I made two Vegan Dad recipes.

The first was Malaysian Sweet and Sour Tofu. This recipe wasn't even what was on my list, I originally had a different Vegan Dad recipe, but for some reason did not feel like making it and instead felt like a saucy tofu-y meal. So I decided on the Malaysian style. The photo is really crappy, as this is a recipe I made when I still thought my camera charger was lost. I battered my tofu with corn starch and a little flour and the sauce was mainly made up of soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, and sugar. I was a bit hesitant to the amount of vinegar that he used, so I instead used more soy sauce and added a bit of hoison. My sauce wasn't as deep and rich colored as his picture implied, but damn it was delicious. Really nice tofu dish that prepped and cooked fast.

The second tofu dish was his Thai Tamarind Chili Tofu with Cashews. With such a stellar picture, I was well excited to make the dish. The grocery store that I went to has absolutely no good produce, ever (as why I never go there). But this grocery trip, I was offered a ride, so I took my chance. So where the recipe called for both shallots and green onion, they had neither. I made due and used sweet onion instead. Vegan Dad instead of the normal battered tofu called for golden baked tofu and have to say, as with the sesame-crusted tofu, I am so impressed with the texture of tofu that is baked. The tofu has time to evaporate water while baking, so it is a lot chewier than if it was fried. It is my new method of tofu prep and Im sticking to it. So good.
As always, I never have all the ingredients of the sauces, so I used brown sugar, sriracha, vegetable stock, and soy sauce for my sauce. Added to the already mentioned tofu and onions was red pepper and cashews. So simple and yet it packed a punch in the taste department. The sweetness from my onions and the brown sugar played delectably off the nutty cashew taste and the little bite of heat from the sriracha sauce. mhmm.

Whoever says tofu is a one trick pony or gave up after their first experience with it really needs to get back on the train. Tofu is so delicious!


best salad ever...

So a few years ago I took a picture of seriously the best salad I had ever made at the time. The salad, pictured here was laden in cheese, egg, cream and milk based dressing, and processed croutons. And actually had no vegetables, hrm.

However delicious it does look, it is so no good. Instead, I have updated my view of the best salad ever (well that I have made) to this...

delicious in all of its enormity. Chikn strips, radishes, black beans, pieces of apple, carrot, and more.

I dont know if this shows how becoming vegan has made my view on eating much healthier and much more varied. The amount of color on the salad, the addition of spinach and beans adding such nutrition. It just reminded me that even though I still drink my diet pepsi like a mad woman, becoming vegan has made me be so much better to my body.

that's all. have a great day :)


White Bean Pasta & Quinoa Veggie Soup

Well it is November, and I umm did not make the Vegan Mofo goal of 20 posts. I knew I wouldnt, October is midterms and such, but it is still fun participating and getting to know new bloggers and see new faces on the blog.

The end of the month turned out to be great. I made sure not to participate in Halloween this year. Until I am away from the college environment, I do not want to take part in the holiday. I hate the overly sexy, drunk mindset that most college students see as Halloween. I was telling friends on twitter that my idea of Halloween is the trick-or-treaters running up to my door, the crisp air, the warmth of my house from my mom making chili all day, and the voices of the black and white horror shows and movies that my dad would be watching. It was such a great experience. Memories that obviously will carry with me my entire life. So instead of dressing up and getting drunk I went apple picking with a friend. It had rained pretty hard the days before, so the farm was really muddy and of course a greedy goat somehow skidded mud all over my pants The farm was going to charge us 40 dollars for the apples and wouldnt let us get smaller sized bags, so we just walked around the farm. But being with a good friend and laughing a storm was enough of an adventure. We ended up going to the outlet stores and even going to the neighboring state for dinner. So much fun.

I am kind of in shock of where the year went. We have two more months left until 2010. The year that I have been waiting for since my high school graduation in 06. I will be graduating from university. It is pretty insane, but it looks like I will most likely still be in school and my applications for grad school are still a work in progress.

For the past 3 weeks I have pretty much had 5 fresh things on my shelves. Was out of bread, bagels, juice, all fruit, and almost every frozen meal I could possibly make. In other words, my meals came from Subway, Qdoba, and mixture of horrible junk food. I am so excited to have gone shopping this past weekend and finally have some fresh produce and more of my beloved Amy's frozen goods.

The first thing I made after I got my stash was actually a meal that I already had all the ingredients for. I figured I still had a little bunch of kale left, so I would make the recipe that had called for kale. And it was Joshua Katcher's White Bean Pasta with Garlicky White Wine Sauce. Simple pasta dish that consisted of red onions, garlic, white beans, kale, white wine (i used veg broth), a little nooch, and a little spice. Just had to brown the onions and garlic, add the beans, nooch, and spices, pour in the broth and kale and allow to simmer. Not much work at all, and the sauce was ready by the time the pasta was perfectly al dente. It was so effing delicious, I even licked my work spoon off before putting it in the sink. It was a perfect meal after a great relaxing day and again today when I had such a long day, plus still extras for lunch tomorrow (and I swear I made a half recipe). I will definitely be making this again, and think I might even make it for my family next time I go home.

Another meal that I ate for days and days without thinking of it as leftovers was Jenn Blumberg's Quinoa Veggie Soup. I made the full recipe of this soup, since I can easily have soup for lunch and dinner for days and days on end. How many times do I even have to tell you guys that I am madly in love with soup? All of Jenn's recipes are brilliantly organized and with amazing instructions for new cooks or cooks experimenting with new vegetables. This recipe had detailed instructions how to prepare a leek (which was really helpful to me) and showed how to cut kale correctly. The soup consisted of the leek, kale, carrots, celery, onion, okra, corn, and quinoa all in a delicious 'chikn' broth. I actually had the fake chikn broth from my whole foods adventure, and it really made it taste like a soup my mom would make for me when I was sick. So many flavors and textures, with just the right amount of starch from the quinoa. I fell in love with this soup every single time I ate it. And I of course added mounds of sriarcha sauce to my broth to make it nice and spicy. Was highly satisfied and this recipe as well has been added to my soup rounds.


Photo Wrap Up

Because I still have photos and recipes from last year on my computer that have yet to be blogged, I decided today would be little words and a whole lot of pictures. Not all of the photos are very good, so bear with me. I just had to get this off my chest/to do list.

Baby Corn with Peppers in Sweet Teriyake sauce from Happy Herbivore

Hot Sauce-glazed tempeh and Messy Rice both from Veganomicon

Tofu and Broccoli in Spicy Peanut Sauce from happyveganface

Peanut Ginger Noodles (i think) from The Picky Vegan

Potato Latkes from The Vegan Table

I think I can sleep easy tonight. Have a good weekend everyone!

Udon Noodles with Sesame Tofu & Pumpkin Muffins

First off, I wanted to tell you all my lack of ability of finding the "&" key. Believe me I know it is located at the number 7, but for some reason my poor little fingers sit idle looking for the key, which forces me to look down at the keyboard. Mrs Greene, I am sorry I failed you, I was your best student in both Introductory Keyboarding classes, and yes people I did get As without even trying. booyah. I took Keyboarding class as my freshmen elective of high school. I loved it, Mrs Greene had a deep voice with a southern drawl mixed with discontent. I would spend about 40 of the 50 min class online playing games (before myspace's time!). Anyways, thought I'd share that with you guys. But I am a good typer, speedy (120wpm, just took the test!), accurate, and all that jazz (hint, ill be looking for a job in a few months!). Way off track here, thank you number 7.

This sunday I decided to actually cook. I'm becoming lazier and lazier, but I am so stressed and strapped for time that most of the time I look to my freezer, pasta, or take-out. I had been drooling over Vegan Dad's recipe Udon Noodles with Sesame Tofu. I had great luck finding udon noodles in the store, but I was confused since the package said Wheat pasta and Gluten-free on the front label...hrm. But I don't worry about gluten, so it didn't worry me. They were also flat and not cool rounds ones like I have always had, but that was okay. I'm just being extremely harsh on these noodles. Like always, I love vegan dad for his simple recipes, easy to follow instructions, and the constant feed back he gives to our questions. Obviously the sesame tofu was the main feature of this dish. The tofu was to be fried, but I am trying to stay away from frying anything, so I drudged my tofu with a little soy sauce and the sesame seeds, it worked to get the tofu and sesame to bind, then just heated my oven to 400degrees and had the tofu in for 20 mins. While my tofu baked I prepared my noodles and veggies (orange and red peppers, carrots, and green onions). The sauce was nothing other than soy sauce, hoison, and rice vinegar. But since I cannot find rice vinegar no matter how many times I ask confused looking grocery workers I used a smidge of white vinegar and added a bit extra hoison. The recipe was so satisfying, barely any work to be done for such a delicious meal. I had plenty of leftovers for the next day and enjoyed it just as much.

Since, I had so much extra time while making my dinner I decided to finally make the VegNews Newsletter's Perfect Pumpkin Muffins. Unlike Caroyln who posted the recipe, I didn't have too great a success with the muffins. I have a feeling I just do not like putting tofu in any of my deserts. I have had no luck with them. I think it also has to do with my hatred of putting baked goods in the fridge. The tofu then spoils quickly and ruins your baked good. I mean, they were good and all, and I enjoyed the flavors, but next time I would just use apple sauce or something other than tofu. They were quite rich in the sugar and oil department, so definitely a treat that shouldn't be indulged. I think I have to throw away the 5-6 that I have left as they are starting to smell weird. They look good, taste good, but being in microbiology makes me wary of everything i touch, look at at, sit on, and especially eat.

And to finish this post off. HAPPY DIWALI!
I hope everyone has a great celebration. I really wish I got to spend more time in India and be there for Diwali, just means i will have to go back. I know you have all seen this picture in another post, but it is a picture of Ram and Sita at the temple my host mom went to every day.


Veggie Biscuit Pot Pie and Veggie Curry Pockets

What is better than vegetables and bread? Vegetables in creamy sauces surrounded by bread. Both of these recipes did just that.

Joni from just the food. had a very enticing recipe in photo and in flavors which she called Vegetable Curry Pockets, very appropriate. These pockets were simple to make as she wasn't making her own dough, but using frozen puff pastry dough, that sounds good with me. So while my puff pastry was defrosting I went ahead and made the filling. The filling, which I failed to get a good picture of is filled with carrots, broccoli, and peas that are laced within a curry cream sauce (margarine, soy milk, and veg broth). It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I had issues filling my pockets, and it got a little messy. But mess doesnt stop taste, so no problem there. I also ended up having a ton of extra filling, but again, no problem. Why throw it out, when it can fill pita pockets or be topped on rice, etc.

The pockets were amazing. Pipping out hot with such a creamy delicious insides. I've said creamy a billion times already, so you get my point. The flavor was perfect, subtle spice from the curry and sweet from the butter. In other words, I will definitely make this recipe again. And highly recommend it.

Lindsay at Happy Hervivore had my second recipe of creamy and breaded goodness. Her version, a deconstructed pot pie entitled Veggie Biscuit Pot Pie. Now, Lindsay went all out and made her own biscuits. We all know, I need simple and quick to be able to survive. I bought the vegan Pillsbury dinner rolls and baked them while making the filling. The recipe, somewhat similar to the filling of the first was mostly made creamy by vegetable broth, soy milk, and corn starch. Then I had frozen peas, corn, cauliflower, and broccoli with my favorite all-season spice, Season-All. Took less than 15 minutes for this meal to be ready. With no prep and only one pot and one baking sheet, this could easily count as a simple meal that warms me up just thinking about it. Creamy sweetness is exactly what I want to taste when I need a fast break from the world. This recipe will definitely be added to my normal line-up.


Simple Meals

Some days it feels great to know your meal will be ready from start to finish in less than 10 minutes. With barely any dishes and barely any prep, what else could be better. Every Monday I am in school from 9am to 8:30pm with few breaks in between. It sucks...
So, I have an hour and a half I have to get dinner in my stomach and be ready for my last class of the day.

Some days I will just eat a frozen meal from Amy's Kitchen, others I will run to Qdoba, and like yesterday I found a quick meal in my fridge that would also satisfy me beyond any belief.

The past weekend I had gone to a farmer's market and Whole Foods. I had gone with expecting to buy only a few items, and left with two full bags and 100 dollars out. Yes, 100 dollars. There is a reason I dont go to Whole Foods too often, I feel like a kid in a candy store.

At the Farmer's market, I bought the best looking sweet corn, which I couldn't let it sit in my fridge for much longer, so the corn is what I designed my meal around. I had also gotten gardein's bbq pulled pork. They are new mock meats that are so high in protein and fiber that it is almost unbelievable. I paired my 'pork' with spinach and cream cheese on toast. Now, this meal had more salt and 'butter' products than I am used to, so I had to have a salad to go along with it.

I don't know why, but I highly enjoyed this meal and savoured every bite. It was everything I could have asked for on a stressful day. And with only one pot and my plate to clean up, it made my life a whole lot easier.

Satisfying and quick, what are your favorite simple meals?


Broccoli Risotto

Last week I realized that I had a package of Arborio rice in my cupbard for almost an entire year without being opened. I decided to open it and then two days later I finally gave in to making some risotto. My reason for not making it? I am lazy and thought it would be too much work and stirring. What gives!? Man, is that a wake up call. I need to get back into the kitchen and make sure that I dont get that lazy again with food.

I looked through my barren fridge and saw that I had zucchini and broccoli left. I decided on the broccoli (if you didn't figure that out from the title...). I sort am on an off mode with zucchini, i love it then i avoid it, weird. I typed into good ol google "broccoli risotto" and used the first recipe I found which came from cooks.com. I've only ever watched my mom make risotto, so I really had no idea what it entailed...

It was the simplest thing ever. My hand never got tired and it was sort of fun. I got so excited when I had finally mixed all of the veg stock with my rice. A pretty good pay off when I had waited so long to use the rice.

I pledge that I, Sarah, will not wait a year until I next make risotto.


What better way to spend a saturday morning than with like-minded individuals.

This morning my campuses environmental organization (well 10 of us) headed over to a Milwaukee breakfast hot spot called Hotch-A-Do. It is right next to one of the biggest/most known veg friendly restaurants in the city, so I really never noticed it. But it was sure not to be missed. Although the menu really only had a few vegan friendly items, one of the first items on the menu is their vegan burrito. As described by their website menu: "Generous portions of tofu, green peppers, onions, morning spuds, vege chili, all wrapped in a grilled flour tortilla Includes a side of our homemade salsa and topped with fresh avocado." Does that description not get you all? I had it mind even before we got to the restaurant. So when the menu arrived, I had no reason to even look at it.

There was a run/walk for the local children's hospital, which meant streets around our school were all closed, couldnt cross the street, and members of our group ran it, so well by the time the race was over we were all starving. This meant my appetite was HUGE! I was so ready for my burrito to arrive. But in the mean time I got to engulf some delicious and fragrant Rishi Peach White Tea. We all got to know each other better as 6 of the members were new this year. I still remember everybody's name!!

Our food finally came. Three of us got burritos (although, mine was the only vegan) and the rest got eggs or pancakes/french toast. It so happened that all that ordered the burritos were sitting next to each other. Pretty much all were drooling over how good they looked, we sure didn't eat our words or spit. It was the best breakfast burrito I have ever had. Ever. It was perfectly seasoned, perfect amount of tofu, perfect amount of their amazing chili, and fresh avocado can never be beat.

We all were so full after brunch. It was so great getting together with a group from campus. It looks like this will be a recurring event in the club, so can't wait til the next food event. Mhmm food.

Afterwards I headed to Whole Foods to get my hands on the vegan candy bars that I keep hearing about from Go Max Go Foods. They are designed to mimic famous candy bars (Three Musketeers, Snickers, Milky Way, and Almond Joy). I ended up not finding them, fail. But I ended up finding a bit over 100 dollars worth of other goodies. I know, don't judge. It had been 4 months since I went on a proper visit, I got a little carried away. I left with natural acne solution kit, vegan potstickers, 30 Clif Bars (89 cents!!!), Teese moz cheese, and other delicious vegan specialties that I never eat.


Lunchbox time

So one of my favorite days of the week is when I get to pack my cute little Laptop Lunches lunchbox. The company even has a new version, 2.0. It allows to switch up the size containers within the bento box, as their are no longer any more ridges on the bottom of the container. Great idea, as now there is a large sandwich container, and lids for all of the container sizes. So far this semester, I only get to use it once a week, but now that I am an intern at the crime laboratory, I will get to use it as well on Thursdays and Fridays. I definitely will be able to make new friends with my cool lunch box.

pb&j, carrots w/ hummus, apple, oreos

pb&j, curried potato salad, celery w/ peanut butter, vegan fruit snacks (costco!), and a fortune cookie
my fortune was: 'Teaching means learning twice'
i was satisfied.


Buddha Bowl and Channa Saag

It is October...How the hell did that happen? I cannot believe that I have already been in school for a month and that I am only a few weeks from the middle of the semester. I am excited that it is already half over, but this also means that my applications for graduate school are needing to be completed. But no fretting, I have it all under control. Well, maybe not the paper I am supposed to have finished by Saturday night (did I mention it is a minimum of 12 pages!).

This week I have spent most of my meals hitting up Subway and Qdoba and my freezer. I am close to being completely out of all food, so I have a long, long list of groceries to get this weekend. But I love grocery shopping, so it will be fun to take a break from Amy's frozen dinners and Boca chicken nuggets.

This first meal comes from one of my favorite bloggers jessy, or happyveganface. Her recipe sweet 'n spicy adzuki buddha bowls. Now, I still have yet to find adzuki beans in any of the stores near my house. Ill have to try a middle eastern store next time, as they tend to have beans that I've never heard of. So I switched up the recipe slightly to fit my needs with kidney beans instead of adzuki. But the bowl was full of fresh veggies, cashews, and the most delicious, simple, and light sauce. The sauce was mostly just agave, soy, sriracha, ginger, and a little vinegar. I was so highly impressed with all the flavors, I dont know why but the sauce hit the spot in so many ways. And it has every time I've made it. I also have made the meal for my family and they loved the freshness to the recipe too. Filling, fresh, and light. I dont even know what else to say, but yum.

Now that I am missing Indian food so dearly, I keep wanting to make every Indian recipe I see. So I decided to made Vegan Dad's Channa Saag recipe. Spinach has somehow become one of my favorite vegetables (my mom would be proud) and I always adore chickpeas. A simple, quick recipe perfect for a weekday. It was sweet from the wilted spinach, tomatoes, and onions, and nice and spicy from the garam masala and chili powder. I enjoyed every bite.

So obviously, my writing skills and food loving adjectives are quite low at the moment. I am hoping it is being stored in a reservoir for my Buddhism/Feminism paper. I want to get at least half of it done today, but that looks dismal. And the final countdown begins.

Happy October, happy mofo-ing!



Well guys and dolls, it is that time of year again.

The time of year that we are thankful to make food without sweating our heads off in a steaming kitchen, the time of year that we get to complain of the cold and eat warm soup, and the time of the year that we are posting our heads off in the love of veganism, food, and friends. Welcome to Vegan Mofo v. 3

This is my second year of Vegan mofo, but this year I am going to make a really great attempt to post everyday of October. We shall see.


Soup makes the world go round

So soup is sort of one of my favorite foods of all time. Some people don't get it, but they are missing out. Soup is not just a one-trick pony. You can have a light, summery soup, or a thick, hearty chowder, or a sweet tomato based soup, hell you can even have soup as desert. What is there not to love. So I dedicate this post to four soups that I made in the last year.

First up is the heartiest of them all, Cream of Potato and Broccoli Soup from Vegan Dad. This soy and coconut milk based soup was extremely delicious. I really enjoyed eating it, but also making it. It was all new to me trying to make such a cream heavy style soup. I pretty much had given up any hope in having delicious cream of whatever soup. The cream wasn't over powering, as veggie broth and sweet onion mellowed it out creating a perfect soup for a cold day. You can see in the picture a little roll of bread. I will have to admit that it is the lid to my attempt of a bread bowl. Renae at ieatfood.net had a great bread bowl recipe. So i tried, and failed miserably at making my bowls actual bowls. One was a tiny little thing with a huge tumor like growth of bread to the side, and the other was more like a oblong loaf. I figure I didn't knead the bread long enough, and will just have to try again.

The next soup's name made me feel all warm just by what Veg Bitch had named it...Warming Lentil Soup What is not to love about that, soup...lentils...warming...k, it's mine. The soup was filled with things I love: onions, carrots, lentils, and tomatoes. I added for my own enjoyment some spinach leaves. Since I made one soup with kale, all of my soups need some green floating around. It adds just another element to soups. This soup was brilliant. It warmed me up, it was so full of flavor from the broth, tomatoes, and paprika and thyme. mhmm. You can even see the steam rising in the photo. Unbelievable.

This next soup is Hearty Vegetable Soup from
Show Me Vegan. Another three words I love to hear together. I seriously think I could eat soup every day of my life. I always ask people what their last meal would be, and I always give the same strange answer. Soup, a bagel, tofu pad thai, fries, and a diet pepsi. But soup comes first, yo. Potatoes, onions, kidney beans, tomatoes, orzo, kale, garlic, and carrots. I mean what is not to love. I believe I even added more, as I think I see some celery in there. I couldn't get enough of this soup. It was heaven in my mouth. I ate it 3 days straight. The first dinner, then for both lunch and dinner the next two days. It was that delicious, and all the flavors from the veggies made it such a great creation.

This last photo is absolutely terrible. I though I forgot my camera charger at home, but it was packed away neatly in my book bag all week. So don't judge. This recipe for Italian Bean Soup
by vegalicious was something I've had starred since she wrote the recipe. In her post, I saw the mention of easy and fell right for it. Most people think soup is tedious and hard work, but it is simple and can take less than an hour. Celery, onions, carrots, tomatoes, white beans, plus my as always addition of spinach. It took me less than 30 minutes to make it. I love that soup really is not heavily focused on added spices. This recipe only called for some basil, and that is really all it needed. The broth and the vegetables all together are all that it takes to make a meal delicious and wholesome.

So there is my story. I love soup, you better love soup. And if you were ever scared to make your own soups, you are missing out on such a diverse, easy, and delicious meal.


New School Year, New Worries

The new school year is nearing and I have new book purchases, clean, new folders and notebooks, new classes and faces to see as usual. But also I am nearing a new chapter of my life. One year left of undergraduate and am currently preparing for the future. I have been researching grad school programs for my Masters in Forensic Science program (MSFS), a total of 18 schools I am going to look into more. Most of them in the upper east coast, some in the midwest, and a few in California. We shall see which ones I apply to and which ones get the boot. The process of applying for graduate school is long and much harder due to highly specific recommendation letters needed and signing up for the GRE while taking a full semester. But don't worry! I am well prepared and working ahead. I know who will be writing one of my letters, if the university will allow a non-degree class, I have my second. And I will need a third for a few, gargh. But yeah, I am further than most, and will have my applications out by my deadline of Oct 31st (most schools are Feb 1st, 2010). I will also be applying again for the FBI internship and looking to get an internship at the crime lab in my city. I am hoping so hard that I will be able to get an internship there, non-paid or paid it is what I need right now.

Even with all this school stress, one thing I am reallllly excited about pulling out is my LAPTOP LUNCHBOX. Although my schedule is a whole lot less hectic than last semester, hell I better be showing up to school with my lunchbox.

In honor of the lunchbox. Here are two of my lunches from last semester that I had yet to post.

-peanut butter and jelly
-frozen fruit
-black beans with a italian dressing in the container
-two fruit leathers

-large tortilla wrap with hummus and zuchinni, and any other fresh food I had left at my fridge during final week...
-frozen fruit
-two fruit leathers


Chowder & Chocolate Thumbprint Jam Cookies

Both of these recipes were made a long time ago, but haven't yet to been commented on. I made Vegan Dad's Mixed Vegetable Chowder back in October of 2008. Yes, I said a long time ago. Luckily this is the last recipe I must review of 2008. The recipe was extremely simple and had such few ingredients which lured me in. A bag of frozen vegetables: check, coconut milk: check, and soy creamer: no check, but easier enough to get my hands on. Took awhile to chop the billion potatoes and to cook/peel them, but after that the recipe was a breeze. It was one of the first recipes that I got to use my immersion blender. My mom got me a great duel immersion blender that turns into a hand mixer. Absolutely genius for someone who has small space and only uses those two items for very specific items (cookies and soups). Yet, those few meals are so important in my kitchen that it is a necessity. Anyways, my chowder was very, very hearty. I know I would never make it again, but it isn't because it wasn't good, it just wasn't my thing. It was too thick for my taste buds, all the cream and the coconut milk (even lite milk) was too much for my stomach. If I made this again I would do half coconut milk and half vegetable stock to allow it to be just a bit thinner and lighter on the stomach. But it was absolutely amazing seeing how thick a vegan chowder could get. Who'd thunk it.

One night in chilly January I had a taste for cookies. I wanted to try and make one of the many cookie recipes that I always looked at while skimming through Dreena Burton's Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan. Torn between peanut butter chocolate cookies and the thumbprint cookies. I ended up on the Thumbprint cookies due to my desire for not just chocolate but sweet. Quick and easy cookie dough that made at least 30 cookies. The only messy business was my burning my poor little thumb. But a thumb works so much better than any spoon, so the sacrifice was small. I used a mixed berry preserve that I had in the fridge. The cookies were absolutely perfect. Chewy, chocolatedly goodness with a hint of sweet berries. I was so glad that the dough made so many cookies, as I didn't gobble them all up while they were cooling. They were a perfect addition to my lunches and dinners for the next week.


Comet Cafe and the adventures of vegan friends

It is always great having vegetarian and vegan friends to help you try out all the new and exciting restaurants in the area. Sadly, most of my friends are not vegan. They sometimes will come out with me to a specific very vegan restaurant, like the Chicago Diner. But most of the time I venture off on my own. Luckily, the past year I made friends with one of my friend's cousin. We became vegetarian buddies as she was dealing with the swift from omni to veg and how her very irish, meat loving family was handling it. We first had an awesome little tea party with home-made dishes. She made a delicious apple crisp and I made chocolate chip cookies and Smlove Pie from Veganomicon. Sadly I had horrrible luck with that pie and I absolutely hated it. I just scraped the toppings off and ate it, so not worth any pictures and I was so frantic in the kitchen getting ready I forgot to take pictures of the occassion.

We also had a day where we went to a mexican restaurant called Riviera Maya. We got the suggestion from the Milwaukee Vegan Meetup. We would have gone with the group, but both of us couldn't make that date. So instead we took the bus down one rainy day and had some amazing mexican food. We both started with delicious margaritas, I mango and she peach. And then HAD to try their mole appetizer tray. We were given 6 different moles to try (peanut, almond, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, tomatillo sauce, and a chocolate mole. All served nice and warm and they were absolutely amazing. We had a fun time trying to figure out the tastes and textures that were in our mouths. What is great about this restaurant is that two of their 'meat' choices are vegan. So almost every single dish can be made vegan. Although I opted for my favorite, el burrito. But my meat mixture was: zucchini, corn, carrots, and red pepper. It was absolutely delicious in every way, I couldn't have asked for a better dish. My friend ordered a Mexican hot sub with potatoes, peppers, and corn as her meat. The sub looked delicious and was overflowing with toppings. Again, no photos. Failed everyone in that department. But if you are in Milwaukee, definitely check the place out. A bit expensive, but it was worth it.

Our third veggie night was at the Comet Cafe, which my friend had been raving about for ages. I had never been, but heard they served up a mean sandwich. The restaurant is half vegan, half omnivore's dilemma. Almost all of the sandwiches can be veganized and some are fully vegan from the start. The restaurant itself is full of ambience, with a 50's diner feel and huge booths and retro dining sets. We ordered for an appetizer the vegan deep fried ribs, which are described as beer batter riblets with a side of hot sauce and bbq with a spciy mayo dipping sauce and a side of fries. I am so positive I had a photo of these, but I guess not. They were sooo damn good. We ate every bit of them, even all the fries. It was a meal unto itself. But we still ordered more. My friend ordered the Marinated Tofu Sandwich. It was stuffed with red peppers, lettuce, and onions. And with a side of those heaping fries. I had a piece and it was amazing. The tofu was smoky and sweet, with a little kick all at the same time. I had to order their Reuben and compare it to the ever so great Chicago Diner's. It came out looking delcious. The bread was nice and crisp, the saurkraut looked fresh, and the seitan piece was crisp and tasted just like what I was looking for. The two restaurants have different textured seitans, but both were high in my book. I enjoyed every bit of the sandwich, enough to take home the little bit I couldn't force down my throat. It made a great midnight snack when I had to get down and studying.

Our adventures don't end there. We have gone to Riverwest Co-op together, which is a little health grocery store with a little vegan cafe attached. Great sandwiches and deserts, and all the vegan food products you can't find anywhere else...like Teese!

Hopefully our adventures do not end here. Although my friend has graduated from school, she is planning on staying in our school's city, so we can continue to eat our way through great conversations. And what is also super great is my friend just recently took the plunge and is fully vegan. Yay vegans, friends, and food. It's what life is all about.


Summer in India: Week 3

The third week of my trip to India was a home-stay segment. We were all assigned to families that were friends with one of my professor while he was still living in India. A few were his relatives and the rest friends. I was a bit worried about this portion of the trip, not because of the prospect of invading someone's home, but because of my being vegan. We arrived from New Delhi after a 3 hour cramped car ride (we had 4 girls in the backseat of a car) and went to our welcome party. At the welcome party my teachers were assigning the families. Again, so great about the program, the teachers knew us pretty well by this point and were able to place us perfeclty with a family. I heard my name, though, being rattled off in the span of 5 minutes more than the comfortable amount while I was sitting and chatting with the other guests. I was feeling extremely guilty due to the fact that veganism is completely unheard of in India. But I was placed with a family. We were told some families would be Muslim, others Hindus, some rich, some with just 1 bedroom for the whole family, and others where you would have your own room. So I was expecting anything and was ready for it while on the ride over to the house. We arrived and my house was literally in the center of the city, it was a small apartment ontop of a men's clothing store. My host dad had just had double bypass heart surgery, so I carried my heavy suitcases up the small stairwell to the apartment. After I had recovered I got to know my family.

I was living with a host father and mother. They were a Hindu vegetarian family with three kids (2 grown and moved out, and one had passed away). My host mom and host dad were very nice and accommodating. They even turned on their A/C unit for me the first day, well until the daily power outages from 4pm-6pm. Every single day the power would be out. Each house would have a generator to allow some fans and some lights to function. Most of India does not have any electricity and when there is electricity it is highly unreliable and overused. The amount they have does not cover the demand, so daily power outages have become the temporary solution. The minute the power outage would be over, my host mom would turn on her soaps... We had had a LONG day and as you can tell in this picture, I was weathered! The photo is of me, my host mom (in the middle), and her friend. The first night we had a little of a celebratory party where the women sat in the bedroom with the A/C drinking small glasses of cola and talking. Then we joined the two men (my host dad and the son of the friend) for dinner. This happened at 9pm-11pm. My host dad told me that he was excited to have me in the house and the food was no issue because of his surgery he was not allowed to have much dairy. It felt like a huge wave of relief knowing that they didn't feel too burdened by my restrictions. He also told me that he already thought of me like his American daughter and that he would treat me just like a daughter. I just had no idea how literally he would be saying that.

I was soooo exhausted and so utterly pleased to find out that they do put the A/C on for the first 30mins of sleeptime. The city that we were in for the host stay was one of the hottest cities and also having a heat wave. At the time it was probably 110-120 degrees from 10AM-11PM. My host turned out to be the only one with an A/C, but most had fans and desert coolers (fans that had water churning inside). Anyways, before the little party, my host mom and I went to the temple which was just around the corner. They were having a celebration of Ram and Sita, where they were decorated beautifully in their vault area. The room was heavily perfumed with incense and jasmine, people were sitting everywhere in the dark singing and chanting along with the main priest, and bells could be heard from every which direction. It was a magical site and I was sad to leave it and realize it only happened once a week, so that would be the last time I saw it. But I did visit the temple three-four times, as my host mom went there every single day and would then walk around the little courtyard that was there with her friends gossiping. There was also always someone giving out free strawberry lassi, a drink made from strawberries and milk, like a thin milkshake. The beggars and the woman at the temple would always be gathered round tight getting second and third cups of the stuff. I also saw a strange scene at the temple where a crow looked as if he was dying to bits, he was laying flat on the ground croaking. A dog saw this as an invitation to eat him, but every time he got near to getting it, the bird would flag violently with its obviously injured body. Finally after watching in horror at the scene a man came and picked the bird up and threw him in the air so he'd go inside the gated garden, he plopped down, and then a few minutes later flew away all fine...it was quite a scene that I will not forget.

It was a bit awkward the first night as my host dad was forced out of the one bedroom of the house to the living room. Which part of the living room is shown in the picture, with the door leading out to the balcony. I shared the bedroom with my host mom. In India, showing your legs is highly provocative. Most women never show their legs in publics, all pant suits, sarees, jeans, all will cover their legs. So I had no idea how my host mom would react to me wearing short shorts and a tiny tank for bed. I DIED the first night as I had decided to wear at least a tshirt over my tank. She never mentioned anything about the shorts, but she might have been highly disturbed. We formed quite the nightly routine, every single night for a week we would have dinner at 9, which my host parents would go to bed right after. I would want to shower at night since I felt so disgusting after the day. Our shower and bathroom were in two different parts of the house. Inside the house near the entrance was the western style bathroom that never flushed properly and outside on the balcony was a little room with a bucket and spout. I got used to bucket showers and was thankful for the cold water being splashed onto me, but the fact that the shower was outside meant that mosquitos were in heaven with my blood. I would rush my showers, as well, as the house to the right had a higher roof than us, so if they went up they could clearly see into our shower, and with being very half-assed in the language at that point had no idea if people walking in the alley were really in the alley or on the roof.

After my shower I would always go to the room and read a bit of Holy Cow! or do some of my homework assignments, then attempt to fall asleep. Some nights I slept great and some nights I thought I'd never sleep from being the most uncomfortable I'd ever been in my life. I felt bad as my host mom had to have woken up while I was trying to cool down (sitting up, getting up, soaking myself in my filtered water).

I was never allowed to go anywhere on my own. My host dad was extremely overprotective of me. He would have one of the male students come to my house to share a rickshaw to school. It was nice money-wise as we shared the cost both ways, but the rickshaws in India are not standard. Each city has a normal size seat, well the seats in Aligarh were made for either two school children or two very, very, very small adults. We all left Aligargh with bruises on our thighs from trying to sit on the seat and absorb the shocks from the roads. Every morning at 9.30 I would be expecting my ride to come. Before then I would take yet another shower and eat breakfast. Breakfast in the house was one of my favorite meals. It was greasy and always fried, but amazing. Some days we would have grilled vegetables sandwiches with green chutney, a few days we had a thick fried rice and vegetable breakfast dish, and some days we had Kulcha a fried bread similar to batura, but it has mashed potatoes, onions, and spices kneaded into the dough. I helped once with breakfast, but my host mom really never wanted any help and when I tried to make a Kulcha, I did everything wrong apparently. So I would ask every day to help, but never was I needed.

My family didn't seem to have to make many changes to make their normal vegetarian cooking vegan, but others around me were always completely astonished that I didn't eat dairy. In India, vegetarian does not mean lacto-ovo, but it implies a lacto vegetarian. This is because most vegetarians in the country are vegetarian for religious purposes. And eggs are not considered clean, nor pure because Indians view them how we vegans see them, revolting. I always thought eggs were gross eating. Why eat another animals eggs? I remember learning about the layers of the egg and the umbilical cord in jr high and having stopped eating eggs for a long time, but it didn't last. I'm glad I had my last egg almost a year and half ago. But in India, dairy is not considered to be impure at all, but to be almost holy in itself. One of the most well-known dieties in Hindu religion is Lord Krishna who is known to be a flirt with all of the milk-maidens. Cows are also holy, so put together the two and other factors within the scripts we have a product that is highly auspicious. Though, much of the milk in India is from water buffalos. The issue is India is a country with OVER-consumption of dairy. I have no doubt that some of my food was contanimated with a dairy product. No matter how many times you asked if the food was clean of all dairy it easily could have not been. In general, you have to be very specific with the questions you ask:

"Does this have milk" no
"Does it have cream" no
"Does it have yogurt" oh yes, of course

hrm. it would go on and on like this. I felt bad as I was never comfortable enough to ask a Hindi speaking server if food was okay for me. After awhile, I would know which dishes to completely avoid and some that would always be clean. But some could have been vegan at one restaurant, but not at the next. I worried the most when we went to non-veg restaurants where chicken stock was being used in the food, who knows about that. I normally would just eat bread and wait til we got home to get a Clif bar. But at the homestay, I was lucky as my family knew everything that shouldn't be in my food and were comfortable with it.

Though, my host mom's friend would constantly sit and tell me how strange it was that I didn't drink milk, but my skin was as white as milk. I would sit and just try and tell her that I wasn't even the whitest of the bunch. And she was even light herself! Indians are obsessed with fairness as we are with having young skin. Every beauty shelf with Fair & Lovely or any of the other 20 different brands. All TV personelle are as white as possible. We had a few people tell us they worship light skin and think we should marry Indian men since they would treat us like gods. And of course, not only is the dream mostly unattainable for the majority of the nation of beautiful brown skin, but these creams are so dangerous!You'd see someone wearing a cream and they'd just look ashy or like they didn't get all the soap off in the shower. Westerners want to be dark and Easterners want to be light...go figure.

One of the highlights while in Aligarh was the university convocation (graduation). The guest list was quite impactful. Not only was A.R. Rahman, the famous composer of thousands of Indian songs, but also
Gopalkrishna Gandhi, one of Gandhi's grandsons. It was a great honor to be present with these brilliant minds. The students were all too excited as well, plus we were an added bonus. I actually had to have the TA near me acting as my publicist pushing people away from having photos. I would say yes to one and then have 30 more photos to take in that one instant. It was fun at first, but then by the end of just that one day I had probably taken over 100 photos and had been in the background of another 200 photos. It was insane. The TA questioned why her people wanted their independence if they are so enamered with pale skin. It was kind of a laughing joke during the trip, but sometimes not wanted.

The night of the graduation my family had a little final get together where we had dinner at the family friend's house. The parties always start with drinking soda, sitting in the nicest bedroom with the best fans or A/C, then moving onto watching TV, and then dinner. We had a really nice dinner and good talk and what not. It had been a really long day, but it was worth it. After dinner we took some family photos (women and men seperate). Sometimes I would complain to the other kids about my family being boring, as it was just the two of them. But, I really did enjoy them. They were such a nice family and such good people. They worked hard in their life to be able to retire and do absolutely nothing, so they are enjoying it. I just had a different pace, but because the person nearest my age was engaged to be married, well I didn't get out much that week. I read a lot, and sat quitely a lot. For awhile, I wished the homestay was less than a week, but it was really a great time getting to know my family.

The last big event with my family was shopping for my saree. After going to 5 stores and turning down a good 50-60 different materials, I finally set eyes on the saree that I loved. And of course, it was the most expensive one I had looked at. At 50 American dollars, it was a 'luxury' saree. I figured if I get one, it should be nice since I wont be wearing it other than at something really formal. But commonly you can get a saree for 5 dollars or less. Sarees are just 6 feet of fabric that are lined with patterns. The saree is extremely hard to wrap as you have 3ft of pleating to deal with before you can move on to wrapping it around your upper body. But if you do it right, the saree is quite comfortable. The tops are specially made and are extremely tight fitting. It took two times for them to get the measurements right, but it fits like a glove. The day that I left, my host family all sat around waiting for me to try my saree on. And with the help of my host mom and beautiful jewelery she bought and gave to me for my saree it was perfect. They had me wear my saree with the sleeve long, which is common for an elegant, regal look. But again, there are so many ways to wrap and wear the saree. Women who work in construction normally wear saree's to work...imagine that.

After all the students packed into a little bus, we were headed to Agra. On our way to see the Taj Mahal...

To view all the photos I took from the time period in this post, please visit my flickr India collection: http://flickr.com/photos/shadowsarah


Ranchero Polenta

Well I am back from my world wind adventure in India. I got back in the middle of the month and am finally back in the groove of things at home. Working my summer, reading, relaxing, and having fun. The minute I got home I got Isa's new cookbook "Vegan Brunch." The colorful colors pulled me in right away, and then you open up, and different from her full-length cookbooks there was tons and tons of pictures! Still all the humor and funny sections, like "Letter to a Young Crepe Maker" and the ever so present dilemma of polenta vs. corn meal. I went through it a few nights ago and pretty much loved every single recipe. The one that really took me was the Polenta Rancheros. After the first day of our garage sale, I decided I'd make it for my family for dinner. The recipe which is extremely simple just calls for the ranchero bean sauce, which is just tomato sauce, serano pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, and coriander, and well of course good 'ol black beans. The polenta is simple as ever to make, and you are set. I had a bit of an issue with my polenta, it just would not set as quickly as we wanted to eat. I think the issue is I didnt have 5 cups of vegetable stock to use, but 3 and used 2 cups of water. So the two cups of water added a bit more liquid to evaporate.

We topped our beans and polenta with guacamole and dug in with tortilla chips and salsa. My entire family (even my picky dad) enjoyed the recipe. It has a great hearty filling, a feel of chili with the nice touch of the creaminess of the polenta. As my mom said: "this is a keeper."

I will have a full update series on my summer abroad in India when I have time. Hope everyone is having great weather and a good time this summer.


Summer in India: Week 1-2

The series of my adventure in India begin.

I spent the first 7 weeks of my summer studying abroad with a program sponsored by the University of North Carolina. The program was something I was drawn to while studying Hinduism and Buddhism. My professor told us about the program and I applied, and er went. It was a teacher-lead experience, two teachers and 1 TA, were with us 11 students the entire 6 weeks of the program. We took both Hindi language and an Indian culture class while we were there. And holy shit did we study. 4 hours a day in class, plus daily readings of around 30-50 pages, plus Hindi homework, quizzes, dictations, exams, and essays. We'd catch up on our work and only fall behind. What was great was our teachers were there with us at the excursions, at dinner, at the parties, so they knew if we had time to work or not. Late papers were not a crime and we had our teachers at full disposal. I am so glad that I went to India with a group and with teachers as it would have been extremely hard to navigate on our own, aside from being highly stressful. I know a few nights my teachers barely slept trying to straighten out bus companies. The culture class also was perfectly tailored to the sites and sounds and experiences we were going to take part in, so we were able to fully appreciate the places that we went knowing the historical and religious perspectives of everything.

Packed with my water filtration system, linen pants galore, 2 dozen Clif Bars, malaria and Delhi Belly medication, and of course my camera, I was ready to get moving. I had an amazing deal with the group having a direct flight out of Chicago. I got to the airport and found my group huddled near a window playing cards and quickly got to greeting and getting to know all the others on the trip. I was lucky enough to be near one of the other students on the plane ride there, only a seat away from Caroline. but I ended up with a really nice Indian student, Harry, studying in America who was going home for the first time since arriving for his master's. I had ordered American Airline's vegan (Indian VGML) meal and confirmed not once, but twice. But of course, they messed up. They had my meal, which turned out to be the American VGML, but none of the sides of the tray were vegan. Had a huge container of YOGURT, cookies with egg and milk in it, BUTTER, and that orange cake that was made with a custardy cheese. I was so pissed. I hadn't thought they'd screw up that badly so I only brought a Nature Valley granola bar and an apple. The attendant was extremely rude, didn't care, and had to be told a few times that I had asked for another bean side dish. Harry didn't even get his meal at first, so that was another fiasco. Other than the food, I was happy with my flight and loved my in-flight personal tv. I watched 'Bride Wars' (waste of time) and a few other movies I cant seem to remember. I slept most of the 15 hour plane ride and was highly ready to see India.

My first impressions of India were at nighttime and scarred by the guard at the door with an fully automatic gun strapped and pointed at people passing through the door. But, when we got on the road we were brought into the chaos of Indian driving, road-side shops, men crowded on the street corners, dogs running in the streets feral, and even got to see an elephant. But after a long day we went to bed and slept. The first week we really didn't go off and venture on our own, we went to class and started learning the Hindi alphabet and simple conversions (Hi, my name is sarah, what is yours? Is your name Raj? I buy mangoes today...)

We did venture off to visit the market on the outskirts of the university that we were staying at. The market placed called Bulta house was at first a scary walk, but we ended up knowing our way around the market like no other. Although we were stared at and sometimes thrown rocks at by little boys, it was a great market full of people and shops. We all bought Indian cloths so that we could have clothes made. It was a necessity as even our linen pants and skirts were not enough in the heat. The market is also where we met our friends at the STD (phone booth stores). The man who owned it had tons of granddaughters and we became good friends with them. Well they loved us and we loved them and we giggled and tried to talk and would sit around taking photos and what not.

But most of the first week we spent only doing the activities that were required with our group. The first activity was going to the Nizamuddin Sufi Shrine. The shrine is part of a Muslim complex called a durgah. It had narrow streets filled with little shops in walls, beggars galore asking you for money, restaurants for all different socio-economic groups with the general Mughal food flare (in other words, meat, meat, meat...) When you get to the end of the narrow passage you are hounded by one of the shoe peddlars to take of you shoes before entering the complex. We caused a stir as we were such a large group. (this video shows the passage to the entrance Then you enter into the complex which is roaring with life. We got there just as nightly prayer was finishing, but we came specifically to see the Qawalli singers. Qawalli is a form of Muslim worship to a specific saint and to allah. The singers normally are all from the same family and come every night to sing. The music, the hymns, and the hand signals are all very important and all have their own message. We sat front row and got to see them preform. It was absolutely beautiful. I found a great video on youtube that shows the singers. Notice, same singers that are in my photo.

The next day we went to a Hindu temple called Kalka-Ji. The temple is dedicated to Durga is one of the busiest temples in Delhi, with thousands coming each night. The temple which was built originally 3000 years ago...yes, 3 zeros, has built the community around it with generations after generation living in small one room homes near the entrance. Many of the owners of the home came out of their house the minute the bells began to ring. We didn't have our cameras at the location as it was to be so pact, but on our night it wasn't too bad when we got there. The sound of the bells was unbelievable, almost deafening, plus there were all kinds of small bells hanging above the temple so that people could put their hands up and walk to make them ring. We all left with offerings from the gods. I received a small banana and some sugar candy. Like Nizamuddin, the pathway to the temple was more shops and very poverish people. It was sad seeing the people bathing in puddles and getting dressed in their parking lot homes, but from our stand point as students, all we could do is be thankful.

The next week we packed up from Delhi for a short pilgrimage to the cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh. Both extremely famously cities for Hindu pilgrims and tourist alike. Both are cities that are in Northern India, about 6hrs Indian road-time north of New Delhi. They sit on the banks of the Ganges river and at the base of the Himalayan Mts. Haridwar is a Hindu pilgrimage site because of a famous battle between the Gods and demons that happened in the air above the area. At the precise place there was a drop of God nectar that was dropped into the water. Making this site holy and a place where pilgrims from all over the world come daily to be apart of the daily aarti services and to bathe in the Ganges. It is not only auspicious to be at this place, but to fully submerge under the water to cleanse your body. Though, the Ganges has a reputation for being some of the dirtiest waters in the world. I do not disagree. I would only put my calves in the water. But being vegan helped me out a bit in the purity counter ;) The water commonly sees flower offerings, flaming banana boat offerings, people's belongings, and strangely enough dead infants and children are not creamted but put in the water. We had an amazing time experiencing the evening aarti and again coming back to watch the sunrise. We also went to a beautiful temple ontop of the mountains looking down at the Ganges. Some memories I will not want to forget here were: being asked to get out of our rickshaw, by our driver, and walk up the hill, 3 of the students fulling submerging in the water, and of course staying at an ashram and having class in a temple.

We took a day trip up 40 mins into the Himalayans to get to the city of Rishikesh. The Ganges as noted also runs through this location, but it is not as auspicious. What is famous here is the fact that the Beatles lived and recoreded their White Album at one of the many ashrams in the city. The place is a collection of serene nature paths with ashrams and meditations sites sitting in the mountains and also a touristy center filled with people and busy temples. You could probably visit 20 temples in less than an hour if you tried to. To get to the main area of the city, you must cross the Ganges river on a massive foot-bridge. The bridge had a few collisions, fights, traffic jams, and animals crossing all in the span of the hour that we were there. I got bumped in the head with a huge A/C unit, but such is life in India. We were torn in going to the left to the nature paths or to the right to the commercial area. But we ended up to the right since we had such a short time to explore. I have to say Rishikesh was probably one of my favorite places along the entire tour. I had so much fun watching the people, the animals, the many sadhus, a monkey stealing a full kilo of lychees from a family, and dazing off into the beautiful sunset across the Ganges. I wish we had more time and the next visit to India I will be spending at least a few days here in one of the many ashrams.

After the small side trip, we came back to Delhi and had a few more days of classes before we headed onto the road for a week homestay and another week of traveling to Agra and Jaipur. Which are all to come.

Because this is a food blog. One of the few meals I took a photo of while in India was at a chain called Nathu's. They had 4-5 different restaurants around New Delhi and were famous for their sweets. Indian sweets are pretty much all milk, milk, milk. But there was one sweet I was able to eat. Anways, the meal that I ordered was Channa Batura. A version or another of channa masala with a fried puffy bread (fully deep fried) called batura and a side of pickled mangoes and red onions. Sadly we were not allowed to eat any fresh ingredients because of water contamination while cleaning and knives and what not. So many things were off-limits. We went back to this chain 2 times, the second time I got a masala dosa. But again, photos at meal times would have been hectic.

To finish off this post here are a few more photos from my journey.

To view all the photos I took from the time period in this post, please visit my flickr India collection: http://flickr.com/photos/shadowsarah