Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dance & Food - What Else Is There?

Although not exactly a "secret," I think Mamasita is one of the most incredible and underplayed spots in the Washington region. With bellydancing as the core of the studio's offerings, it has all kinds of physical arts from the African diaspora - everything from Afro-Cuban Orisha dancing to Samba. (The photo above is of a painting in the sitting area at Mamasita.)

While the instructors' knowledge is staggering, it's really all about the atmosphere they create. In bellydancing, it's never just about shaking the booty and making sure the hands are at a certain angle - the power of the dance as a healing and blessing to the world and the people around us is the foundation of the experience. Consequently, joy and love radiate from the very walls of that place, and every time I leave there, I feel settled more deeply into myself - yet not that small self wrapped up in the bullshit...more the transcendent self who knows that love, peace and ecstasy is what it's all about. Mamasita is a temple to all that's good in the human experience, and I'm so grateful to dance there.

This past weekend also saw some yummy treats in the kitchen. I cooked up some green peppers, onions and zucchini, folded it into some corn tortillas and topped it with a homemade salsa made of tomatillos, garlic, chili peppers and pumpkin seeds. I also sprinkled a mixture of corn, black beans and tomatoes over it and baked the whole thing. Really good stuff.

After that came another fig-walnut tart in a walnut crust. (Has anyone done a study to see if heroin is actually derived from figs? I suspect that smack and the fruit are somehow related.) Grandmother Bear helped with this one, as always. For more info on why this makes sense, go here.

The first photo is of the crust, which is blind baked in a deep-sided, fluted tart pan. The second is of the finished product, with the roasted figs inside - this time I added cardamom to the honey lemon glaze.

Below is an image of the lovely Lady Lakshmi taken at Mamasita. One of Her roles in India and throughout the world is as a provider of abundance. May She always grace our lives with an abundance of love and deep joy! (Oh, yes, and figs - let's not forget the figs.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer's Bounty

For the next few posts, I imagine I'll be writing a lot about food. My CSA is really ramping up with all sorts of exciting goodies, so cooking time is what my free moments are all about.

This week, I created a peach and blueberry tart with a polenta crust. The peaches were sliced, drizzled with honey and then sprinkled with lavender blossoms. Such goodness.

Also, this week, at the suggestion of a good friend, I made a beet risotto, adding onion, goat cheese, and lemon zest to round out the flavors. Just divine.

Eat seasonally, locally, and organic, if possible.

Most importantly, cook and eat with love, because that's what it's really all about.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Full Embodiment

Last weekend I had an incredible time at Kripalu, attending one of Shiva Rea's teaching modules, Mandala of Asanas. I love this style of yoga's focus on embodiment - fully coming to explore our physical form as an expression of the radiance we carry deep within us. When that power comes to the surface and we consciously infuse our every cell with expressions of love and divinity, then our entire being becomes an integrated resonating instrument of Mystery. So incredible!

Above is a photo of the very large Shiva Nataraj statue that's in the main hall where we practiced. At the end of the post is a photo of the labyrinth entrance on the grounds of Kripalu - far above is a waning moon still visible in the early morning hours. The labyrinth's "walls" were made of wild flowers, stones and sculpted juniper. It was a beautiful and powerful place to walk in the morning and sing the Gayatri Mantra as the sun shone through the trees. Maha gratitude to all beings who helped to get me there and guided me through the practices - humans (living and not), Fae, Mysterious Ones, Animal peeps, etc.

I'm shortly (as in about 10 minutes) leaving to help co-lead a retreat at Seven Oaks Pathwork center in Virignia.

More on that to come...and remember, our bodies are the spell.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Sunday Feast

Although I've been a bit busy of late and will soon be heading off to Kripalu for a weekend training with the amazing Shiva Rea, I still have time to cook a yummy dinner (well, that and the fact that the food from the CSA keeps coming regardless of my obligations).

Vegetarians beware: gruesome, demented meat-eating details ahead.

The main dish was chicken, rubbed with cumin, salt and pepper, and then roasted alongside peaches and leeks that were tossed with a bit of brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. It's one of our favorite dishes, and since I didn't get to make it last year, this season it was especially delicious.

The side dish was wilted collard and beet greens sauteed with garlic and onion and then served over polenta. This could totally work as a main course dish, and I'll definitely be enjoying it for lunch during the week ahead.

All of this was pretty fab, and then, I went insane and made two desserts. (So, what?! This is America, god damn it! Go big or stay home!)

One was for Philip - a blueberry cake (seen in the final photo of the post), which he loved. I'd tell you how much of it he ate, but I want to live through the night.

The other dessert was all mine. A walnut crust was baked in a deep, fluted tart pan, and then inside were roasted figs, topped with a honey-lemon glaze and more walnuts. Let's just say my waist is now a distant memory. If the Tantrikas are right in that Samsara equals Nirvana, then I plan to reach compassionate radiance by gorging myself on fig desserts.

I hope everyone's Sunday was full of such gustatory delights!