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Creative Eating

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Welcome to the eighteenth issue of Udantya! ____________________________________________

This month on Udantya, we celebrate creativity in food! ____________________________________________ Backstage Pass  The Essence of Udantya  Megaphone  A Word from the Editors Spotlight  Tete-a-Tete - Aparna Vidyasagar & Namita Azad Darkroom   Utopia in a Pod - Aparna Vidyasagar Armchair Critic The Cost of Health Eating - Aparna Vidyasagar Jam Session   Street Food-India Style! - Namita Azad Cameo Grazing in my Garden - Lise Bixler Cameo II One Ingredient, Five Ways - Sruthi Swaminathan

©Namita Azad

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The very essence of artistic expression is that, it is captured in many different ways.

A picture, a word or a tune. Your rebellion, your journey and your destination. Here, we aim to capture it all. Join us or explore with us. Welcome to Udantya. Welcome to our creative space!

Udantya aims to be a collaborative effort. If you have any articles, photos or music you would like to share, please email us at Future themed issues will be announced a month in advance.

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From the Editors

Food. For each of us it means something different. For

The culture of street food in India is caught on camera

some it may be their creative pursuit, and for others it is simply

and the experience is shared in words in our Jam Session this

a means to survive. But whether it is the art of cooking, the

month by Namita.

diversity of cuisines, or the growth of cooking reality shows, food and its creativity surrounds our lives on a daily basis.

Our Cameo section this month introduces a new contributor, Lise Molmud Bixler.

This month on Udantya, we decided to dive into the world of ‘Creative Eats’!

She is a retired early

childhood educator and eccentric artist (found metal sculpture, ceramic figures)! She gardens avidly on an acre in the Santa

This month’s Spotlight features a conversation with Leela Cyd Ross, a Portland-based food photographer and avid blogger. She shares with us her love for photography, food…

Cruz Mountains (Bonny Doon) in California. With Udantya she shares with us her love for the food in her garden and has a very interesting take on what ‘creative eats’ means to her.

and tea!

We also welcome back Sruthi Swaminathan, food

In Darkroom this month, Aparna takes you on a mini food-cart tour of Portland and shows you where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner!

blogger and author of ‘Kitchening Around’, who shares with us the ways in which we can use one ingredient to make five different delicious dishes!

The Armchair Critic makes a critical examination of a recent health food phenomenon – the consumption of quinoa. What is the true impact of our health consciousness?

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We hope you enjoy this tasty issue!


What came first for you, photography or cooking?


I grew up in household with parents who were very active

by Aparna Vidyasagar & Namita Azad

cooks and our family dinners were always bustling with guests,

Leela Cyd Ross exemplifies

conversation and delicious food. For me, cooking and

bringing creativity to realms

photographing went hand in hand as I found food the perfect

of food. On her blog, Tea

subject matter as I embarked on my photography interests. It

Cup Tea, Leela develops

sat still, I didn’t have to pay it, we could eat it when I was done

recipes and pairs each

and was always quite pretty — the perfect model!

resulting treat with a new cup of tea. The recipes are innovative and the teas, unexpected. If you have ever wondered whether you should try that new tea with chocolate and coconut, the answer is yes; and Leela Cyd Ross has a tea-time treat to go along with it! To top it all off is beautiful imagery; photography that evokes more than just the reader’s appetite! One can’t help but notice a certain poetry that infuses all of Leela’s work. We wanted to tap into the creative energy that drives Leela and hear her thoughts on food and creativity.

What draws you to creativity within food (and/or tea)? What does that creativity mean to you? For me creativity is the space wherein I get to simultaneously play and problem solve. It is that tension between full force crazyness and restraint, story telling — it’s a complex place, I guess. It’s always a challenge and a thrill! Going through your work, the viewer gets a sense, not just of the final product but the joy of preparing and consuming it. What a lovely compliment. Thank you. I am a very good eater, so I relish at the thought of all the foods I prepare, feasting with friends is a very happy ending to the process.

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it was peppermint with loads of lemon and sugar. While living What sort of energy do you like to capture when taking photographs?

Do you follow a personal photographing


in the Pacific Northwest and Southern India, tea has punctuated my days and helped me find a little respit — from the business of India with a little cup of chai to the cloudy grey skies of Portland, where a tea is a much-needed pick me up as I work.

I love to evoke a certain mood during my picture taking. Sometimes with lots of shadows to feel a sense of drama, other

I’ve had many different favorite teas throughout the years. . . .

times the food call for a happy, bright space and I attempt to

PG Tips, Assam, Bellocq’s Queen Gaurd, peppermint as a little

create that. In my client-based work I have to adhere to so

girl, any type of chai prepared by a chai walla in India . . . the

many different points of view and I’m just the vessel to make

list goes on.

their idea happen, so for me, my blog and my personal work, I like to go with the feeling of things and have a sense of

Do you experiment with tea yourself? (ie. create your own

discovery — let the food do what it wants to do, or the person


behave a certain way and find the beauty there.

You know I haven't’ thought of that! I must try this soon.

You have a deep and transcendent connection with tea! How did your love for tea begin? Is there a tea that stands out most in your memory? I think my love affair with tea began as a young girl when for special occasions, my mother would bring my friend and I to high tea at the Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara, where I grew

And, being a Portland resident, do you have a secret second love for coffee? Of course! I love coffee as well. The whisky and wines here are also heavenly. I just love delicious beverages, what can I say?! Tea is my go to though.

up. Every birthday we’d dress up and delight in the trays of small treats and peppermint teas. As a kid, I was always planning tea parties for my stuffed animals and little pals. Then

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All of your recipes are vegetarian.

Is that a conscious

And finally, your words tie everything together.


choice? If so, how does that inform the ways in which you

evoke wonderful feelings of faraway lands or rainy

experiment with ingredients and develop recipes?

afternoons in! Tell us a little bit about your creative process

I love vegetarian food and it’s the basis on which all of my

as you put a blog post together.

recipes develop. There are so many spectacular fruits, veggies

I am very spontaneous with my blog! That impulse to make a

and sweets, it’s an endless canvas to experiment on.

little something and experiment with a new tea is such a fun feeling, I try let that feeling carry me into the blogging process.

What type of cuisine inspires you the most?

If I have a spare few hours and am feeling inspired, that’s when

I love upscale California, healthy hippy food! That’s probably what I eat the most of . . . Salads, toasts and grains. I love South Indian cuisine and make a lot of it, especially easy dahls and raitas. I am inspired by many different places, it’s hard to pin one place down. Of course I love little tea snacks which occur in almost every culture!

I’ll work on the blog. Anytime I’ve tried to be regimented with it, I’ve failed. I’ll do a quick recipe search in my bookmarked cookbooks or have seen something online that caught my interest, asses the fridge and pantry, see if it’s possible and go! I’m on the jiffy, making, taking notes, tasting and setting up a scene to photograph. Then I’ll break and snack on my efforts, invite a friend around to see if I can share it (or my husband makes a fantastic taster), get the pictures on the computer and

Do desserts inspire more artistic presentations?

do a light edit. The next day or so I’ll try to pull it all together

I have such a bad sweet tooth, it’s very naughty. When I’m

and post. I don’t overthink, I write as if to a friend and allow

dreaming of star recipes, it’s usually a sweet versus a savory

my mind to wander a bit. The pressing “PUBLISH” button is a

item — and yes, I find them easier to photograph for some

real thrill to me!

reason (most of the time).

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And, real quick now…favorite ‘food and tea’ experience? I loved sharing chai from a thermos on the train from Panjim, Goa up to Mumbai with the family sharing our sleeper car. There were multiple generations, including a curious granny who asked me about Judaism . . . we all laughed a lot, played games and they kept my tiny steel cup full of the spiciest, sweetest tea I’ve had. We were shown such generosity all over India, and this memory is an example of that.

*** You can find more of Leela Cyd Ross’s photography on her website. From May 19-25, 2013, Leela and Bianca Gignac are hosting a photography workshop in Florence, Italy. Click here for more details and the opportunity to receive a travel scholarship. * All photos ©Leela Cyd Ross and used with kind permission. Please do not reproduce. Leela Cyd Ross can be contacted via email at ***

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Utopia in a Pod by Aparna Vidysagar The very first time I visited Portland, OR, I was standing in line at the famous donut shop Voodoo Doughnuts. A lady behind me (also a visitor) looked at all the food carts around us, and in a horrified stage whisper exclaimed, “Look at all those roach coaches! Who would eat there?!”. The Portland food cart scene is far from a murky roach-coach conglomerate. It is a unique gastronomic sub-culture where enterprising culinary creators can start a business with relatively low overhead and establish their base. Prices are reasonable; and if one is in the the mood for a sampling a variety of cuisines, food-cart hopping is the perfect option. All in all, it’s a win-win for the diners and the entrepreneurs.

Porklandia! Portland sure loves food! © Aparna Vidyasagar Needless to say, a visit to Portland would be incomplete without having a meal at a food cart. But which meal and where?

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On a series of sunny spring days, I decided to visit some favorites and also try some new food carts for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here’s the final shortlist!

Breakfast/Brunch PBJs (919 NW 23rd Avenue) – It’s a challenge to take a classic comfort food (the peanut butter sandwich, in case you haven’t yet guessed!), experiment with different flavors and accompaniments, and still retain the essence of what makes it so comforting. PBJs succeeds; and how! PBJs was started by Keena Tallman and Shane Chapman nearly two years ago. Either Keena or Shane is almost always at the food cart, ready to greet customers with a happy hello!

Their energy is infectious and most

importantly, inviting. They have a knack for recognizing faces and always look to learn your name. This is easily one of my favorite food carts. The folks at PBJs specialize in both sweet and savory peanut butter (as well as a few almond and walnut butter) sandwiches. That’s right; savory. For the carnivores there’s the Hot Hood – a combination of black cherry jam, jalapeños and apple-wood smoked bacon on a peanut butter base. Vegetarians will enjoy the Spicy Thai – a sweet and spicy combination of Sriracha sauce, orange marmalade and curry powder. And if the flavors and the ingredients of some of the meat sandwiches catch your eye, just talk to the PBJs folks; they will put together a vegetarian sandwich just for you. You can trust their flavor mashing instincts!

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Amongst the stand-out sweet sandwiches is The Joy – an elegant version of the Almond Joy candy bar; a delectable combination of almond butter, dark chocolate and coconut filling. The Cynthia, a combination of raspberry jam, nutella and peanut butter, envelopes you in the warm, gooey comfort of a well made peanut butter sandwich. All the PBJs ingredients are locally sourced. Most sandwiches are made on Challah bread baked by Portland’s Gabriel’s Bakery. The fare is, and can be made vegan and vegetarian friendly Although they are my breakfast/brunch pick, the variety of the flavors makes PBJs perfect for any meal. PBJs is open 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday.

Lunch The Dump Truck (SW 11th Avenue and Alder Street) - With its bright ‘construction yellow’ exterior and quirky name, The Dump Truck is hard to miss. It got me curious and it certainly helps that I am a bit of a sucker for puns; The Dump Truck specializes in dumplings. This was my first visit to The Dump Truck and I went there right at peak lunch time. There was quite a crowd milling around, but they were fairly quick to get to orders and serve them up as well. A nice pace for the busy office crowd, or a tourist looking to make a quick food pit stop. There are four main items at The Dump Truck which are a nice well-balanced mix of vegan and non-vegetarian options. In addition, they have seasonal dessert offerings. I tried the Potato-Curry dumplings, served with a vegan sweet-coconut yogurt sauce. The dumplings were served up steaming and moist. The potatoes were perfectly cooked and the curry, light and flavorful. The coconut-yogurt sauce was a bit cloying for my tastes,

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especially since the curry was not overly spicy, and did not really need a sweet counter-balance. However, The Dump Truck has a unique collection of sauce concoctions, and diners are free to sample as many as they like. For me, their ‘secret sauce’ hit the spot.

All in all, I would go back again. I would love to explore their menu further, especially to try their dessert fare. I need to catch those Apple Pie dumplings before seasons change!

The Dump Truck is open 11am-4pm Monday through Friday.

Dinner Chez Dodo (3441 NW Vancouver Avenue) – Chez Dodo is a diamond in a (slightly) rough and tumble neighbourhood. Serving up the cuisine of the island-country of Mauritius since December 2012, this food cart is a one man show, run by chef Shyam D. Historically Mauritius is home to a diverse ethnic population; Indian, Chinese, European and African.

Each of the native flavors makes its way into Mauritian cuisine, creating something

simultaneously novel and yet reassuringly familiar. The menu features a variety of meat and vegan options as well gluten free fare. The format is rather simple. You choose a base of a vegetarian entree or meat (chicken or lamb) cooked in a sauce of your choice (curry or tomato based, with varying spice levels). This is accompanied by Mauritian flat-bread called Dholl Puri, in the style of an Indian roti (made with yellow split pea) or noodles (pan-fried or rice noodles). I sampled two vegetarian dishes. The Portobello Burry (crispy lentil coated portobello mushrooms tossed with veggies) with the Dholl Puri, pickled vegetables and a cilantro-based chutney, as well

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as pan-fried noodles with bean curry and a spicy curry sauce. Both dishes were delicious; chock-full of flavor, fresh and unique. I know I will be craving the Portobello Burry rather often.

Hot turmeric and smoky cumin tryst with my tastebuds, awakening

memories of India, and yet it is nothing like anything I have had before.

(L) Dholl Puri with Portobello Burry, pickled vegetables and cilantro chutney. (Top R) Pan-fried Noodles with Assorted Bean Curry. (Bottom R) Tamarind Lemonade. © Aparna Vidyasagar (LI) Each dish is made to order, with Chef Shyam chatting with you as he cooks away. Once in a while he will pop his head out the window to give you a status update and see how you are doing. The kind of hospitality at Chez Dodo is the warm, ‘do stay for dinner’ kind; and I’m sold! You want to linger, relax and savor your food!

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Chez Dodo is open late on weekdays, 11am-11pm, Monday to Friday and 11am-9pm on Saturday. The Portobello Burry and Assorted Bean Curry can be found at local Portland Whole Foods stores. Also, if you are looking for an effective hangover cure, Chef Shyam recommends his Tamarind-Lemonade!

Other Favorites Carte Blanche (SE 32nd Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard) – Their food is unconventional and unexpected but never fails to please. Most flavors are a marriage of the East and West; Thai and Southern barbeque; Mexican and Japanese. But to dissect their style is doing them a grave disservice. My recommendation is to just dig in and enjoy! Each bite is a flavor explosion! The serve meat and vegetarian/vegan bowls, sandwiches, and sides such as zucchini fries; all made with fresh, organic ingredients. Carte Blanche is presently closed but the ladies who run it are hoping to reopen this season with a brand new kitchen. Do help them by contributing to their Kickstarter campaign. Further information and past menus can be found on their website –

http:// Scoop (4926 SE Division Street) – Artisan handmade ice-cream is all the rage in Portland, with many different (excellent) vendors offering a wide selection of unique flavor combinations. For me, Scoop stands out with their fudge. It’s a perfect balance of dark chocolate bitterness and sugary sweet.

Plus, when it’s all warmed up it’s just the right treacly consistency.

Madagascar Vanilla, with its bold and refreshing vanilla flavor to create a superb version of a timeless classic! Scoop is open Thursday through Sunday. Their hours are Thursday-Saturday 12-8pm and Sunday 1-8pm.

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Pair it with their


The Cost of Healthy Living by Aparna Vidyasagar

In our constant endeavor to lead healthy lives, we modulate our diets, putting together a medley of foods to create a well-balanced meal. However the dietary lexicon of today is riddled with preferences and complications, restricting the options for a comprehensive diet for some. There’s vegetarianism, veganism, gluten and lactose intolerance. However, during the past few years in North America, one particular food has risen to prominence, promising a healthful, universal solution. Quinoa; the superfood. Superfood is a tough label to live up to, but this South American import is indeed rather invincible. Quinoa is extremely nutritious. It is rich in a variety of amino acids; it is a great source of fiber and calcium; and it provides minerals such as iron and magnesium. As an ingredient, to a chef’s delight, it is very versatile. It can function as a grain to be consumed at breakfasttime just like oatmeal or cream of wheat; it can take the place of rice; or it can add a bit of nutty flavor and texture to virtually any salad or stir fry. To the seasoned pessimist, quinoa may seem too good to be true. So is there a downside? Quinoa is grown primarily in Bolivia and Peru, high in the dry mountains; conditions too difficult to sustain much else. For centuries it has been the staple food in these parts with its consumers oblivious to its allure for the world outside. For the local farmers, the new demand for quinoa has opened a path to prosperity. Statistics show that the price of quinoa in the United States has nearly tripled, if not more, in the past five years or so. Moreover, most quinoa is bought directly from the farmers, ensuring that

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growers themselves reap the entirety of the financial benefits. Thus, on the face of it, purchasing quinoa in our local grocery stores appears to be socially responsible and fair-trade. The unfortunate side-effect is that local South American quinoa consumption has dropped, because it is no longer affordable. Statistics from Bolivia suggest that the rate of quinoa consumption has dropped nearly 34% between 2006 and 2011. In these regions where not much else is available, the implications for public health and malnutrition are rather severe. Moreover the lucrative nature of quinoa farming has led to increased migration into the mountains and excessive land-use for farming, particularly in Bolivia. Increased land-use disrupts the ecosystem. There is insufficient grazing land for the llamas; diminished soil quality and soil erosion also occurs. It is unlikely that the popularity of quinoa will die down. As a testament to this notion, the United Nations has declared 2013 the ‘Year of Quinoa’. So then, where does the solution lie? Local governments are already taking charge. As of 2011, the Bolivian president Evo Morales promised a loan facility of ten million dollars for farmers to grow quinoa for domestic consumption. And here in the United States, farmers and scientists are beginning to work together to produce quinoa. The challenge is to find the optimal growth conditions for the seeds and to isolate the plants that seem to thrive best in the mountainous conditions of North America. In addition processing quinoa so that it is safe and suitable for consumption is also complicated. The road to self-sufficiency is a long but promising one. If success is achieved, then the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and the North American Rocky Mountains have the potential to be suitable growing grounds. For now, the decision to purchase and consume quinoa proves to be tricky. The true cost is much greater than what we see printed on a sticker. Food for thought indeed. References and Further Reading 1. ‘The food fad that’s starving Bolivia’. The Independent, March 22, 2011. 2. ‘Quinoa: The Dark Side of an Andean Superfood’. TIME, April 12, 2012. 3. ‘Quinoa Craze Inspires North America To Start Growing Its Own’. NPR, November 29, 2012.

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Street Food - India Style! by Namita Azad I was extremely excited for my last trip to India, for the simple reason of having the opportunity to capture the country on camera.

The colors, diversity and rich culture of India are the most sought after images for many photographers.

For me

unfortunately, this dream was short lived as I lost my camera two weeks into my trip. I felt almost handicapped each time I came across a ideal frame. Desperate to click, I found myself holding my iPhone camera out, whenever I came across that perfect image; almost like a reflex action. And most often these images were of the bustling street food culture in each city that I visited. There was something to offer for every palate. Come sunset and the streets are filled with savory snacks; cooked for the crowds gathering after work, while they catch up with family and friends over a quick bite. Seen below are two commonly found dishes, Aloo Tikki, a shallow fried potatoe patti (Left) and Papdi Chaat, different savories mixed in together with yogurt, mint and tamrid chutney (Right).

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I was fortunate to catch India during a number of festivals, the biggest being Diwali. It is commonly known as the festival of lights, however I also learned that Diwali is also the festival of innumerable sweet delicacies. Anywhere you walk, the streets are lined with different varieties of sweets catering to everyone’s sweet tooth. Seen below is the traditional Ladoo (Left), Black and White Jamuns and a series of different milk based sweets (Center), and Imarti, a type of Jalebi (Right).

Fresh fruit juice is another fun facet of the street food culture of India. Whether it is during a casual stroll, a quick welcome drink for guests visiting your home, or a post exercise refreshment, fresh fruit juice is the one stop answer for every local. It also became to be my favorite place to stop for quick rejuvenation on a hot day! Bellow are the common fruits used for the juices – Lime (Left), Mandarins and Pomegranate (Center) and Oranges (Right).

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And then there were the simple indulgences of a quick cup of coffee with an omelette sandwich, commonly referred to as ‘bread omelette’. I noticed that this combination was most popular amongst two groups – the local rikshaw drivers for whom it was a quick meal between fares and for college students who were rushing from one lecture to another. It was always my favorite breakfast combo!

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For anyone looking for the complete Indian meal, there’s a street vendor for that too! The typical Indian thali (plate) is adorned with a variety of different dishes, each tickling a different taste bud. Accompanying the different dishes is typically a glass of lassi, a salty or sweet yogurt based drink, and naan or roti, traditional Indian bread.

The street food culture in India is enjoyed for its earthiness and simplicity. It is the one place that people from all walks of lives come together and enjoy the different tastes. I am glad to have experienced it without a high-end camera around my neck but with a simple phone camera that I usually pulled out only after enjoying the food. *All pictures are copyright to Namita Azad.

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Grazing in the Garden by Lise Bixler My garden, where both my joy and creativity flourish, is not an orderly place. If you want to find carrots planted in rows, or fruit free from snail or bird nibbles, this is not the place for you. If you are okay with garlic growing with the roses, and scarlet chard growing in glorious competition with the yellow oxalis, come visit. I’m a lousy harvester. Too often I find the blueberries dried to raisins before I remember I planted them; I cannot keep up with the glut of tomatoes in the summer, when more get eaten by wildlife than make it into the kitchen for sauce or salad. But I’m an excellent grazer. My foodie friends graze their way through restaurant menus, ordering a variety of appetizers rather than entrees to taste and explore . I do much the same thing in my garden. I love to munch my way down a wild strawberry path in the garden, eating kale and fennel, until I get to the snow peas, which I gingerly pick and crunch on happily. Sometimes instead of picking them with my fingers I bite them off the vine with my teeth. I move on to the bok choi, which is bolting into flowering stalks. I used to break off the stalks and eat them, but lately I’ve been pretending I’m a deer, bending downward and nibbling them. Eating with your eyes on the dirt, the fragrance of the soil seasons the food. It is different eating in a downward posture rather than facing your food. Yes, the bok choi and the snow peas would make an excellent stir fry if they made it into the kitchen, but all I have to do is munch a garlic scape and I’ve created a raw stir al fresco instead.

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Some things are better handpicked for grazing, like leaves of the chocolate mint. If I rub them first, the scent will linger on my fingers long after I’ve chewed and swallowed the mint. The fruit of the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus undedo) requires a reach upward and a gentle squeeze to see if it is soft enough to eat. If not, the sensory experience of its uniquely rough texture is enough. I could eat the daylily and rose petals, but I don’t. They are better feasted by my eyes. My garden is full of art and creativity, as is its wild, untamed aspects. I wander, I discover, I graze, until creativity and satiety unite. *** Lise Bixler writes a unique monthly newsletter for The Gardeners’ Club of Santa Cruz County. Archives of the newsletter can be found at

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One Ingredient, Five Ways by Sruthi Swaminathan When your refrigerator is down to one or two fresh ingredients, it’s easy to reach for the take-out menu to avoid the rut of preparing the same items, in the same way, over and over again. Cooking is tricky. While you may assume that it’s faster, easier, and less boring to order take-out, the truth is that you can whip up several dishes using one central ingredient. It’s often much simpler to create a new, mouth-watering recipe using the ‘usual suspects’ of ingredients. This way, you maximize what you have on hand and can treat yourself to a delicious, varied, creative meal; which is much more satisfying than unimpressive Orange Chicken and cardboard-consistency Crab Rangoon! For this edition of ‘One Ingredient, 5 ways’, I decided to feature eggplants. Eggplants are one of my favorite vegetables, but this wasn’t always the case. When I was younger, I hated the gooey consistency of eggplant and washed it down with water. Later, I discovered that eggplants didn’t always have to be gooey, and could be prepared in several different ways. When I started ‘Kitchening Around’, I found myself reading a lot of recipe books and other food blogs for inspiration on how to flavor, prepare, and utilize seemingly common ingredients in interesting ways. So, using one main vegetable (eggplants) and a colorful supporting cast, I came up with these five recipes. *** My cooking style often has no rhyme or reason and I cook based primarily by taste (not by following directions or with careful measurements). However, I do have some standards; well, one main standard. I avoid buying ingredients specifically for one or two recipes. For example, I’m not going to head to the grocery store to buy smoked paprika because Bobby Flay’s recipe demands it. Paprika is not versatile enough in my kitchen – I don’t use it often and I’m not in love it with, so I don’t miss it. – so Bobby Flay, your tacos sans paprika are simply going to have to do. So, if you’re going through these recipes and don’t have a couple of the ingredients

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on hand, think about whether these ingredients will do some heavy duty work in your kitchen. If not, substitute them with something else or leave them out. You can build a complex flavor profile in a number of ways, so feel free to experiment with with unique combinations of marinades, breads, cheeses, meats, and veggies. Most importantly, let your taste buds be your guide and don’t worry about mimicking these recipes to a tee! BABA GHANOUJ Ingredients: 1/2 large eggplant (any type – American, Indian, or Chinese), cubed 3 whole cloves garlic Salt Pepper Olive oil (to toss eggplant and garlic) 5-6 tbsp Tahini (a ground sesame seed paste. You can find this in the international aisle at your local grocery store. Or, if you’d like to make your own, see this recipe) 1 small red onion, diced 2-3 tbsp chopped cilantro 1 tbsp lemon juice Extra virgin olive oil (use a good tasting, salad dressing quality, fruity one) Red pepper flakes Pita bread

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Preparation: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. I used my conveniently sized toaster oven, so it didn’t take as long to heat up. Place cut eggplant pieces and garlic on a foil-lined baking tray and toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Roast for 20-30 minutes. Add cooked eggplant and garlic to a food processor and add tahini, onion, cilantro, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. Pulse together until a nice paste forms. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with red pepper flakes. Serve with pita or a crusty bread. EGGPLANT PARMESAN Ingredients: 1 large eggplant, sliced Olive oil Salt Pepper 1 egg, beaten Bread crumbs 1 cup tomato basil marinara sauce Shredded mozzarella cheese Shredded parmesan cheese 1 tsp dried basil leaves 2-3 fresh basil leaves

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Preparation: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season eggplant slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Brush egg wash on eggplant slices and coat both sides in bread crumbs. Bake for 8-10 minutes per side. Pour marinara sauce into a baking dish. Place eggplant slices in sauce, and layer each slice with mozzarella, parmesan, and dried basil. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese is fully melted. Spoon some of the marinara from the baking dish onto a serving plate. Stack eggplant slices on sauce bed – largest on the bottom and smallest on top. Garnish with fresh basil. FLATBREAD WRAPS WITH ROASTED POTATO AND EGGPLANT Ingredients: 4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced Salt Pepper 1 tbsp red pepper flakes 1 tbsp dried parsley 1/4 tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp red chili powder Olive oil 1/2 large eggplant, diced 3 large garlic cloves, sliced 1/4 cup marinara sauce 2 slices “Flatout” flatbread from Costco (just discovered this last weekend at Costco, so good) 2 tbsp diced onion 1 tbsp diced jalapeno

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3 tbsp chopped cilantro Juice of 1/2 a lime Preparation: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place potato pieces on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, parsley, turmeric, and red chili powder. Drizzle with olive oil. Pop it in the oven and about 10-15 minutes later, season the eggplant and garlic the same way in a separate tray and put that in the oven. The eggplant and garlic don’t take as long to roast as the potatoes, and you don’t want to burn them. When veggies are done (about 35 minutes for the potatoes and 20-25 minutes for the eggplant), assemble the wraps. Spread a little heated marinara sauce on the flatbread and place the potatoes and eggplant/garlic mixture in the center. Add chopped onion, jalapeño cilantro, and lime juice to a non-reactive bowl and mix well. Add this garnish on top of the veggies and roll up the wrap. EGGPLANT PIZZA Ingredients: Olive oil Salt Pepper 1/2 large eggplant, cut into 6 1/2 inch slices 6 tsp Trader Joe’s Curry Simmer Sauce Goat cheese Gouda cheese 3 tsp cilantro Preperation: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add oil, salt, and pepper to a small bowl and brush this mixture onto both sides of the eggplant slices. Line a baking tray with foil and arrange eggplant slices on the tray. Bake for

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15-20 minutes or until eggplant slices are cooked all the way through. Remove eggplant from the oven and turn off the heat. Spread a little curry simmer sauce on one side of the eggplant and top with goat and gouda cheese. Return to the oven for 2 minutes until the cheese melts. Finally, add the cilantro and serve immediately.

VEGETABLE STUFFED EGGPLANT Ingredients: 1 large eggplant, halved Salt Pepper Olive oil 1/2 zucchini, diced 1 medium green bell pepper, diced 1 jalapeĂąo, minced 2 celery stalks, diced 1/2 large yellow onion, diced 2 large garlic cloves, sliced 1/4 tsp coriander powder 1 tsp dried basil 1/2 cup chopped cilantro 1/4 cup fontina cheese 1 tbsp crumbled gorgonzola cheese Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice eggplant in half, season with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and place in oven for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, chop and prepare the veggies. Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook all veggies with the coriander powder dried basil.

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Season with a little salt, remove from heat, and stir in cilantro. Combine veggies with fontina and gorgonzola cheeses. Remove eggplant from oven, scoop out the flesh, and add to the veggies/cheese mix. Then, fill the eggplant skins with the veggies and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes until the cheese just melts. *** Check out more exciting recipes by Sruthi on her blog, Kitchening Around! Please note *All images are Š Sruthi Swaminathan.

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FAQ We’ve had a few questions over the past few months, so we thought it would be a good idea to chart out our very own FAQ page. Do you have specific requirements to submit to Udantya? Absolutely not! We love it all; the quirky, the unexpected and the conventional. Share your ideas with us. We want to highlight creativity and artistic expression in all forms. Since we are a web-magazine, we have not yet felt the need to set any page limits or length restrictions. If that changes, we will let you know! How much time do I get to submit a piece? We usually announce the following month’s theme when we release an issue. Our rough editing scheme is as follows. (When you email us to contribute to a particular issue, you will get a set dates for that month). -We usually ask for a short summary of your idea for the intended piece by the end of the first week of the month. -The first draft follows roughly a week to ten days later. You can submit a first draft even if you didn’t tell us your overall summary. Partial drafts are also accepted, so that we get an idea of the direction of your piece. -We like to work closely with you and reserve a week thereafter to finalize a draft. Our goal is to facilitate your vision for your piece and we view this portion of the process as a team effort. Can I send you stuff even if it doesn’t fit a theme? Yes, of course! We will try to find a place for it. You may even give us ideas for more themes! Might I make a suggestion? Yes! Questions, comments, suggestions and ideas are all welcome. Just email us at

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Udantya Issue # 18  

Udantya's eighteenth issue is about creative eating!

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