Sunday, May 30, 2010

My 10 Days of Amazing Eating

(Scroll to bottom to see me experiment with some of the dishes featured on this menu).

The image above is what came up when I googled "Delicious Vegan Food". Meh. It's got nothing on what I ate at Yasodhara Ashram for my ten day yoga retreat. Alas, I did not bring a camera, so I hope the words below will ignite your imagination as well as your tastebuds.

I recorded what we ate every single day and I think became known as "that girl that lingers over the food with her notebook". But I wouldn't know for sure as we at all meals in silence, so that saved me from any cafeteria-style snickering from my fellow yogis (who were, of course, kind and gentle folk who would never do such a thing). Below is the gorgeous dining hall, by the way.

Anyway, what follows is simply my offering toward this amazing food experience. It may be somewhat frustrating for you readers as I have no access to any actual recipes. I hope hope hope they will produce a cookbook someday. Vancouverites can catch a sampling of the deliciousness at Radha Yoga and Eatery. Enjoy imagining the tastes...I know I will read and re-read this menu like a compelling novel.

Ten Day Retreat at Yasodhara Ashram (
May 7-16, 2010

*Nearly all ingredients organic
*Ingredients are not in order or quantity, I just copied them as written on the meal cards
*Vegan alternatives were always available where dairy and eggs are indicated

*All meals eaten in silence and with gratefulness

· Hot oats
· Hot millet
· Homemade granola
· Canned ashram applesauce
· Fresh yogurt
· Multigrain bakery bread
· Butter, Earth Balance
· Ashram Jams--cherry, berries, peach, (not labled, always delicious)
· Ground Flax
· Sunflower seeds
· Raisins (optional, of course!)
· Variety of teas and coffee (I would always settle in with a pot of steaming orange pekoe and milk)

Day 1

· Shitake Mushrooms with Ginger Green Tea Topping—Olive Oil, Green Tea, Lemon Juice and Zest, Garlinc, Ginger, Chives, Brags Soy Sauce
· Spicy Ginger SoySauce (ingredients not recorded)
· Onigiri (Sushi Balls) (ingredients not recorded)
· Sorrel and Potato Soup (ingredients not recorded)
· Miso Soup (with orange zest)
· Cucumber Salad with Ashram Greens and dill
· Red Cabbage, Apple and Wakame Slaw—with Dijon, rice vinegar, olive oil, ginger, miso

· Pesto Pasta (with and without chicken): kamut penne, olive oil, basil, parsley, salt, lemon juice, sunflower seeds, leeks, shitake mushrooms, asparagus
· Ashram Greens
· Spelt Bread Stix—spelt, water, olive oil, molasses, yeast, sea salt

Day 2

· Sunflower Hemp Seed Pate’—Hemp Seeds, Lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar, Miso, Tamari, Ginger, Dates, Paprika, Dill, Cumin, Curry, Celery, Carrot, Cilantro, Turmeric
· Artichoke Dip—Artichoke, sunchokes, garlic, parsley, olive oil, dill, lemon, salt
· Spelt Crackers—spelt, oil, flax, egg, salt
· Nutritional Yeast Dressing—nutritional flake yeast, tamari, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic
· Other stuff: home made sauerkraut, dried kale)

· Barley-stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Almonds, Currents and Feta—onion, tomato, basil, oregano
· Cauliflower and greens
· Dark chocolate pudding with raspberries—butter, cinnamon, sugar, cocoa, arrowroot, milk, vanilla

Day 3

· Asparagus Soup—onion, asparagus, lemon, salt, celery
· Curried Vegetable Soup—cauliflower, kale, onion, quinoa, salt
· Veggie Wraps:
*Tofu cubes, nutritional yeast, salt
*Hummous—sesame, chickpea, lemon, salt, olive oil, sunflower oil
*Roasted Eggplant—cumin, lemon, salt
*Pumpkin Seed Spread—pumpkin seeds, garlic, olive oil, tamari, silken firm tofu, dill, paprika
*shredded carrot
*home-made pickles
*red cabbage, apple, wakame slaw

· Spinach Salad with fennel and cranberries
· Veggie ranch dressing: olive oil, garlic, tofu, a.c. vinegar, honey, oregano, basil, dill, scallions, pepper, salt
· Poppyseed dressing: a.c. vinegar, onion, honey, Dijon, salt, poppyseeds, olive oil

· Quiche—mushrooms, green onions, asparagus, spinach, egg, milk, wheat, butter, salt, shortening, parmesan
· Nicoise Salad—potato, asparagus, red pepper, tomato, red wine vinegar, olive oil, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, olives, (mayo on the side)

Day 4

· Spring Rain Soup—shitake mushrooms, komfu, peppercorns, fennel seeds, cloves, bay leaves, ginger, rice noodles, sesame oil, rice vinegar, carrots, green onions, tamari, sea salt
· Fresh baked bagels—whole wheat and white flour, honey, yeast, salt, sesame seeds
· Lebna—yogurt, chives, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt
· …and many delicious leftovers

· Rockfish Risotto—rice, rockfish, asparagus, onion, thyme, butter, asiago cheese, sea salt
· Beet Salad—Golden and Ruby Beets, Champagne vinegar, olive oil, mint
· Ashram Greens
· Spiced Sunflower and pumpkin seeds—tamari, sugar, garam masala, ground ginger
· Dill and mustard dressing—dill, Dijon, red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt

Day 5

· Vegetable Soup—carrot, parsnip, celeriac, onion, kale, parsley, potato, oregano, Braggs, green beans, leek
· Apple Hemp Muffins—whole wheat flour, oats, hemp hearts, b.powder, b.soda, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, apple sauce, brown sugar, milk, vanilla extract, vegetable oil
· Pasta Salad with Portobello and Almonds—damut pasta, Portobello mushrooms, almonds, chives, parsley, leeks, olive oil, canola oil, salt, balsamic
· Other leftovers (quiche, beets, spinach!)

o Corn (hard shell) and soft wheat tortillas
o Ground Tofu—firm tofu, cumin, onion, coriander, chili powder
o Rice—oregano, onions, carrots, celery
o Guacamole—sautéed red onion, sautéed garlic, avocado, lime, coriander, cumin, tomatoes, salt
o Asiago Cheese
o Sour Cream
o Red Pepper, Fennel and Zucchini Slaw—with red onion, lime juice, olive oil, salt, cilantro
o Greens

Day 6

· Butternut Squash Bisque—Squash, onion, vegetable stock, salt, turmeric
· Rosemary Pumpkin/Sunflower Seed Crisps (Spelt or Rye)—salt, soymilk with lemon, brown sugar, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, flax seed, rosemary, b.soda
· Salmon Salad—salmon, mayo, fennel, cucumber, lime,salt
· Spring Spread—Tofu, olive oil, garlic, apple cider vinegar, balsamic venegar, honey, oregano, basil, dill, paprika, onion, scallions, pepper, salt, kale, lime, chives, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
· Roasted potato salad with chili vinaigrette—potatoes, olive oil, sautéed garlic, Dijon, cilantro, thyme, turmeric, sea salt, capers, rice vinegar, chili powder

· Zucchini Feta Casserole—kamut bulgur, onions, garlic, zucchini, oregano, basil, marjoram, salt, eggs, feta, cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt, tamari, tomato paste (in the bulgur)
· Medley of carrots, bok choy, asparagus
· Ashram-grown fruit mash

Day 7

· Broccoli Spinach Soup—broccoli, onion, veggie stock, spinach, lemon juice, salt
· Veggie Burgers—millet, almonds, walnuts, oil, mushroom, spinach/kale, onion, celery, sage, thyme, dill, salt, tamari, nutritional yeast, flax
· Sunflower seed buns—yeast, water, sugar, salt, whole wheat and white flour, sunflower seeds
· Accoutrements: roasted garlic mayo, Ashram pickles (small, chopped and large, whole)
· Ashram grown greens with pear and toasted seeds
· Lemon Herb Viniagrette—lemon zest and juice, thyme, oregano, mint, sorrel, olive oil, sunflower oil, red wine vinegar

· Quinoa bowls—
o Red quinoa
o Steamed kale
o Honey-tamari tofu—medium-firm tofu, honey, tamari, garlic, ginger, oil
o Grated Daikon Radish
o Spicy Ginger-Garlic Sauce
o Cilantro Aioli—almonds, lemon zest/juice, cilantro, parsley, ginger, honey, olive oil, salt, cumin

Day 8

· French Onion Soup—onions, garlic, veggie stock, thyme, dried mustard, salt, canola oil
· Crostini—rye flour, white flour, water, salt, sugar, olive oil, yeast
· Tomato Bruschetta—tomatoes, roasted garlic, parsley, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, basil, sea salt
· Roasted Mushroom and Artichoke Bruschetta with fresh thyme—portobello mushrooms, crimini mushrooms, fresh thyme, lemon juice, sea salt, artichoke hearts, spinach, olive oil
· Quinoa Salad—quinoa, red and green peppers, celery, cucumber, lemon juice, sunflower oil, salt
· Ashram Greens

· Salmon Rotini—Kamut rotini, salmon, asparagus, zucchini, lemon, olive oil, salt, fennel
· Broccoli Salad—broccoli, carrots, leeks, garlic, sunflower oil, shite wine vinegar, salt, sunflower seeds
· Apple-rhubarb crumble—fruit, whole wheat flour, rolled oats, sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt

Day 9

· Carrot Ginger Soup—onion, ginger, carrot, veggie stock, turmeric, salt, apple, nutritional yeast
· Boiled Eggs
· Voracious Vegan Pate’—onion, mushroom, garlic, olive oil, sunflower seeds, spelt flour, nutritional yeast, basil, salt, thyme, sage, kelp powder, tamari, potatoes
· Sunflower Aioli—salt, sunflowers (sic), lemon juice, roasted garlic, water, olive oil
· Ryvita Crackers
· Other leftovers
· Ashram Greens
· Citrus Vinaigrette—water, lemon, sugar, OJ, rice vinegar, tamari, garlic, tarragon, ginger

On the beach! (no ingredients cards)
This was the only meal not eaten in silence, but was social.
It was steamed veggies and curry.

Day 10

· Leftovers
· Vegan Caesar Salad—sautéed garlic, tahini, miso, lemon, tamari, olive oil, water, capers, romaine lettuce

(The Last) SUPPER
· Pureed Yam with Cashew Butter—yam, cashew, rice milk, earth balance, sage, salt
· Roasted Sugar Cane Lime Tofu—tofu (medium firm), sugar cane syrup, tamari, garlic, thyme, pepper (black), lime, brown sugar
· Asian Slaw—rice vinegar, honey, salt, lime, tamari, sunflower oil, carrot, daikon, radish, green onion, sesame seeds (black and white)
· Ashram Greens
· Sesame Orange Vinaigrette—OJ and rind, ginger, olive oil, sesame oil, thyme, tamari, arrowroot, sesame seeds, sunflower oil

Thank you Yasodhara Ashram Chefs and Cooks!!
I want to know your secrets.
Thank you Karma Yogis for caring for the farm/garden and doing canning and dishes and other stuff that gets this food on the table and most importantly into my mouth.

UPDATE June 4th, 2010

I experimented with the following menu for some friends:

Apple and hemp muffins (I followed this web-recipe pretty much exactly and it turned out nicely).
Lime Sugar Cane Tofu (this web link served as a very loose guide only)
Yams with Cashew Butter (totally improvised)
Greens with Tofu Ranch Dressing (totally improvised, not as good as at Yashodhara, but still good!)

Chocolate Pudding with Raspberries (in this case I added no honey, just a tiny bit of sugar, and I used the coconut milk. It was really quite good, especially chilled).

My friend Claire took this photo of me with the plate of food, yum!