I took the nite off so I could spend time with my family at the temple. We celebrated Govardhana Puja, a biggie in the holiday department for Gaudiya Vaisnavas or, as we are colloquially known, Hare Krishnas. There were no gluten kebobs, no jars of chili pickle or jam–even though people were asking for them. But, despite the fact that I didn’t set up my table, I still ended up cooking for a few hours today.
Saturday nite I spent baking 3 cheesecakes and 2 cheesecake pies. The pies were to bring to the temple for the festival and the cakes were for the auction being held to raise money for my children’s school. But after we went to the temple in the morning and I got all wrapped up in that religious girl fervor, I went home and headed for the kitchen.
It is always nice to commune with God through cooking. Who needs prayer when you’ve got a stack of cookbooks, 16 cups of freshly made ghee and a clean apron? Alright, it is always good to start off with a little prayer, but once I get enraptured by the flame of the stove stuff just starts to happen…supernaturally.
So, want to see what I cooked?
I tried to keep it all pretty simple since my ingredients and time were limited. For this foolproof sabji I pan fried paneer in ghee and then briefly sauteed it in more ghee with hing, salt and tomatoes.
(This is why I took the nite off. My little ones made their stage debut. Madhumati was a monkey (obviously) and Venumadhava was Madhu-mangala, the cowherd boy of Vrindavan. I will be posting more pictures of the festival at Alternate Reality over the next few days.)
I had a lot of fun cooking without the intent to sell. I brought my preparations to the temple where they were offered to the Deity in clay pots. The altar looked really great with all those clay pots of delicious stuff lined up on the marble floor. But of course, I didn’t get a photo of it. The whole thing looked very “Indian mandir.”
My cheesecakes, big and boxed up, definitely brought in the buck$ at the school auction. There were so many beautiful cakes, pies and pastries up for auction, all of them out of my league.I did, however, bid $120 on a gorgeous lemon chiffon cake (three layers!!!) but was out bid by five dollars. My husband’s head turned bright red. He had no idea I was in cahoots with the guy next to me who was planning on bidding $125. I bid for dramatic flair. And to look like a macher. One of my cakes went for $108 and the other brought in the most cash at $151. Let’s see….$151 divided by 8 pieces means I could sell each slice for….
It was nice having the weekend off but now I have to get really focused. I have a cheesecake order, a gluten kabob catering gig, my Sunday feast table to cook for, 4 gallons of ripening persimmon, sweets to make for Wednesday Govardhana Puja celebration at my kids’ school, a puppet show to perform and my in-laws coming this weekend.
No problem. If there were three of me.