Monthly Archives: August 2009

Sabji & Puri

Here I am gearing up for my next gig. I always carry my own instruments cause trnad api, suckas!!!!

Anyone who knows me knows I lurve kirtan I mean lurve it guys. Sri Balaram Mrdanga and me are like Richie Cunningham and his basketball, except I never watched Happy Days because I was locked up in the ashram so that refrence gone way overhead. So it should be no surprise to anyone who’s everyone that Earache Records is putting out a Myspace page for me no joke. Other bands with a spiritual message that Earache produces includes Cathedral and Godflesh so this is a really big deal and I feel so honored but really it is them who should feel honored to be on a label with me. Leo Smee and Benny Green are teaching me so much about spiritual bass playing so keep an eye out in the near future for how I’ll by strummin it along with my soon to be available full line of Sabji & Puri guitar logo picks screened on American Apparel plastic cause I hate sweatshops but, like the Mormans, love porn oh yeah. All over people are getting turned on to my positive message of my chanting, and that fact that my stomach is so flat after pushing out two babies definitely gives me cred with all those yoga folks. Who’s needing sex when you’ve got the Holy Name sweeter than honey. Don’t be a dummy. Stay in scool stay off the streets keep the gurlies dressed and make sure you get paid. Hare Krishna Radhe Syama get ready because soon I’ll be chanting for Krishna Balarama!

Warming up…sound check check check.

Once I start chanting I just get so crazy…the Holy Name is like that, yo…like crack cocaine for your soul that’s all I smoke I swear.

I’m fly like that.

My tambourine playing gets me so high don’t think I’ll ever come down.

Kartals keeping me young.

just me myself and Maya chillin’ after the photo shoot.

Classic Sabji  & Puri meditative moment caught by the super talented semi-non-professional Madhava Pandit das (he’s initiated).



Behind the Scenes: Check out the newest press on Sabji & Puri coming this fall on VH1



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Pretty On The Outside

“I love those cupcakes,” says my son. “I hate them,” says my daughter.

I think these cupcakes looked soooo pretty. Like, classy pretty. Like, expensive. Premium chocolate pulsed in the food processor with pecans (not sure how premium they were…I got them at Sam’s Club). Frosting very very very good (how very!). Three sticks of butter and one block of neufchatel to keep things low fat 😉

Despite the smiles and the above quote by my son, my biggest admirer (kiss off, Freud), these cupcakes were big losers. Dry. Crumbly. Bad taste. That was a little sad for me. But only a little. They’re just cupcakes, after all.
Letting the days go by…


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Free At Last Free At Last!!!

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Why Are All Math Teachers Perverts?

Today I made some pies. Cherry pie (gotta love that bumper crop). Blueberry apple pecan pie. Two pie. Plural pie. Pies. Today I made a couple of pies.

Crust. Crust is an issue when it comes to pies. Anyone can make a pie, despite the rumors that it’s difficult. Making a good dough, however, is a whole other story.
First I went for the cherry pie. I used this recipe. And this recipe. Did I ever tell you how badly I baked? Everything I learned about baking I learned from my mother. Who never baked. Capiche? Every once in a while I find a recipe that works and I hang onto it. This recipe worked for my friends. Two of them. Plural friend. A couple of friends. But did it work for me?
Of course not.
And the answer, without a doubt, is because all math teachers are perverts. Or at least the male ones who taught in my hometown when I was growing up. Mr. Worles…plenty of issues, I’m sure some of them had to be sexual. Mr. D’gatano…obsessed with apples and oranges. The man could not get enough apples and oranges. He had no preference. Oh, loved all the fruit. According to him, you just couldn’t compare apples and oranges. Both were to be savored for on their own merits. And then there was Mr. Beam, who was a science teacher and not a math teacher but math is very important for science. Total perv.
But the worst of them all, according to me, was the guy I had for 9th grade geometry. What the hell was his name? He was obsessed with calling students to the board to “work out” proofs. Uh-huh. I think the problems he was working out were his own. Did he call me to the board? Did he? Did he?! A few times, and a few times only. I wasn’t much to look at in my size XL t-shirt and 36 inch jeans (despite weighing 105 lbs), so I didn’t get much board time.
And I failed geometry. Boy was my mom pissed. I had to go to summer school. For geometry. In the summer. And you know what? I passed summer school without learning squat about geometry. But my teacher was a woman. Case closed.
Sure, some may say that in order to pass geometry one should memorize all the…you know…stuff you were required to memorize as well as know when to apply it to solve some totally irrelevant to your life geometry problem. Whatever. But let me tell you, there was a girl in my class (let’s just call her Jen with a Polish last name that starts with ‘K’) who also did poorly at geometry yet passed at the end of the year. And let’s just say, that girl was stacked.
You see, I don’t think much about geometry these days. But this day I did. Geometry is very important to pie presentation. Symmetry. Symmetry! That’s a geometry term and also a point of reference for locating beauty in the world of pies.
I had a really tough time rolling out my crust. I broke all the rules. In geometry there are rules. Rules! And I don’t think you can break them. That is, of course, unless you are stacked. And after nursing two kids, I am even less stacked than I was in 9th grade, if you can imagine that. Wait. Don’t imagine that. My husband wouldn’t like that.
So back to the crust. While rolling them out and then assembling them I had to relive the failure of the end of 9th grade when I received that ‘F’ on my report card. ‘F.” There was a lot of ‘F’ that night when I had to tell my parents. ‘F.’
And although my pies deserve at least an ‘F’ for effort, I am not afraid to show them to my husband tonite when he comes home from work to a dinner of french fries and salad and pies. I mean, what does he care about symmetry? He won’t care if the pie is cut from point A to point B to point C in perfectly straight line segments! Heck, he probably would want me to cut him a bisecting line and just serve him half a pie on a plate. And I know he wouldn’t even care about the diameter of the plate. My husband is the kind of man who doesn’t mind a little pie falling on the table.
No. Because he is not some pervy math teacher who makes young girls stand in the front of the room at the chalkboard doing two column proofs. He’s not! My husband is a nurse! He’s sees people naked all the time. Constantly. That’s his job.
And my job is staying home and making pie. And I’m not even good at it. Did I mention that the edges are a bit burnt looking? Well, I’m mentioning it now. Now! Sometimes the convection oven is a liability. I could have baked them without all that hot air blowing around them but no. No I didn’t. But don’t get me started on my home ec. teacher. What was her name?


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How to Make Paneer

Guest blogger Padi Sutherland contributes the following text and pictorial instructions for making fresh milk curd, or paneer. Thanks, Padi!

To make paneer you can use a variety of curdling agents: buttermilk, yoghurt, citric acid…
I decided to use lemon juice. Cheap, effective, juicy.
You will need: 1 gallon of milk, lemon juice.

You will need: Pot, flat bottomed spoon for stirring
Heat on med/high
(flat spoon is my preference as I find it easiest for scraping the bottom of the pot when stirring to stop the milk from burning)

I poured some of the lemon juice into a jug, for fast easy pouring

I placed a colander over a large stainless steel bowl. I then lined it with a cheesecloth.

Frequently stir the milk to prevent burning.

When the milk is about to boil it gets this frothy look to it. Be ready with your curdling agent because milk can boil over very quickly.

This is after pouring the lemon juice in.


I had some left in the jug.

Notice the clear colour of the whey.

Pour the curd/whey into the colander.

I used a smaller bowl with some of the whey in it to press the curd.

This is it after pressing it.

My humble curd.

Can you believe that this is all that comes from one gallon of milk? It’s worth it in the end though…

My curd

Cubed and ready to fry.


Ready for my sabji. I made mattar paneer.

The leftover whey can be kept and used in soups or drinks…or whatever else you may fancy.

Padi Sutherland lives in Alachua, Florida where she mothers five children and lets me swim in her pool occasionally. She is also a NICU nurse and damn good Facebooker. She is married to one of the masterminds behind the hit office supply website, The Office Dealer.


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Srila Gour Govinda Swami Vyasa Puja

Yesterday we celebrated the Vyasa Puja of my husband’s spiritual master, Srila Gour Govinda Swami. Normally we have a program for Maharaja’s disappearance day; we are usually in the process of packing and moving around the time of VP. But we are feeling more and more settled these days so we decided to go for it.

The program was small and casual. The menu was “French Colonial Middle Eastern” and consisted of tarragon/thyme lentil soup (Veganomicon recipe…ginger subbed in for garlic and some spinach added for good measure), chickpea pate, tossed green salad, fresh from the oven croissants, strawberry and saffron cardamom peach jam with Tahitian vanilla bean rice pudding for dessert. Simple yet filling.

My husband near his new pomegranate tree. This pic has nothing to do with Vyasa Puja. Yet.

VEnumadhava having a fresh baked croissant for breakfast.

The day after: I had some leftover dough in the fridge which I rolled and baked for my fam’s breakfast. The croissants were not very flaky…made in a bit of a rush and with half the butter per batch but they were so light and delicious! For the program I quadrupled the recipe. They all went (around 48 croissants baked) despite the small crowd.

Sri Sri Gaura Nitai dressed for VP. Pic taken at end of day…flowers droopy.

The Birthday Swami

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OM again, OM again

This morning when I went to check my email I had a message from a Facebook friend who I unfriended in an attempt to have less Facebook friends. That effort at friends list simplification was a losing battle since the world is an ever expanding dimension of friendship. One unfriended friend finally noticed and called me out on it, along with adding a good question about eggless/vegan cookie baking.

Since the unfriended friend and I were on the same OM team (Olympics of the Mind) back in middle school, where we totally took first place at the world competition and were big L7 dorks together (no, not the punk band…I mean total square-heads), I felt all bad for being such an ungrateful Facebook friend and reapplied to be her Facebook friend. Will she take me back? Who knows. But regardless of our turbulent Facebook friendship, I happily rattled off a little natural foods baking primer for her. Here is our correspondence….for all to see!!!

NOT! our first place OM world championship team. This is a pic from our high school OM team…as they would say in our high school….DORK!!! DORK!!! DORK!!!

hey Deva–

I was wondering why i hadn’t seen your updates in a while.. I now see that you disconnected me. Hope I didn’t do something to warrant that, and you were just filtering out folks you don’t talk to. Bummer– I often enjoyed your comments and article links. apologies, however, if something i said indirectly offended you.. definitely not my intention to do that to anybody, but hey… it’s not like it’s not possible. I tend to be a little rough around the edges.

at any rate.. I had a few questions about the vegan lifestyle. I’m not sure if that is what you would classify your diet/lifestyle choices in regards to food, or if there is another term for it? I seem to recall that you use ingredients that are natural to the earth? Is that correct?

SO I have this business I started, and I was making a cookie for a child who was egg and dairy allergic, and I ended up using a vegan recipe for the cookie… which worked out great.. but I’m curious that if I were to think about making a cookie that would truly appeal to someone who’s vegan.. would I need to use special flour? Also.. the frosting I use has a meringue powder mixed in, which I know is bad for egg allergies… also assuming that would not be acceptable for a vegan what with the egg and all… so i found that i could use powdered sugar, lemon juice and water to make a ‘royal icing’ of sorts. is powdered sugar ok for a vegan, or because it’s processed that would be against the grain?

not sure if you would even know these answers, but you were the first person i thought of with all the cooking you do. any feedback would be appreciated!

I hope the summer has treated you well, and you didn’t get hit too hard with all that florida rain.

(wouldn’t you like to know!)

hey (wouldn’t you like to know!)–

first of all, please don’t take it personally the unfriending thing. i tried, at one point, to whittle my friends list way way down but it seemed that no matter how hard i tried, the reality is at 34 i know a lot of people and it is fun to be fb friends with them. please forgive my experiment in fb reduction. but i took no offense on anything you posted and hope you are not offended by me.

awesome for you to do a baking biz. i saw you were headed in that direction.

we are vegetarians who don’t eat eggs. but we do do dairy and honey. still, i am familiar with vegan treats.

flour is not an issue for vegans, although some may prefer a non-bromated flour such as king arthur or perhaps organic flour. but to be truthful, the majority of vegans eat really crap processed stuff.

sugar can be an issue. powdered sugar and white cane sugar are bleached with cow bones. this is an issue for some people and not an issue for others. organic powdered sugar and natural or organic evaporated cane juice (which is available at walmart and a finer grain than turbinado) are processed without cow bones. same thing for organic brown sugar. if you are doing a website maybe you could list prices for organic cookies and baked goods as well as non-organic…since pricing will probably be a big deal to you and the customer.

if you are going to get into organic flours and sweeteners, i would recommend buying in bulk because buying off the shelf can be costly. you should be able to buy 25 lb bags from your local health food store and receive a 10% discount to boot. prices vary by region but a 25lb of evap cane may be between $30=45 and a 25lb bag of white organic flour probably in the low twenties.

a really good source for vegan recipes is the post punk kitchen website. also, those girls have a couple of good cookbooks out there. i have found the flax egg recipe they recommend works very well, especially in healthier stuff like ginger cookies and banana breads.

recently i made a vegan mayonnaise chocolate cake recipe which i got off the web (i used grapeseed oil vegennaise) and it turned out very moist (gross word, i know) and delish.

also, i heard adding silken tofu to cakes works wonders, although i am not knowledgeable of the amount/ratio…but that would be in line with the vegan mayonnaise thing.

thanks for writing and good luck with your baking. there is a wealth of resources online and can’t wait to see your business develop.

and thankfully the tropical storm stayed south…just our usual daily rain 😉

OM-forever deva


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