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A DDD Tradition: Inter-Cultural Feasting*

* Two years in a row constitutes a tradition, doesn’t it?

[A casual luncheon table setting]

This year, the HH is off work between Christmas and New Year’s, which means he’s been home every day since December 24th.  The Girls are lapping up the extra attention (not to mention the extra trail-walks), and I’m thrilled to be spending so much more time together hanging out, listening to music, reading the newspaper, or (as we’ve been wont to do over the last two days), chillaxing in front of the TV, watching the Mad Men Marathon on Bravo.

Unlike last year, the HH and I enjoyed our holiday dinner– just the two of us–at home.  By the time the food was prepped and cooked, it was almost 8:00 PM (those potatoes do take much longer to roast than anticipated, don’t they?) and we were fairly exhausted.  Of course, that didn’t prevent us from thoroughly enjoying the bounty of delectable dishes: Holiday Nut Roast (from the recent ACD ebook); lemony roasted potatoes (recipe to follow anon); roasted heritage carrots from our organic box (how disappointing to find that their regal purple hue is only skin-deep!); rice-based stuffing; smoky almond gravy; and homemade cranberry sauce (credit the HH for that one–he actually cooked up two versions: one with sugar for him, one with stevia for me).

Sadly, we were also so ravenous by the time the serving dishes hit the tabletop that I neglected to take photos.  Bad blogger! I’ve never really learned to be one of those bloggers who regularly snaps images during the cooking process, at restaurants, at friends’ houses, and so on (in fact, I can’t even remember to take the camera along with me in those situations!). So I apologize for the lapse–but I think you’ll be even more interested in what we cooked up today.

Although the CFO didn’t spend the holidays with us this year (“Mum, will you invite her again next time?  We really liked those Montreal Nylabones, you know“), we decided to continue the tradition established last December and put together an Indian feast.  I adore Indian food, and with my office mate (“Ms Mate,” aka MM) from work scheduled to drop in for a festive lunch, it seemed like a great idea.

We began the preparations yesterday evening, soaking chick peas and cooking up lentil dal (because, as we all know, it’s always better the next day).   After reading about them on Lisa’s blog a while back, I decided to try koftas for the first time.  I mean,  Indian falafel?  What could be bad?  Alongside the koftas I planned a favorite lentil dal from Meena Pathak’s Indian Cooking for Family and Friends, a spicy potato and pea bahji, and some simple brown basmati rice seasoned with vegetable broth and crushed mint.  The pièce de résistance was a tried-and-true recipe for creamy tempeh and peas that I posted about here. I also had some spicy date chutney on hand and–what the heck–put out the remains of the cranberry sauce as a stand-in for fruity chutney.

[Oh, and this first course: my new favorite Caesar Salad, from Clean Food]

As it turned, out, we fell once again behind schedule (read: Ricki racing around frantically wiping countertops; unearthing a clean tablecloth from the linen closet just to decide no, placemats will have to do because there’s no time to iron; searching madly for a gift bag–and finding one only moments before Ms. Mate arrived; gasping in horror and re-washing water-spotted wine glasses à la Cascade commercial; finally accepting the fact that–whether occurring in this dimension or any other–there would be insufficient time to whip up the bhaji). Still, I contend, Don Draper was worth it.

Our lunch ended up extending toward dinner. It was great to catch up, hear about MM’s Christmas and plans for the upcoming semester (during which I’ll be on holiday–whoopee!), and see how well she got along with The Girls (“Mum, she was very nice and everything, but you do realize that we missed our afternoon walk, right?”).  The HH and Ms. Mate drank wine while I guzzled sparkling water with a splash of unsweetened cranberry juice (thanks for the suggestion, Johanna), so didn’t feel deprived at all.

[Broth-infused basmati with a sprinkling of dried mint–perfect accompaniment to dal]

For dessert, I served up some goodies already stored in my freezer, including the remainder of the Hazelnut Melting Moments  from a couple of weeks ago and some fabulously moist Marble Cake (recipe to follow). But it was my own dessert concoction–an ACD-friendly treat that I assumed wouldn’t appeal to anyone else–that proved to be the sleeper hit of the meal. It’s a mousse-like pudding that I can’t wait to share with you all in a later post.

After a filling, satisfying lunch like this one, our dinner will naturally be something quick and light.  The bonus to a large meal midday is, of course, less kitchen time later on–which provides all the more hours to chillax with your loved ones.

[Stay tuned for the final Festive Freebie giveaway of 2009–next post!]

*Asafetida can be difficult to find.  I lucked out at an Indian market next to my favorite bulk store, but if there isn’t a source in your neighbourhood, many food sites tell you to substitute extra garlic (I’d say one extra clove in each of these recipes).

Last Year at this Time: Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Warm Caramel Sauce

Two Years Ago: A Joy: Pot Luck Club (Vegan Tiramisu recipe)

© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs


19 comments to A DDD Tradition: Inter-Cultural Feasting*

  • Ohhhh, such a dreamily gorgeous feast!! I adore all things lentil and falafel – it’s taking the utmost resistance on my part to keep from leaping up from my seat and rushing out to the grocery so I could fix your dal RIGHT NOW!! And truly, if I hadn’t just come back from the grocery with ingredients for tonight’s dinner, with economics necessitating that we use them instead, I would absolutely have nothing stopping me… 🙂 Thank you for these awesome recipes that I’m sure to fix VERY soon!! 🙂


  • Love the Indian holiday feast! Did the same with my family and my dahl recipe is coming up this week too.


  • Both your holiday dinner and lunch sound fabulous! No wonder your ACD-friendly dessert was a hit: anything that can be described as mousse-like pudding has got to be terrific!
    Thank you for sharing those two recipes from your Indian feast: I’m always happy to add to my repertoire of Indian recipes, especially now that I live in a city where no Indian restaurant can be found.


  • Great, easy Daal recipe! May have to be my next cooked recipe of the month 😀


  • beautiful pics! i want to try the chickpea koftas


  • Oh how I wish my hubby liked Indian food – this looks great!


  • I’ve loved every recipe that I’ve tried from Lisa’s blog, so I’m sure that I would love these koftas. What a great meal!


  • Of course all of those recipes look delicious! I especially am eager to try the Dal and Chickpea Koftas!


  • Oooh! It all sounds fantastic =D. I love Indian food – great recipes!


  • Courtney

    I *LOVE* dal, and yours sounds delicious. Tehehe–we did an inter-cultural feast too…we had tamales on Christmas, lol. Very non-traditional, but very very good 🙂



  • What more can I say except “Mmmmm, yum!”?


  • Astra,
    Thanks for such an enthusiastic response! I think people who love Indian food REALLY love it 😉 Hope your dinner turned out fabulous. 🙂

    Now that I’m in love with dal, can’t wait to see what yours is like!

    It must be tough not being able to eat in Indian restaurants–though I’m finding more and more that I like the homemade stuff even better!

    Yay! I enjoy the cooked of the month recipes immensely–though of course all your raw creations are pretty stellar, too 🙂

    Yes, the koftas were really yummy. 🙂

    Maybe you could just tell him it’s spicy Italian? 😉

    Ordinary Vegetarian (can we just go with “OV” from now on?) 😉 ,
    I find the same thing; her recipes are great and no-nonsense. I just know to tone down the spice a bit! 😉

    LK Sisters,
    They make a great combination, and plenty of healthy legumes in there 🙂

    Thanks! Glad you like them. 🙂

    I love the idea of your non-traditional Christmas meal! Tamales sound great. Maybe I’ll work on that for New Year’s (he he) 😉

    Yum, indeed! 😉


  • two years in a row totally counts as a tradition, Ricki! yay! we travel with julie and she got loads of attention at my parent’s house & dan’s parents house as well – all the extra people had her swooning. ah ha ha! that’s awesome that your spouse is off of work for a bit. w00t! i’ve gotta check out Lisa site – and your koftas and dal both look magnificent and super tasty! i’ve never heard of heritage carrots before – i bet they’re pretty. lemony roasted potatoes sound great. i’m looking forward to the recipe!

    oh, and i made your breakfast sausages tonight with some leftover brown rice. oh my goodness, they were AMAZING! you are too wonderful – thank you, Ricki!


  • hard to believe it is a year since your indian feast last year – all the food looks excellent and the table looks very ‘Home Beautiful’. Glad you found the fizzy water with some cranberry felt celebratory – we love that combination though I have never seen unsweetened cranberry juice here. And I agree that don draper is worth it!


  • It all sounds so wonderful it is hard to know where to start. Indian falafel sounds very intriguing.

    BTW I picked up “Clean Food” yesterday after reading that you like it. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the suggestion.

    I hope you have a Happy and Healthy New Year!


  • what a fabulous feast! my mouth is watering and i’m thinking i should try some recipes from an indian cookbook a friend got me… last christmas :/ eek, time goes by way too quickly.


  • Sounds like a wonderful meal! I made these chickpea koftas before and baked them, but I think I baked them for too long as they ended up being quite dry!


  • Mmmm, I love the look at the rice and the chickpea koftas. Delicious. Gorgeous photos all around!


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