Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Winter is a wonderful time to cozy up to a moist and comforting mocha cake. This is an adaptation from the Moosewood cookbook. Lhamo and I served it at Thanksgiving with rave reviews.

Many of you know I'm currently writing my second cookbook: FOODHISATTVA, COOKING ON THE PATH. It will be a compilation of my cooking experiences in the lovely kitchen at Vajra Vidya Retreat Center last summer. Used organic and local ingredients for the best flavor. Please stay tuned for more installments...

In the meantime, make this tasty VEGAN treat and invite some neighbors for tea!

Vegan Mocha Cake with Glaze
makes one 9 inch round cake or 8 4 inch tartlet cakes

Preheat oven to 375 (350 for sea level)
Prepare your pans with butter and flour or oil and flour

1.5 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar

Sift those ingredients in a medium bowl

1 cup cold or room temp coffee
1/2 cup sunflower oil
2 tsp vanilla

Whisk the wet ingredients in a small bowl then add to the dry ingredients
With a rubber spatula GENTLY fold the dry and wet together; don't overmix
Then when finished add

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Mix well but gently with a folding motion
Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes (less for smaller cakes)
Toothpick inserted will come out clean and cake will pull away from sides

1/2 pound good quality dark chocolate chopped fine
3/4 cup hot coffee

Pour hot coffee over chocolate in a small bowl
Let sit 4 minutes
Gently stir until combined and glossy
Let sit until cakes cool, glaze will thicken

Glaze cooled cakes

Monday, December 19, 2011


Imagine getting up from where you are sitting to get a cup of tea. Turn around and look back to your seat – a HUGE male monkey is sitting there, dead-pan expression, eating your rice mandala offering while sitting bare butt on your meditation cushion. EEK. Trapped in the teeny galley kitchen, your primal fear response triggered, heart beating rapidly, your brain quickly scans escape plans and ways to protect yourself. But then the higher brain clicks in, Oh I want to protect my mandala. He is eating my holy rice! I start throwing kitchen items at him. He doesn’t care. He just stares right at me, stuffing his face with organic brown basmati and brightly colored pulses. I don’t want to hurt him. But I desperately want him to leave out the open balcony door and back into the concrete jungle he used to call home. Finally out of the corner of my eye I spot my running shoes. Alas, Adidas to the rescue! With a loud shout and a carefully hurled pink and orange size 8 trainer, he slowly lumbers out the door. Well-fed and now karmically connected to the the Path.

Daily life is full of animals here. It is one of the small joys of India. Cows and monkeys and dogs and goats. There are three small ponies who walk themselves to somewhere every day and then back again. Are they going to work? The neighbor puts out a small bucket of water for them. Sometimes I feed them carrot peels. There is the huge ox with a gray coat and big bright blue eyes. He is one of my favorites. Always a surprise to see blue eyes!

Yesterday on the bus I saw a sign: Shiva Shakti Dog Farm & Driving School. With a well-groomed german shepherd on the side. I don’t know why but it made me laugh all day upon reflection. I sort of want to go there, play with the pups and have a short defensive driving lesson if there’s time. My other favorite sign is at the temple above the shoe rack where you are required to leave your shoes before entering the shrine room. It says “Make sure your shoes are not stolen by someone”. So true.