Lotus of Shepherdstown's Autumn Open House 2011

Posted by  | October 18, 2011  at 10:38 AM  

Saturday, October 8, was one of those perfect autumn afternoons, that fools you into thinking that maybe summer hasn't quite ended. Whether it be late summer or early fall, it was an idyllic day for Lotus' Annual Autumn Open House. Lotus, like many locales in Downtown Shepherdstown, has a wonderful backyard garden area, that is perfect for helping clients relax or in this case hosting an outdoor dinner party.
To show just how much they love their clients, the ladies of Lotus (Chrissy Lewin and Chelsea Eyler) prepared an Ayurvedic, Indian-themed feast. Every dish was super tasty and healthy--apple chutney, lentil soup, hummus, ginger cookies--I left wanting recipes for everything!
For this occasion tables were scattered throughout the yard and each were set with an arrangement of herbs, a bottle of natural mosquito repellent, and a quiz to help find your dosha to figure out which foods are best for your body. Fall flowers adorned the food station, and wines were served from an antique vanity. Chelsea's dad strummed his guitar, while family and friends feasted and frolicked.

Guests left this gathering with a gift bag in  their hand, perfectly groomed brows on their face, and some new recipes in their pocket.

If you missed Lotus' Open House, you can find the recipes for the dishes served here. I've also posted the lentil soup recipe after the page break. Don't be scared by the ingredient combo--I was a little shy at first, but one small sample and you'll ask for a full serving.

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

1 cup / 7 oz / 200g yellow split peas
1 cup 7 oz / 200g red split lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups / 1.6 liters water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1/3 cup / 1.5 oz / 45g golden raisins
1/3 / 80 ml cup tomato paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
one small handful cilantro, chopped
cooked brown rice or farro, for serving (optional)

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse - until they no longer put off murky water. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.
In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant. Be careful though, you don't want to burn the curry powder, just toast it. Set aside. Place the butter in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up, but you can play around with the consistency if you like by adding more water, a bit at a time, if you like. Or simmer longer for a thicker consistency.

Serve over rice and garnish with scallions and cilantro.

 Visit Pretty in the Panhandle on Facebook for more pictures from the Lotus Open House: http://www.facebook.com/prettyinthepanhandle  


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