Banana Coconut “Half Domes”

These are the dog days. Here in Yosemite it is 100 degrees: Hot, Dry, and Dusty.

Visiting Half Dome

Our rustic, little cabin provides shade but little relief beyond that. It is designed for winter: to keep the heat in. It is a star splashed midnight before it finally cools enough to sleep.

At dinner time we come home from our daily hikes, almost boiling over ourselves. We can’t cook. We can’t add heat to heat.

Even our bananas had heat exhaustion

Coconut water is our refuge. Banana Coconut Ice is our delight.

Coconut Banana Ice

Here’s how I make it:

Mash 3 bananas in a blender if you have it. We don’t, so I use a potato masher. The kids enjoy using their hands. Pour in one, to one and a half, cup/s coconut milk. Add a small pinch of pink salt and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Stir well.

Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray, evenly distributing. You can put wooden stirrers, broken in half. or a toothpick, into the middle of each cube, standing straight up, to make them like popsicles. Put in the freezer for 2-3 hours, minimum.

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

We didn’t have “popsicle sticks,” so we put them in a bowl and named them, after Yosemite’s famous monolith, “Little Half Domes.”

For refreshing elegance, you could serve them in a bowl with fresh berries, garnished with mint. For an elegant refreshment, add two to three cubes to soda water and garnish with mint.

Yosemite Falls

Despite the heat, it is all worthwhile as Yosemite is one of the greatest reminders that nature is majestic, eternal, infinite and insistent ~ and you are an integral part of this wonder. As the Yogis say, “Tat Tvam Asi,” meaning You Are That!

Wish You Were Here

Namaste !

Sesame Bliss

Ganesh DelightsLast night we had dinner at home with four wonderful, conscious friends. One of them, Ninh-ji, who began his life in Vietnam, brought the dessert. It looked at first like a delightfully simple silken tofu warmed in an electric pot. Indeed, that is all it was, but served with a ginger syrup, it became divine, sweet succulence. Plus, it turned out to be only the first of three dessert courses!

The next two desserts were utterly inspiring for their color, artistry, alchemy. Little bite-size delicacies of sesame, rice and mung beans, almost like deconstructed Kichari reimagined and delicately sweetened. These treats were not only a delight to the senses, but such healthy, whole body nourishment that when offered seconds, you felt permission, nay encouraged, to say, “Yes please!”

Ninh-ji had carefully selected each of these treats from his favorite local Vietnamese Bakery, telling us that they are very complicated to make. “Not even my mother was able to make this and she was a great cook!”

I looked today for a picture or recipe online, but don’t know the names and found nothing quite right. I did find this Blog with its colorful, photographic list of many Vietnamese desserts. Also, while not as gorgeous, this site has recipes.  And, for cultural culinary adventurers, there is a whole world of Asian sweets to explore here.

Sesame Balls

Instead, I remembered a recipe received yesterday that would make a good substitute. These Sesame Bliss Balls from the Chopra Center are not as artistic, but they are simple to construct, flavorful and every bit as fortifying.

I had to share them with you as they are ideal for the Autumn Balancing Act: Sesame is tonifying, healing and hydrating. Ginger is soothing, calming, and immune-boosting. Cumin and Cardamom work with Ginger to aid digestion and add flavor. Ghee is a prime healer, with innumerable benefits ~ a few of which are mentioned by the Chopra Experts below.

I am off to make these now for a gang of young boys. Lead by our 13-year old, they have been running around the neighborhood all afternoon, engaged in a playful “Battle,” and are now calling out for snacks worthy of a Victory Feast! Wish me luck…

Namaste ~