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Cooking With Myra: Trip inspires baking naan

By By Myra Starkey
Aug. 20, 2013 at 3:20 a.m.

Naan

Naan

• 2 tsp. active dry yeast

• 4 Tbsp. warm milk

• 2 tsp. sugar

• 4 cups all purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 2/3 cup milk

• 2/3 cup plain yogurt (beaten)

• 1 egg, beaten

• 2 Tbsp. ghee, melted

• Flour

• Chopped cilantro

Mix yeast, warm milk and sugar and allow to sit. Mixture will become frothy. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Make a well in center and add yeast mixture, milk, yogurt, ghee and egg. Fold in all ingredients together. Knead dough well and tightly cover. Place in warm area and allow to rise until dough doubles in size. Press and dough should spring back when ready. Pinch off a ball of dough and roll out onto a floured surface. Make each naan a slipper shape about 8-10 inches long. Sprinkle with cilantro and bake on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Dough will bubble up while baking.

Have you ever wondered what you are missing when you sleep late?

The sun arrives at its appointed time and lightens the horizon before it creeps over the edge in a full blaze.

There are no shadows, then long and deep and soft shadows arrive. The fiery orb soon climbs ever higher until there is only harsh brightness. Then one deals with the sun for what it is.

Finally, it begins its retreat beyond the far horizon, and the long shadows return, golden then gray and then not at all, only casting a red glow on wispy clouds far above.

The spectacle of this is lost to those who retreat inside too soon. The twice daily production occurs even when no one cares to view it. It is not wasted beauty because it stirs the soul of creatures simple and great from the creeping insect to the graceful deer.

They don't share our preoccupations or distractions, nor can they stand in awe of a glorious sunset and wonder what great being could have spoken such a sight into existence that by chance lesser humans might notice.

As I drove to the office last week, I was glancing at the clouds, wondering if the needed rain would fall that day. I probably was not concentrating on anything in particular - just driving.

I happened to see a beautiful rainbow. I could only see the left half of it, but the colors were vibrant and for some reason a smile came to my lips. By the time I got to the office just a few minutes later, the rainbow had disappeared, as if it was only intended to bring beauty to those who happened to look up for those moments.

Later in the day, I was driving that same stretch of pavement at dusk and heading home. The concerns of my day were still on my mind. I was already mentally making notes of what had to be done that evening before the next day of business.

I stopped at a red light and looked into the sky at the fast-approaching sunset. The colors of pink and yellow combined with the clouds and blue sky took my breath away.

Since I still had daylight, which was now fading fast, I went to my garden to water. My flowers are baking in the south Texas heat. I decided to pick some to bring inside.

The bright colors of the zinnias planted in my garden brought me such pleasure. I sometimes buy flowers at the store, probably produced like crops in some automated greenhouse, but there is truly no pleasure like growing your own from seed.

How could such a thing of beauty, color and texture be dormant in a seed the size of a red pepper flake? What designer orchestrates such a miracle?

I came inside at dark and fixed us a bite to eat. It seemed like a good evening for fresh tuna with ripe mango chunks and zucchini ribbons. We sat down to enjoy our meal, and I lit candles. There was no reason for the romance - I only wanted to make the meal seem special.

Later, my eyes fell upon a bowl of wasp nests that I had collected. These fragile homes of a dreaded enemy are a miracle. They house larvae of the wasp until they are ready to hatch. Somehow the wasp knows how to build this nest.

They chew wood and bark and mix it with saliva and create this papery home. The efforts of one wasp doesn't result in much, but the community of buzzing insects gets together with a goal in mind and makes their home over a period of several weeks.

Our kids live far away now, and I can't call them to my side to see these natural wonders. They have likely become more calloused to the wonders of nature that thrilled them when they first experienced them as small children. The big city lights are a greater attraction.

We still like to go visit them, particularly because of the variety of restaurants that exist just two hours down the highway. Our two youngest live in Houston, and the culinary world there is a mixing pot of cultures like few other places.

On Saturday night, we ate at Goro & Gun downtown, which featured a fusion taste I would describe as Japanese/American South.

On Sunday after church, we went to Himalaya, which is spicy northern India fare. It is located at Hillcroft Street and the Southwest Freeway in the strip center, which is also the location of my favorite authentic Indian food market named Subhlaxmi Grocers.

Our lunch and subsequent shopping trip inspired me to make naan, an Indian bread. Enjoy.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email myra@vicad.com.

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