Monday, August 23, 2010

Loving and Learning to Cook.

Aarti is my newest inspiration. She's cute as a button, seriously. 
I've mentioned it time and again before: I left my parents' house with little to no cooking skills. My mom likes to joke that I could burn water, and she's right. My first big cooking adventure began Passover of 2008, when I decided that I needed to cook an abundance of Passover goodies for myself, because the Lean Cuisines I'd been living on (that helped me to lose 25 pounds back then) were neither kosher nor Passover friendly. The result? It was delicious and awesome and I blogged about it once upon a time here (that, by the way, was the first time EVER that I'd cooked fish). 

Now? Cooking is something that I love. Baking, even more so. I've got an abundance of cookbooks -- kosher and not -- as well as clippings from dozens of magazines like Cooking Light and Real Simple, whose recipes I try to use anew every week for Shabbat and our regular meals. This week, I went with an Indian-inspired menu, in honor of Aarti Sequiera, the freshest winner of Food Network's "Next Food Network Star." Aarti's background stretches from the media to food to her faith (she's a devout Christian), and I get her passion for what she does. And, well, I love Indian food! So here is my menu, inspired by Aarti, and I hope y'all will tune in to her Aarti Party on Food Network to get some Indian inspiration, too!

Homemade Challah 
(I realized using @hsabomilner's squish and squish method helped the challah keep its body!)

Marrakesh Carrot Salad (a la Kosher by Design ... light, I think)
Sweet Potato Salad (ditto on that ... sweet potatoes, maple syrup, cilantro, perfection!)
Curried Cauliflower Soup (again, same series, different book)

Curry Chicken (KbD, again)
BBQ'd Meatballs
Basmati Rice (I love my rice maker.)
Roasted Indian-Spiced Potatoes (winged this one)
Masala Vegetables (cauliflower, peas, potatoes, with a masala simmer sauce!)

Chocolate Creme de Pots (Kosher by Design strikes again! Plus, gluten-free "oreos" were used.)
Watermelon (nom nom nom)

What's your favorite easy-to-throw-together Indian or Indian-inspired dish? Next time, I think I'll shoot for a rice pudding or something of that sort to top off the meal.