The way to a man's heart

When J and I were engaged, we were given this bit of advice: take turns planning anniversaries and Valentine's Day instead of putting the responsibility solely on the husband. We've done this ever since, and I have to admit that I love it. There's a playfulness and warmth that has come with our little tradition that I hadn't expected. {Plus, if I really want to do something, I have the freedom to just plan for it on my turn-- no dropping hints!} :)

This year I was in charge of Valentine's Day. I thought wistfully of how nice it would be to hop on a plane and go someplace exotic for 24 hours... and then realized that I could bring the exotic to us. After two trips to the grocery store {amid frantic men in business suits raiding the tacky-stuffed-bears-holding-roses-and-heart-shaped-boxes-of-chocolates-isle}, I finished my first attempt at cooking up Indian food and {surprise!} it wasn't terrible!

We had a lamb and spinach curry called Saag-Gosht {modified from this recipe} with yogurt jasmine rice and garlic naan bread, which we ate in the living room atop layers of blankets and pillows. J found a Pandora station playing Indian music while I lit about 20 million candles, and for a little while it truly felt like we were some place far away and foreign. While sharing some coconut-caramel flan ice cream for dessert, we reminisced about our very first Valentine's Day {thirteen years ago!}, for which I also prepared an indoor-picnic dinner. I guess my bag of tricks isn't so big. :)

I've never had much enthusiasm for cooking, {My interests have always veered towards baking and sweets in general.} but making Saag-Gosht inspired me to try all kinds of dishes that I usually feel I have to eat out for. I made a little list:

  • Thai Noodles and Peanut Sauce
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza with Feta and Red Onion
  • Gyros with Greek Fries
  • Homemade Hummus and Pita bread
  • Lettuce Wraps
  • Pollo Fundido {replicate Somburro's version} 
  • Mango Shrimp Quesadillas
  • Fresh Spring Rolls 
  • Maple Pecan Salmon with Sweet Potato Puree
And of course, I'd like to make more Indian foods. Particularly after investing $10 on a bottle of garam masala. :) Does anyone have any experience, pointers, fail-safe recipes or terrific websites to share? I'd love to hear!

PS Have you ever tried to take a photo of Indian food that actually looks appetizing? It's so difficult! All of mine looked like piles of greenish-brownish goop. :(


Apis Melliflora said...

Indian food. Yummy. Our favorite couple restaurant was Indian, until the chef changed. Sniff, sniff.

When I was a more reticent cook, we did something as a family called "New Food Fridays." I forced myself to try a new recipe every Friday. Turns out I really looked forward to it!

Have fun with it!

The Dragonfly said...

I love to cook. My husband loves to eat. Our kids are not so adventurous. Right now I'm all about pinning and trying new recipes. Made a delicious one last night - zucchini ribbon pasta with homemade marinara. YUM! Your Valentine's Day sounds absolutely charming. And guess what else looks like dog food when photographed? Quinoa!

Amber - Binkertation said...

What a lovely Valentine's Day - my hubby and I often take a similar approach to special days and take turns planning or just plan together!

Your dinner looks as yummy as can be - Indian food, in general, doesn't photograph particularly well.

This is a timely post, as I'm actually trying my hand at Indian food tonight, in the slow cooker. Say what?! I'll have to update you on how it turns out, but it was highly recommended to me.

This is the recipe (Indian Butter Chicken):

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