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This week’s menu development was like none other I have created. I have been putting together menus for 20 plus years, WHY Oh WHY???

I had one fear as a 15-year-old teenager: what to cook for dinner as a grown-up? I used to lie in bed at night with this mounting fear AND it was not normal. Here is a typical scenario of my turbulent, frenetic young teenage years:

(My mom, every morning before leaving for work, has a package in her hand–a 1 lb white freezer sheet covering frozen hunk of hamburger and asking): “Kids what do you want for dinner?”

Response: “uh, dunno”.

It wasn’t  that I cared what we ate, like I said it wasn’t NORMAL. It just was. Nightly, I fast forwarded this scenario as it played out in my futuristic family – the same dilemma, what to cook for dinner and the response is “Uh, dunno.” Thus, my need for menu planning!

My biggest anxiety became a fervent quest to prepare really cool meals for my easy to please family.

Below is the first Indian menu I constructed for the week after 3 days of deliberation and trepidation due to my non-affection to ingredients like fennel and ginger (I know, I know …very common Indian ingredients!).

So, with my figurative spice grinder in one hand and a helpful Indian grocer at my side, here are the results from the new store I discovered on today’s journey into the local specialty store.

  • Curried Cauliflower Soup (Moosewood Collective-which I borrowed from a wonderful friend which has some surprisingly good Indian recipes), Chapatis, Onion Bhajas
  • Chicken Tikka, Basmati Rice, Parathas
  • Green Lentils and Rice, Chapatis
  • Spiced Lamb with Chiles, Indian Green Beans and Red Peppers, Nan
  • Cauliflower and Potato Curry, Basic Balti Chicken

Walking in “Little India” felt a bit like a maze – disorienting yet fascinating. I made my way down the isles with the spices and aromas wafting through the store while Indian movies and music provided a seductive shopping experience. I needed help to get through it.

The wonderful grocer helped me find chapatis flour and garam masala. I got some amazing Thai peppers that are sure to make my husband VERY happy! I found onion seeds – who knew? Oh, I bought the fennel too. I left with a bill for $27 and some change (Can you believe I found a coupon online for 5% off my bill for this store!).  I did not get the lamb or chicken. I will get that another day.

For today, it is taco soup…no Indian fare tonight. Stay tuned for the next cooking foray into the brave new world of Indian cooking tomorrow!


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