Let me preface this with a bit of my own history. Since I was a little boy, I would watch my mother cook for literally an entire day, or half a day frantically, whenever we had guests. The end result would be a spread of delectable Afghan dishes that would blow any buffet out of the water. I also experienced the same whenever we would visit other families for dinner. I couldn't really speak the language yet, and usually didn't like my parent's friends' kids, so really the only way they got my lazy butt to go was the food, which I would endure four hours of boredom for without missing a beat.
Maybe this explains why I almost always make ridiculously elaborate meals for guests. That, and I love to cook and am a bit of a perfectionist.
After the whole shebang was over, as I told my friend Nate, I wanted to try to make it all seem even more "effortless" next time, to which he replied, "Maybe you should just make it effortless next time." Not bad advice. But I just can't help it!
I also just got a Nikon D40 DSLR, so expect a bit better food pictures, though until (if I can afford one) I get a good macro lens, my point and shoot actually takes better close-ups.
This was a dinner party for eight.
Deep Fried Spicy Potato-Leek Samosas, served with a garlic-yogurt dip (not shown)
Eggplant slices fried in hot oil, then braised in garlic, spices, and tomato. Served with garlic-yogurt sauce (not shown)
Spinach stewed with black eye peas, caramelized onion, garlic, and spices, topped with fresh cilantro.
Cumin scented, turmeric colored basmati rice, with a hint of cinnamon.
For some reason I forgot to take a picture of the Kafta Kabobs and salate!
The dishes were a big hit! I attempted to lightly coat the kafta (ground beef) kabobs with besan (chickpea) flour before deep frying them, which I think added a nice crunchy exterior. However, I used grass-fed beef, which is much harder to get to come out tender, so it was a little tougher than expected. You really have to undercook it a bit - medium at most. I also (doh!) put the kabobs in the oven to keep warm and then put bread in to warm up at 300 degrees...so if they weren't overcooked before, they definitely got a bit overdone then!
More pictures, from a different dinner party the day before (cooking overload! but my roommate made the curry in this one)
Dessert first - which I made.
Walnut and Date Gateau
with dark brown sugar glaze
No time for more discussion, have to check on my Sugo di Carne!
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