Spectrum Meal

March 20, 2016

I remember some weeks back having a vague sense that my quarterly cooking group was soon to meet, but that vague thought just dissipated and I didn’t think about it again. A few days ago I got an email from Rissa, with the entire group cc’d, asking if I was okay and if perhaps I’d forgotten I was hosting the group. Like, in three days.

Yes. I’d forgotten completely, except for that dissipated vague notion of a few weeks back.

This is more than a wee bit problematic because the host usually sets the theme for her dinner well in advance, giving people time to think about their dishes. Often people spend a few weeks or at least days sampling recipes.

On the spur of that moment, and somewhat desperately, I blurted out a theme and confirmed with everyone their assignments. I figured it’s spring, which is all about color, so how about colors of the rainbow as a theme?

Me, main dish: red

Tracy, salad: orange

Rissa, dessert: yellow

Madeline, appetizer: green

Susan, drinks: blue

Carol, side dish: purple

Everyone agreed. Bunch of good sports, they are.

So, today was the day.

I decided to do tandoori chicken, which is usually bright red. Mine didn’t come out bright red. It didn’t even come out recognizably red. Oh well. Served it over basmati rice with a side of cool raita, which was good because the chicken came out very spicy.

Here are a few of the spices that went into it:


Clockwise from top: pepper, salt, smoked Hungarian paprika, tandoori mix, cumin, chili powder, cayenne.

There was also fresh ginger, fresh garlic, onion, orange bell pepper, thai chili paste, tomato paste, chicken broth, fresh cilantro, and butter.

And chicken.

I had a couple recipes I was blending… a traditional version of the marinade and a slow cooker variation. I’m not sure if what I ended up with was 1) authentic, 2) replicable, but it was good. Once assembled, it looked like this:


And was quite a bit spicier than I’d expected. Which, again, is why I’m glad I made raita to go with it:


Raita: yogurt, cucumber, cilantro, green onions, cumin, ground coriander. Served cold.

Here’s Madeline’s green app:


We all agreed THAT was cool: using cabbage leaves as bowls. The spinach dip was exceptional, incredible depth of flavor and made with homemade mayo which made all the difference.

Carol’s roasted beets were fabulous, and deep purple! (She also threw a ratatouille in as purple insurance).


Tracy’s carrot salad… very fresh and crisp, just loved this:


Here’s everything together on a plate… not all that obviously rainbow-y, but at least colorful:


I missed getting a shot of Rissa’s yellow dessert — a lemon bundt cake with lemon glaze, served with raspberries and whipped cream. Fantastic.

We missed Susan and her blue drink, for reasons I’ll explain another time. If you’re reading this, please send healing vibes into the universe, thanks.

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