Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Last weekend, Aarti Sequeira, recently crowned the latest Next Food Network Star, made her official Food Network debut with her new cooking show, Aarti Party. Since I had already been following Aarti's fun and unique pre Food Network Star "Aarti Paarti" cooking vidoes over on Youtube, I was pretty certain all along that she would be a serious contender all along and was so elated when she won. It was awesome to see a fellow food blogger win such a big competition!
Aarti is really quirky and friendly and all of her videos are so approachable, with really clever interpretations of Indian fusion dishes. Her recipes are not the wild and crazy attention grabbing type of fusion, but rather the more comfortable, yes-you-can-make-this-at-home type, each given Aarti's unique personal flair, with usually a hint or more of Indian spices and ingredients.
I watched her first Food Network episode, which featured a chicken tikka masala inspired version of sloppy joes, Bombay Joes, as well as some incredibly easy and beautiful looking Early Grey & Pistachio flavored kulfi ice cream pops, and a Massaged Kale & Mango Salad. I chose to make the salad, which immediately intrigued me, having previously been scared to death to try making anything with kale at home. I will usually taste anything, and have no fear of eating new foods, but sometimes cooking with them is another matter entirely.
I am not really sure why I feared making kale, although I'm quite certain that, in part, it had to do with an utter lack of knowledge about properly preparing it. I had visions in my head of sloppy, murky, mushy overcooked greens. This cool crisp light & fruity salad instantly erased that unpalatable image from my mind and I overcame my kale inhibition, rushing to the market to grab a healthy, fresh bunch of cavola negro kale. If I was going to give kale a go for the first time, I wanted to try the supposedly most flavorful variety.
The salad was indeed easy to prepare, with only a handful of simple ingredients ... kale, some freshly squeezed lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, Kosher salt, honey, and some freshly diced mango. The aroma released from deep green leaves while giving them their "massage" was heavenly, and as Aarti had promised, almost banana like. The salad had a really nice crispness to it and the flavor was so unique, slightly sweet without being sugary, light and tropical. Addictive and refreshing on a hot Florida night.
I measured absolutely nothing accurately; this was one of those easy recipes you can make using your eyes and measure by feel and taste alone. I left out the pumpkin seeds, since my daughter would not even consider taking a bite otherwise. And besides, pumpkin seeds aren't the sort of thing I typically have hanging out in my pantry anyway. I did not miss them at all. This is a great salad and I hope to give more of Aarti's recipes a try in the future.
at 11:54 AM Posted by Heatherfeather