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Gastronomical gaffes. Culinary confusion. Disappointment at dinnertime.

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17 October 11
What do you do when you have a plan for an avocado, tomato and swiss sandwich, only to discover that you have no more tomatoes?  (Okay, I don’t have swiss right now either.  I was planning to sub monterey jack.  I don’t make a lot of sandwiches.)
I do, however, have a can of tuna sitting around.  It’s been a while since I’ve tried it, but avocado-and-tuna have long been touted as a magnificent creation unto mankind.  So why not?
On reflection, I ought not to have bothered with the cheese.  I find cheese to be a dicey proposition most of the time, anyway (dairy lovers, do your worst).  But overall, the sweetness of the avocado balances nicely with the saltiness of the tuna.  Of course, I used mayonnaise to hold it all together, and what can truly go wrong when there is mayo involved?
Don’t answer that.

What do you do when you have a plan for an avocado, tomato and swiss sandwich, only to discover that you have no more tomatoes?  (Okay, I don’t have swiss right now either.  I was planning to sub monterey jack.  I don’t make a lot of sandwiches.)

I do, however, have a can of tuna sitting around.  It’s been a while since I’ve tried it, but avocado-and-tuna have long been touted as a magnificent creation unto mankind.  So why not?

On reflection, I ought not to have bothered with the cheese.  I find cheese to be a dicey proposition most of the time, anyway (dairy lovers, do your worst).  But overall, the sweetness of the avocado balances nicely with the saltiness of the tuna.  Of course, I used mayonnaise to hold it all together, and what can truly go wrong when there is mayo involved?

Don’t answer that.

16 October 11

It’s like the old saying goes:  when life gives you beets, make…borscht.  Or something like that.

There’s something about the second time I make a recipe that always disappoints me.  Maybe it’s the sense that I’m not living up to the promise of the first successful attempt, or a feeling that I should have improved tenfold (or at least twofold) since last time.

In any case, nothing really went wrong here, but the borscht just didn’t seem as flavorful and delicious as it previously did.  Maybe it was the turnips.  Turnips fucking ruin everything.

10 October 11

Beef stock.

Start with a pile of meat.  Throw it into a pot with some other stuff.  Let it simmer for a hella-long time.  That’s pretty much it.

Okay, there’s more to making beef stock than that.  Making stock of any kind (veggie, chicken, turkey) requires a lot of patience.  It is an activity best performed early enough in the day to allow for sufficient simmering, which is where I erred most grievously.  I waited until evening to get started, and so found myself finishing up somewhere around 11 p.m.  If I’m gonna be playing with meat at 11:00 at night, that’s not the kind I’d prefer it to be.

Loins.  That’s the cut I’m talking about.

7 October 11
Sometimes you find yourself with a bountiful new CSA shipment but with no energy to cobble together a halfway-decent meal.
Or maybe you find yourself feeling a bit peckish on a Friday evening, but not quite hungry enough to go all-out on dinner.
Or perhaps you think back to that jar of Polish Dill pickles you opened the other night, what with its spicy tartness and its garlicky goodness, and decide that you don’t really care if you have the perfect accompaniment, you’re going to eat it anyway, dammit.  That last ear of corn you almost forgot about?  Why not?  How about throwing in that wedge of mushroom-infused cheese and a few crackers?  Don’t mind if you do.
The end result would probably be more appropriate for a lady rounding out her first trimester, but that’s okay.  It’s Friday night.  Time to get a little crazy.

Sometimes you find yourself with a bountiful new CSA shipment but with no energy to cobble together a halfway-decent meal.

Or maybe you find yourself feeling a bit peckish on a Friday evening, but not quite hungry enough to go all-out on dinner.

Or perhaps you think back to that jar of Polish Dill pickles you opened the other night, what with its spicy tartness and its garlicky goodness, and decide that you don’t really care if you have the perfect accompaniment, you’re going to eat it anyway, dammit.  That last ear of corn you almost forgot about?  Why not?  How about throwing in that wedge of mushroom-infused cheese and a few crackers?  Don’t mind if you do.

The end result would probably be more appropriate for a lady rounding out her first trimester, but that’s okay.  It’s Friday night.  Time to get a little crazy.

2 October 11
One of the little-advertised dangers of CSAs is that you often get vegetables that you can’t identify (see previous post).  With most things, that’s okay, but not if you are unsure about the spiciness of your peppers.
Salsa with a kick is obviously much better than a pile of tomatoes on a plate.  However, salsa with a mysterious amount of spice is not quite as good.  Fortunately, this worked out fairly well, as long as I don’t feel bad about the fact that it’s basically a bowl full of tomato chunks, onions, and tomato juice.  (Oh, yeah, there are also jalapenos, mystery green peppers, garlic and cilantro in there.  Plus lime juice, not from an actual lime.)

One of the little-advertised dangers of CSAs is that you often get vegetables that you can’t identify (see previous post).  With most things, that’s okay, but not if you are unsure about the spiciness of your peppers.

Salsa with a kick is obviously much better than a pile of tomatoes on a plate.  However, salsa with a mysterious amount of spice is not quite as good.  Fortunately, this worked out fairly well, as long as I don’t feel bad about the fact that it’s basically a bowl full of tomato chunks, onions, and tomato juice.  (Oh, yeah, there are also jalapenos, mystery green peppers, garlic and cilantro in there.  Plus lime juice, not from an actual lime.)

27 September 11

I was really excited about my CSA this week.  An heirloom tomato, an extra basket of cherry tomatoes (for which I swapped my swiss chard), beets for borscht.  Sure, there was an unfortunate amount of turnips, but, hey…

Then I noticed the extra green cardboard container, the sort that held cherry tomatoes.  Those were not cherry tomatoes.  “Hmm,” I thought.  “Maybe they grew baby wasps’ nests for this week.”  Oh well.  I packed them away and decided to figure it out later.

Thanks to the advice of facebook friends, I learned that these curious pellets were, in fact, cape gooseberries.  Apparently these little fruits can be used in tarts, jams, pies, or eaten straight up.  And since I didn’t seem to have enough to do anything to elaborate with them, that’s just what I did.

Cape gooseberries, it turns out, are sort like crack.  I’m not sure I entirely love the flavor—they are sweet, but with a peculiar tartness or something that’s hard to identify—but something about unsheathing each tiny ball from its protective husk makes you want to eat them as vigorously as possible.

Wikipedia says they are good in fruit salads.  Maybe if they give me more next week, I can keep them long enough to put them in something before I cram them into my mouth.

26 September 11

So I made sofrito.  So now what?

Seriously.  I only made this because I got ajie dulce peppers in my CSA and the only recipe that seemed to use these in large quantities was sofrito (it also helped that I had tomatoes and bell peppers to use up, too.)

From what I understand, sofrito is used as a sort of seasoning/addition to a lot of Puerto Rican cuisine (and, perhaps, more generally, other Caribbean cuisines), but I could not say with certainty that I have ever eaten Puerto Rican food.

If only I’d known that I needed a recipe for the recipe that I’ve already completed…

24 September 11

Your basic yellow cake. 

Overall, my skill in cake-baking is admirable (she says modestly).  Unfortunately, my frostings, though tasty, often end up a little thinner than might be hoped for, especially if, say, I were trying to transport the cake on the T to work and found that the slippery frosting had allowed the top layer to careen off the bottom layer into the side of the cake-holder, leaving said frosting to ooze out through the crack between cake-cover and cake-base, and by the time I reached work, discovered that the top layer itself had split apart on account of the stress of sliding around everywhere.

I feel a more stolid frosting might have prevented this.

19 September 11
Sometimes, when you don’t feel like busting out the cocoa and the mixer, and you need to satisfy that sweet tooth, you can go for a pastry from one of the fine local establishments.
Fortunately, living in a relatively big city, I find myself with no shortage of delicious options, even within walking distance.  Kickass Cupcakes offers funky flavor mixes, incorporating the complex flavors of alcohol, creams, sugars, and, of course, chocolate.
But then, if I have to tell you that, you probably aren’t really into cupcakes, anyway.

Sometimes, when you don’t feel like busting out the cocoa and the mixer, and you need to satisfy that sweet tooth, you can go for a pastry from one of the fine local establishments.

Fortunately, living in a relatively big city, I find myself with no shortage of delicious options, even within walking distance.  Kickass Cupcakes offers funky flavor mixes, incorporating the complex flavors of alcohol, creams, sugars, and, of course, chocolate.

But then, if I have to tell you that, you probably aren’t really into cupcakes, anyway.

18 September 11

Another attempt at a beef barley soup, this time with the addition of turnips, which filled me with some trepidation.  How might turnips ruin my tried-and-true, nicely seasoned soup?

It’s sort of difficult to convey the final effect of a soup in a picture.  You can look at a ladle-full of ingredients and note that the end result looks pretty appetizing (if indeed it does).  You can gaze upon a bowl of murky liquid and speculate as to its contents.

Or you can just go with the opinion of my roommate, who meandered into the kitchen to ask what I was cooking, and noted that “it smells like comfort food at a family reunion.”

Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh