Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Food hits and misses

Maybe it's because I'm pregnant, but I have been taking it really personally when a recipe just does not work out.

Tears and temper tantrums, people.

Tears because I've ruined, RUINED, a meal.  Temper tantrums because, dammit, the DB is going to eat what I've served and STOP COMPLAINING because I'M PREGNANT you ASS, MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD IF THIS IS NOT UP TO PAR!!

Last night I made pancakes (part of living in another country that totally obsesses about traditions means that you tend to suddenly develop a passion for your own and Shrove Tuesday is Pancake Tuesday, Episcopalians and Anglicans will totally back me up here).  The pancakes were FINE.  It's just... well, it's not MY fault that maple syrup comes in such little jars here.  And can only be purchased at certain stores.  When they happen to have it in stock.  And that we also ran out of jam.  But you know what?  HONEY works pretty damn good.  And it's also not my fault if you are not completely stuffed after eating four plate sized pancakes because that's a damn lot of pancakes y'all.  And that we ran out of orange juice because I've developed a NEED for more vitamin C.  But, HEY ISN'T IT GREAT THAT YOU CAN TOTALLY MICROWAVE RISOTTO!!??  And 11 year old Late Harvest Chardonnay isn't THAT crazy of a pairing.  Sorry that we were out of Champagne.

Okay, it wasn't my best meal ever.  It was also NOT the worst.

Previously, in the Archaeogoddess kitchen, were several weeks of When-will-I-find-a-good-chicken-masala-recipe-and-stop-trying-to-killing-us-all.

First there was All Recipes' Chicken Tikka Masala with over 1,200 reviews and 4 1/2 stars - almost 26,000 people have saved this recipe!!  So of course I'm going to make it and slavishly stick to the recipe - it's obviously Just That Good.  Note to self (and everyone else) - READ THE REVIEWS FIRST!  Because they will tell you, right off the bat, to leave out ALL THE SALT.  This recipe calls for 4 teaspoons of salt in the marinade and 3 teaspoons of salt in the sauce itself.  Even if you reduce the salt by a bit IT STILL COMES OUT WICKED SALTY.  In fact, it's diarrhea-inducing salty.  So no more than 1/4 tsp in the marinade and 1/4 tsp in the sauce!!  When we're braver we'll try this one again.  Without the salt.

Then there was a Chicken Masala recipe that I'm not going to link to.  But know this: if a masala recipe has ONLY curry and turmeric as spices then it is NOT A MASALA.  It's a CURRY and a damn bland one at that.  Perfect for Danish palates (the DB insisted it wasn't bad) but simply horrible if you've, you know, ever actually eaten Indian food at an Indian restaurant and expect your food to taste of something other than yellow.  I flat out refused to eat the leftovers of this one.

So it was with great relief when I made a FANTASTIC meal the other night.  Sauteed mushrooms, bacon and lentils - OH MY!  This recipe was still good even though I brilliantly forgot to buy lemons and had to use the fake lemon juice I keep in the fridge for emergencies and instant-buttermilk-making.  I also made a few adjustments of my own.

  • I fry up bacon bits by cutting the bacon into chuncks and THEN frying it, this sometimes results in bacon clumps rather than bits, but you know what, I'm okay with that
  • I dumped the bacon clumps and the rendered fat and everything into the lentils before serving
  • I mixed the parsley into the lentils before serving (oh and it wasn't flat leaf parsley... I can't get FLAT leaf parsley right now, so EXCUSE ME recipe tyrants!)
  • I minced the garlic and then left it in because who the hell removes GARLIC from a dish??  Hell, next time I may add MORE garlic
  • I served the mix over a bed of mixed greens and then drizzled olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice over the whole shebang and it was AWESOME
  • I served this with a side of cornbread as one reviewer suggested and that was a FANTASTIC pairing for some strange reason
Reheating the left overs was a snap - just dump it in a pan and re-fry it for a bit.  Or turn the heat down low and put a lid on it.  You should probably not do what I did which was to put a lid on it and turn the heat to HIGH because "oh, that'll make it heat up faster" but even slightly, uh, burnt, it STILL tasted really good.

I had gobs of mushrooms left over, because, well, I did, okay?  And so I whipped up a Jamie Oliver mushroom risotto.  I have a real love-hate relationship with Mr. Oliver.  On one hand, he turns out a great dish and is all about getting people to eat better.  On the other hand, I do NOT live somewhere with a weekly farmers market with veggies from around the world, nor do I live near a fish mongers, nor does my local butcher know anything about the weird cuts of meat you, Essex boy, are constantly suggesting.  So it is NOT in fact, much cheaper to eat the Hipster Oliver Way because I don't live in LONDON, nor am I Upper Middle Class, so I's po' and in order to make your fine food, J.O., I have become the Queen of Substitutions.

  • Grød ris instead of that fancy Aborio stuff, they are both short grained rices with a hefty price difference
  • used button mushrooms - sorry dude, but that's what I had, judge me and I'll give you a hair cut with my vegetable peeler
  • dried thyme and fresh curly leaf parsley CAUSE THAT'S HOW I ROLL
  • still forgetting to buy lemons... used bottled lemon juice... now out of lemon juice AND HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO MAKE BISCUITS NOW??
And you know what?  It still tasted good.  And when the DB microwaved it last night to fluff out his pancake-for-dinner meal, he enjoyed it!  HA!  *fist pump*


  1. Anonymous4:57 PM

    Don't cry, honey! (It's probs the hormones, though, right?)

    My pancakes were horrible last night, I added too much water. Ahh well. There's always next year.

  2. i wish i could blame the hormones for my culinary meltdowns.

    remember, this too shall pass ;)


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