Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Recipe Fails

If you've been here more than once or twice, you probably know that I love to cook. I learned to cook as a child, spending time in the kitchen with my grandmother and my father. In my late teens and early twenties, I started buying cookbooks for myself, and spent hours in my apartment kitchens, cooking up all kinds of vegetarian dishes for friends. Now I have a big ol' family, and I cook pretty much constantly. I'm forever trying new recipes, tweaking old ones, and experimenting with various ingredients. Most of the time, things go well. But sometimes... not.

Last night was one of  those times. I attempted to make a lentil and amaranth casserole from a recipe I found online. It seemed like a great, easy recipe... saute a little onion and carrot, mix together with some dry lentils, amaranth and vegetable stock. Add a little salt and pepper. Bake. Seemed like a perfect recipe for a busy weeknight. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, except that I added some chopped kale, for a little green. I'm not sure if it was me that went wrong, or if it was just a bad recipe, but let me tell you...  nothing about this dish went as expected. It took about 15 minutes longer to cook than it was supposed to, and it never quite achieved "casserole" consistency. It was definitely more stew-like. We were OK with that... we like stew. It didn't look particularly appetizing, but looks aren't everything. Well, it didn't taste so appetizing, either. We were able to fix it up a bit with extra seasoning to make it edible, but it is definitely NOT something we'll attempt again.

The moral of this story is that even someone who has 30+ years of cooking experience is not immune to cooking disasters. You win some, you lose some. This is why it's best not to try out a new recipe for the first time on a special occasion. I made that mistake once, long ago, when I tried a new homemade ravioli recipe for a dinner party. The pasta was too thick, didn't cook properly, and the whole dish was heavy as lead. Awful. Embarrassing. Lesson Learned. I was able to laugh about it later, but at the time? Notsomuch.

Speaking of new recipes... tonight we'll be trying another new thing: Black bean spaghetti. The Man picked some up while shopping recently, because he thought it looked interesting. So I'm going to try making it into a simple pasta-and-veggie dish... fingers crossed it turns out good!

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