Sunday, September 03, 2006

I'm Off My Game

I decided that Saturday night would be tapas night. I felt like a little noshing and sangria and those little bites from Spain filled the bill. I proceeded to root around my cookbook shelves and unbelievably, I found that I did not own a tapas cookbook, or even a cookbook from Spain. Shame on me. I immediately remedied that by ordering one off Amazon, but that didn’thelp me plan a menu. I hit Epicurious and but wasn’t satisfied, so I just googled tapas and found a few recipes. On the menu:

Grilled sausage
Patata brava
Ajillo mushrooms
Bruschetta (my daughter’s contribution – as we have an enormous amount of basil and roma , tomatoes)

The results:

The sangria, made Friday night in a huge glass crock with red wine, limes, oranges, lemons, was just mediocre. It was probably the wine I used, but rather disappointing overall.
The grilled sausage was not homemade, so I can’t take any credit for it. But it was good.
Patata brava, which is cubed potatoes fried in olive oil and served tossed with a brava sauce was also mediocre. The first batch of cubes did not fry up well. I blame the olive oil. They broke up and stuck to the botton of the pan and looked rather pathetic. The second batch, cooked in a combo of olive and vegetable oils turned out a bit better, but I was unhappy at this point, so I probably didn’t give the second batch a fair shake on flavor. The sauce was quite spicy, so at least the sangria was put to good use putting the fire out in our mouths.
Ajillo mushrooms, which are cooked with garlic, sherry, lemon juice, and paprika was just plain boring and the combination just didn’t work for us. I had looked forward to sopping up the juices with some bread, but even that was a bust.
The ceviche, made Saturday morning with scallops, shrimp, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onions, cilantro and lime juice was refreshing and bright. It put a smile on our faces and almost dimmed the sadness we felt over the rest of the dishes.
My daughter’s bruschetta was fantastic as always. She mixes fresh perlini mozzarella (available at Trader Joes), roma tomatoes, basil, garlic, balsamic and olive oil. She lets it all marinate awhile and we served it on a rustic loaf. I think it is better served on a toasted baguette piece, however, so I failed on that score.

So overall, I felt I had failed. Maybe I took some short cuts by not trying things that were more challenging. Maybe it was the combination of dishes. Any way you look at it, it was a disappointing evening. So I will wait for my cookbook to arrive, and I will try again.

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle. —James Russell Lowell

1 comment:

Helene said...

Seems that we encountered the same problems this weekend. Our white wine sangria was pretty blah too. I finf that if I cook the potatoes a little in the oven they fry better in the sautee pan. For the mushroom a little bit of crushed up coriander seeds and tomato paste might have done the trick (my mom's recipe. She adds tomato sauce and white wine too).
Looking forward to your soup testings!