Monday, November 20, 2006

Recent Failures

I really am not ignoring you.

Recently I have been cooking quite a lot and trying out new recipes. But most of the results have been mediocre at best. If I won’t cook the recipe again, I’m not going to pass it on through this blog.

Here are some recent failures:

Jamaican red beans and rice – made with coconut milk, slow cooked for hours. A recipe I had pulled from a well-known food magazine. The dish was bland and tasteless. Son the Butcher even brought home some of Schaub’s homemade Spicy Jamaican sausages to help bump up the flavor quotient. While the sausages were good, I am afraid that nothing could help the lackluster dish. If anyone has a good and flavorful Jamaican red beans and rice dish, please send it over so that I can try again.

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries with Bacon Vinaigrette – I should start by saying that none of my children wanted me to cook this dish. They are not huge fans of sweet potatoes. But I love them, so I went ahead anyway. Everyone ended up eating them, and commented on how much better they were than they thought they would be, but that was about the extent of it. Not bad, not great. Strike 2.

Sea Bass: I made 3 recipes out of my new Chronicle cookbook in one week. This was the only one that wasn’t up to par. I had seen the sign at Whole Food: Sea Bass is Back! and I was sooooo excited. I had been wanting to fix this recipe, served with a lemon gremolata, for some time. Cooked with fennel, but served plainly with the broth and gremolata, the dish was bland, and not what I wanted after waiting so long for sea bass to become available again. Strike 3.

Earl Grey madeleines: I am having a tea party in a few weeks for some old and dear friends, and am testing recipes to serve. I liked this twist on a classic, which I found in a 2005 Bon Appetit, but I really felt the texture of the madeleines was wrong and that the flavor just didn’t come through. While we didn’t toss them out, I also didn’t feel that they were worthy of presentation where the 5 of us only seem to be able to get together once every 5 years or so. And those who I did serve the cookies to were equally unimpressed, so its not just my old picky self snubbing my nose at them. Strike 4.

Pretty sad, huh? But you should know that not everything we try is going to turn out great. Nothing was horrible or inedible. And my family is always gracious enough to eat what I fix anyway, but I have certain standards when it comes to passing on recipes to all of you. So, I will persevere.

Soon to come: Mary Holmstrom’s Pumpkin Pie


Tanna said...

"Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration. If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is a step forward..." Perhaps instead of failure, you are just walking the path to success.
I did the madeleines and Earl Grey madeleines out of Greenspan's Baking. I thought they were both really excellent madeleines. However, I used my favorite Green Earl Grey and all green teas tend to be rather mild and I didn't get the Ear Grey flavor I was looking for. I'm going to do them with some regular Earl Grey and see if the flavor comes through.

Tanna said...

Oops, the quote is from Thomas Edison.

Ellen said...

I've done red beans and coconut rice a few times, following two different recipes. One is here and one here Slightly different but both good. Mild, but good. I found salt and pepper were needed on both.

Mrs. B said...

Thanks for directing me to better recipes. We all need a little help sometimes. These failures certainly don't damper my spirit for the kitchen, just frustrate me, particularly when they are recipes in a celebrated cookbook or magazine. And it means less blog posts when I have such disappointments. But I am sure there will be no disapoointments today, because it is TURKEY DAY! Enjoy everyone.....