Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I can't win

I have been on an experimental kick in the kitchen lately. Maybe we can blame it on the crappy air in the city recently. The weather has been "Widespread dust", or "Sand" or something equally crappy most of the week... and no, I am not exaggerating. I seem to have corrupted my "print screen" tool or I'd capture and post a snap of my weather gadget for you... sand is an actual description used in local "current conditions". Anyway, crappy weather means crappy sinuses. Can't breathe, can't smell, therefore, no appetite. I get hungry, as normal, but food just doesn't seem interesting. I can't smell anything so I can't taste... food is boring, so I guess I've become desperate and my need to experiment has kicked into high gear.

I've tried a couple of new bread recipes this week. One was a cheesy onion loaf... the bread with the onion was very tasty, but the cheese was the basic sharp cheddar from the commissary. Boring. I think it would have been best with a more interesting cheese, but barring that, it probably would have been better with no cheese. I also tried a recipe for some basic yeast rolls (bridge rolls). I screwed up the measurement on the milk... had to substitute dry yeast proofed with milk for yeast cake, and forgot to subtract the milk I used from the total for the recipe. I managed to come up with a good dough, but the baking time/temp was thrown off from what the recipe wanted and the bottom of the rolls burned before the tops browned... sigh... The good news is, I had fun in the attempt, saw where the problems happened, and learned a thing or two. Next time will be better.

Tonight's experiment involved mushrooms. Not THAT kind of experiment, get back on track! I had a nice bunch of mushrooms arrive with my veggie delivery this week. I immediately thought that they would (should!) go very nicely, sauteed with fresh garlic and butter, on top of a rare steak. Problem was the lack of steak. I realize that there are other things that can be done with mushrooms... but I didn't want anything else. Alas, the steak fairy never showed up, and it was time to use the mushrooms or they'd go off - no steak, no roast, no stew or soup. Guess it was hors d'oeuvres or nothing. Why is it the more I LACK inspiration, the more complicated the experiment becomes? Here's the recipe: (amounts are approximate because I didn't measure)

Stuffed Mushrooms:
12 large mushrooms, cleaned with the stems cut off (leaving a little cup in the center)
12 mushroom stems, diced finely
2 tbsp finely diced onion
1/5 tbsp finely diced garlic
2 tbsp finely diced bell pepper
some butter (you figure out how much as you go, the mixture should be moist, but no liquid)
salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, tumeric (I think I will use curry powder next time though)
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 leftover burnt-bottom roll, burnt bit chopped off, crumbled into tiny bits, approximately 1/4 cup.

Saute diced mushroom stems, onion, pepper and garlic in butter. Add spices. Add cheese and crumbs. Cook until done, well mixed. Cool enough to stuff the mushrooms without burning yourself. Arrange on a microwave-safe plate, and nuke for 4 minutes.

I served these along with a casserole made with chicken, fresh broccoli, leftover oven roasted potatoes, covered in alfredo sauce from a jar, and topped with cheese. I also salvaged the rest of the rolls (cut off the burnt side) and heated them up with a bit of a garlic/cheese topping. Kids loved it, and I have plenty of casserole for leftovers.

Strange thing is, as soon as Brian sat down, Brad put a mushroom on his plate and Brian wolfed it down. Brian HATES mushrooms. Brad put one on Honor's plate. She gave it *that* look and said that she was " NOT going to eat that!" Honor LOVES mushrooms. Brad looked back at Brian and asked if he ate the mushroom. Brian said "What mushroom?" The round thing, that was on your plate? That you inhaled without a thought? Yea, that was a mushroom. Brian insisted that it tasted like meat (probably meaning meatloaf). He was surprised, but admitted that he really liked it. Honor insisted she did not like that kind of meat, nor did she care to hear that it was not meat... and the logic behind "how can you say you do not like it, when I've never made it before?" No effect at all! She didn't eat it.

I guess one problem with experimenting with recipes, is this kind of thing happens often. I find a food cooked one way that one kid likes, but the other won't touch, but the same food cooked another way, is vice versa. Can't win! Ah well, they're not starving. Another problem is when I make something the kids really like... I can't always duplicate the recipe... a while back I made something I dubbed "Spaghetti pie". Brian loved it. He still raves over it. He keeps asking for it. I have no idea what it was that I made, and that I obviously named, that he would remember as spaghetti pie. Sounds like a good excuse to experiment...


Unknown said...

I love me a new recipe. Thanks for posting it!

junglemama said...

Kids are so funny! I am not sure any of my kids would eat whole mushrooms!

Nicole said...

I love mushrooms and those sound really yummy. Although they did sound better on a steak! Kids never cease to amaze me.

Tina in CT said...

I love mushrooms.

rachaelgking said...

Now I want some spaghetti pie! That DOES sound like it couldn't be bad... definitely let me know if you experiment!

Simple Answer said...

Yep. I've got one mushroom eater, one non-mushroom eater. I'm with you - they aren't starving!

Sand. We've had it as well. I find I'm OCD about washing my hands - I always feel gritty or dirty or something I'm not used to!