Friday, January 27, 2012

Dinner Disappointment and the Sad Face of Procrastination

Maybe you all don't fall into this same trap, and in which case that makes you smarter than I so go pat yourself on the back.  I sometimes find that I have allowed myself to be led down a rosepath by something someone says on the internet (shocking, I know).  Not so much recently, as there are fewer and fewer sources that I fail to take with a huge helping of salt.  Especially where food is concerned.  I mean, look at some of the stuff out there.  Somebody called themself a genius and put this up as a recipe, a hot dog wrapped in a tortilla.  Oh, and the hilariously mocked Rachel Ray classic "late night bacon" recipe is good for a laugh (at least, the comments are).

The Pioneer Woman has a good track record in my kitchen, and usually doesn't steer you wrong for recipes.  With sites out there like Smitten Kitchen, Savory Sweet Life, and the Pioneer Woman, with step-by-step photographic instructions, I allow myself to be lulled into a false sense of kitchen security.  I can make anything with the proper instruction, I insist to myself.  I can be a kitchen goddess. (No, I cannot)   And likewise, they wouldn't post it if it weren't good?  (Yes, yes they would)

I've been burned by this sentiment before. 

Early in our relationship I invited D, then pre-boyfriend, over for a dinner.  I wanted to make something new and fantastic rather than something tried and true and less exciting (this I came to call Mistake #1). 

I found some blog on the internets touting this stew with red wine as one of the ingredients.  It looked good in the photos and I trusted it would come out looking like the photos (Mistake #2).  And I'd had hobo stews around the campfire for years on our family's canoe trips, so it was just switching out the beer ingredient for a wine ingredient, and therefore would be so much fancier.  And when it said to use the entire bottle of wine (Mistake #3), I tipped 3/4 of it into the stewpot, tra-la-laaa, congratulating myself on erring on the side of caution. 

I don't need to tell you about my confusion at the resulting purple swamp in the stewpot.  Nor my embarrassment.  Nor my urgent, panicked arm-flapping when D arrived expecting dinner and finding instead a mystery muck that wasn't even food-colored. 

*Like eating this, but less good

I was not unduly prideful about it, no, I insisted (post-taste-test) no no, we don't have to eat this, why don't we go out instead?  Poor D, opting for what he knew to be the chivalrous approach, counter-insisted that he would eat what was prepared for him.  While I gave it up as a total loss and I think I ate some carrots out of the fridge or something.  He wouldn't hear a word against the wine stew at the time.  He didn't just fall off that cliff, he took a flying leap.  Two bowls.  After he had this relationship thing nailed down he fessed up in detail about the resulting severe stomach and intestinal distress.  Two bowls. 

Fast forward to the present day; I have redeemed myself in the cooking department since.  D didn't really need to be cajoled into trying the recipe for Eggs Florentine with Goetta that I found on the internets.  All that was required was that I began my text to him with the word:  GOETTA

*Here be Goetta
 Though we have merely adopted Cincy as our home, rather than being born into it, D is probably more ravenous a goetta-supporter than some Cincy natives.  He tells me that Cincy is the biggest consumer of goetta on the planet now, thanks to folks whose families immigrated here generations ago.  And yes, we've been to one of the Goetta festivals here.  Not the other one though.  Maybe this year. 

But I digress.  D is a huge fan of breakfast-for-dinner (though not of dinner-for-breakfast).  An egg casserole-type dish using spinach and cheese and a meat just sounds hard to screw up.
For the time it took to prepare on a weeknight and unexceptional blandness, I was sorely disappointed in this recipe.  Granted, I didn't follow it to the letter.  Honestly, who has 18 spare eggs sitting in the fridge?  I had surmised (incorrectly) that it would just bring out the flavor of the other ingredients that much more if there were less eggs.  It appeared out of the oven looking quite lovely and smelling great too.  But it was so bland that we had to grudgingly go through the leftovers with HP sauce, with worcestershire sauce, with okonomiyaki sauce.  Disappointing. Perhaps if I had used 18 eggs instead of (ahem) 9, it might have been good.   Although I'm inclined to think it would just have tasted more eggy.

But a silver lining there was, in the wake of this culinary defeat.
(probably as a result of, let's be honest)

D has taken an interest in taking up his Alton Brown cookbook and teaching himself how to properly cook.  Which I applaud and support.  If this week's brussels sprouts were any indication, I shall enjoy my continued support of his endeavor.
In other news: 
My happy little heuchera friends kept waiting for me to bring them in to the garage (there's a window in there).  But the weather was so mild, and they seemed to do well enough so I left them.  And left them.  And when winter- real winter- finally hit, it hit with a sheet of ice.  All of the planters were frozen to the porch. 

This is the face of procrastination.

Poor guys. When D tried to pull one of the planters inside, he failed to dislodge it but succeeded in shearing the ceramic so hard it cracked.  So we actually had to leave them out there.

Even the grass froze.  

Not sure the heuchera can survive being literally (not figuratively) frozen solid.  Time will tell I suppose. 

Photos are used without permission.
*All other photos belong to me.

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