This is a “How Not To” post in cooking. Usually, when I cook, it’s either because I am trying to please someone else or I am avoiding other tasks.
Some cookbooks or websites offer wanna-be bakers and cooks like me (kinda) possible ways to compensate if one key ingredient from a recipe is missing from the cupboard. For instance, what to do if a recipe calls for eggs, and there are none in the fridge.
Unfortunately for my food, and those I who I intend to feed, I usually forget to research this when I am short an ingredient, and so I make it up as I go along. I compensate.
A few years ago, I wanted to reward my brother for changing the oil in my car. So I made him no-bake cookies, a tasty combination of peanut butter, chocolate, and oats – his favorite!
This should have been fail-safe, as the name of the cookie indicates – no baking is needed: Mix. Set. Serve. Easy.
Except for on this day, I happened to not have as much peanut butter as the recipe called for, so I just doubled up (tripled-up?) up on using regular butter. I compensated.
I remember being in the doorway, my brother walking from the driveway towards the front door, a little greasy and tired, and probably looking forward to a treat. I was ready with my cookies, very proud to have accomplished another kitchen feat, and that we could come to such a friendly agreement.
Have you ever had a mouthful of butter with oats? Neither had my brother. He projectile-spat the homemade thank-you cookies all over my mother’s front porch and lawn, while I stood there, the plate of cookies in my hand and dismay on my face.
I don’t know that we’ve ever had the same kind of agreement since.
I still try to cook to please, though.
My roommates have grown gigantasaurus zucchinisaurs in their garden. So tonight, left all alone, I decided to chop and grate one of the beasts into a yummy, homemade, garden zucchini soup for all of us to enjoy.
Because the zucchini were so large, I tripled the recipe. Took me a lifetime to grate just one of them. Then, I added the garlic, and 6 or so cups of stock and waited for the boil. While I waited, I realized that I had forgotten that with soups, if the recipe is doubled, the amount of stock water isn’t. Too much water = horrible watery soups.
I looked at the boiling, spattering pot of green. It was a bubbling swamp – a very watery, bubbling swamp.
I had added far too much water to my grated zucchini.
Instead of boiling for the suggested 7 minutes, I decided that the more it boiled, the thicker the soup would get, so I let the pot boil and plop all over the stove top for 25 minutes while I trawled through Facebook.
What happened after boiling for all that time? It was still watery. And the flavor seemed to have vaporized.
If I had thick cream, I would have added it to the pot; however, all I had to compensate for the cream was yogurt, and . . . . . I don’t know. I just didn’t want to do that to my yogurt.
So, scoop by scoop, I added the boiled zucchini to a food processer and spun it into oblivion. I tried to drain the water from the scoops of green as I did so. I took one of those big spoons that have the holes in them so I could scoop, drain, spin, scoop drain, spin.
This also was taking a lifetime, so I tried to just drain the whole pot into the sink at once so I could get through the scooping and spinning part faster. Instead of using a colander, I used the lid of the pot as I tipped the batch into the sink to drain out the excess water.
It was kind of heavy, but it held . . . . . .it held . . . . . . .. it held . . . . . .and then it slipped. About half of the remaining batch splashed and spattered down the sink, transforming the sink into steaming green.
I didn’t even care at this point.
A few more scoops and spins of the rest of the boiled garden veg, and . .tada! I had a hot soupy pot of flavorless green.
To compensate for the flavor that I had boiled out to compensate for the excess stock water I had poured too much of, I then took from the spice rack something labeled “Mixed Herbs”.
I don’t know what herbs are mixed in there, but I added about . .1/2 cup? I don’t know. I just opened the cap, and dumped the flavor into my swamp-in-a-pot.
Then, I spooned myself a bowl, and, tada again!!! Zucchini Soup!!!
Tastes just like watery herbs. Dinner?