Successes and Misfires!
The title here could apply to many aspects of my life, but in this case I’m only talking about cooking. Before I get into that, hi! It’s been a while, but I figure that this blog hasn’t been around long enough to gain any regular readers who would be disappointed at the lack of posts. Therefore, I’m only disappointing myself, and that’s just par for the course… I hate that phrase. Remind me never to use it again.
I need to get myself going, move on to the present projects and not make you dwell on past anti-recipes and waiting longer for the more recent ones. So I’ll just recap the various successes and misfires I’ve had lately, the more notable ones, anyway, in vaguely chronological order.
Number 1: Cheesy Biscuits – Misfire.
This one, I think, is the perfect example of the difference between cooking and baking, and between someone who actually knows what they’re doing and someone who just sometimes makes lucky guesses. I don’t bake much, and I almost never bake anything from scratch. I think that by the time I got old enough to bake things, my mom didn’t always have time to teach me how to bake things from scratch – or, I don’t know, maybe I was always into using the pre-made mixes because they’re easier. Who knows.
Anyway, in order to use up some of the food I had left, and make something edible out of the little I had available in my kitchen. My thought process involved the knowledge that adding milk to flour would produce a biscuit-like consistency – thinking that whatever other dry ingredients they put in Bisquick couldn’t make that much difference…
The result was, um, yeah. Let’s just say that if I hadn’t added cheese, they would have been far too bland to be edible, and without any baking powder or baking soda (I can never remember the difference) it lacked something in the consistency. I was aiming for flaky, and I got gooey instead. That may have also been from the cheese.
Unless you’ve been making biscuits from scratch long enough to know what to add in, or you have Bisquick/equivalent, I don’t recommend this one.
Number 2: Smoked salmon sandwiches – Success!
I had a hankering. I did. So I got some smoked salmon and cream cheese. But I knew the whole plan would suffer without some really good bagels. Like, CRACK good. So instead I bought some cheese-topped focaccia rolls, and also some guacamole to mix it up. I did the traditional lox and cream cheese thing for breakfast (with sliced tomatoes), and then a salmon and guacamole-rolly later on. With more sliced tomatoes. And cream cheese again the next morning. (One package of the salmon lasts me about three meals if I’m the only one eating it). Oh, also – fresh cilantro. Right on the cream cheese. It was not a very strong flavor over the salmon, but still. Everything is better with fresh cilantro (before you ask, no, I don’t put it in my coffee or hot fudge or anything like that).
Number 3: Tomato Sauce, Sausage and Pasta – Success! but also Misfire 😦
It’s lucky that pasta is so easy, because that part came out fine. However, I overcooked the sausages, in an effort to avoid undercooking them. I don’t know if I’ve ever cooked sausages before… anyway, I think my mistake was turning the heat up. I had it on low in the beginning, and for some reason I decided to turn it up after a few minutes. Probably because I like it when the sides brown, and they weren’t doing it fast enough. I ate them anyway. They would have been pretty good if they were a little less done…
However, it wasn’t all bad. My second attempt at making tomato sauce turned out much like the first, but a little thicker. The first time I made it I added water, somehow forgetting that there is a ton of water inside a tomato. This time I didn’t, and I poured off some of the excess liquid as they simmered, so the end result was a bit more red and a bit less soupy than the first time I had made it. I did not do the simmering for 10 hours thing. I guess you could do that, but it’s not really necessary. I don’t precook the tomatoes at all. I don’t know how that would affect the final flavor. I’ll have to try it sometime.
This is what I put in my sauce:
olive oil (extra virgin)
some seasoned sea salt
ground pepper (I couldn’t really taste it)
If I had to guess, I would say that cilantro is not a traditional tomato sauce ingredient. I love it, though. It gives it a sweet, almost flowery tang. Almost flowery, okay? It doesn’t actually taste like flowers. It tastes like tomato sauce.
As for amounts and proportions, that all depends on which flavors you want to emphasize. Don’t start adding lots of herbs and spices until the sauce has simmered down a little bit, or you might end up with too much flavoring… (too much flavor? Is that really a thing?) This is a non-recipe, remember. Try it out, think about what you’d like in a tomato sauce, and make it your own.
At the end I put it all in a bowl with some sliced fresh mozzarella on top.
I intend to file all my experimental cooking adventures under the “Success” and “Misfire” categories from now on. Some of them might end up in between.
That pretty much catches you up to all of the recipes I haven’t followed lately. The ones that were notable enough to remember, anyway.