As a general rule, I consider myself a pretty good cook. I can make a healthy meal that tastes good and gets people fed. I made it through college mostly by cooking my own food. I use recipes that my mom has taught me in her effort to make certain I can feed myself, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job. Until now.
Recently I just can’s seem to get my cooking groove on. It’s mostly bad when I am trying new things, but there’s only so much chicken Sean and I can take. We don’t eat pork and only have beef on very rare occasions. This really limits our options on protein. Then, there are things/ways that Sean won’t eat. He doesn’t like green vegetables, although I generally make them anyway. If veggies are cooked, he doesn’t like them to be crispy or crunchy. In other words, he like mushy vegetables… ew.
So in an attempt to accommodate my pickiness and his weirdness, I’ve tried some new recipes. And poor Sean has willingly gone along. Some of them have been mentioned in the “Food I’m Eating” section of my blog. But I stopped writing there after a lot of the recipes I tried turned out to be pretty gross.
So this all started when we first moved to Atlanta, and I didn’t have a job yet. I spent a lot of my time surfing the web and saw lots of awesome recipes (or so I thought they’d be awesome). The first thing I made was this treat called a Monkey Bar. It was essentially a banana-chocolate chip goody which was really tasty, but the recipe was so large that I made a huge panful that neither Sean or I could finish. I ended up sending most of them to work with him and giving the rest to family members when they visited. That recipe wasn’t so bad except for how much it made.
The next attempt at a new recipe was Oven-Roasted Tomato Soup. In this one you actually oven-roast the tomatoes yourself, then blend them up and mix in a little cream. I cut the tomatoes in half, oiled and seasoned them, and roasted them. My first clue should have been that they didn’t look anything like they were supposed to. They were dry-looking and overall unhappy tomatoes. Also, I added WAY too much pepper on this one. After I pureed the roasted tomatoes in the food processor that I like to call a blender, and added a little cream we ate! It felt like I was eating a spicy mouth-burning soup that wasn’t very good at all. Sean ate all of his and smiled saying he thought it was great. This was way before I’d worn him down with weird creations, so he was happy to humor me.
The next disaster was a while later when I had a job, so I could afford to buy ingredients that we normally don’t. I got the stuff to make a potato soup recipe that I read about in a magazine. It was called Baked Potato Soup, and I was supposed to “bake” the potatoes in the microwave. I have a theory that if anything needs to go in the microwave for longer than 5 minutes, you should just cook it. However, we all know it takes hours to bake a potato. So I decided to boil them. If I did it right, they would come out the same consistency as a baked potato. Except for the fact that I didn’t do it right. The potatoes were overdone and really mushy. I added milk and whatnot and it was pretty much just a giant pot of mashed potatoes.
It would have been great for Thanksgiving or some other large occasion where there would be a lot of people to feed. Sean ate the bowl I made for him, but decided not to eat the leftovers. Because I refuse to waste, I set out to eat them by myself. I had it for lunch every day at work. It began to stop tasting good after the first day of potato lunch. I tried to eat it like hummus, dipping carrots and celery in it. Im pretty sure it went bad after a week, because I started getting ill every time I ate it. Sean eventually had to throw it away because I refused to waste it.
The next adventure was another try at tomato soup. I’ve had some really good tomato soups in my past, and I have been trying to recreate that at home. However, I suffered another failure with this one. The recipe I tried was a pretty complex 3-tomato recipe with canned whole, canned crushed, and dried tomatoes. It even had celery in it, so I could sneak in a green veggie without Sean knowing. Well, after a long and arduous soup-making process with which Sean helped. We sat down to taste what looked like a pretty delicious soup. Only… it wasn’t very good at all. It tasted too strongly of dried tomatoes and was way too earthy tasting for a tomato soup. The consistency and texture was something like tomato sauce for pasta. I couldn’t even finish mine this time. This was one I could not even imagine trying to eat at work everyday. Another batch of food down the drain. Sean was nice enough to eat the whole bowl, but didn’t ask for seconds. He told me it would be great on some spaghetti, but even I wouldn’t eat it again… no matter what it was on.
The most recent recipe failure was my attempt to combine Sean’s likes with hopes of masking the dislikes. It was a Cheesy Chicken Casserole. Anyone who knows me well will testify that I have a strong dislike of the fowl and cheese combination. I feel like they just can’t coexist in the same dish. I was willing to set this aside in hopes of making a veggie dish that Sean would eat. First you cooked chicken, then added frozen veggies and rice, then you poured a mixture of cream of mushroom and cheddar cheese soup over the mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and crackers and bake! It had the potential to be good… except for the can of tomatoes that you were also supposed to add to the mix.
Sean started eating, suspicious of the mass of vegetables that were obviously visible, no matter how much cheese was on them. When I took my first bite I knew… This was another food disaster. The huge chunks of tomato were just gross and there weren’t enough crackers on top to mask how weird the cream of mushroom and cheddar soups tasted together. We finished the meal for that night, and had leftovers once. I came home and Sean had thrown the rest away. It was for the best, though, since we both knew we didn’t want it again.
After that Sean suggested I lay off trying new recipes for a while. I wasn’t too offended considering my record thus far. So, for now, I’ll stick to the oldie-but-goody recipes that I know how to cook and how to cook well. Who cares if chicken pot pie is not a year-round food. And so what if we have tacos one a week. And there’s nothing wrong with baked chicken. I need to maybe take smaller experimental steps when it comes to the things I know and don’t know about cooking. Regardless, I’ll hopefully have some good new recipes that I won’t fail at making soon! Here’s to hoping I can get some good eats!