Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sorry, No Recipe Today

I should’ve read the recipe more carefully before I started.

I’d cut lamb and onions, added garlic, toasted saffron, sprinkled spices, and prepped dried fruits. The ingredients were in the pot and I only needed to add oil, the last ingredient.

First, I thought I’d flipped a page and was reading the wrong recipe.

No, I was reading correctly. The recipe, which served 6, called for 3 pounds of lamb, a pound of onions, and 2 liters of vegetable oil.

I tried, unsuccessfully, to think of a way this made sense.

Maybe I had a bad printing of the book? I went to amazon.com and searched inside the book for my recipe. Yes, indeed, it called for 2 liters of oil. Just to make sure the reader understood, the recipe helpfully translated: 2 liters equals 3 1/2 pints (7 cups).

I don’t think so.

Now the dilemma was in deciding how much oil to add to a recipe I’d never made before. I settled on 2 tablespoons.

I shouldn’t have bothered. The finished dish tasted horrible. Even a gallon of oil woudn't have made a difference. I ate the couscous and forgot the tagine.

It’s enough to put me off cookbooks. When I make my own food, at least I have a clear idea of what the finished dish will taste like.

I rinsed the nasty sauce off the meat, and will try and use it for something else.

Any suggestions?

Maybe I should start an event: Cooking with Second-Hand Meat.

UPDATE 4/17/08: The rinsed-off leftovers made wonderful little Lamb and Leek Meatballs that I served with Onion Avgolemeno Sauce. A happy ending!

Bob, The Rabbit EaterBob, The Rabbit Eater


Lucy said...

Oh, hello Bob. What a contented little face - and a nice surprise to end that disaster.

No idea what to try. Maybe Bob would like to try something other than rabbit? ;-)

Joanna said...

I hate it when that happens. My disasters tend to end up in the dogs' bowls, but cats are fussier ;)

I think you should tell us the name of the recipe book, as a warning to impulse buyers ;)


Maria Verivaki said...

oh god laurie - i know just how you feel...

Peter M said...

2 L is nuts! If this dish tasted horrible, it wouldn't be from oil but the recipe itself. Perhaps when you first saw the recipe, it excited you.

Sometimes, a 2nd sober look at a recipe will help you decide if it's worthy of making.

As for the previously-enjoyed lamb, make an Irish stew out of it. The Guinness beer should give it a new flavour.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Wow, that's quite a bit of oil! lol

Sorry to hear it didn't work out. Peter's suggestion of stew sounds like a good idea. Or maybe a curry? Or an interesting quesadilla? *shrugs*

Anonymous said...

I like making hash with leftover meat.

Was this recipe from a cookbook we should avoid? Maye there should be a site called "101 Cookbooks to Avoid." :-)

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday! My opinion, all birthdays should really be celebrated for at least 1 week, if not a month. :) I totally dig your before and after crab photos!

I love the photo of Bob Cat, perhaps your Bob Cat would like some 2nd time used lamb. Sorry the recipe did not work out. 2 liters of oil is kind of a lot. I have never heard of so much oil except in a deep frier. Was it supposed to be a lamb confit?

SO, what ahve you decided on the lamb? Grind it into patties? Make a meat pie? Make it into Bob food? I am now looking forward to a blog post about 2nd hand meat.

Karen Baking Soda said...

I think Bob votes for Bob-food! Sorry to hear that it didn't work out (even without the oil). Tsk was someone thinking when editing the recipe? Makes you wonder about the rest of the book...

Ivy said...

Wow, 2 litres of oil? Sorry about the disaster. How did you cook it? Maybe you could make a bulgur pilaf and add pieces of meat in it... served with some yoghurt.

teeny said...

Laurie...as with my awful attempt at that cake recipe...I knew it sounded funny...all that butter and sugar...

so, the scallop risotto stuff was another big hit with the troops. I love them lemon caper sauce that you suggested as a topper..yummy

Cheryl said...

First Happy Birthday! I'm so glad that you enjoyed yourself. I am a firm believer of the "birthday week". We're celebrating my son's b-day this week also, he's loving it. Hence...my absence from my blog.

I'm not sure that I could suggest anything for your meat, I'd be so flustered I'd need some time to regroup! :) I can't believe that the recipe called for so much oil...that's crazy. What a bummer, but yet it made for a great post.

Bob is beautiful. We have a Bob around here. He's orange too but keeps to himself. We'll call him "Bob the garbage eater" though. Can't put a bag out for even a minute without him shredding it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you had such a disappointing experience with the tagine after all that glorious crab! That was an inspired idea to use preserved lemons with spinach -- we usually dress flash-cooked spinach with lemon juice, but the preserved lemons would give it extra Pfiff. Hau'oli la hanau, and many happy returns!

CaliforniaKat said...

Xronia Polla L, and hello to Bob! I love it when pets are named Bob.

I tend to think if you have an instinct about something when cooking as you did, it's very likely spot on. I can't imagine anything with that much oil tasting good.

Núria said...

Lovely kitten!!!

I hate it when something like this happens to me!!! Awwwwhhhh. I'm with Peter, a stew with the lamb and some veggies would be wonderful :D

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I hate when we have such high expectations from a dish and it dissapoints. I know you have more successes than not so when life gives you leftover lamb...make Moussaka:D

pam said...

Oh, I hate when that happens! But I love your kitty cat!

Pixie said...

Happens to me most of the time. (Unfortunately!) Adorable kitty.

Laurie Constantino said...

Lucy, sadly Bob said no (or rather he looked at me like I was out of my mind and pointedly walked away from his bowl). As Joanna says, cats are fussier.

Joanna, it is the Momo cookbook (from the London restaurant). I am sympathetic on the oil issue - editing a cookbook is very hard to do - it requires an attention to detail that many of us don't have. But the oil isn't why it tasted bad - I attribute that to too much saffron and too much sweet fruit.

Maria, yes, no doubt it has happened to all of us.

Peter, no, it wasn't the oil that made it taste bad - it was, as you say, the recipe itself. A 2nd sober look at a recipe is good advice. Irish stew is a good idea, if not for now, then for the remnants of Easter lamb.

Mike, I settled on meatballs. When in doubt, grind it up!

MMM, Lulu, I'm always up for hash! As for avoiding the cookbook, it's hard to say. Everyone's palate is different.

Lannae, thanks for the birthday wishes, and I'm so glad you liked the crab pics. It wasn't supposed to be lamb confit, it was just a stew - had to be a typo. Bob wouldn't eat it, so I did indeed grind it for meatballs, which were yummy. Thank goodness!

Baking Soda, yes it has made me nervous about the rest of the book and will definitely make me read more carefully if I try another recipe from it.

Ivy, I've never made bulgur pilaf - I'll have to look into that.

Teeny, yes exactly like the cake. Lemon-caper sauce on scallops is so good - I've made it for our Chistmas Eve seafood extravaganza more than once. Glad you like it!

Cheryl, a birthday week? What a good idea! I'll definitely have to suggest it for next year. I think all Greek cats are garbage eaters. When we walk through the village streets at night, you regularly see them popping out of dumpsters. And I've learned the hard way never to leave garbage bags in places that are accessible to cats.

Manju, thanks for the birthday wishes! As for the spinach, when you catch a flying jar of preserved lemons, it really spurs your imagination.

Kat, I'm a big believer in one-syllable pet names. I actually wanted to name him Red, but my co-owner said no.

Nuria, Bob is a very good cat (except when he brings his rabbits in the house to eat on the comfort of our cream-colored carpet). As for kitchen disasters, yes I really do hate them - it's so discouraging when you're looking forward to something tasty and then it isn't.

Val, you are absolutely correct, this would have been really good for moussaka - next time!

Pam, thanks for the sympathy! I'm pretty fond of Bob myself.

Pixie, naw, I don't believe it happens to you "most" of the time. I've read your blog, so I know very well you make wonderful food.

Cakelaw said...

LOL - I love your photo of Bob the rabbit eater.

Anonymous said...

Laurie Konstantino
Hello from Greece, Thebes,
I like your blog