Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mark Bittman is not writing for me

It has happened several times now. I am reading the paper and I check out dining and wine and peruse the recipes and very often I'll find something that sounds good. I might even print the recipe and then very occasionally, I'll actually make it. I made the Chicken Bouillabaisse for a Crowd and it was excellent. But if it is a Mark Bittman recipe, it always disappoints. And it is a big disappointment, because his recipes sound so good.
Illustration- Fried Chick Peas with Chorizo and Spinach. In his description he says that the chick peas become crunchy and mealy and he claims that the chorizo melts and colors the oil a lovely orange. He says the spinach will release its moisture and then that will evaporate into an wonderful iron-y flavor. He says it will be amazing. Let's face it, he says a lot of things.
(Now perhaps you are thinking, crunchy and mealy? orange and iron-y? What sounded good about this? Well, it has 2 superfoods and it is a one pot dish and that counts for a lot lately)
The chickpeas did not get crunchy, the chorizo was too hot, I used kale instead of spinach because it was what I had and I didn't detect the iron. I added a cup of chicken broth at the end or the whole thing would have been dry to top it all off. Now, in Mark Bittman's defense, I used too much chorizo because it made sense to use it up and there was that kale substitution and I forwent the breadcrumbs and extra 1/2 cup of oil altogether because who needs the extra work and calories, so maybe I cannot wholly blame him, but I still do. (my sister has a refrigerator magnet that says, "I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was going to blame you."
When my bf asked what I had for dinner, I said a disappointing chickpea and sausage stew and he said, "Is 'disappointing' part of the title?"
It could be. Dinner tonight will be disappointing stew, a not quite living up to expectations salad and hopes crushing cake.
For tonight's creative reinterpretation of the disappointing stew I added some chicken from a carcass that has been a round for a few days, (a disappointing carcass, because the bird itself came from Wegman's and even though it was organic, I have a deep suspicion of Wegmans so I thought all along there was something "off" about it and then my cheap supermarket baster melted when I was basting it, and then I was sure I detected a sinister chemical flavor) and some Rao's marinara. I'm starting to think that Rao's marinara is a balm for all wounds. It is the savory equivalent of whipped cream.
It was better, but I'm not making it again.

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