06 February 2006

Dinner

Okay, so, those of you who cook:

What do you do when you cook something that's really not good? I mean, it's dinner. I made dinner. A catfish fillet (the rice and vegetables were great and are already gone). I love catfish. I've never ruined a piece of catfish.

But tonight I ruined the catfish. It's not overcooked or anything; all I did was sprinkle a little lemon juice and dill and pepper on it and put some Arabic Garden salad on the top (peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers) and stick it in the oven. And let me tell you, some combination of those things made it taste really fishy.

I know, I know: you have to wonder about a food that people really like except sometimes it tastes like what it is. Still, it tastes fishy. It takes like the Hillsborough River fishy.

So, fellow bachelor cooks: what do you do in this circumstance? I certainly don't feel like cooking anything else. I'm not going to thaw out another fillet and try again. I don't really have anything else easy to fix. I feel terribly, terribly guilty any time I throw out food, especially this much food. Especially food I know the cat would enjoy (he'll get a little). But I don't really want to choke it down, either.

Oh well. I haven't ruined a dinner in a long time. I guess one misstep isn't that bad. Time to boil up some edamame and make a protein shake. Mmm! Dinner!

1 comment:

Tyler said...

There is a day that I remember from when I was a LOT younger, though still living in Florida where Dad made dinner and it was wholly unedible. I believe that the actual description used was "This tastes like Catfood." How we knew, I'm not sure, but I do know that it was a fish dish as well.

I myself have had a couple dishes that wandered dangerously into the unpleasant catagory, but normally I can either scrape off the offending material and mask with another more potent material, or I quickly dispose of the offending meal entirely and hope no one noticed. Now what to do if you are cooking FOR people, that I have not yet experienced, though I have no doubt that it will happen eventually.

What I have found is that I feel bad for having ruined what was a dinner, we'll stay away from the "good" moniker for now, but I would feel a lot worse if I still ate it. CHalk it up to educating yourself on the hows and whys of things going and not going together and file it away so that it will never appear on your stovetop again.

But the other side of that is when it all works wonderfully and you forget what you did to make it work. I have made several things that were fantastic, so I was told at the time, but cannot for the life of me re-create it because I either didn't measure what I was putting in, or didn't remember all of the various spices that found their way into the dish. I should probably start a recipe book or something so that I can remember, or some of these might be lost forever.

But really, I find that part of the charm of cooking. Knowing that nothing will ever be exactly the same, but having the fundamentals to be able to come close repeatedly.

I'll leave with one tip I have found. If you sweat the chopped vegetables in olive oil and then remove them from the skillet before browning the meat, only to return them to the pan once it has been de-glazed, it will make for a FANTASTIC sauce base with far more depth and richness than if you had sauted the veggies and then left them in the pan while browning.

My entire spaghetti sauce is based around this process.

Hope tonight is a better dinner. Leftover Superbowl ribs, wings, sliced turkey, sliced beef, and some Red Beans and Rice to top it all off. Mmmmmm, Tums.