Sunday, September 21, 2008

Failed Cooking Experiments. . .

OK I confess, I experiment a lot, but that is a good thing. Right now I think that I make the best darn chicken soup out there (or at least in my world). It is a basic recipe that can be moulded one way or another. Sometimes it is a basic chicken and veggies, or chicken and rice, my current favorite is a play on yummy muligatawny soup (with curry and coconut milk). I have made different types of gluten free breads with varying success, in those cases I found that I wasn't feeling very healthy eating them, so I have been holding back on those until I can increase my reprotire of knowledge on which recipes work and look good. Last week I made a fairly decent Oatmeal and Millet based bread, I think I will work with that a bit more.

Now for the experiment that is the most amusing to me and which prompted me to write it down. I got into a mexican cooking kick, most likely because I love the food (Yum). So I found numerous recipe's to start experimenting with. I got fairly good at Pico di galo. I made homemade corn tortillas. Then I decided to take on what is what I consider to be one of the biggest projects, homemade Tamales. It took me a while to prepare myself to try this out. I bought the necessary equipment (a stainless steel steamer pot) and bought Masa, and chile's and of course a big hunk of meat. Then there was the difficulty of which type of fat to use in the preparation of the Masa, of course Lard is the best to use for this, but I had been adverse to buying and using Lard in the past considering it to be very fattening and bad for your arteries. After some research I found some vegetarian recipes that used olive oil. Being that I am or was very ignorant on what would happen, I thought that it would make a good substitute. So I got making my Tamales and the meat turned out really well, juicy and flavorful. I wasn't really thinking about how the Masa dough would turn out. So I made a whole bunch of them. Unfortunantly for me, my sons little friend came over. His grandma is very good at making Tamales and he smelled the Masa cooking. So he was hanging around and although I was uneasy serving an untested recipe I told him he could try them, but I warned him that they were not the same. Boy oh boy they definantly were not. The olive oil gave them a nice delicate bitter taste, not at all yummy. But he was a polite kid, he ate his Tamale and didn't complain. I gave everyone some yummy cookies to make up for it. But I am sure that he won't want to try my Tamales again. I did some more research and found some Pricy Organic Lard from an Amish farm. This makes acceptable, although I know they are not authentic, Tamales. My daughter is totally hooked. I have found that the best Tamales that I have turned out took just a bit of common sense, some carmelized onions and spices added to the meat. Enough Lard and flavorful stock to the dough. Boy those type of Tamales are good.

As to other cooking experiments. I have found that cooking with whole, real foods usually turns out good food (and simple is usually better). I am frustrated though that even when I cook an excellent meal, no one really appreciates it. So I have hit a bit of a block on my cooking, but I am still trying, because I love to experiment. When I do find something that works, it is so gratifying. Anyway, maybe I will make a little food blog. Because I am into that type of thing, and I will attach it as a link to this blog.

~Strawberry Girl

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