Who was it who thought of salting chocolates, creating that sinful combination of the gods, sparking bliss and greed to war on the tongue, all at once? Whoever they are, I owe them a big, sloppy kiss. Unless The Boy’s there. Then, maybe just a quick, chaste hug.
This little epiphany sort of sums up my culinary experiences over the weekend: no actual good results to speak of, but the potential of the foods was made clear, the revelation of flavours something I’ll remember and use again in the future.
First up, was the Millionaire’s shortbread. While I usually like their recipes, I really disliked the instructions for the caramel: and had the sugar freak out on me, to boot. (If you’re wondering about my sugar-wrangling prowess, yes, I have successfully made caramels (multiple times!) in the past. Suffice it to say if you haven’t tried before, ignore Merrill’s instructions, and follow a recipe that involves a candy thermometer.) Why did I stick to it, in spite of my better judgement? Because I wasn’t sure what consistency to aim for in the end, not that it matters, because the bars (despite an overnight in the freezer) still haven’t reached a sliceable consistency.
I don’t mean to sound so negative: the little snacks are delicious. Just… delicious and very messy. And impossible to serve to other people in any kind of presentable form. Were I to make them again (and I see no reason I wouldn’t), I would steal the shortbread portion, and use my own recipes for both the caramel and chocolate layers.
The second disappointment has nothing to do with the recipe. In fact, I am very, very excited to give it another shot when the time is right. It was a simple pasta night and I figured that a nice way to showcase our CSA tomatoes would be Deb’s Tomato-almond pesto. Sadly, these tomatoes were post-frost tomatoes, and had that horrible We’ll Never Ripen, semi-crystallized texture that always makes me sad in veggies. It would have been nice to get a little warning from Farmer Gord on that front. He’d just cheerfully informed me that the underripe ones might need to sit on the counter a bit. Right.
The pesto turned out alright, but was definitely missing that tomatoey burst I had been looking for. Ah well, there’ll be better tomatoes at some point, and I’ll give it another whirl then.
My last semi-fail was the rice paper spring rolls (which were actually delicious). In an attempt to counter the somewhat greasy fried breaded shrimp dinner of a few nights before, I’d opted to bake these spring rolls, rather than fry them. If you’re wondering, rice paper doesn’t bake particularly well, at least not as compared to wonton wrappers.
So, three lessons from a weekend that didn’t go at all as planned. Our Saturday out-of-town visit was curtailed by a limping puppy, and in exchange, I got to learn a few things in the kitchen. Seems fair.