If you’ve read my first blog, “What Matters”, all of this will make sense to you-kind of.
Picture if you will, two people, a man and a woman. They’ve just gotten home with some extraordinary finds. Everything is unpacked with amazing speed. Hungry, tired, and bellies rumbling, it hits them- they have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. They gaze into each others eyes, hearts beating loudly. The “runny fish incident of ’96” floods back with a torrent of emotion. They’re both thinking it, but neither says it out loud- “maybe we should have just gone out tonight”. Ignoring our better judgement and probably a HUGE red flag, we pressed on…
We got everything unpacked without incident. As new experts in “international foods”, we separated our ingredients by recipe. I’ll be honest- it seemed like we were missing a few things… Like spices.
That’s OK, it’ll be just as good if we use a lot of garlic. Typical Italians…
Lucky for us, many of our ingredients had labels from other countries, so they had to be good. Ahem…
As I said before, Chris had to run out and get a few items we forgot- like that helped.
Pans were oiled and ready, veggies chopped up- we were “go” for cooking.
At this point, I’m sure you’re all just dying to know the recipes. “Dying”, good word choice…
Asian faux soup- Not Pho, but faux. As in pretend, or fake…
I honestly don’t know WHERE in Asia this allegedly comes from. First, we started with some Asian-looking vegetables. White beach mushrooms (because those DEFINITELY look Asian), pea pods, water chestnuts and bean sprouts (they come in our Chinese food so they HAVE to be right for soup), and thin, clear Asian noodles which had to be authentic cause the label said so. Know what the package didn’t say? That the “noodles” were actually one noodle that’s about the length of an aircraft carrier.
Make broth. We used chicken cause that’s what was in the cabinet. Don’t judge.
Add noodles to broth. OK, this is where we started going wrong. You see, the instructions, even thought badly translated to English, basically said to throw them in a bowl and cover with boiling water for a few minutes. Nope, right into the boiling brother they went. And quickly turned it into a pot of goop. Boy those noodles suck up water fast!
Now, I got one clever hint for precooking the vegetables. I put them in a colander and put it over the boiling broth to steam. So that part went fairly OK. Except, I left them on the whole time. Yep, nothing beats the smoochy consistency of over steamed vegetables. In goopy chicken broth. With an 80 foot noodle to wrangle.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot the appetizer platter. So we had scamorza cheese slices, a fun sushi sampler, Havarti cheese with dill, some tasty smoked lox, and some God awful hard Italian dry sausage called hot cacciatori. It’s like jerky made from jerky- hard enough to break teeth, maybe a jaw. Oh, and it tastes like sweat sock. But everything else was divine.
I found a recipe of a Middle Eastern dish that calls for a yummy-looking beef and onion mixture, which is served with a flat bread and bulgur. (Bulgur is a type of cracked wheat which is a staple in many countries)
Well I lost the recipe to that, too, so I went by memory. Yeah, that worked. I’ll tell you, the steak and onions turned out great, just not authentic Middle Eastern. More like Mid Western cowboy. Oh, and we got the wrong kind of flatbread. It’s not even from the same continent. But the steak rocked…
Last but not least. Our famous macadamia nut encrusted mahi mahi. Let me first say, I’ve had this in restaurants and it was delicious. But restaurants have special ovens and broilers…and chefs.
So for this “international dish”, I also lost the recipe. But I figured I had this one FOR SURE! It looked easy, like the moon landing, only the fish was better.
Ingredients: fish and macadamia nuts, finely chopped. Maybe flour? I felt there were a few ingredients missing, like the ones with good flavor, but no biggy! It’ll be fine. But not really, it was dry as dirt. We tried one test piece under the broiler, but that was dumb. And a fire hazard if ever there was one. Did you know macadamia nuts are flammable? I didn’t either.
That’s ok, we had three more pieces (lucky us!), which we baked. They weren’t burnt, so that’s and improvement. But, the coating of flour and nuts was just a bit dry, you know, like hot sand, but the inside lacked flavor. Serioulsy, it didn’t even have a fish taste. Nothing. It was like pretend fish. Oh, and it was kind of runny. Runny, flavorless fish. Happy Anniversary, honey!
You can make any of these recipes as described (although I wouldn’t ever, ever again), or you can read the actual recipes which I will post shortly.
Oh, and the best part of all- the recipes I couldn’t find, yeah, folded up in my pocket the entire time we were at the store. Yep.
Click on the links below for some real recipes.
I am planning to try the ACTUAL recipes very soon. I hope you do too. In the meantime, I would love to hear your comments, complaints, ideas, and cooking tips. Sarcasm is fine, within good taste.
Thanks for reading. Please come back soon. (There will be many more stories>)