Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chris' Cooking Disaster

You know I enjoy posting my recipes that pass my own rigorous standards. I will not post an "OK" recipe; in my humble opinion it has to be really good, delicious, fantastic even! I am truly proud of every recipe I post and refuse to hoard them like state secrets. Good food should be available to all!

I am not a master chef, I've not attended any formal cooking classes though one day I would like to. I do think that from cooking since I was around 10 years old that I have some skill in preparing tasty and nutritious food after 40 years experience.

While I may post recipes, I've rarely talked about my failures and I have mentioned on occasion that a recipe did not turn out as good as I thought it might. In fact, over the weekend I made some stuffed grilled red peppers that I filed with a mixture of broccoli and chicken marinated in olive oil. oregano, and garlic. It was good but not great and needs to be revised before I can consider posting it here. In any event it all gotten eaten and was certainly better than fast food or anything packaged at the store.

Note though that last night's food failure was remarkable enough in the fact that I fed an entire frying pan of a new recipe to the food disposal in the kitchen sink after a single taste! That's how foul it was. Tails had been sitting around meowing and begging so I just took the spoon from the pan and held it out for her to smell. With a loud Meow! she took like a shot off and hid under the couch.....I think she came out hours later.........

With a failure this bad, I just had to blog about it here. I'm human, and with 42 years of cooking experience, as well as many pounds under my belt, I make mistakes. This one was a doozy!

It started out innocently enough; I wanted something using Steak-umms. For those who have never enjoyed them, they are chopped, formed and frozen thin steak slices perfectly suited for a quick and very tasty steak or cheese steak sandwich.

Keeping with my quest for better nutrition I decided to fry up onions and peppers and use those with the Steak-umms so I could stay within my nutrition guidelines. Besides, I have done onions and peppers with Steak-umms before and it is great!!

The biggest thing that set me up for failure here was trying something new, something I am always after the kids about.

SO! I went to Forest Hills Foods in search of onions and peppers. Of course, since some lunatic (cough! cough!) had been buying up Poblano peppers all week long, there were none to be found.

I could have gone with a safe bet of Sweet Red peppers, and kind of made a steak fajita type roll up as I was planning to user tortillas anyway, but oh no! I had to try something new!

There was a pepper type I had not tried before, a bit bigger than the Poblanos and simply labeled Hungarian Peppers. I thought about how much I had been enjoying the Hungarian Paprika I had bought at the start of Poblano Pepper Madness days, and thought these peppers would be worth a try!

So, I went home and in a pan I sauteed onions and these peppers with some of the aforementioned paprika, cumin, and chili powder. I then took three Steak-Umms and broke them into pieces.

I also made an interesting discovery after putting my finger into my mouth, THESE PEPPERS ARE VERY HOT! Not too hot for me mind you on a heat basis, but talk about your staying power! I had a shower last night plus I've washed my hands numerous times after the dinner preparation, I rubbed my eye this morning and the BURNING from the pepper residue was unbelievable! And impressive! Now, for the first time in my life I understand how pepper spray can totally incapacitate a crazed 300 pound attacker!!! If the staying power of these peppers could be put into other products, well............

Anyway, after adding the meat I cooked gently for about 10 minutes and then took a taste to see if the onions were tender. IT WAS HORRIBLE! I did not mind the heat, and once again I must inform you that I have never sauteed and eaten an old sneaker, but, I think I know how a spicy one would taste!

I hesitated only a moment (while quick and easy Steak-umms are NOT cheap) and ended up dumping the entire pan into the disposal. I did notice that this morning the stainless steel sink was unusually shinny, so, at least there was some benefit to this exercise is culinary sabotage! I will NOT be trying these peppers ever again.....besides.....I am sure another load of Poblanos will arrive soon, and there were still a couple of varieties of pepper I had not tried, but still will.


Bev from PA said...

FUNNY:) Let us know again when an experiment leaves you this determined to "not be trying these peppers again" or whatever.

This made me smile. Thanks.

Chris said...

Bev - Glad you got a smile out of this post!

I did just try something new at the store and will blog about it in a moment!

Steve From NJ said...


I just wanted to add my own two cents (adjusted for inflation) to the discussion of cooking extravaganzas:

I tried for years to make the simple egg custards and puddings I saw the chefs on PBS, Food Network, etc. make with their eyes closed. I always ended up with something like “Sweetened Scrambled Egg Soup with Vanilla”. It sounds bad, but also tasted worse. But rest assured, you’ve learned something new about cooking, especially since you’re learning by experience at home (rather than in a restaurant kitchen).

One of my other wonderful kitchen learning experiences came from my (now successful) brushes with Indian cooking (i.e. the spices). I learned that not cooking (in hot oil of one type or another) spice mixtures of cumin, cloves, cardamom, pepper, nutmeg, saffron, turmeric, etc. can have a very upsetting effect on the stomach. By all means, if spices are going to be used in cooking something and they aren’t cooked, only the smallest pinches should be used.

Chris said...

Steve, it is amazing indeed what we can learn from our own cooking experiences and from watching TV. When I use spices I always spray them lightly with the cooking spray which I have found helps the flavor distribute better and mitigates the upset stomach effect you mentioned.