Thursday, January 14, 2010

Verde Merde…

I often talk about how much I love to cook on this old blog but I never talk about what a mess I make sometimes in the process. And I’m not talking about dirty dishes here… though Vicky will attest to that as well. (I swear, I dirty ten dishes to make one dish!)

You see, I’ve been saying a lot lately that I’ve wanted to cook with tomatillos. I love tomatillos but that side of the vegetable garden is out of my cooking forte. I am Cajun and Italian and that’s about it. So, it was probably a bad idea from the start to bring tomatillos into a kind of cooking I enjoy. Somewhere, I got the idea about making a kind of tomatillo etouffee…

I know. Stop cringing.

For those of you who don’t know… you will. Etouffee is a creole dish that starts with celery, onion, and bell pepper (the “trinity”). You spice that up nice and tasty, throw in some crawfish or shrimp or whatnot and serve it with rice and it’s good. Where I went wrong was that I thought tomatillos would add a fruitiness you don’t normally get.

There’s a reason why you don’t normally get that.

And I omitted the rice, too. Another big mistake.

What Vicky and I ended up eating could have kindly been called “hot vegetable mash”. It was just gross.

And, oddly enough, there were leftovers. Imagine!

I immediately looked for a way to redeem myself and this came thanks to a comment from Vicky. “Too bad you can’t just make chili verde out of it.” Actually, I could. What is verde sauce but tomatillos, peppers, onions, with some ect.? So, I made some rice. Then, I seared a couple of chicken breasts in a hot cast iron skillet. I took a hand mixer (“bolt motor”) to the embarrassing mix in hope of redemption, and made it somewhat smooth. I poured it into the skillet, covered it, and threw the whole thing into a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Out came culinary love, redemption on rice. Whew!

So, if you screw up, don’t worry about it. Just keep yourself open to new strategies! Anyway, you’ll never find those new, exciting recipes if you don’t allow yourself to screw up sometimes.

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