Sunday, July 15, 2012

Food: Spaghetti Squash Fail.

Once upon a time there was a girl who seriously damaged her cooking pride with the following ingredients:

red wine vinegar
brown sugar
spaghetti squash

I would tell you how much of each of these went into it, but I was kinda just throwing them in.

I started by following the instructions here from Emeril Lagasse on how to cook a spaghetti squash.  This was successful.  I recommend it.  The fail part comes in a little bit...

I was going to just follow the recipe and just add herbs and butter... but I hadn't experimented lately and I had been watching a lot of cooking shows lately.  The competition kind... like "Chopped" or "Sweet Genius"... So I was rushing cause my subconscious was screaming that cooking fast was the key to cooking well... Ha. ha. Yeah... Don't rush unless you're a pro.

So here's what happened...

I melted the butter in the bottom of a large pan.  To it I added a--far too large--splash of red wine vinegar (which I have never cooked with before).  After the sizzling and steam cleared, I took a big whiff of the pot and nearly got a nose bleed from the acidity of it.  Dumb move, I know. But I was really focused on looking legit for the "cameras".  Anyway... I then tossed in some frozen strawberries... Only once they were mostly thawed and quite sticky did I realize that I meant to chop them up first... so I spooned them out and chopped them.  I stirred this mixture for a bit.  Then I realized I wasn't sure what spaghetti squash actually tasted like.  So I tried a strand.  It was surprisingly sweet!  So I quietly muttered one of those later-after-the-incident-interviews that the cooking shows always have when something goes wrong in the kitchen... "Sweet?? I just made a strawberry sauce to go with sweet squash?? I felt foolish for not knowing that spaghetti squash had a sweet kick, but I instinctively reached for the salt to compensate".  And indeed I did.  Only after I mixed in a fairly large palm-full of sea salt did I decide to actually taste the sauce to see if it actually needed that much... Let me tell you... It didn't.  You know when you think you're about to take a huge gulp of water and it ends up being Sprite?  Imagine that feeling... but you're expecting sweet and tangy and instead you get a mouthful of salt.  It was bad.  So to compensate for failure number 675,382 I added brown sugar.  That didn't quite help enough... So I added more. And more. And more.  Still not doing it.  I added some vanilla extract.  It was good enough.  I let it simmer for a long time, attempting to reduce the strawberries.  And, I must say, I did a fairly good job with it.  The consistency was perfect.  And the color was so sumptuously red and great...  And the spaghetti squash was a luscious yellow; like daffodils in a meadow... Then I dumped it together and mixed it up creating an awful barf-tan color.  I realized my mistake just after it was too late to pull the bowl back and not let the spaghetti squash touch the red mess below.  So not only did I botch the flavor... but the presentation too.  Okay... so the taste wasn't awful... But I could just hear a judge saying, "It tastes good... but I feel like there's a lack of flavor depth..." [cut to Chef Amanda Interview] "Great.  Now I have to make it more deep. How can I deepen it while making it look appetizing...?"  I added basil. Loads and loads of basil. At least now it looked okay.  And it did add a lil sum'n sum'n to the flavor.  At this point I was fed up so I just let it simmer in there for a while with some freshly sliced strawberries with the lid on.  After about fifteen minutes I opened it up and took out the sliced strawberries.  I took it off the heat and dished it out.  I remembered I had some brie cheese in the fridge, so I sliced a bit of that to eat along with my creation.

It was decent.  I couldn't finish it because it was too rich for the massive amount I served myself.  This is what I wish had happened...

Red wine vinegar with chopped frozen strawberries with white sugar and salt (TO TASTE).  Simmer for reduction.
Melt butter.  Add fresh, chopped basil.  Mix with spaghetti squash.
Place baguette slices on baking sheet.  Paint with melted butter. Toast in heated oven.  Lay slices of brie on baguette slices.  Melt cheese.
Place small amount of spaghetti squash mixture on baguette and cheese.  Spoon small amount of red, strawberry mixture on spaghetti squash.  Place single, fresh basil leaf on top.

This would have been divine... instead... I'm a moron. haha. DEFINITELY retrying this in the near future. 

Till next time lovely blog!
-Amanda Diane 

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