My mother used to sing a song about, “Food, food, bee-euwtiful food.” Unfortunately, the food around here hasn’t been so beautiful lately.
Oh, I’ve been trying. New recipes, new thinking, and new techniques to restore my enthusiasm in cooking, but not everything has been a success. After two rather spectacular failures, I’m reduced to believing that simpler may be better after all.
In the seventies I discovered recipes like the comforting Cashew Rice Braised Chicken that sounds fancy but wasn’t, and the Chicken Sauterne with a simple avocado salsa over the top. Simple to cook, a pleasure to eat, but both call for wine…which I don’t cook with any more. Darn it. After two days of over-styled food, and yes there is such a thing, I’m going back and rethinking my old recipes without wine.
Yes, the roast chicken breasts with honeyed bosc pears were delicious, but put them over raw spinach and add a blue cheese, celery salsa and you have confusions. There were so many flavor treats happening at once that my brain went into flavor overload with the senses all dancing their jigs on the head of a pin.
Then there was the harvest soup. Lovely idea. I had in mind something simple like that Italian potato-sausage soup with a bit of kale added. Nope, not only did we have stoup, another wonderful word from my mother, we had bean mush stoup. My thinking must have been in la-la land when I followed the recipe exactly….one pound of beans soaked overnight makes an awful lot of cooked beans….not the gentle potato soup I envisioned. Perhaps my brain wasn’t engaged at all.
The Geezer, who hates bean soups, refuses to eat split pea soups, and ignores lentils, found himself faced with a giant bowl of beans. Oh, it had potatoes, kielbasa, kale, and all sorts of other goodies plus five cloves of garlic, but in the end it was still bean soup. The dear man ate his whole bowl without complaint. I felt awful.
I can salvage the chicken recipe by cutting out the spinach and that last salsa, but I can’t see any way to salvage the Harvest Soup for this household. Now that I’m feeling pretty good, I can check out the potato soup at the Olive Garden just to figure out how they made it.