Thursday, April 10, 2008

mucking around

Last night I made potato pancakes with carrots, peas, bell pepper and corn in them. They held together poorly and were incredibly greasy. It's a pity, because I think there was a lot of potential there -- even in that sad state, they tasted pretty good. William, of course, liked them -- greasy hash browns with vegetables? What's not to love?

While trying to figure out how to made them, I looked up recipes for classic potato pancakes, for croquettes, and for boxty. Heh. Boxty. I've had boxty... they're, um, potato pancakes. With a funnier name! Next time, instead of mucking around (fun though that is), I think I will just straight-up make croquettes. Well. I think that's what I should do next time... but in all probability, I will just muck around.

I tell myself that "just mucking around" is actually a complex learning process in which I am experimenting in a natural and holistic way to discover what works and what doesn't in a kitchen, and that if I keep it up, I will someday be a cook -- someone who does more than just follow recipes. It will give me a deeper understanding of the true nature of cooking and allow me to follow my whims, and the constraints of my pantry, and truly create dishes of my own. I strongly suspect, however, that it really is just mucking around.

Speaking of just mucking around, I have 4 pielets in the oven. Pielettes? Minipies? I could say tarts, but they're sort of... I dunno. Taller than that.

One is apple/strawberry/raspberry, one apple/strawberry/pineapple, one banana/strawberry, and one -- aw, shoot, what is that one, hold on while I check -- right, apple/pineapple/raspberry. The raspberries aren't that important, because I'm pretty sure they'll be delicious no matter what -- the real experiment is apple/strawberry vs. apple/strawberry/pineapple vs apple/pineapple. The banana/strawberry is a wildcard.

That was a lot of slashes. The point is, I am just mucking around and pretending it is An Experiment. True story? I wanted pies. Those were the fruits I had. I wasn't confident that any of those combinations would work well, I didn't have that much of any fruit, I improvised.

And, you know, instead of mixing the fruit in bowls with sugar and cornstarch, just put the fruit in and haphazardly sprinkled the dry stuff over it. Sometimes I put in bits of butter... sometimes I didn't. Gosh. If these turn out it will be entirely despite me.

(Dinner tonight was peanut-sauced noodles topped with bell pepper, carrot and tofu. It was going to have bean sprouts, too, but... I forgot. It's like when I put things in the fridge, they don't exist any more! At least I turned the oven off this time... and didn't manage to set off any fire alarms. I'd say that's an improvement.)

ETA: Having sampled the apple-pineapple and apple-strawberry pie babies, I can authoritatively report two facts: 1) Camila really likes pineapple pie, but neither Andrew nor Willikers did, and 2) Camila should have been much, much more haphazard in her sprinkling of cornstarch. By which I mean those things were JUICY.

did you see how that was in the third person? That's right. That's because I was being SCIENTIFIC and OBJECTIVE.


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