Well...not my first failure...and certainly not my last. But this is the first time I've documented a failed recipe. Behold:
For me, a big part of cooking is experimentation. It's what makes cooking an art, what makes it exciting and enjoyable.
But it doesn't always turn out how you expect, sometimes for the worse. You're never gonna discover anything truly awesome if you don't take a chance now and then. This means, of course, that you will occassionally FAIL. Not usually in a colossal way. Just in a "huh, that was kinda weird" way. It always seems like a good idea going in.
Okay. I admit it. I knew this one would be a little out there. Using steamed kale, cut into strips and flash-fried, in lieu of noodles or rice--not normal. In my head, it seemed so refreshing, so summer-y and healthy. And I'm still not entirely divorced from the idea. I mean, it looks awesome (this is exactly how I pictured it last night when I dreamt it).
And truth be told, I kinda liked it. I overdid the kale a bit, and the mushrooms seemed superfluous, added just because they were there.
But this is the kind of thing you never see on a cooking blog--the stuff that didn't quite work, the process involved in making something truly tasty. In a sense, this is the most important thing to share. It's hard work coming up with recipes and no one has a special connection to the recipe gods. You should feel empowered to play, to know that the cooks you esteem the highest play too. And if they don't, they're total dickbags. Face!
Now. Here's your assignment, should you choose to accept it: make this bullshit. Maybe it's not as weird as I thought. Maybe you have a sweet idea about how to make it awesome. I'm imploring you, yes you, to take a stand, make a difference. For your fellow Earthling, make some bizarre-ass shit tonight!
The recipe, if you please (and thank you):
Mushrooms and Breaded Tofu on Steamed Kale
- 1 large bunch of dinosaur kale, deboned and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips, about 3 inches long
- several handfuls of mushrooms, halved or quartered, depending on size
- 1/2 lb tofu, frozen, thawed, then cut into thin, short strips
- 1 handful green beans
- peanut oil
- sesame oil
- soy sauce
- 1/4 cup white wine
- chik'n almond bake
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- salt & pepper, to taste
Begin breathing life into this monstrosity by mixing 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part peanut oil in a small bowl and preheating your Toast-R-Oven(tm) to 425. Pour the chik'n almond bake into a shallow bowl. Now. Toss the tofu in the sauce and coat well in the bake. Pop it in the oven. This will undeniably be the best part of your meal, so treat it like a fragile newborn kitten.
In a medium saucepan, sautee the mushrooms over medium heat in white wine, peanut oil, and soy sauce. Once tender, remove from heat.
In the same pan, pour in a scosh of water. Lower heat and toss in the kale. Cover and let steam, being sure (a) to stir it every minute or so and (b) not to let it burn. For the love of god, DO NOT LET IT BURN. Unless, like me, you are one of five human beings who kind of like the taste of slightly singed kale. It should be tender, but just barely cooked. Once it's tender to your liking, toss in peanut and sesame oil, adding a dash of crushed red pepper for shits and giggles.
Remove from heat. You can put it plates, bowls, and/or bowl-plates right off. It doesn't need to be, nay, shouldn't be, piping hot when you serve it.
In a small pot, bring water to a boil and toss in the green beans. Cook them for about 5 minutes. Then toss them in the very same pan you've been using all along and briefly sautee them in peanut and sesame oil, dashing on some salt and garlic powder--for about a minute. Don't burn these either. You've made it this far. Stay with me.
Take your tofu out of the oven. It should be browned but not burnt.
Now. You've just got to put it all together.
Make it pretty and maybe it won't even seem weird:
Serve with the remaining white wine, preferably before-hand to get your victims...err...guests where you want them. To open their minds, man.