Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Destroying a Perfectly Good Dinner

pork and apple
Originally uploaded by Kit Pollard.

My mother, the Julia Child devotee, habitually doctors even her role model's recipes. She adds six times the Old Bay to Julia's crab soup, and three times the curry to her chicken Divan. These are the meals I grew up eating, and they are intense.

Naturally, I have a tendency to pour on the spices, as well. Mostly, this strategy works for me. Unfortunately, "mostly" isn't the same as always. A recent dinner experiment reminded me of this.

Last week, I had a moment of inspiration while reading the food blog Kiplog. Paul, the blogger, made up a cool-sounding recipe: habanero-laced apple sauce. It involved no cooking - just a lot of chopping (great excuse to use my mini Cuisinart) and only a few ingredients. Perfect.

A quick trip to the grocery store later, I was ready to go. I had pork chops marinating in a decent store bought teriyaki sauce, some curry couscous on the stove (just to mix my international flavors) and all the ingredients I needed for the applesauce. Except one: fresh habaneros.

The pepper selection's not so good at my local Giant in November. Which is fine - I understand that not everything is in season all the time. I decided I'd make do with dried habaneros. Not a bad substitute.

Except that I added WAY too much pepper. The recipe calls for about 1 inch of fresh habanero. I added about one inch of dried habanero. It looked like so little! Big mistake, trusting my visual impressions.

I tried to counteract the spiciness with extra apple juice, extra apple, extra carrot, even with a little peach jelly (as close to apple as I had in the fridge). Unfortunately, all my efforts were for naught. The spiciness was just too strong.

I ate about three small, small bites. Cooper probably ate less. I literally could not taste flavor in the sauce - the heat was too intense.

Fortunately, the pork chops were good - I grilled them quite successfully using my grill pan. They were perfectly tender, but completely cooked through. And the curry couscous was a hit, too.

Ah, well. Next time I'll know better.

P.S. I am fairly certain that, had I not destroyed it with the heat, this applesauce would have tasted fantastic, especially with the pork chops. The fault lies entirely with the chef, not with the recipe.

1 comment:

kiplog said...

I got the opposite complaint somewhere - that there wasn't enough heat. Habaneros are unpredictable, so I can see how this recipe can be tricky.


Related Posts with Thumbnails