Ever since a disaster dinner the other night, I’ve been thinking of adding this new category to the blog. I didn’t want to depress anybody but on the other hand, sometimes misery loves company.
Two nights ago I had a total culinary meltdown. Normally I try out a new dish just on R. and I tweak and fiddle with it alone, and then eventually invite friends over to grade it. But the other night we had our friend Rob over (who designed and set up this blog) – and he and R. sat in the kitchen, all of us talking, as I attempted sweet potatoes from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem: A Cookbook. Really, how hard can sweet potatoes be? As it turns out very hard, literally so. I had one piece you couldn’t get a fork into, while other pieces were soft and perfect. A reduction sauce and chilis and scallions were involved, and I could tell how good the dish was supposed to be, but it was sabotaged by the occasional rocklike piece of potato, not to mention the total calcification of the reduction sauce.
And then there was the roast salmon with onion, orange and fennel which required broiling the vegetables after they roasted – including the sliced orange – at the last minute. One major problem was getting the broiler turned on for the first time ever, like in fifteen years, which was a fairly terrifying process. In the end, nothing tasted very good, certainly not the salmon, roasted oranges etc. And as I dished up the dinner I realized that except for a tiny bit of arugula, the entire meal was orange. Sweet potatoes, salmon, and the actual orange itself.
This experience (not unknown to me in the past) renewed my intent with this blog to come up with recipes that are delicious and allow you, the cook, to not go through what I just went through with the Orange Dinner.