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    Entries in epic fail (6)

    Friday
    Apr082011

    The Tale of a (not) Indian Princess

    Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?  Well, let me tell you the tale of my attempt at creating an Indian like dish. 

    Once upon a time, there was a young princess named Taneasha (Just go with it.  It’s my story, I can tell it how I want).  Although she had a name that was foreign, odd, or at the very least not befitting her, it was certainly not Indian.  In spite of that, and the fact that she was far too lazy to put in the effort to do it properly, she decided to try her hand at preparing a fabulous Indian delight.  With merely the intention of creating a dish that resembled the flavors and structure of Indian cuisine, she gathered her ingredients and set to work. 

    1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
    1 medium onion
    ½ inch piece of ginger
    4-5 garlic cloves
    1 cup diced tomatoes with juice
    ½ cup coconut milk
    ½ water
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 teaspoon garam masala
    1 teaspoon coriander
    1 teaspoon turmeric
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon paprika
    ¼ cup water (additional)
    1 Tablespoon flour

    First, she cut the chicken into bite sized cubes and set it aside.  Next came the chopping.  She peeled the ginger and garlic cloves and minced them as fine as a mere knife would allow. 

    Next came the onion, but not quite as fine. 

    While the oil was heating in a pan over medium heat, she measured all the spices (garam masala, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and paprika) into a small dish and stirred them together. 

    Then, into the pan went the onion, and the salt was sprinkled over the top.

    After about a minute or two of stirring it around, the garlic and ginger were added.  She continued to stir them about in the pan until the onion was nice and soft and translucent, about 5 – 7 minutes, before sprinkling the spice mixture over the top. 

    She knew the spices shouldn’t be exposed to the heat for very long before having liquid added, so she quickly mixed them into the onions and added the chicken. 

    After a mere 30 seconds, she poured in the tomatoes and water. 

    Of course, Taneasha’s servants always bottled tomatoes from the palace gardens while they were in season, but commoners could probably make do with store bought if necessary. 

    She placed a lid over the chicken mixture and allowed it to simmer for 15 minutes.  This was good, because she was far overdue for some lemonade and a foot rub.  The servants did, of course, stir it every few minutes to keep it from burning. 

    Refreshed and relaxed, she returned to the stove and poured in the coconut milk. 

    To her delight as she stirred it in, it was starting to resemble Indian dishes that had been prepared for her before. 

    To thicken things up just a bit, she mixed together the flour and water, and stirred them into the pan.  When the mixture was thick and smelled fabulous, she spooned it over rice and added a piece of freshly baked naan.  (Remember our pitas?  I told you frozen ones would come in handy)

    Proud of her accomplishment, Taneasha dished a plate for her prince and watched, eagerly awaiting his response as he took his first bite.  To her dismay, it was not a look of delight, but of repulsion.  As it turned out, the prince detested coriander.  Even the princess was somewhat disappointed in the results.  Although it didn’t taste bad, it could have used some more complex flavors.  At the very least a tablespoon of honey or sugar, and even better would have been some mango puree and/or red bell pepper. 

    Perhaps princesses should leave the cooking to professionals, or at least stick to something more in their league. 

    In all seriousness, I had a meal made with one of these simmering sauces from a jar last week.  It took maybe 20 minutes to prepare and was fabulous.  Much better than this two hour investment in disappointment.  Lesson learned.       

    Tuesday
    Feb152011

    Chocolate Cake in a Cup

     

    **not the acutal cake! omg so not the cake.

     

    So, in more than a few places I’ve seen a recipe for chocolate cake in a mug. I think you know the one I mean... it makes the email rounds every 6 months or so, and really, who can resist cake in a cup. Handy, particularly if it's almost 10 at night and you absolutely need chocolatecakerightfuckingnoworyou’llkillsomeone.

    You do too. Don’t lie.

    It’s a neat idea. And for a foodie like me who knows that the whole “cup” cake thing started with cake batter being baked in stoneware mugs back in the early 1800s it’s a bit of food geekery to think you’re making something that old school.

    Microwave notwithstanding.

    What you need:

    4 tablespoons flour

    4 tablespoons sugar

    2 tablespoons cocoa

    1 egg

    3 tablespoons milk

    3 tablespoons oil

    a small splash of vanilla extract

    handful of chocolate chips (optional)

     

    What you gotta do:

    Measure the flour, sugar and cocoa into a fair sized, microwavable coffee mug and stir together with a fork.

    Crack in the egg and stir it in a bit, then add the milk and oil (I used peanut, but any kind should work), and stir vigorously with the fork. Vigorously.

    Nice thing about this one is that there are almost no dishes. Particularly since all of mine are already dirty and on the counter, and on the stove, and in the sink, I think there may even be some on the table...

    Once you’ve forked the batter until it’s nice and smooth, put the cup in the microwave (no fork) and nuke it for 3 minutes.

    Let it cool before you try eating it!

    Hot or cold, this cake is pretty crappy.

     

    I mean yeah, it’s a chocolate fix, but it’s not a very tasty one. No amount of beating will lighten it. It’s dense as all hell and way too eggy. Chocolate scrambled eggs comes to mind. Most snack cake recipes make 8 - 12 servings and use only 2 - 3 eggs. One egg per serving is just too much. I’ve seen a version that includes baking powder, but it’s also got the egg.

    The only way this thing is going to make it to being half way edible is if someone can figure out how to make it rise without the egg (maybe baking soda and then vinegar stirred in at the last second?) or just call it a custard. It could probably be turned into one by increasing the milk and decreasing the flour.

    I’ve gotten this by email and I’ve seen it posted on forums, and for the life of me I really can’t figure out why the fuck the stupid thing keeps making the rounds. It’s horrible. Next time I need a chocolate fix, I’ll just eat the handful of chocolate chips.

    Have you seen this recipe? Forwarded it? Tried it? Please tell me I fucked it up really badly somehow.

     

     

    

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