Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Adventures in the Amateur's Kitchen -- enter and dine at own risk

I set my heart on making a new recipe last night, Caribbean Shrimp.

I got home at the usual hour, 6 p.m., and discovered I had no rotini pasta, as called for. I fumed. My Beloved suggested that the "pasta" entry on last week's grocery list should have been more specific, because obviously I had only bought macaroni -- our contribution to the family Fourth of July.

So out to the store we went. Saw no rotini at the Dollar Store. Went to the regular grocery. Discovered there to my annoyance (readers, please cover your eyes if ignorance offends you) that rotini pasta is the same thing as "spirals," which the dollar store had had. A fancy foreign label that added about 50 cents to the price.

Got the $#%^ pasta and headed home. 6:45 p.m. Recipe called for green pepper. Minced. Thought we had a whole green pepper. We had one lonely little fragment up in the freezer. No big deal -- Sweetie doesn't like green pepper much anyway.

Never had found the required chili paste anywhere for sale, so tried to find a recipe online at home. Browsed about three that all called for three or four ridiculously exotic ingredients. Decided that chili powder would do just fine. Sweetie reminded me that She doesn't much care for chili powder, so I sighed and halved it.

You must peel and seed the tomato before mincing it, said the recipe. Do you know how hard it is to peel a tomato? I peeled as much as I could before reaching the danger point when a person is very close to simply beating the tomato to death with his fist. Remove the seeds, said the recipe. The hell with that. Who cares if there are tomato seeds in the pasta?

The ginger root was not much easier to peel than the tomato. Somehow, I managed, without also peeling my fingers.

Now things were rolling. Mix this, boil that.

The cheap salad shrimp that we bought, eschewing the pricier normal shrimp, shrank down to the size of watermelon seeds upon cooking. Ah well, you get what you pay for.

Of course, even though we had every other spice ever dried and ground and sold by man, we were out of curry. I ransacked the fridge before remembering that I threw our supply out two months ago because it was at least a decade old. Called the in-laws. They had some. It was about a decade old. "You can have it," Mom-in-law said. "The whole jar. I hate the stuff."

At long last, dinner was ready. Circa 8 p.m.

Sweetie did not like it.

"It's too hot."

"There is nothing HOT in this recipe," I said.

"The chili powder," She said.


I will not be making this recipe again.

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