Cooking Diaries: What on EARTH was I thinking?

South American Squash and Vegetable RagoutSo a while back the October issue of Vegetarian Times arrives in the mail. I do my usual thing of flipping through the pages, dog-earing the corners of pages with recipes I think I might like to try. I kind of wanted to try my hand at the South American Squash and Vegetable Ragout recipe. (Mainly for bragging rights so I could say to friends, "What did you have for dinner last night? Hamburger Helper? How quaint. Me? Oh, I just threw together a little South American Squash and Vegetable Ragout...") However, as making the dish would require a significant time investment, I checked in with Blair first. 

"Would you eat this?" I asked, handing him the magazine. 

Raw Kale Salad with Root VegetablesHe surprised me by saying not only would he eat the squash, but he thought the "Aromatic Jasmine Brown Rice with Peas" and "Raw Kale Salad with Root Vegetables" shown with it looked good as well. "Maybe we could have the whole meal," he suggested. 

Game on.

Never mind that I am out of my mind with work this week, leaving for NY in a few days for a writers conference, juggling phone interviews for the book, and waaaay behind in sending out press releases. No, by God, I am going to cook my man a 3-hour meal. So I did what any great chef would do. Cleared my day, went grocery shopping, and begged my Mommy to come over and help. 

Voila! The meal, just like on page 62.It took both of us, plus an emergency plea up the stairs to Blair (We need glazed pecans in the oven NOW. Move! Move! Move!) to pull the meal off. My mom kept saying, "I just don't understand why you'd want to go to all this trouble to cook a meal. Any one of these by themselves would make a great meal." 

True, but not the point. I wanted to have a full meal with side items that looked just like the pretty picture on page 62 in the magazine. And I accomplished that. My meal did look just like the picture. Unfortunately, the taste was pretty close to paper as well.

It wasn't bad, but if I spend 3 hours in the kitchen, I better be raving about what comes out of it. The Ragout was bland, although it tasted better the second day after the flavors had a chance to marry. The rice was good but average. The Kale salad, however, was a hit. Absolutely delicious. I'll be making that again, often. 

Frankly, I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving where Blair handles 90% of the cooking. I'll be on hand though, in case there are any glazed pecan emergencies.