Out of the ashes…

Last night I tried a dish that did not work.  It was edible- barely- but, nothing close to what I had hoped for.  It was a recipe from a food magazine for Indian Spiced Shrimp. It looked like a simple recipe with good ingredients and promised to be fast: toast and grind the spices, marinate the shrimp and spices in coconut milk, sauté the whole thing.  The photo showed pink, slightly saucy, shrimp dotted with cilantro leaves on a bed of rice.  It looked delicious.  My reality was a goopy brown-ish mixture- the shrimp were still pink, but you had to find them in the middle of a lot of goop.  (My rice was white and fluffy though!)  And, had it been fabulous tasting, I would have been able to overlook the visuals.  But, it was not.  The flavors were too strong- too unbalanced- for the delicate shrimp.

 So, why am I writing about this?  You won’t find that recipe here….at least not until I have played and played with it.   I am writing about this because I think a failure in the kitchen can be just the beginning of something great and is rarely a waste if thought about correctly.  Think about it: as a result of whatever disaster you just made, you know more about food and yourself then you did before.  What you didn’t like about the end result and why will help to shift how you view other recipes and your own cooking.    In my case, I immediately started to think about what I could do with shrimp and spices that might work better-grill versus sauté, yogurt versus coconut milk, adding lime juice.  You get the idea.

So, when one recipe fails-or is not all that you hoped for, use it as a launching point for something better.  What can you learn about what you just made, or tried to make?  What can you do better.  For me, this kind of thinking keeps the kitchen alive and keeps my cooking fresh and fun.


One Comment

  1. Betsy L
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Yum – the ingredients sound great. I am looking forward to the Dinner Dilemma’s revision of the recipe!

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