Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Baleful Chickens and Other Things

The Buff Orpington is not amused, neither am I.
Since this post devolves fairly quickly into me ranting about people doing health food badly, I thought I'd mention up front that I passed a very pleasant Sunday with my Viking cousins and their chickens.  The chickens are charming and dopey until you look them in the face and realize that not only are they dinosaur relatives, but also they probably remember being tyrannosaurs in previous lives.  The chickens are biding their time.  (Mostly by making daft noises and begriming their living space, but still.)

The Viking fed me squash and kale soup that was so good I think I have added another brassica to the list of cabbage family members that I adore.  He also sent me home with a tub of homemade coconut butter cream that he made for the Little Viking's birthday cake.  I'm supposed to come up with something fantastic to do with it.  I did.

However, it's spreading the butter cream on peanut butter cookies (which are surpassingly moist and chewy several days after baking.  I may have to revise my initial assessment of the recipe as nothing more than inoffensive).   I think the Viking had more spectacular things in mind.  Against that, I am toying with ideas involving crab apple sauce.  (It's a little known fact that crab apples and coconuts are friends.  I'm not even making this up.  JVW's crab apple and coconut tart is objective verification of my assertion.)

Secondly,  ginger ale mk. 2 was so good that it is almost gone now.  Heating the ginger and adding lemon seem to be the things that ginger ale mk. 1 was missing.  I'll probably have a definitive recipe ready to go soon.

Now that the preludes are out of the way, I come to the reason that there is an angry dinosaur descendant headlining the blog tonight.

Today I ate an unpleasant thing.  It was a portobello mushroom cap "pizza" picked up in the produce section of my local Safeway. Now this is not an automatically bad idea.  I wouldn't have bought it if had seemed like an automatically bad idea.  I like mushrooms.  I like pizza.  I like food that attempts to be healthful.

I mention this because the experience of eating my dinner was entirely unpleasant.  Everything people, who don't like mushrooms, say about mushrooms was on display.  Grey, faintly rubbery, and ever so slightly funky like toe cheese.  I like mushrooms (I say this a second time, both for emphasis and also to reassure myself that I do still, in fact, like mushrooms) and this was not a happy vegetable and cheese stuffed mushroom.  What went wrong here?  

Firstly, a mismatch in expectations.  There was NO garlic.  I have made and served pizzas without garlic to people with garlic allergies.  It happens.  But if you label a food as somehow being of the pizza nature, unless it explicitly says so in large friendly, neon-yellow letters larger than fourteen point, it had darned well better have garlic.  Even pizza margherita which dispenses with pizza sauce, and can be pretty casual about the cheese has GARLIC.   (These yahoos had dispensed with pizza sauce too.  This was probably a mistake.)

Secondly, as I have ranted before, in an attempt to be healthy, the makers of health food often strip the fat from their foods (I had to buy yogurt today too -- do I even need to mention my disgust at there being no fat bearing yogurt on sale?).  In this case they skimped on the skim milk mozzarella and skipped the olive oil entirely.  Fat in excess is not all that great for you. You know what is excellent for you, and will kill you in excess?  Water.  Fat is necessary.  The human brain is mostly fat.  Human fertility is fat dependent.  Yes, folks, the survival of the human race depends on there being enough fat.  (Not that a badly executed portobello pizza will bring the human race to a screeching halt because of amenorrhea.  Probably.)  And the kind of fat that should have gone into this pitiable excuse for a dinner was good fat, namely olive oil.  Olive oil would have helped the mushroom caps to brown, carmelizing and sealing in juices that would have immeasurably improved the texture and the flavor.  

So this is what I would have done, and what I probably will do later this week or maybe next, because while the execution was poor, the idea was sound, and filling.  I'd probably skip the sausage in favor of more vegetables.  Maybe a roasted bell pepper.  More cheese. Definitely more cheese.  Maybe some sauteed onions. 

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if you can get it in Washington, but if you can, look at Nancy's Yogurt. Locally made in Eugene, and reasonably tasty (I'm addicted to the blackberry keffir). It might still have aspartame (spelling?) in it, which makes me cry, but it's got flavor, and I believe some fat. As for your love of Greek Gods, see if other brands of greek yogurt are edible. They might serve your purposes.

    Out here I'm struggling with the notion of getting yogurt that has live cultures in it that aren't of the "make me thin and a regular poo-er" kind. But the flip side is that Muller is out here, and their corners and rice are tasty and delicious, so I can live without the live cultures.