Cookin’ (and what went wrong)

I’ve failed so hard on all of my New Year’s resolutions that I’m not even keeping track of them anymore. Note the date, please. February 3. That didn’t take long

Anyway, they’re still ideals to which I strive, so they’re still as worth discussing as they ever were (take that as you will.)

This week, I tried out another recipe: Lighter Sesame Noodles from MarthaStewart.com.

Say what you will about Martha, but I believe that she can do no wrong. White collar crime? Yeah, maybe she did it, but it just makes her that much more badass. Anyway, I don’t blame her for the failure that was this noodle recipe. I blame myself.

First of all, the recipe calls for toasted sesame oil, which is one of those things that insta-food consumers like me don’t typically have on hand. It was available at my regular old Kroger, which is nice, but there was only one brand and it was eight bucks and change. I just couldn’t bring myself to lay down the cash for that. I used regular old olive oil, but once you remove the sesame oil, they cease to be sesame noodles.

The recipe is meant to be served room temperature or cold, but I was so hungry while making it that I couldn’t wait, so it was still warm when I tried it. And actually, it was pretty good warm. I figured it would be even better the next day, but I was so very wrong. Something just didn’t work out. This seems like a summer potluck dish, but it was bad enough a day later that I don’t know that I would want to try it again with the intention of serving it to other people. I’m not really sure what changed. I think it was mostly the vegetables, though. They peppers and onions were leftovers that I had pre-sliced, and I’ll admit it’s possible that they’d turned an unfortunate corner. Maybe if I made it with perfectly fresh vegetables and brought it to a potluck a couple of hours later, it would be fine. I don’t know. I’m a little nervous about ever doing that, though.

The other problem was that they were kind of bland on day two, likely because the sauce had drained to the bottom and I didn’t stir it up enough before serving.

I know it was all in user error, because Martha can do no wrong. This is probably a pretty good recipe, but I don’t know if I’ll try it again. Maybe I will if I win the lottery and can start buying toasted sesame oil like some kinda one-percenter.

Another recipe I tried this week is Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes from Chocolate-Covered Katie. I made substitutions with reckless abandon on this one, mostly because I only had one banana. The recipe calls for 2.5 cups of mashed banana, which must be, like, four bananas. She suggests applesauce as a substitution, which probably would have been good, but I didn’t have any of that, either. What I did have was an ancient jar of pumpkin butter that came in the CSA one week without any suggestions on what to do with it. It’s been sitting, unopened, in the back of the fridge for probably a year and a half, so if I die of botulism, the pumpkin butter is probably to blame.

I split the recipe–and my one banana–in half. I used pumpkin butter and cut down on the sweetener (I used brown sugar) in one half. I chopped up some almonds and threw them in that half. I should have cut down on the water since the pumpkin butter was a little watery, and they came out kind of…wet? I flipped them over on to a baking sheet and baked them for a few minutes because I was worried that they’d just get kinda sticky as they dried out. Hard to say if it helped.

For the other half, I took a risk and used honey-flavored Greek yogurt and peanut butter along with the half banana. Since there’s plenty of fat there, I omitted the oil. I also put chocolate chips in this half, because why not?

I was emotionally prepared to accept the second batch as a loss before I even baked it, but they actually came out pretty well. In fact, I like them better than the pumpkin/almond half. I added even less sugar to that batch because I thought the yogurt would add a lot of sweetness, but they could probably stand to be a little sweeter. They’re still pretty good, though.

You know what I don’t like about these? The banana. Just one banana overwhelms every other flavor, especially in the pumpkin batch. I like bananas, but I don’t like banana-flavored anything, so if I do this again, I’ll use applesauce. Or, you know, whatever else I can find in my fridge since it turns out this recipe is much more forgiving than I expected.

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