Sunday, October 10, 2010

Count on roasted green tomatoes.

I attempted to make seafood gumbo today. Key word: Attempted. Maybe it was because I was doubtful from the very beginning, or because Cajun cooking is way out of my league, or because quality seafood isn't readily available here. Or maybe I'm just confused about roux. Whatever the reason, I ended up with a big pot of tasteless, watery, definitely-not-gumbo, which I made my husband throw out for me because I just didn't have the heart to do it myself. Then he gave me a hug and bought me a Big Mac. Let's never talk about this again, OK? Moving right along...

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Contrary to what my week-long silence around here may suggest, I've been pretty busy in the kitchen lately. There were BLTs and corn chowder, made with the last of the season's tomato and corn bounty. There was black bean and butternut squash chili, not pictured, which I made on Monday night after I had eaten dinner and showered, and ate every day for lunch the rest of the week. Just thinking about it now makes me want to whip up another batch. There was a carrot, apple, and leek soup (adapted from here), that was good but not great, with very subtle flavors that I ultimately decided were too blah to share, but the picture was just so pretty that I couldn't resist. And besides, compared to the gumbo, that soup was a masterpiece. Wait, did I say gumbo? Oops. What gumbo?

And there were green tomatoes, which I cut into wedges and tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roasted in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes, until the edges were blackened and caramelized, the texture sweet and creamy. I popped them in my mouth as I chopped vegetables for Bolognese last Sunday.

I originally wasn't going to share any of these with you. They were repeats, and ho-hums, and non-photogenic. And last week's Bolognese was a tough act to follow, which was why I attempted "you-know-what" this afternoon. But you know what? There is nothing wrong with those simple, everyday meals. They may not be amazing recipes, but they get me through the week. They're the ones that work, the ones I can count on when others have me scratching my head, stirring and tasting and slumping my shoulders, wondering what I did wrong.

I am not giving up on gumbo, just so you know. But I may have to look over the shoulder of a certain Louisianan during a real gumbo-making session, taking heavy notes, before I attempt Round 2.


Roasted Green Tomatoes

green tomatoes, as many as you have on hand, cut into wedges
olive oil
salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Toss tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread onto a rimmed baking pan or dish, and roast for 40 minutes, until the edges are blackened and caramelized. Add to pasta, or salad, or eat plain, straight from the oven. Yum!

5 comments:

  1. What gumbo? You sure do craft wonderful posts though my love. Gumbo or no, I'll buy you a BigMac anytime :D (as well as fries, nuggets and the coke that only McDonald's can supply.)

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  2. failure is the excuse to try again.

    i love everyday meals, the repeats... to me, that's the whole point of cooking. it's nice to try new things/techniques but i think what making so fun is being able to do it again and again, with varying results each time.

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  3. m - thanks, love. your offer sounds incredibly dangerous... :)

    lan - yes! the everyday meals are what it's all about. especially the ones that you can cook with your eyes closed, no recipes involved, just chopping, and smelling, and hearing, and tasting.

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  4. Don't give up on gumbo. Try again. What about the roux gave you trouble?

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  5. ninette - i will definitely try again! murdo's cousin from louisiana (who gave me the recipe) followed up with some pointers, including high heat while making the roux. i might try again with an easier roux-based stew, then move on to real gumbo.

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