And they mean a few things to me. Burning, cooking, and spraying oil.
Today in the oven we have two pyrexes of ratatouille. They were adapted from the ratatouille recipe from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Apparently, adaptation is what you call it when you change a recipe and make it your own. I use it loosely in this case to mean that I did not have all the ingredients on hand nor did I measure what I did have.
I figured I’d just pile veggies on in more or less even layers, because I’ve made ratatouille before. So that’s what I did. Who knows whether it will turn out. Also, the recipe only calls for salt on every layer of five veggies, which seemed a little odd. I just went with it. I had no fresh herbs save basil, so I used the leftover basil and added some other dried herbs based on what I had. Oregano, parsley. Does oregano or parsley go in ratatouille? Meh!
Right now I’m also adapting a Blue Apron recipe to make a butternut squash bean soup. It’s sizzling like crazy over in the kitchen so I’m afraid it’s burning.
—- Recipe says two teaspoons of oil for one butternut squash, and to cook it for 6-8 minutes, until tender and slightly browned —–
And it burned. Nice toasty brown spots on the bottom. Did I not put enough oil? Was my heat too high? Was my pre-cut butternut squash not quite equivalent to one butternut squash?
See the toasty bottoms of the butternut squash that I was not going for:
It’s not too bad, so I’ll keep going. Once I’ve reached the burning point in cooking, I kind of panic. So I add the spices in, which right now is another haphazard mixture of cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, because I haven’t got Ras El Hanout. However, a quick search on Wikipedia says it’s composed of “Commonly used ingredients include cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric.” So I throw in all of the stuff I have in my cupboard that fits the bill and figure I can do without the rest. Next, in go the beans and the water. I have some chicken broth leftover and I don’t want it to go to waste (Does anyone waste copious amounts of chicken broth or is it just me? Why are the cartons so large and why must they be used within 7 days of opening?), so I substitute that for some water, and add some water for good measure and faithfulness to the original recipe. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief, as I bring the soup to a boil, knowing that I won’t risk burning anything here.
Phew. And then my oven sound goes off. That means the ratatouille is done. I wish I could just leave it there but I fear it might dry out. And it’s beeping, again. Hold on, need to check that.
I’ve tasted the soup, and to my relief, it tastes pretty good. It tastes like butternut squash (Who would’ve thought!).
Okay, okay, I’ll go get the oven.
I wonder if I dislike ovens beeping for the same reason I dislike phones ringing. The sense of urgency sends me anxiously scrambling, except not scrambling, because I’m trying to finish my blog post, okay? And neither ovens nor phones seem to bend to blog posting schedules. They just beep, and beep, and beep.
Alright, before it burns now.
Here’s what the ratatouille looks like. It doesn’t look like the ones I’ve made in the past. It looks shriveled and sad! Did I not drizzle enough oil on the top? Was it in the oven for too long?
Oh yeah, I’m not vegetarian, by the way, and neither is my husband. I just happen to dislike touching meat if I can help it. Let’s just pretend that’s what we were going for. Will this be a filling enough vegetarian meal? Time will tell. And this is what a blog post looks like when it’s done in the middle of cooking.