Saturday, January 23, 2010

Adventures and Misadventures in Cooking

Have you ever seen the magazine rack at Costco? It's a wonderful little spot in a giant warehouse, and on that rack you can find a magazine like America's Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers for up to 30% off. But be warned, you can also be easily tricked into buying Betty Crocker's best-loved Casseroles, also for up to 30% off.

I should have known better than to buy the Betty Crocker magazine, but it must have been a particularly cold day, when I thought I might want to eat copious amounts of cheap cheese. It is a recipe out of this magazine that took me on a misadventure.

Earlier this week, I made the Easy Beef Short Rib Supper. I have been searching for a short rib recipe, especially one that called for a crockpot; and Betty Crocker had what I thought I needed. Unfortunately, in preparing this dinner, I ruined my appetite for the entire week. As I mixed the cream of celery with the chili sauce and garlic, an unpleasant smell assaulted my nose. And, I really have a thing about bad smells. I kid you not, I felt like throwing up but somehow managed to hold it together. All day long I thought about how gross I felt in the morning, and I did not want to eat this dinner. But, I did. It was okay, but I will never be making the Easy Short Rib Supper again. Hopefully the Country French Beef Stew redeems this particular purchase.

Of course, the America's Test Kitchen magazine lived up to its promise (I have fared very well in the kitchen with their cookbook). I tried out the Chicken with Bacon and Vinegar. Yum. I must admit that I broke an ATK rule and substituted an ingredient--something they highly encourage against since they have taken the time to test out different recipes and come out with the most tasty result. But, what can you do when you cannot find sherry vinegar at the store and it's raining? Well, you come home, turn on the internet and Google for a substitute. The internet experts recommended balsamic vinegar, so balsamic vinegar I used. I will definitely be making Chicken with Bacon and Vinegar again. By the way, it was really easy and is great for a week night dinner, if you only need to serve four people.

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