Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Am I Missing Something?

I want so badly to love this cookbook. It's cute and cheerful and it puts me in a good mood to flip through it. I've heard so many great things about it online, and from personal recommendations--one of my friends said "It got me through my first Whole30." That's a pretty big deal! I'm just not happy with how the food is turning out. Maybe I have different tastes than the author, who seems so delightedly enthusiastic about her recipes.

Then again, there is a little cartoon version of her kid with a comic book bubble coming out of his mouth, saying, "Watermelon is better than candy!" Batman took one look at that, scoffed, and said, "That kid ain't eating the right candy."

a) I died laughing.
b) He's totally right, and that level of fervor is something I need to bear in mind. I'll bet Michelle Tam and her family really do love these recipes that much. They also like watermelon better than candy, though, so, different.

First up, I had all the ingredients for Citrus Vinaigrette, so I went ahead and made that. For some reason, I expected zest to be involved. It wasn't. This is just lemon juice, orange juice, dijon, salt, pepper, and olive oil. The only thing that differentiates it from 1000 other dressings is the orange juice, which I can't even taste in the finished product. I expected this to be bright and identifiably citrus. Nope. Tasted like any other lemon/mustard based dressing. Needs zest, man.
Conclusion: Meh. Just okay.

Next up, Slow-Poached Magic Tuna. This caught my eye every time I flipped through the book, because magic. I like tuna, and I've never poached it in olive oil before, so I decided to give it a shot. I hesitated for a minute when I realized that I needed to make Magic Mushroom Powder first.

Magic Mushroom Powder is dried porcini mushrooms, blitzed with salt and other spices in the food processor. I hesitated because I've been rationing out the dried porcini that I brought back from our tour in Italy, and I was down to my last bag, and because, in general, they're expensive, so with the tuna, this was becoming a pricey meal.

I got suckered in by the description: "This spice blend is truly magical--and one of my most sought-after secrets...this stuff is powdered umami in a jar...sprinkle some of this flavorful dust on anything you cook, and bask in the admiring gaze of your dinner guests."

How do you not make that?

I should have saved my mushrooms for risotto.

It's a mushroomy powder. I don't know what else to say about it. Here's the thing. I don't think mushroom is a great flavor for "anything you cook." I certainly didn't love it on tuna.

Also, during the blitz, my kitchen filled with airborn mushroom particulate. Nugget and I could not stop sneezing. Pretty sure it's lodged in my lungs like asbestos now. Should have been more delicious for all that.

I have an entire mason jar full of this stuff now, and I don't honestly know what to do with it. She recommends sprinkling it on kale chips. I guess that could be okay.

Conclusion: Just okay
That purple sweet potato was bomb, though.
Now, as for that tuna. I cooked this according to her timing. It was gray all the way through. The oil was not infused with Magic Mushroom Powder in any delicious way. She says that the leftovers, stored in the braising liquid, will keep for a week. I tried to put some on a salad today for lunch, took one bite, and dumped it. Apparently, tuna gets reeeeeeal fishy when it's sitting in your fridge.

Conclusion: The price point tips this from Just Okay to Dislike.

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