11 December 2009

Jambalaya, crawfish pie and filé gumbo

I often tell you of my cooking triumphs, or at the least, I'm serene about what I've served for dinner. So what of the disasters?

Well, this wasn't a disaster so much as a disappointment. I was making Indian food tonight, and I'd recently come across an article about Gujarati dishes. The spouse spent some time in Gujarat after the big earthquake in 2001, and has often spoken fondly of some of the food he ate. The easiest of the things in the article was a recipe for an okra curry, and I thought "why not?"

Well, why not because I happen to dislike okra. In fact, I despise the slimy stuff. But I thought, well, maybe here is an opportunity to find a way to like okra. And the recipe was spicy. Even okra might be palatable spicy. I was well pleased with my wholly adult attitude.

The curry made with the last of the turkey was delicious. The green beans were fabulous. The okra curry resembled curdled reddish...slime. And it mostly tasted like...watery slime. To be completely fair, this wasn't entirely the fault of the okra or the recipe. I thought I'd gotten a packet of hot paprika, but it was regular paprika. And it wasn't even very good regular paprika. So despite masses of turmeric and garlic, and heaven help us, okra...meh.

The family was largely polite about the whole fiasco, even agreeing that with the addition of spice, it might be palatable (the daughter and I ended up pouring significant amounts of Tabasco on our portions). Only one family member loved the okra.

Milton, the cat who eats everything.

I sadly contemplated the remains of the curry (most of it) and wondered what to do with it. I really dislike wasting food, and it didn't seem a particularly good idea to let the cat eat all of it.

Then a light bulb went off.

"I have to take an appetizer to the party tomorrow night," I told the spouse. "Maybe I could just mix in some cheese and more Tabasco and bake it all together and serve it with crackers or something."

The spouse blanched. "Really?" he asked.

The children just sat there and giggled.

Go listen to some music: "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" from the album Honky Tonkin', by Hank Williams. No, of course I'm not serving leftover okra stuff! It'll be the usual baked artichoke dip.

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