Test recipes

by Jon Sullivan - 2024-05-01 - Food

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I like to cook delicious food. Cooking the same thing twice bores me. Time for more test recipes.

I would say my current story arc in terms of cooking good food started around the late 90s. I'd recently arrived in California, land of bounty and culture. And cooking myself gourmet meals fit very well with the ultra materialist vibe of LA and Orange County. I was single, exposed to tons of new cuisines and fancy restaurants, but I was close to broke. Pushing myself to cook extra fancy meals fit my hermit nature, and kept debt to a minimum. It's also the era I started doing my weird Thanksgiving tradition of cooking absolutely the best food I could and then enjoying it alone. Maybe I was/am just a weirdo. Irregardless, cooking the best food, at least for special occasions, became a part of my identity.

But that was the hermit story arc, and we're now in the "tons of social events" arc. Two events in Montana and 7+ in Oregon. And since, for some unknown reason, I hate cooking the same things over and over, no matter how much people like them, I need new recipes pretty much constantly. Everyone loved the homemade tamales and salmon quiche I served at the last camping event. And they'd likely be just fine with me serving it over and over. Nope. Sorry. Jon must do it the hard way. Good food shouldn't be an endlessly evolving stunt, but for me it is.

Here's the current backlog of recipes I need to test. Do I even understand the flavors? Can I pull off the new techniques required? Guyanese pepperpot stew requires cassareep, which I don't know if I can even get, I have no idea what it tastes like or even is, and until I make the dish I won't know if it's worth the bother. So, of course, inevitably, the dish must be cooked. One might suggest trying to find a Guyanese restaurant and tasting it first, which would make sense for others who aren't insane.

This does look like a very large menu, but it will be spread over many months, culminating in the Thanksgiving mega cooking spectacular in Montana. And typically about half of the dishes will be deemed not good enough and new recipes will have to be found.

Beef birria eggrolls with red pepper fondu.
Crab Louis deviled eggs.
Chicken fried bacon BLT with tomato jam.
Dessert ravioli with cardamom and plum jam.
Wild mushroom salmon wellington.
Fried manchego with chorizo sauce and chimichurri.
Bacon wrapped grilled cheese sammies with hollandaise.
Shrimp balls with garlic butter and thai basil.
Potato cannoli with mole gravy.
Guyanese pepperpot stew.
Carnitas chilaquiles casserole.
Curried potato samosas and peach chutney.
Kedgeree (curried rice and fish with egg).
Zucchini crepes with bacon jam.
Scottish hand pies (several versions).

This week I'll be tackling the samosas and zucchini crepes. For an extra challenge I'll need a crepes version without meat for vegetarians. Hopefully some of these will be hitting the table for Marilee's in a couple weeks.

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