Sunday, December 2, 2012
Osso Bucco? Osso "Bleh"-cco!!!
I already mentioned that I picked up Tim Ferriss' new book, The 4-Hour Chef, with a hope to finally learn how to cook without recipes. Well, this is the end of Week 1 of actual cooking and here's my update.
This week I was supposed to make two dishes - lamb "osso bucco" and scrambled eggs.
Osso Bucco was a definite FAIL. I did follow the recipe. And I did buy all the right (namely, fresh and/or organic) ingredients. I even used the same brand of canned tomatoes. Yet the end result was disappointing. It looked good, but tasted fatty and flat. Not a good combination. Then again, I never tried lamb before and, in general, I don't like meat all that much.
There was also a WHOLE LOT of braising liquid left. I felt it would be too wasteful to just get rid of it. And from my previous experience (mostly reading "Stone Soup" and the part in "Three in a Boat Not Counting the Dog" where Jerome K Jerome talks about Irish ragu), I knew that just about anything can be turned into a delicious soup.
I kept the broth and the day after I boiled it with the remaining carrots, some orzo, canned tomatoes, and leftover chopped lamb meat. Oh, and more salt and pepper. Now it tasted much better, but still it was missing something. Luckily, I remembered a jar of аджика (Georgian chili paste) in my fridge and added some to the soup. That did it! Now it tasted just right and somewhat like харчо. Must'd been хмели-сунели spice blend that was one of the ingredients in the chili paste (the rest were just various chilies, garlic and salt).
Scrambled eggs - I did not have fried parsley for the Middle Eastern version and I didn't feel like eating eggs with mint (the Northeast African version). Instead, I added scallions, fresh ginger and some soy sauce for an Asian take on scrambled eggs. I totally eyeballed the spices too. But the eggs turned out great. I don't know why I never considered adding herbs and spices to the scrambled eggs at the end, instead of at the beginning of cooking them.
1. Lamb - not for me
2. There are no shortcuts to building layers of flavor in a dish
3. If it doesn't turn out all that great, make a soup out of it
4. Scrambled eggs with soy sauce - delicious!