Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Yum-O, Not So Yum-O

One of my favorite hobbies is cooking, but only when it's really in a hobby form. For the most part I don't mind being responsible for making dinner every night, but sometimes I just like to take the afternoon and really cook.

The problem with this is when I decide to make up a recipe. I am one of those "picky" eaters, not in the sense that I don't like foods, but that store bought or restaurant foods are always just a bit off in taste. So, I'll spend an afternoon trying to recreate a good food, but make it the best possible way. I'm on the impossible quest of making the perfect food.

There is, also, the problem that I live in a fairly un-diverse region of the country. That said, we do have a wide array of different ethnic restaurants, but due to lack of numbers to try, I question how authentic they are. And, if I want to recreate a recipe, the ingredients can be hard to find. I only have the patience to go to so many stores in one outing to search for an unusual ingredient.

Despite the problems that come up when creating recipes, I have fared pretty well. I haven't killed anyone or given anyone food poisoning. My made-up Buffalo Chicken Pizza got rave reviews at dinner the other night. And, only one recipe, my attempt at homemade gnocchi with sage butter sauce, has resulted in an emergency trip to McDonald's.

My current obsession: pot stickers and gyoza. I followed the America's Test Kitchen ( recipe to the letter the other night and wowed my family. But there is just one problem. Somehow, something was lacking. The taste wasn't right. I'll have to make a second attempt, maybe a third to refine the recipe. It might even warrant a trip to a four or fifth store in search of gyoza (not won ton) wrappers.

Now I only need two or three free afternoons.

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