My Culinary Mojo Took a Holiday This Weekend

by on April 4, 2010

Edible Vada Eluded Me

Bite of Vada My Culinary Mojo Took a Holiday This Weekend

Have you ever had a bad run of cooking?  A few times a year I dive into a food slump and can barely tread water.   I’m not talking about running out of things to make, I’m talking about producing inedible food.

Vada Batter My Culinary Mojo Took a Holiday This Weekend

It happened this weekend and what a waste of food it was.  I went to bed Friday night thinking about falafel.  I had all the ingredients in the house to make a great falafel sandwich to carry to work with 1 exception — the bread.  But I’m resourceful and thought I might be able to whip together a batch of Pita.  I ended up not having enough time, but  I had a baguette and decided it would work just fine so I set out to make a batch of falafel.  When I dropped them into the hot fat they fell apart.  What was left was a pot of ground up chickpeas floating in sizzling hot oil.  I took it off the stove and let it sit until cool enough to dispose of.  What a disappointment.  No big deal, sometimes things just don’t work out as planned, but it was an ugly waste of money.

Vada Batter in a Bowl My Culinary Mojo Took a Holiday This Weekend

And then today happened.   I’ve had a bag of urad dal in the pantry for a few months and decided to make Vada — Savory Indian Donuts.  The ingredients were basically what I had left in the fridge.  I hadn’t been to the supermarket in 2 weeks so the pickings were slim.  I pulsed the soaked dal in the food processor for a while and added Anaheim peppers, onions, tumeric, cumin,cilantro, salt and pepper until the mixture was as smooth as I could get it.

Vada with Salt My Culinary Mojo Took a Holiday This Weekend

Then I wet my hands, shaped balls of dough into donuts and dropped them into hot oil.  This time the dough didn’t fall apart, but what resulted was the heaviest, chewiest, most uninteresting rounds of dough I may have ever eaten and into the trash they went.

Pieces of Vada My Culinary Mojo Took a Holiday This Weekend

They looked pretty good, but bleh!

Plate of Vada My Culinary Mojo Took a Holiday This Weekend

And it didn’t stop with the Vada.  I made coconut macaroons to take to my hosts’ house for Easter dinner and my fail-proof microwave tempering technique failed!  It wasn’t terrible.  They tasted great, but DID melt in my hands as well as my mouth.

Something’s happened to my culinary mojo, but I’m not going to let it worry me.  On the way home from dinner I noticed that the supermarkets were open and I decided that rather than wait until my next day off to shop I’d pull in and get it done tonight so I’ve got plenty in the house to cook this week — vegetables, chicken, meat, cheese and more.  No more falling apart or heavier-than-a-brick batter for me.  I’m going to stick with the basics this week, thank you very much.

How about you?  Have you ever had a bad cooking run?   Have you ever produced something inedible?  Something that looks horrible.  Something that sounded great on paper and turned out great for the trash instead?

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 My Culinary Mojo Took a Holiday This Weekend In 2007 my career with a large, but shrinking high tech Fortune 50 \"left me,\" leaving a void in my life. While lamenting the loss and flying around the world looking for a new career to get married to, I discovered a way to use a familiar outlet during tough times -- writing. My blog-writing morphed into writing about my favorite past time -- Food! I purchase food, sell food, make food, watch food being made, broadcast meal preparation, photograph and blog about food. Like I said; Food! To change this standard text, you have to enter some information about your self in the Dashboard -> Users -> Your Profile box.

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MeggieNo Gravatar April 4, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Been there, done that… and it's usually the things that I've made a thousand times.

I can't believe your macaroons let you down though!!


Fran@frantasticfood.No Gravatar April 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Yep Meggie — they still taste damn good, but the chocolate is not tempered. Not sure what went wrong. I'm wondering if it's the weather. I've only tempered in the winter — this is my first warm weather go at it. I wonder if it's the heat/humidity factor. I'll have to try again soon and see what happens.

Stephanie ManleyNo Gravatar April 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm

My most ill conceived idea that I have ever had was mixing together fresh rosemary and imitation crab legs in a cream based sauce and putting this on pasta. It was just gross, very gross. I made that about 20 years ago, but still, it wasn't a favorite at all.

Sometimes I have very uninspired cooking where I just make a box of kraft macaroni and cheese and call it good.

Stephanie @ CopyKat.No Gravatar April 7, 2010 at 2:58 am

Oh, I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. One evening I was having a date over that I wanted to impress. After all, I am the lady with the cooking blog. *sigh* So I made one of my favorites, chicken marsala, I knew he loved mushrooms, and onions. Unfortunately, I didn't know how important it was to pick up a dry marsala. I picked up sweet, so I had chicken sweet marsala to serve. Not so great. I could see the huge look of disapproval on his face, he wouldn't say anything. Until I said, hey it wasn't me, it was the wine, here try it. He nodded, and then said, man this would have been better with the dry marsala. I don't remember if I made something else, or we just finished that meal with lots more wine ;)

Note to self: check wine before we start cooking with it.

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