Big Time Failure

BDH said recently that he’d like it if we tried some new recipes for dinner. The regular stuff was getting… well… boring. So I agreed, and I’ve been scouring the cookbooks and recipes to find stuff that looks good to make, and I plan and shop accordingly.

So, when my latest version of Canadian Living came in and BDH remarked to me, “There are some good recipes in there”, I thought I might try some of the recipes.

The first one I tried, last week, was a tomato-ey potato and sausage soup. BDH liked it, but I didn’t. But that’s fine — that kind of stuff can be packed up for him for lunches. If I can make a big pot of something for him and freeze it for lunches, he has some variety. So that’s good.

Another recipe I wanted to try was a fish sticks and sweet potato fries recipe. Both BDH and I like fish — me moreso; he’s a fair bit more particular, but he still likes it — and we both like sweet potato fries. So it seemed like a good choice.

I shopped painstakingly this week, including the ingredients for this recipe. The fish is always tough to buy. The recipe recommended tilapia, which we’ve had before and did not like, or something called basa which I’ve never heard of before, or catfish. I have had catfish and have loved it, and it’s white and flaky and firm and basically harmless, so I opted for that.

The recipe called for 4 fillets. Well, 4 fillets of catfish is A LOT, and was getting into the $20 range. So I said no, lets try 3.

I got BDH to come down and help me prepare the sweet potatoes, and I cut up the fish. The fish amounted to a LOT of fish, but I cut it up and breaded each individual piece. The recipe said to put the fries in a 450 oven on a pan covered in parchment paper. Well, parchment paper burns if you put it in an oven higher than 420. So we lined a baking sheet with tinfoil and used that instead.

After half an hour, I checked on the fries. They had turned to a congealed, mushy mass. NICE.

I put it in for another 20 minutes. They had crisped up slightly, so I put the fish in as well.

20 more minutes, and both the “fries” and the fish were underdone. Although the congealed mass of sweet potato was burning nicely to the tinfoil.

We decided to transfer everything to a baking sheet, no tinfoil. After fighting with the mass of congealed vegetables for 5 or 10 minutes, we got a big lump of it on the pan, along with the fish fingers (which did not look so bad, to be honest). We put the pan back in for another 15 minutes.

15 minutes later, we had some fairly crispy and occasionally dried out fish, and a big burned hunk of vegetable matter.

BDH gamely tried to eat it. He choked down some vegetable mass and a fish finger. I ate a few fish fingers, actually, and thought they were ok.

I went to clear the plates and saw how much was left on BDH’s plate. I thought I’d offer the fish to the cats.

You know your cooking is bad when even FOUR CATS WILL NOT EAT FISH.

(Well, that’s not entirely true. Cinnamon ate a couple of bites, but I think she didn’t want me to feel bad. She’s sweet that way.)

So I scraped everything into the garbage. And I wanted to sit down and cry. 3 hours of effort and 20 or so dollars later, and we had a full garbage bag. It’s so distressing. It’s a big failure in terms of money, time, and effort.

Oh well. When I was shopping I picked up some swiss chocolate on sale. At least I can assuage my feelings of failure with some tasty, and economical, chocolate.

7 thoughts on “Big Time Failure

  1. Ugh, that really bites!!! A couple years ago I found this recipe in Woman’s World and wanted to try it soooo bad. It sounded so good. So I drove over an hour to get the ingredients (we lived in an itsy bitsy town then) then worked like a mad woman in the kitchen. When it was all said and done, I ate popcorn for supper. Bruce ate it but honestly, he’ll eat anything. I was one ticked off chick that night.
    It was back to the “boring” same ol’ stuff for awhile after that one.

  2. I think we’re going back to the boring stuff too for awhile. I am such a cheapwad, I can’t stand spending money on something that just gets chucked in the garbage!

  3. We have been experimenting with sweet potato fries at our house and the results are steadily improving. Although the fries don’t get as crispy as white potato fries, I’ve been having fairly good luck by brushing or tossing with olive oil and sprinkling the fries with whatever spices I have on hand. My well-seasoned (blackened) cookies sheet gives me the best results.Just make sure it’s well-greased.
    Do you have a good recipe for dipping sauce?

  4. My grandmother makes her own and they always are a hit with my kids. I detest sweet potatoes, so in my house I make the frozen kind.

    I am SO sorry you had such a disappointing experiment.

  5. I love sweet potato fries. It’s true they don’t crisp up like regular potatoes, though – and they cook much, much faster. I like to toss mine with olive oil and sprinkle them with seasoning salt, or, occasionally, cayenne.

    We’re big fans of basa, too – I just buy the frozen filets from Superstore. Cheeeap. And they’re thin, so they cook fast.

    I hope you have better luck next time! I feel your pain. I’m a culinary Calamity Jane.

  6. What a drag!!

    Like the other commenters – I have good success with sweet potato fries (actually wedges) by tossing them in a little oil along with whatever spices are on hand. Dee LISH!. They don’t get as crispy as regular potato fries, but they are close.

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