Sunday, July 02, 2006

Pasta with Capers, Garlic, and Breadcrumbs (Page 204)

  • Date: Friday, June 30, 2006 - 7:30pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Chris' Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Chris
  • Recipe Rating: B

Chris and I had a little disagreement about whether to make Pork Pie for dinner on Friday or Macaroni and Cheese. Since we couldn't settle it, we picked something different from both of them, which was how we arrived at this one. It wasn't great, but its main problems stemmed from user error. The recipe calls for fresh breadcrumbs from a stale baguette. I didn't have a stale baguette on hand, so I figured I would use dried panko breadcrumbs instead. Now I'm not usually foolish enough to think it's a good idea to substitute dried breadcrumbs for fresh ones, but I figured since the recipe called for a baguette that was stale, the breadcrumbs were meant to be a little dry. Anyway, the obvious disaster happened: when I added the breadcrumbs to the sauce they immediately absorbed all the sauce, leaving us with oil soaked crumbs, and no sauce. It didn't taste bad per se, but the pasta was dry and the crumbs were oily, which wasn't really so pleasant. These user errors aside, I still wouldn't heartily recommend this dish. The flavor is good, if you like briny, but it's very one-note. And this is just personal bias of course, but pasta with breadcrumbs mixed in has always seemed a little odd to me. We don't usually take heavy carbs, and mix in some more heavy carbs. In the same way that a pasta sandwich would seem strange, pasta with pretty much only breadcrumbs mixed in feels strange to me.

So after a week of hardly cooking, yesterday I cooked for much of the day. I made 5 recipes from The Book! So while I am now really behind in my blogging, I feel like I am making progress on my project again. I was remembering yesterday that at some point, years ago, when Chris and I lived together, I made a resolution to make one recipe a week that I hadn't made before. I remember announcing to Chris that I had made this new resolution, and he commented that it was ambitious to try to make one new thing every week. I couldn't help laughing yesterday as I was thinking about this. Now, I can hardly remember the last time I made a recipe that wasn't new. Indeed, I think I promised Paul that I would cook "real food" (i.e. food that isn't a new recipe from The Book) before he moved away, but I never did. I just really love making the new recipes. Chris and I may be having the faculty member who sponsors Chris' grant at Stanford over for dinner next weekend. Chris is trying to force me to make "real food" for that dinner. I'll do it of course, because I think it's important to Chris, but I find it so fun and entertaining to cook and eat for the project that I would, of course, rather do that. Occasionally it concerns me that there are people who have only eaten my experimental food (e.g. Paul and Soren) and those people might secretly think I am a terrible cook, because sometimes, honestly, the food isn't great. I figure, if eventually people start refusing to come to meals at my place, I will reconsider my approach! Until then, every day is a new culinary experience!

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