Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sauteed Watercress (Page 588)

  • Date: Saturday, November 10, 2007 -- 9pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Russ and Paps
  • Recipe Rating: C-


I picked recipes for dinner last night before knowing that Paps and Russ were coming over. I never would have chosen this recipe for company (especially not Book dinner first-timers) because it didn't sound promising. Indeed it was bad. Ok, true, I rarely appreciate bitter greens. But as bitter greens go, watercress is actually one of my favorites. This preparation was pretty foul though. Watercress is lovely raw on salads or sandwiches. It provides a bit of a bitter crunch. This cooked watercress, however, was tough and extremely bitter. The Book claimed that the watercress would "mellow" with a gentle saute, but this was far from true. This dish was anything but mellow. The other fundamental problem with this dish was that it was very tough. We certainly could have done a better job removing all the bits of stem from the watercress, which would have helped on this point, but I found that even the leaves were rather tough. Russ suggested that this dish wasn't inherently bad, but would have been better if the watercress had been replaced by spinach. I definitely agree with that assessment. At it is written though, my recommendation would be to avoid it!

The recipe is here.

I am writing this on the flight home. It's always the same kind of plane between Boston and Indianapolis: 13 rows, 4 across. Its pretty small. At other points in my life I would have been terrified on such a small plane. Actually, who are we kidding: I wouldn't have been on such a small plane in the first place. Throughout graduate school I flew from Boston to Chicago and then took the bus home to Madison rather than getting on a plane like this one.

On Friday, sitting on the airplane, I was remembering a time in my life when I was so scared to fly that one of my major goals was to make life choices that required little travel. I had to laugh when I thought about that -- I did quite a poor job accomplishing that goal. First I went to college 2,000 miles away from my family, then graduate school 3,000 miles away from the friends I made in college. I took up a profession with conferences and seminars, both often requiring traveling. I moved to the middle of the country where the airports (and hence the planes) are small. And the really shocking one: I am in a long distance relationship. So I travel. This is the 14th flight I have taken since the beginning of August. I won't lie and say I love it. I won't claim I don't get scared. But I do it, and actually it's ok with me.

There is one indisputably wonderful thing about flying: it is gorgeous! We are above the cloud cover now and in every direction there are seas of white billowy clouds. The sun is shining and it's spectacular.

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