Cooking involves trial and error, as does any sort of science. Yes, I just compared cooking to science, and if you have a problem with that, go find someone else to provide you with humor, recipes, and pictures of photos of delicious foods that make everyone’s mouth water.
But yes, cooking is not a linear process of success. In fact, I vote that we throw out every linear model of life and institute some kind of board game model instead- life often seems like the game Snakes and Ladders or Candy Land instead of anything remotely linear.
Think about it: don’t we have moments where our hard work and efforts have all been in vain, but don’t we also have our moments where we haven’t lifted a finger and suddenly everything just works out right for us? I’m not one to speak of fate or destiny too easily, but it is a wonder that our best intentions and efforts do not yield quite the results for which we were aiming.
In other words, though my grilled cheese is great, I’ve got a lot to learn about the world of frying things.
Today, I made the mistake of trying to bake hash browns. These were not potato patty hash browns; rather, these were actual hash browns which had to be broken up. In my naïveté, I decided to bake them instead of frying them. Hash browns had, after all, turned out to be a great recipe last week, hadn’t they? So why not endure and go the extra mile?
Unfortunately, the powers that be saw otherwise.
Baking the hash browns at 400º for half an hour or so yielded nothing but a yucky batch of hardened, bland slices of potatoes.
I had been preparing mushrooms at the same time. The mushrooms were cleaned, sliced, salted, peppered, garlic-powdered, and popped in the oven to bake for 3 or 4 minutes. They turned out wonderfully, but now I was left without any kind of “bedding” for the mushrooms. The mushrooms, while delicious on their own, needed something else so that they could have the worthy title of “complete” hovering over them.
Bread seemed to be overdoing it, and the last alternative I had was crackers.
My new motto is: “When all else fails, use crackers.”
By placing a dollop of sour cream on the crackers, then situating the mushrooms on top of them and adding a very small sprinkle of thyme, I created one of the best appetizers I’ve ever tasted before.
Thank God that the hash browns failed as they did, or I would’ve never discovered the delicious cracker alternative that made the dish worthy of a blog post.
This is the joy of cooking that the Onyx Plate and I have been representing lately: ideas that are aesthetic, easy, and delicious.
So, here’s the recipe that was created tonight:
- Mushrooms, of any kind. I cut up three or four small mushrooms, slicing them.
- Crackers- I used plain saltines, but Ritz would work well, too, or even something like Chicken-in-a-Biscuit.
- Sour Cream. You can use a low-fat variety if you need to.
- Garlic Powder
What you do:
- Clean and slice the mushrooms however you wish. I sliced them long-ways so that they still looked like mushrooms; the slices were also quite thin.
- Place the mushrooms on a greased cookie sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 400º.
- Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Bake for 3-4 minutes. You might try 5-6 minutes, but this potentially could dry out the mushrooms too much.
- Use a cracker for each sliced mushroom. Place a dollop of sour cream on the cracker and then place the mushroom on top of that.
- Sprinkle it all with a little thyme.