Over the break I attempted a few different culinary feats that didn't quite work out as planned, but ultimately turned into something delicious.
First was caramel. I wanted to try making it to make individually wrapped candies to give as gifts. I had a recipe from my friend Tammy who has a food blog Food On The Food. It has honey in it, and while she swears her set up, mine did not. I left it in the fridge for 24 hours, and as soon as I cut into it, it oozed back into itself like it had healing powers like the cheerleader on Heros. I don't even watch that show. But it tastes FABULOUS so I decided to just keep the gooey caramel goodness to use other ways. So far the best use has been with corn bread. Seriously, a layer of caramel on the bottom of the dish, corn bread batter on top, and later you have the best damn corn bread you have ever eaten, EVER. It will make its way onto ice cream undoubtedly, and into coffee.
The other thing I tried was butternut squash ravioli. A friend of mine put a recipe on Facebook, and I thought it was simple enough. She used wonton wrappers instead of pasta. This is where I feel the recipe failed. Wonton wrappers when boiled get very floppy. When fried or baked they get all crisp and yummy, but boiled they are not so tantalizing. And they stick together instantly once out of the water, so it just became a weird gloppy, slightly slimy mess. Pasta dough would have been way better, but I don't have a press and at that point, it might be more work than I was interested in doing for ravioli. I know my great grandmother used to make her own, probably rolling it out with a rolling pin on the table. Again, probably more work than necessary for me. But maybe someday I will give it a whirl.
The squash part itself was amazing, and I had far more stuffing than I needed for ravioli, so I made it into soup. If I could have swum in it I would have. The original recipe Toni provided had honey it, so I added more to the rest of the squash along with a half cup of heavy cream (which I had from making caramel, otherwise it would have been 2% milk) and two cubes of chicken boullion, water as needed to thin it and some parmasean cheese. Salt and pepper. There was a hint of garlic from the original recipe for the ravioli. It was so wonderful with a big hunk of crusty bread. I would eat just that for dinner almost any night of the week. To make The Bob happy I have to throw in at least a side salad to round out the meal, but for me that is enough.
So while I cannot say I successfully reproduced either of the original recipes, I ended up with something useful and tasty in the end. The Bob often marvels at how he can look in the fridge and see just a few bits of things here and there, but if I go in there I come out with a meal. And that is what I think the essence of cooking is all about. Taking failed attempts at one thing and making another, making a whole out of little bits and parts. I think there is stew on the menu for tonight or this weekend sometime. I do love winter if for no other reason that SOUP! And STEW! CHILI!
Now I am hungry.