The Delightful Dutch Dish

How one can cook oneself back into local reality

Pumpkin Soup revision August 29, 2010

Filed under: cooking,main course,soup — orangepumpkin @ 15:23
Tags:

Ok, so I’ve revised my pumpkin soup. Which is to say, I added a few extras and I still liked it. I liked it so much that I effectively ate one whole pumpkin, three big carrots, a small zucchini, and half a litre of water. And I lived to tell you about it.

I also added sour cream and a truck load of chili pepper powder. This last bit I did after my sister advised me to do that. It gives a nice little zing to the soup. It isn’t at all innocent anymore, and you can just keep adding chili, it seems.

I added the chili because I don’t have tabasco, which is what she would add. But hey, I’m mee, I’m stubborn and I like it. Now you go try. It’s still simple, Put in all the ingredients, boil the veggies for 20 minutes, stick in the stick blender, add the sour cream and seasonings. And eat.

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Crème Brûlée August 27, 2010

Filed under: cooking,dessert — orangepumpkin @ 15:16
Tags: ,
A while back I read a recipe on crème brûlée (CB) and I thought I would never be able to make it. The whole thing sounded so incredibly hard to do! You had to separate yolks from eggwhites, and you could NOT let the whole thing boil, or else!
Anyway, I thought it was too hard for me. Besides, you needed some instrument that could possibly burn down your entire kitchen: a bunsen burner of some kind. I died thinking I had to handle something like that. But… I decided to get one last check before I would lay down the idea of making CB forever. I would check if my bible, The Joy Of Cooking, would have a recipe for it. If it did, I would definitely try.
Man-oh-man-oh-man! They did have a recipe. And instead of making it sound deliciously difficult, it was simple, easy, anyone could do it. No separating eggs, just a little scary burning the house down. I could handle that, I thought.
I ran out the door screaming with joy, off to the shops, buying my kitchenburner. That is: after I found out these things only cost 15 euros. I would’ve thought you had to invest several hundred euros before anyone would allow you to burn the kitchen down. It wasn’t. It was simple as simple could be.
I have been making CB every week since then. The first time I was in heaven. It went so incredibly well. I followed the recipe, I burnt the sugar, life was heavenly. And then the second time, I went experimenting. I learnt my lesson: don’t do that! Don’t ever do that! I didn’t have CB, I had some poor tasting horrible sauce that didn’t even remotely smell of CB. But still, without the experiments, I wouldn’t have tweaked the recipe in the right places and made some kick ass CB. I will share with you what I do to myself every week.
Mind you: my tastebuds die, go to heaven and never return. But my love handles (non-existing prior to the whole CB ordeal) have come to stay, forever. There’s a down side to everything, but it’s worth it!
You need (for 2 portions of CB):
250ml cream (for making whipped cream, just don’t whip it)
2 eggs (no separating)
lemon zest of half a lemon
vanilla sugar (1 portion of 7g)
kitchen-burning-down-aid
2 CB bowls
Heat the cream right until it cooks. Mix the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla sugar in a bowl. Mix in the hot cream. Stir well with a wire whisk. Put the mixture back in the pan and on low heat on the stove. Whisk constantly, make sure you also stir the edges. Let it slowly heat. They say ‘DON’T LET IT BOIL!’ and make it sound dramatic. The trick is not to boil it immediately, but slowly increase the heat. Keep stirring, don’t be made about it, but keep stirring. If it’s not going quickly enough, up the heat a little. Keep stirring, keep stirring, keep stirring. There’s no way I can tell you enough to KEEP BLOODY STIRRING. Don’t stop it.
When you keep going, you will find that the mixture will turn into custard. It will thicken. This is what you want. Right at the point of thickening, it isn’t a crime if it blobs (boils) a little. Your CB won’t die and fail and you won’t be punished by going to hell. I wasn’t, at least. I’ve lived to tell the tale. Keep stirring though. Turn down the heat a notch if you feel comfortable. If it’s all thick and creamy and wowza nice, take it off the heat entirely. Place the pan on the cold countertop of some sort. And don’t forget: KEEP STIRRING. This is vital. Because the bottom of the pan will still contain heat, it will also continue to heat the custard. It is of the utmost importance that you keep stirring for about a minute. Just stir (or whisk, don’t be sensitive about which term I use).
Finally: put the custard in the two bowls, and place those in the fridge for a few hours (at least 4, but honestly, if you can’t wait, no one will blame you for just finishing it right then and there). Useful tip: make sure your fridge doesn’t contain smelly things like garlic of onion, these scents will get into your CB and that is NOT good. Onion CB, nah, doesn’t seem too cool.
After it’s cooled down, put a layer of (light) brown sugar (which is not your usual sugar) over the custard. Fire up your burner, burn the sugar. It should just melt. That’s it, that’s your CB ready to be served.
How local:
Well, pretty local. Only lemons and vanilla aren’t grown here, but the rest is. Teehee!
PS: I think the separating of the eggs is to make the cream more light or white in colour. Which is nice, but totally unnecessary.
My next endeavour is to switch the lemon zest for coconut thingythingies (don’t really know what it’s called in English all of a sudden). That should be delicious as well!

A while back I read a recipe on crème brûlée (CB) and I thought I would never be able to make it. The whole thing sounded so incredibly hard to do! You had to separate yolks from eggwhites, and you could NOT let the whole thing boil, or else!
Anyway, I thought it was too hard for me. Besides, you needed some instrument that could possibly burn down your entire kitchen: a bunsen burner of some kind. I died thinking I had to handle something like that. But… I decided to get one last check before I would lay down the idea of making CB forever. I would check if my bible, The Joy Of Cooking, would have a recipe for it. If it did, I would definitely try.
Man-oh-man-oh-man! They did have a recipe. And instead of making it sound deliciously difficult, it was simple, easy, anyone could do it. No separating eggs, just a little scary burning the house down. I could handle that, I thought.
I ran out the door screaming with joy, off to the shops, buying my kitchenburner. That is: after I found out these things only cost 15 euros. I would’ve thought you had to invest several hundred euros before anyone would allow you to burn the kitchen down. It wasn’t. It was simple as simple could be.
I have been making CB every week since then. The first time I was in heaven. It went so incredibly well. I followed the recipe, I burnt the sugar, life was heavenly. And then the second time, I went experimenting. I learnt my lesson: don’t do that! Don’t ever do that! I didn’t have CB, I had some poor tasting horrible sauce that didn’t even remotely smell of CB. But still, without the experiments, I wouldn’t have tweaked the recipe in the right places and made some kick ass CB. I will share with you what I do to myself every week.
Mind you: my tastebuds die, go to heaven and never return. But my love handles (non-existing prior to the whole CB ordeal) have come to stay, forever. There’s a down side to everything, but it’s worth it!
You need (for 2 portions of CB):250ml cream (for making whipped cream, just don’t whip it)2 eggs (no separating)lemon zest of half a lemonvanilla sugar (1 portion of 7g)kitchen-burning-down-aid2 CB bowls
Heat the cream right until it cooks. Mix the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla sugar in a bowl. Mix in the hot cream. Stir well with a wire whisk. Put the mixture back in the pan and on low heat on the stove. Whisk constantly, make sure you also stir the edges. Let it slowly heat. They say ‘DON’T LET IT BOIL!’ and make it sound dramatic. The trick is not to boil it immediately, but slowly increase the heat. Keep stirring, don’t be made about it, but keep stirring. If it’s not going quickly enough, up the heat a little. Keep stirring, keep stirring, keep stirring. There’s no way I can tell you enough to KEEP BLOODY STIRRING. Don’t stop it.When you keep going, you will find that the mixture will turn into custard. It will thicken. This is what you want. Right at the point of thickening, it isn’t a crime if it blobs (boils) a little. Your CB won’t die and fail and you won’t be punished by going to hell. I wasn’t, at least. I’ve lived to tell the tale. Keep stirring though. Turn down the heat a notch if you feel comfortable. If it’s all thick and creamy and wowza nice, take it off the heat entirely. Place the pan on the cold countertop of some sort. And don’t forget: KEEP STIRRING. This is vital. Because the bottom of the pan will still contain heat, it will also continue to heat the custard. It is of the utmost importance that you keep stirring for about a minute. Just stir (or whisk, don’t be sensitive about which term I use).Finally: put the custard in the two bowls, and place those in the fridge for a few hours (at least 4, but honestly, if you can’t wait, no one will blame you for just finishing it right then and there). Useful tip: make sure your fridge doesn’t contain smelly things like garlic of onion, these scents will get into your CB and that is NOT good. Onion CB, nah, doesn’t seem too cool.After it’s cooled down, put a layer of (light) brown sugar (which is not your usual sugar) over the custard. Fire up your burner, burn the sugar. It should just melt. That’s it, that’s your CB ready to be served.
How local:Well, pretty local. Only lemons and vanilla aren’t grown here, but the rest is. Teehee!
PS: I think the separating of the eggs is to make the cream more light or white in colour. Which is nice, but totally unnecessary.My next endeavour is to switch the lemon zest for coconut thingythingies (don’t really know what it’s called in English all of a sudden). That should be delicious as well!

 

Local salad June 20, 2010

Filed under: cooking,salad,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 17:49

Right now I’m eating a lovely salad that is by far the most local salad I’ve eaten in a loooooooooong while. Well, last Friday was more local. I’ve been visiting my parents this weekend (a Dutch custom, I think, visiting one’s parents as often as one can, until you produce grandchildren). And my parents have a vegetable garden. Which is way out! I’ve reported about the local produce coming from it. The few radishes, the turnip greens etc. So far we’ve only been able to have accents from the garden in our meals. Well, since the last time I visited, which was two weeks ago, things have been going up, up, up. And when I arrived Friday, my mother had made this huge bowl of salad. It didn’t look anything out of the ordinary, but she was beaming with pride: “It’s all from the garden!” she said. Well, not all of it was from the garden, we don’t have cucumbers and tomatoes, but other than that (and a few spices) it was all from the garden. Home grown salad, at your service!

When I was about to leave, my mother said that I could have some veggies from the garden. So we picked two cute and tiny red beets, a small onion and a lot of greens (rucola, turnip greens, mustard greens, chives, parsley, lettuce, radishes and celery). Only small amounts of all these things, but combined it was enough for a bowl of salad. All I had to add was a few drops of olive oil, a little salt and pepper, different seeds (pumpkin, sunflower & pine), a little cheese and balsamic vinegar. And I have a lovely salad. Despite the large amount of Brassicacae things in there, it’s not too spicy. It’s just lovely. I saved the red beets for tomorrow, I just used the leaves for the salad.

It’s very local, since it was grown in my parents’ garden. The only thing is that I took it with me back home. Which is about 50km. The good news is, I used public transport. So I’m considering this super local!

 

I’ve been neglecting this May 25, 2010

Filed under: cooking,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 19:00

I don’t really know why. Because I have broken many rules, probably. I’ve been devouring truck loads of fish. Salmon, tuna, crab, herring, and I intend to eat every single fish they sell at my latest discovery: the fish shop. They sell great stuff. They smoke their own salmon. And that salmon does me in every single time I smell it. They place it on the counter top so that you simply have to smell it. And trust me, you cannot smell that salmon without eating it. The thing with fish shops is that you have to buy something before you can eat it. So anyway, fish. I’ve decided that I can’t live without it. The only downside to the whole fishy ordeal is, that fish, my dear scalloped sea creatures of heaven, they just aren’t local. They aren’t eco-friendly. They aren’t organic. They’re dooming our planet. And so am I, with every single bit of fish that enters my system. The only solution to that is: I have to stay in denial. So, goodbye!

The good news is that I’ve found a way to compensate. I haven’t really given it much thought, until last night, when I realised that the vegetables I’ve eaten in the past days, were all more local than local. Not all vegetables, but lots of them. The thing is this: I’ve been staying in a house with a vegetable garden. It’s not fully functional, we’ve only just planted asparagus. That will yield real live asparagus in another three years. Yup, three whole years. We’ve also planted artichokes. That will hopefully bloom this summer. And since you eat the flowers, that should be yum! Hopefully they’ll live through the winter, and than we’ll have some more artichokes next year. I’m making sure I’ll be sleeping next to the artichoke plants, so that I will get my share.

Nevermind the produce that will take anywhere between a few months and a few years, lets talk about the vegetables that I have already eaten. It started out with a little bit of chives, a few leaves of parsley, a tiny bit of marjoram, in other words: just a few fresh local spices. On saturday I made a lovely salad and decided I would want to include a little bit of ‘couleur locale’. So I took the scissors and walked into the garden. I cut off some chives, a bit of parsley, a little marjoram and I went crazy and decided that the real early radishes and rucola would be good enough for this salad too! I harvested them, washed them, put them in the salad. And it was great!

Sunday I was getting rid of some weeds when I discovered another batch of radishes. And they were big! They cried for help and I couldn’t help it, but I pulled the big ones out. Everyone had some lovely radishes on a cheese sandwich. If that had been all, life would have been great already. It’s such a joy to harvest something that has been homegrown, you wouldn’t believe it. But for dinner, I went out and took almost all the rucola home. I was making a delicious pesto with ramsons and rucola (with scallion instead of ramsons) to go with salmon. It was a homerun. I just wish I could come up with such a great pesto recipe. But then again, I’m not Italian, and I’m not really a cook. Anyway, it was a great day!

On Monday I made turnip green stamppot. You know the drill, I love it, so everyone has to love it. It was quite great and amazing. Though I had the wrong potatoes for it, and not cream cheese but just cheese. But I won’t complain, it was a great win, for everyone.

The great thing is that you can eat something within minutes after harvesting. All you know when you buy something in a supermarket is that it isn’t seconds after harvesting. It’s at least hours. When you walk out in the garden, pull out a radish, walk back inside to wash it, and then eat it, you can count the seconds. If you run you’ll make it quicker. If you don’t care about a little sand you can pull out & eat. There is no supermarket in the world that can beat you, even if you take a while to get to the sink to wash up your harvest. Ok, the crops don’t look stellar. Maybe a snail has had a bite, or a hare (we share our cabbage with a hare, he likes the stuff, man!), so it might be a little damaged. But the taste! Oh, but the taste! You’ve never tasted anything like it in your life. Never mind the size, the unevenness, the color, or the tiny bite another critter has had before you. It’s all in the taste.

I will share the pesto recipe with you soon, I think. I’m not sure it has copyright on it, and of course it is in Dutch. But it is worth breaking the law for. It’s great with different types of fish too! I might have to warn you: it has a decent amount of chives, scallion and garlic in it. Your loved ones might not like you for it. Unless you force feed it to them. It’s worth it!

 

Artichokes April 24, 2010

Filed under: book,cooking,main course,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 21:49
Tags: , ,

This week, my bike and myself went all the way to the asparagus place I would like to refer to as asparagus heaven. From afar I could see the white asparagus sign wasn’t up yet and I wondered: are there no asparagus to be had? And yes, there were no asparagus to be had. I was so disappointed I cried a little. I was wearing sunglasses so no one could see. You know, it hurt! I called my mum (or she called me, I don’t recall) and I told her there were still no asparagus at asparagus heaven. And she said that she hadn’t found any asparagus for sale near there, either. So we both cried a little. You know, she’d been driving around for ages, looking at suspicious looking humps where -for sure- asparagus were grown. But no one sold them. She asked at the supermarket for Dutch asparagus, and they didn’t have them. The supermarket guy told her that Dutch asparagus were awfully late this year. I also checked my supermarket. They have asparagus from Peru. But since that probably means they’re days old, instead of hours, I refuse to buy them. Otherwise I’d totally buy a bunch and cook them. I’m so asparagus-deprived that the whole Peru-thing seems like a tiny thing that can easily be overlooked. I’m easily persuaded, I know. Anyway, no Dutch asparagus. Anywhere.

Artichoke top cut off

The beauty of a thistle flower

So when I found myself in a greengrocer’s today and they had artichokes at €1.50 a piece (holy crap, that’s expensive) I didn’t check where they were from, I just bought one. Just one. Not five, which -on hindsight- would’ve been better. When I got home I realised that I actually had no idea how to prepare artichokes. I looked in my newest cookbook and they just had a recipe for artichoke hearts. Which actually means canned artichokes. You know, no matter how much I love my new cookbook, how on earth am I supposed to can my fresh artichoke? I don’t know these things! So I checked my ’50’s Dutch cookbook (revised version from the 2000’s). It had very little to say about artichokes. Seriously? Is this another joke? Doesn’t anyone eat these things anymore? Are they not cool enough for the general population? Are my fellow 20-something’s this deprived of all life that they don’t even buy fresh artichokes anymore? What kind of life am I living anyway? Should I abandon my €1.50 artichoke and see if McDonalds is willing to make me some french fries? Can I get American sauce with that? That’s what it’s called, I have no idea if it’s anything American, but whatever. I opened the kitchen cabinet that contains all my cookbooks. And I thought to myself: yes, this would be a perfect time for that! ‘That’ being my mum’s copy of ‘The Joy of Cooking‘ by Irma and Marion Rombauer. They’re American, you know. ‘That’ also referring to my mum’s advise when she gave me her copy ‘on loan’ (which is permanent, sorry mum, I’ll read the recipe’s to you when you need anything, but I can’t give it back, not anymore!). Her advice was this: ‘If you ever have anything that you’re not exactly sure about how to prepare, this book will provide the answer in a heartbeat.’ I listened intently while turning the ancient pages (this copy being printed in 1974, probably a wedding gift). ‘Remember that time I found a dead rabbit?’ (my mum saw it being hit by a car) Oh yes mum, I do! ‘Well, this book provided all the information on skinning and preparing rabbit!’ I remember that too! Dad with my siblings bent over the rabbit, cutting her (she had a uterus with babies inside) open, telling them what they were looking at. It was very much The Anatomy Lesson of dr. Nicolaes Tulp. My dad being that Tulp-guy, me being Rembrandt, because the picture is still very vivid and detailed when I think about it. Anyway, I took my mum’s copy home, and leafed through it some more, and I thought about making some of the recipes one day. Honestly, I wanted to be Julie & Julia. Unfortunately my name is nothing like Irma or Marion, and besides, they were together already. And besides that, I’m a horrible cook.

My copy of The Joy.

So I grabbed the book off the shelve and I looked for ‘artichoke’ in the index. And boy oh boy, did these ladies do artichokes! My other cookbooks didn’t have that many references to ‘artichoke’, but this one did. Page 256 is the first hit, and I stayed there. I cooked the artichokes just like that. Exactly like that. (I’m not sure if I would be violating copyright if I would list the recipe here, so I’m not going to, I will just tell you how good it is) And since I was quite bored, and the cooking of artichokes apparently takes 45 minutes, I started tweeting about it, also here, here, and here. I would never have thought of cooking the artichokes with other vegetables. I just wouldn’t. I’m probably too stupid. I was worried there was no salt in the recipe (I mean, every recipe has salt. I left some out, once, and it just totally ruined it. ‘It’ was bread. I threw it out. Saltless bread is inedible.) But I stuck to it. I persevered. Who am I to judge my new BFF’s Irma and Marion? (they’re long dead, but still, man, they live with me now, they’re my soulmates! Plus, they know how to cook, man.) I did not add salt.

The cut off artichoke stem.

In The Joy they advise you to serve the artichokes with Béchamel sauce. I know how to make Béchamel. My mother taught me when I was 8. It’s easy. Fry onions and garlic, add flour, add water or milk, season with whatever you can find (I usually empty my entire stash of herbs), and that’s it. Oh no no! Not Irma and Marion! They put flour in butter, then add milk, than add onions and garlic and only then do they season the sauce. They don’t tell you how to season it, exactly, but after tasting the superb sauce I had just created (see, they need to be my BFF’s, they could tell me 50 years before I was born how to make Béchamel sauce, I mean, they’re saints!), I knew it was so nearly perfect that my overly enthusiastic seasoning would kill it stone dead. And I didn’t want that. I wanted the sauce to live. And talk to the artichokes. And make a beautiful artichoke sauce. And make me happy. So I could die in peace someday, because I had, once in my life, made the perfect Béchamel. It was tough, you know, but I added salt. Lots. I added pepper. A little. And I added chives. (See, I have this chives plant in a pot, and it’s dying, so I think that by cutting it, it might stand a chance. And otherwise it will be dead anyway.) And a little marjoram. And that was it.

The Béchamel, prior to seasoning.

And then the whole thing was done. I ate the artichoke with an abundance of Béchamel, because I love a lot of sauce. On anything really. And it was great! Everything was great about it. So I do think that I can die in peace now. Even though I’m not sure the Béchamel was perfect, it was better than anything I’d ever hoped to achieve. And that is kind of perfect, right?

In the end, buying Irma and Marion Rombauer’s The Joy Of Cooking would be a fine investment, even today. I would like to get my hands on Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ too, then my life will be complete and I can do whatever I want. That would be great, wouldn’t it?

BTW: this is my first post with photo’s, I should do that more often, I like it! If only uploading pictures to my computer were more easy…

 

Pizza Perfect

Filed under: cooking,main course — orangepumpkin @ 19:51
Tags: ,

I promised that I would post something about my pizza frenzy. Now I will.

It all happened a few years ago. I was in the supermarket and I discovered a mix for pizza dough. Curious little creature that I am, I bought it and it ended up on my shelf for some time. Until one day I couldn’t make up my mind what to make for dinner, and I stumbled upon the pizza mix. On the back there were a few suggestions on what to put on your pizza. I honestly don’t remember what it was. I set off to the supermarket (this was before my whole local produce gamble came into play), I bought what I thought had been suggested on the back of the package and I went home again. I made the pizza and I was delighted. It was some seriously great pizza! The crust was quite brilliant, and the toppings were quite great too. From then on I almost always had a bit of that mix in my cupboard, because you never know when you feel like pizza.

The following, on how the pizza-saga evolved, might be quite familiar, since this happened to me before (well, I think the pizza came first, but on this blog they come second). It has everything to do with my untempered enthusiasm, moderation, and measurements and proportions. You can guess it: it went wrong. It went hilariously wrong. It simply had to. One day I simply forgot all the pizza making lessons I had learnt in the previous months. Someone unplugged my memory and it was drained. I planned on making a pizza, so I went and bought the ingredients. While I was in the supermarket I remembered what I had put on my pizzas before and what had been really great, and then I bought it. I bought everything that I had liked on a pizza at some point in my past life. That we shall call mistake number one. It’s a huge one. I did have some moderation in mind, I didn’t buy three leeks, five carrots, two onions and an extra big pack of mushrooms. I only bought small amounts. But I did buy everything. I might have gone easy on the meat, remembering that there are barely any pizzas that have five types of meat on them. But I did get leek, mushrooms, carrots, olives, mozzarella, salami, tomatoes and probably a bunch of other stuff that I don’t even remember anymore.

When I got home my salivating glands were in overdrive, my mind was quickly wandering off to the perfect pizza place and I cut up all my toppings, kneaded the dough, etc. Once I was putting all the topping on the pizza I started to realise something: there is no way in pizza that that will fit. It dawned on me that I had bought too much. I said dawned, because it never really set in. Enter: mistake number two, it’s even bigger than mistake number one. I quickly quit putting more stuff on there. I did squeeze in some tomatoes, and the mozzarella, but the rest of it I stored in the refrigerator. Then I put the pizza in the oven. I was convinced that the vegetables would shrink and settle, that the moist from the tomatoes would help that process and that my pizza would be perfectly fine.

Of course, it wasn’t. My carried away mind had resided on Mt. Vesuvius this time, forgetting all about my dear friends ‘Measurements & Proportions‘. The vegetables didn’t shrink and settle. The pizza didn’t work the way I had planned at all. It wasn’t cooked. The crust was ok, but the rest of it just simply sucked.I don’t remember if and how I salvaged it. I do remember that I realised later on that I should’ve made a quiche instead. Quiche is good, and in case you’re throwing on too much stuff, it’s definitely better than pizza!

I learnt a terribly important lesson that day: don’t overdo your pizza. Keep it simple. After that I’ve made quite a few nice pizzas that were quite perfect. I didn’t put on everything I knew would be good on pizza. Because I do know that it will, but not on one small pizza. Everything put together won’t work on pizza. Though obviously I haven’t learnt my final lesson in moderation. I keep getting carried away. It’s in my nature I guess.

Oh, typing this up just reminds me so much of the great pizzas I used to make. God, I wish this was Italy and I could eat pizza all day. I guess it’s time to make some again. Of course I’ll share the recipe! Hope I’ll remember the ‘less is more’-motto that definitely applies to pizza!

 

Measurements April 19, 2010

Filed under: baking,cooking — orangepumpkin @ 19:39

If there is one thing in cooking that I’m a total loser at, it has to be measurements. Give me a recipe and I will not get one measurement exactly right. If I do manage, though, it has to be something like eggs. Throwing in an extra egg is a little much, most of the time. The thing is, measurements are hardly ever exact. In my opinion, they’re guidelines. If a recipe says ‘one pinch of salt’, and you taste it, and it needs more salt, what do you do? I know what I do, I throw in more salt. If I have to five more pinches. The thing that matters in the end is the taste of what you’ve just made. So exact measurements are not for me. I usually have a little too much of this, and too little of that. And no ones complained, hence my conclusion: they’re just guidelines. Don’t fret about it, it’ll be fine.

One thing in cooking (or baking, for that matter) that is important, is proportion. If you throw in too much flour, you need to throw in too much butter, too. And at some point too much also means another egg. I’m not too exact at that, either, I’m not fretting about the egg or the butter too much. Usually whatever I’m making is turning out fine, despite the fact that my measurements and my proportions are slightly off.

But sometimes, I get it all wrong. Sometimes my measurements are way off and I lose sight of the proportions. That is a recipe for disaster. Guaranteed. I would love to say that usually I’m fine, and maybe I am, but I’m off, way off, too often, to my liking. And I feel bad when that happens. I have some really disturbing little examples, and I’m not planning on keeping them from you. The things that I call cook-ups have to do with something gone wrong in the measurements and proportions department. Even when I’m not sure what went wrong exactly. It separates me from the real cooks. I will always be just some desperate loon trying to cook something up. And then failing. I have many failures to go, in my life. Ah well…