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recipe for success

I suck at following recipes. As long as I am confessing, I am not that good at following any sort of directions. They all seem so superficial. I want to know the underlying structure - the map of the entire city or all the options - and then choose for myself the best means to get to the end.

This is one reason I never cook for people (other than family). Although sometimes I get some fabulous results, other times too many wrong turns becomes an embarrassment that I wouldn't dare share with anyone but those I am confident of their love and their desire for healthy food.

Tonight was no exception - except that I actually started with a recipe. The cool weather inspired me to stand at the stove and the brownie mix I whipped up just didn't satisfy my creative urge. Realizing I had a bunch of potatoes to use, I skimmed a few cookbooks looking for ideas and found a promising dish called "Wakame potatoes."

Perhaps "promising" is the wrong word. I have wakame in my cupboard as a well-intentioned gift. This was given to me because in theory (apparently quite vocally) I am a huge fan. Sadly I found in private (reality) that the stuff can be a bit tough to swallow. This recipe seemed a mild one though - basically potatoes, carrots, red pepper, and wakame (sea weed).

However, I don't like (or have) red peppers and although I need carrots, none have graced my fridge for several weeks. I did have some red kale, ginger, and beets though. I figured they would be a great substitute, especially since if I had more of them it would dilute the strength of the seaweed.

So I sauteed everything with onions and garlic as directed and then cooked it longer than normal, (I always prefer over-cooked food to under-cooked). I added some Indian spice that has been in my cupboard too long, basil as the recipe requested, and tried to sprinkle in some turmeric but the can was empty. I didn't have the amounts exact (the recipe called for items in pounds and ounces - I have no scale). However, having cooked with and eaten all of the ingredients before (except wakame, which was quickly becoming a minority in the mix) I felt confident I knew the proportions they would work well together.

As for the dangerous wakame I soaked and rinsed it as suggested then I peeled the leaves off of the stem because in my experience all vegetables (whether from under the sea or not) are better without the stem. Then I rinsed and soaked it some more. I was heartened to read that wakame is considered mild. Sea vegetables are great in theory - high in iron and other nutrients - some of them are even natural chelaters - but I have to be really craving healthfood to stomach the fishy/slimy/snaily-ness that goes along with it.

But I fried and then steamed and eventually pressure-cooked the ingredients. I added a bit of black better and dash of balsamic vinegar as the recipe suggested. Then, of my own accord, I threw in some salt and soy sauce (which makes everything better) and I am proud to say that the end result was delicious.

I still doubt I would feed it to anyone else. My taste buds highly favor the practical and the healthy, which can be a bit much to expect from most people.

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