Have you ever felt like you're eating pine needles when consuming rosemary or chewing on grass with thyme and tarragon? I now have experienced that, and it wasn't good. Yesterday, I put together a meal from two different recipe sources - Real Simple magazine and Bon Appetit magazine. On the surface, all of the recipes sounded really good, but underneath were some (I think) fatal flaws.
First up was "Real Simple," a go-to reference for simple meals during the week. I love my "Real Simple: Meals Made Easy" cookbook for ideas that tend toward flavorful and simple - not many complex ingredients, use of both fresh and pantry product staples, etc., so I was excited to try a recipe from them that I've had for some time - Strip Steak with Rosemary and Garlic. It was from an article they did on cost-saving purchases from wholesale clubs. Not having strip steak available, I subbed in sirloin steak. The directions told me to create a "marinade" of fresh rosemary, thinly sliced garlic, and olive oil, set the steaks in there for at least 30 minutes, and then cook in a pan, flipping halfway through cooking. The "marinade" is then used to make a sauce. The actual steak turned out juicy, though I thought no rosemary or garlic flavor really came through. The fatal flaw was the marinade sauce, which really amounted to olive oil that tasted very pine-y. No real benefit to its use - I could have salted and peppered the steak and had much the same taste. The off-putting pine-y flavor was especially bad when getting a bite of the rosemary itself.
Second recipe, also from "Real Simple" was from a recent article on the use of few ingredients to make flavorful dishes. I pulled a recipe for oven french fries with smashed garlic. It's straightforward - olive oil, garlic, and salt/pepper. Despite coating the fries with oil, they all stuck (badly) to the baking pan, which caused them to break apart. To me, that's a fatal flaw. The flavors were fine, and I'd make something similar again.
Last recipe tasted like a whole lot of herbaciousness. It was from "Bon Appetit" magazine and was called, Summer Corn Saute with Tons of Herbs. The idea sounded good in theory, but in practice the various herbs had an off-texture, and the cumin overwhelmed the dish. I would have to say it was bad enough to be called "inedible." I ended up making some plain corn with butter, salt, and pepper and serving that to IceDaddy. Blech! I hate to admit defeat, but this was NOT a winner.
Having some issues with the recipes, it reminds me that not everything will be a hit - flavors can work or no, and sometimes the execution is flawed. That's ok - it just motivates me to keep on cookin!