Thursday, August 2, 2012


Last night, I tried to make falafel.

I had a new recipe I wanted to try, one that eagerly proclaimed, "Falafel didn't have binding agents back in the day, so you don't need any now! Follow our directions and you will be amazed at how utterly disappointed you can get!"

I'd really been hoping to have a nice dinner ready for Spousal Unit and I - it's fun to take full advantage of my days off and make something a bit more involved than usual. Along with the falafel, I had lots of CSA beets waiting to be nommed, so I decided on creamy mashed beets. Yes, beets and falafel don't really make a full dinner, but I started later than I wanted to, it was the only idea I had, and I was counting on Spousal Unit being full-ish from the work pizza party. So it was okay to make such an odd combo.

As you might guess, after processing the falafel ingredients and heating a pan full of oil, four falafel balls fell to disgusting, chunky pieces before my eyes. Now I had a pan full of boiling oil and chickpeas - not a suitable dinner. Feeling disgust but not despair, I figured I'd let the oil cool, strain it, and try again, this time with bread crumbs to bind them. (Much less dramatic than one ring, but more tasty, too.)

In the meantime, I started on the beets, which I had thoroughly scrubbed, partially peeled, and painstakingly chopped earlier. After they boiled, I added milk and cream cheese and pulled out my Blender of Doom (speed setting 1 is hurricane force - I haven't dared test the others). I began blending, and to my dismay, the only things that blended were the milk and cream cheese, spattering all over the tea pot, my clothes, and my dignity.

For some ridiculous reason, I'd thought ten minutes was long enough to boil them. Beets are cooked like potatoes, and I sure as hell know potatoes need about 20 minutes or longer if you plan to mash their little bits to pieces. But I'd forgotten this important fact and, apparently, all of my other culinary skills.

Witness the crazy prowess of the skinny blonde girl! She goes from zero to hysterical in five minutes flat!

I flipped through cookbooks like mad, trying to figure out what you do with creamy, partially cooked beets, and of course none of my cookbooks had any wisdom. I flopped flat on the floor, defeated by produce and my mind, which said of course I failed at this, I'm a pathetic excuse for a human being, I haven't even finished my novel yet, there are two piles of mush instead of dinner and it's already 7 p.m., and there's laundry and an explosion of Vesuvian proportions to clean up in the kitchen.

Don't worry - as you know, I have a shrink who's helping me put my brain-nuggets in order. But I'm amazed at how little it takes me sometimes.

Luckily, I have a wonderful Spousal Unit, who helped me decide on leftover pizza and brownies for dinner instead. He rinsed the beets for me to fix later, and suggested hummus from the falafel remnants.

We sat down to the geeky glory of Star Wars, and the evening was saved.

...Until I burned the brownies.

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