Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I hate cauliflower.

Just sayin.  I don’t think it should be classified as food.  It’s weird.  It’s white and lumpy - like that’s appetizing - and it has a very strange taste.  And the texture?  Please, don’t get me started.  Also, I’m not a fan of steak.  You may notice, if you look really closely, that I almost always choose chicken when it is my turn for food fun Mondays.  I’m not a vegetarian or anything - I like red meat in moderation and in the form of cheeseburgers.  Steaks have always weirded me out with the squishy texture.  I’ve almost gagged numerous times while trying to chew a bite.  There are only two kinds of steaks that I enjoy and those are my father IL’s home grilled steak and my brother IL’s home grilled steak.  I will not eat others.
OK, that said.  It was dad’s turn to do the picking yesterday and what did he come up with?  Bleu Cheese Beef Tenderloin (recipezaar), Cheesy Cauliflower Au Gratin (Kraft Foods magazine) and Double Chocolate Cheesecake bars (Kraft magazine).  Seriously?  Well, at least dessert sounded promising.
Although I wasn’t convinced the dinner would be appetizing, it also didn’t sound all weird, like perogi pie, bangers and mash, or profiteroles.  So I took that as a positive sign and wasn’t overly worried.
When it came time to shop, I was in a bit of a hurry.  I went with my mom, bug and mini, and we had been out all morning.  bug was tired, mini was hungry and my mom didn’t want to burn her entire one day off with shopping.  So I grabbed the recipes and tried to fly through the store.  
First, we couldn’t find the beef tenderloin.  This seemed odd to me, since, like I said before, none of the ingredients sounded exotic or anything.  mom said not to worry, she’d pick the meat up somewhere else and drop it off at my house so I could get the kids home, fed and into bed.
Three stores later, she arrived, about as frustrated as I was during the whole lamb chop escapade.  Good thing it was her and not me, because I know by store two I would have grabbed the first thing that looked like a hunk of beef and called it good.  I'm not sure why, but there seems to be a shortage of meats in the grocery stores here.  Either that, or my family just has an uncanny ability to choose the unavailable.
I decided to make dessert first, not only because I like dessert the most, but because I figured it had to chill for a while.  That was when I noticed my first mistake.  In the mad rush through the grocery store, I had scanned all recipes for ingredients and only gotten those things I knew for sure I didn’t have at home.  Consequently, I ended up with only one package of cream cheese (as that seems a perfectly normal amount for baking with) and not FOUR packages of cream cheese (which is what the recipe actually calls for and seems a ridiculous amount to me) (don’t get me wrong, I love cream cheese, especially in cheesecake form, but come on.  Four?) (I mean, do you realize that’s 32 ounces of cream cheese??) (that’s like this: 

or this: 

or apparently ALL of these: 

all of which seem perfectly normal in this large amount.  But cream cheese?)

(and oh my gosh, I just found this on wikianswers:

"Since there are 16 ounces to the pound, it would take four 8 oz. packages to equal 2 pounds (32 oz.). One 8 oz. package would be 1/2-pound (1/2 lb.). Four packages would be 2 lbs."  Ug.  2 pounds...) 

(Well, ok, I'll probably still eat cheesecake.  But still.)  

OK, anyway, that’s why I didn’t have 4 packages just laying around.  So, I decided to scrap that dessert (it definitely made me cry a little inside, but there was no way to fit another grocery trip into the day) and make one with ingredients on hand.  I thought long and hard, and decided that the only recipe I could do was my mom’s tort, of the pistachio variety. (Sometimes she uses chocolate, but I only had pistachio, or so I thought).  I don't know where she got it, but here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Torte 

1 Stick margarine
1 Cup flour
1/2 Cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Combine well.  Pat into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.  Let cool COMPLETELY.

1 Cup powdered sugar
1/2 of a 16 oz. Cool whip
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (softened)

Mix this until smooth.  Spread it over crust.  (make sure the crust is COOL)

2 small packages of instant chocolate (or pistachio) pudding 
3 Cups cold milk

Beat together until thick.  Layer this on top of the cream cheese mixture.
Spread the rest of the cool whip on top.  Chill and serve.

Easy and yummy.  You probably noticed my notes above, about making sure the crust is cool before you go spreading stuff on top... you probably already know this, it's probably common sense, but I learned the hard way a while ago that this step is actually NOT just a nice suggestion - it really does serve a purpose.
So I got that going, whipping through the first few steps.  When I got to the last step, I searched the cupboards but could find only one box of pistachio pudding.  Strange... until I remembered that my husband had made this recipe a while ago and had HALVED it.  Sigh.  Fortunately, I did have two boxes of french vanilla pudding, so the dessert was not a total waste.  I wasn’t convinced it would be as good... but in actuality, it was very tasty this way.  Which leads me to the conclusion that you could really use any kind of pudding and it would be just as good.  So, that’s yet one more good thing about this dessert: yummy, easy, and  extremely versatile.  Enjoy.
On to the cauliflower.  I followed the directions PRECISELY and to this moment am not really sure what exactly went wrong.  I think the first indication of failure was the fact that the recipe involved cauliflower, but that’s just me.  Anyway, When it was supposed to be done, it just looked all dry and well... dry.  Parched.  Not cheesy enough.  (I’m a big fan of cheese).  So I put in a bit more velveeta and cooked it a little longer.  In the end, it turned out alright.  My dad was a huge fan (go figure) and this is quite possible the ONLY way I will ever actually be able to stomach cauliflower.
I then marinated and cooked the meat.  And cooked it.  And cooked it.  I really have GOT to get my oven calibrated.  I should just remember that it takes way longer to make things than the recipe implies it will, because everything else was ready and waiting and there was the meat, sitting in the oven, taking its sweet time.  The sauce was almost ruined!  (wow, I just had a moment of sounding like some 50’s housewife hounding her husband there...)

In the end though, it was worth the wait.  I believe I mentioned how I am NOT a fan of steak.  And this still holds true.  I did not like the texture of this meat.  BUT, the flavor was great.  The sauce was super.  I’d actually make it again.  Especially since the rest of them enjoyed it so much.  If you don't like strong flavors, particularly garlic and bleu cheese, this meal is not for you.  
So, yesterday I learned that while an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, it’s actually worth 2 pounds of cream cheese.  


Veronika said...

Ah, Kim, I'm SO glad you posted this before I decided on what to make for our dinner date tomorrow night! I guess I won't be making steak and cauliflower :P

Unknown said...

hee hee... I hope I didn't spoil any plans!

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