Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: The Meal That Just Wasn't Meant To Be

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Meal That Just Wasn't Meant To Be

So, I’m sure many of us have had ‘issues’ in the kitchen from time to time. I experienced this myself, though this seems to have been a more drawn out kitchen fiasco than I’m used to. It’s almost as if yummy food fate was just not on my side. This experience will be the subject of today’s entry.

You see, I had this idea for a Mediterranean-style lasagna. I thought using a pureed white bean spread instead of tofu or faux cheese would be a good change up, and using veggies such as artichokes, zucchini, and kalamata olives. I was originally planning on making this on Monday when I had the day off. First I made the white bean spread, it turned out a bit too flavorful, but I didn’t think much of it, because I thought the blandness of everything else would tone it down. So, I proceeded to prep the rest of my veggies and then just shucked everything in the fridge so it would be ready when we wanted dinner. Well, when that time rolled around I got everything out and noticed that when Brett picked up the marinara sauce he accidently got the wrong one, this had cheese in it and I’m allergic to dairy. So we just decided to have the Black Bean and Mushroom Burritos instead.

Fast forward to yesterday, Brett was going to go to the store to exchange the marinara, and I was going to make the lasagna for dinner. Well, the zucchini I roasted for the lasagna had gone bad in the fridge (which really bummed me out, I hate wasting food), so I asked him to pick up another as well. Well, he remembered to return the marinara and get a zucchini, but forgot to get the right marinara. Again, I didn’t notice until I was prepping ingredients for the meal. You would have figured at this time that we would have thought that someone out there just did not want us to make this, but no, I was determined.

So I roasted the ‘new’ zucchini, and Brett went back to the store (keep in mind we don’t have a car, he had to walk 20 minutes to and from the store TWICE). Well, this time he got the right marinara, so I thought our luck was turning. I began to boil the lasagna noodles and had the heat on too high, the next thing I knew I was being sprayed in the face and neck with boiling water. Don’t freak out, aside from a small burn on my neck, I was just fine, but starting to get angry at what a pain in the ass this meal was turning out to be.

Anyways, I had the oven preheated, the noodles cooked, and everything prepped, so I began to ‘build’ my lasagna. First off, I tasted the white bean spread, and man, the flavor really intensified over the two days it was in the fridge, it was apparent at that moment that I had used way too much garlic. But again, I just disregarded it. Now, I also made a bit too much bean spread and was a little, um, how can we say this nicely, ambitious about how much bean spread one layer of lasagna could handle. I ended up with an almost two inch layer of bean spread, meaning that after I added the veggies (which I still insisted on attempting) it only ended up with one layer of noodles, on the bottom. At this point I was just irritated, so I said ‘eff-it’, we’ll just put it in the oven and eat it like a casserole.

When this meal from hell came out of the oven, Brett damn near cut himself trying to get a ‘piece’ out. It smelled a bit weird, so we decided just to try a bit before going through the trouble of filling plates. Let’s just say it tasted like over seasoned mashed potatoes with lasagna on top. Ick! Amy’s vegan pizza to the rescue!

As much as this meal troubled me, I believe the basic idea does have potential, but you can be damn sure I will do things differently next time.

And like I was telling Brett, the experience does make for a good blog post!

'Til next time.


Happy Herbivore! said...


At least you tried and didn't give up! I've had many-a cooking disasters (but I must say the original idea woes me) once... seitan blew up in my crockpot and it stuck there like that weird stuff in the last spiderman movie (oh come, support Toby, he's a vegetarian!) ;)

missblueberry said...

Hey Jennifer,
Argh. I am sorry to hear about your kitchen-battle-royale. It came out as a great piece of writing though...not that that makes much difference I am sure.

I have SO been there. For me it was the second year of being a vegan and in an attempt to make falafels I read 3 tsp of water as 3 cups - I had falafel soup! I actually was so embarrassed that I threw a roaring fit...and my boyfriend at the time had the sense of mind to leave me locked in my bedroom (oh, the things we do when we are young).

Anyway, I responded to your comments on my blog.

Have a wonderful day!

Leng said...

Awwee, what a horrible night. You and Brett worked so hard on it! It's a shame that it didn't work out. I have been there.

My husband and I just came back from visiting family in Southeast Asia, and on the night (~1:30) that we came back I decided to bake some minty brownie muffins. We had a gathering of friends the next day and I didn't have time to bake it then.

Being gone for about a month and a half, I forgot what was in my pantry. So, I sent out Long to go to the grocery store to get some Vanilla extract. The store near our place was closed, it WAS 2 AM, so he drive 30 minutes away to another store, got it and some other items that we were short on. When he finally found a parking spot on the street (it's really hard to find parking here), 2 big guys come up to him with a gun pointed RIGHT ON HIS CHEST and told him to give him everything he had!
Anyway to make a long story short, Let's just say we don't go out that late that often anymore.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Oh no!! That lasagna actually does sound like a good idea. How funny about all the trips to the grocery store to get the sauce :-) These experieces only mae us better chefs.. and good thing you had the pizza in the freezer!

Billy said...

Amy's pizza is awesome. I like the no cheese one best. The rice crust one is good too, though.

I didn't know Monsanto was based where you live. They're bastards. I replied to your comment on my blog.

Rural Vegan said...

You're right, the basic idea for a Mediterranean lasagna does sound good! I'm sorry it didn't work out the first time but please try it again! And admittedly, reading about other blogger's blunders makes me feel better when one of my own meals go awry!

Wet Blanket said...

Oh, we WILL try it again because, as overseasoned as the beans were, it was readily apparent that they could adequately replace ricotta cheese. Not the worst case of garlic excess, though - remember our first crack at marinara?

Anke said...

haha, rolling on the floor laughing. I guess you didn't feel like laughing, but you sure describe it in a way that makes my day :-)

for a tried-and-tested lasagna check out this one:

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Do't worry-- I've had tons of kitchen mishaps! Haha I love how you looked at the bright side of things, saying it made for a good blog post!

Anonymous said...

The lasagna DOES sound like a great idea...I am glad you are not giving up! We have all had kitchen/recipe disasters--they make us better cooks!


Melody Polakow said...

I think we've all had days like this.. I know I sure have... oy..

pleasantly plump vegan said...

that sucks everything you uys went through for a meal not to turn out. i hate when that happens.

Jennifer said...

Happy Herbivore - Aw, thanks!

I've had lots of cooking fiascos as well, this one just seemed a bit more drawn out than the others, but at least we can have a sense of humor about things. Oh my! I'm just imagining what your face had to look like when that seitan exploded! :-)

Miss Blueberry - Oh, it's ok. Thank you so much, it does make a difference, and it IS pretty entertaining when you do something silly in the kitchen.

Oh man! Falafel soup! I would have been upset too! You know, when I first started cooking a few years ago, I literally knew NOTHING about cooking or baking. I came across a recipe for 'cookies' that didn't have any flour in them. I didn't know! Needless to say, I ruined a cookie sheet. ;-)

Leng - Wow! That is really scary! I can't imagine how scared Long must have been! I bet you didn't care about the muffins after that! I'm just glad they just wanted his stuff and not to hurt him. We don't go out late very often anymore either. We don't live in the best neighborhood, and especially during the summer, things can get a bit uncomfortable.

Vegan_Noodle - I'm not giving up on the idea. You are so right though, mistakes are learning experiences, you evolve as a cook through those experiences. I always try to have a pizza or something quick just in case a new recipe doesn't turn out.

Billy - The no cheese one is the kind I get. I've seen the rice crust one too, but for some reason it's like $3 more expensive than the other!

Yes, Monsanto is in good 'ol St. Louis. I actually grew up in St. Louis, and Monsanto and the Boeing facility were the most frequently protested places.

Rural Vegan - Thanks! I definitely will, just with some better foresight this time. Hahaha! It can't help but be funny. I was laughing about it too, when Brett and I were talking about all the trouble we went through. It helps to laugh at yourself. :-)

Brett (aka Wet Blanket) - It DOES have potential. Just need to tone down the seasoning a bit and not put so damn much in the lasagna. I can see it being way better than tofu. Oh that marinara! Two whole bulbs of garlic in a small batch of marinara, I thought I was going to choke when I ate it!

Anke - No, don't feel bad, I DID laugh. It's funny. I think we have to be able to laugh at ourselves! I posted about it so others could get a kick out of my blunders. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks for the link! I see the words spinach and squash and that's enough to perk my interest.

Chocolate Covered - Aw thanks, gotta look on the bright side or you might never get the courage to go back in the kitchen. Kitchen fiasco stories are always fun, aren't they?

Courtney - Thanks! I will definitely try it again. So true, you learn what NOT to do next time! :-)

Melody - I think all cooks have these days, eh?

Pleasantly - Yeah, that's what made it all the more frustrating! Three trips to the store, wasted food, burns, you name it, for something that sucked! But I learned, so it wasn't all bad at all.

Bianca said...

Oh no, I'm sorry! That really sucks! Especially after all the trouble you went through! I usually break down and cry when I have kitchen trauma. Which I know is lame. But you really pour your heart and soul into prepping and planning meals....and when they fail, it feels like you've failed.

But you haven't. Like you said, it just wasn't meant to be. Thanks for writing about it though. It feels good to know that other people have mishaps too!

Animal-Friendly said...

AW! that's awful :(

I commend you for your efforts though, and I'm sure it does have potential. Sounds like that pesky marinara sauce caused FAR to many problems!

Anonymous said...

oh, i'm sorry that it didn't work out. the idea sounds great, though! i'm like you in that i'd never stop pursuing, and at the end of the day it turns out to be something else ;)

Jennifer said...

Bianca - No worries, it happens to the best of us. I was a bit upset, but worse things could happen and we had other food to eat. I would have been more upset had we had no 'back up plan', but I've learned from my mistakes in the past to have something else on hand, just in case. I used to get more upset than I used to about cooking fiascos, I think I've gotten more laid back with age (if that's even possible for me).

I figured other people would enjoy and feel better knowing that others have kitchen issues too! :-)

Animal-Friendly - Happens to everyone doesn't it? Aw, thanks, I thought it was a good idea and didn't want to let it go, though I should have started to see that it just wasn't meant to be after the marnara sauce incidents.

Stonielove - No worries. Thanks, I will try it again soon, just with better planning. ;-)

Hehe, the price you pay for being determined, eh?

Jennifer said...

Bianca - I meant to say, I don't get AS upset as I USED too, damn my quick typing. You make mistakes that way.

Billy said...

Thanks for the comment on my eco-friendly wedding invitations post.

I replied over on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I admire your perseverence!
But personally, I think I would have loved that lasange as i'm a garlic fiend. There is no such thing as too much garlic!

ChickPea said...

That's a shame that your Mediterranean lasagna didn't work out--it sounds like a great idea! Anything with artichoke hearts in it sounds fabulous!

If you do make those carrot cupcakes, I expect to see pictures of them on the blog!!

Jennifer said...

Bean_Mix - Haha! Thanks. I like garlic too, but man, it wasn't just the garlic, it was that the seasoning combo made it taste like mashed potatoes. Weird.

ChickPea - Thanks, we thought so too. We will definitely try it again sometime.

I think I will make carrot cupcakes this weekend, I don't like frosting, so I might do a more flavorful muffin or something. And of course, there will be pictures. :-)

Cookiemouse said...

Great post! Cool to write such a good story about a kitchen disaster. My worst moments in the kitchen were usually when I simply forgot something and burnt it to a cinder. Have a lovely Easter!

Veggie said...

But the Mediterranean-style lasagna does sound like a good idea. I hate wasting food, so I would be pretty disappointed about this meal for more than one reason. At least you weren't making it for company.

I would like to know more about the book you're reading. 'Into the wild' Who's the author?

Jennifer said...

Veggie - Yes, I was very upset by the waste of food as well. And to think I had already wasted ONE zucchini, I wasted another amogst a lot of other food. :-(

Into the Wild is by Jon Krakauer. It is a non-fiction book about an affluent young man, who for some reason gives away all his savings, burns all his money, changes his identity and, as the title implies, goes out alone into the wilderness in Alaska, where he died. I'm not that far into it, but it's been very interesting so far. I think they may have made a movie about it as well.

Lizzy said...

Aww, I totally know days like these. Makes you wanna rip out your hair and yell and kick things in the end, doesn't it? =p

But the idea sounds fantastic and I've thought of something similar, too. Especially because I've been dying to try out the white bean pesto.

But at least you had a pizza to eat instead and that's always comforting after a stressed day!

Veggie said...

Interesting sounding book, I'll have to look into the movie too. I think this is the kind of book my brother might be interested in as well, I'll have to mention it too him. Thanks.

Liz said...

Thanks for letting us laugh at your misfortune, Jennifer! At least we all know we're not alone on days like this.

cornerofhope said...

This cannot really work, I feel so.