Today’s post was supposed to be about how to write a recipe. My plan was to lead you through the process of combining recipes, adding your own touches, and finally making your own jambalaya. Four hours, 16 photos, and one Dutch oven full of rocks later, I humbly admit defeat.
The flavor was great—I even made my own Cajun seasoning blend. But the texture—WOW. I did something to the rice that gave it the texture of gravel; no amount of cooking could revive it. It was like that scene in “Christmas Vacation” when they’re all gnawing on that dried-out turkey. If you don’t remember, watch this. Be sure to notice, about half-way through, how Chevy Chase squints and gnaws…
Dinner last night was a lot like that. And did you see Beverly D’Angelo toss the turkey off her fork before putting it into her mouth? Priceless! I swear I think David did that a time or two during our “meal.” I just wish I knew what went wrong!
Maybe it was the fact that I used that previously mentioned “restaurant quality” shrimp. (remember them from the Mystery Meat blog?). I got them from my parents who also did not trust them. My distrust turned out to be well-founded. The little creatures were NASTY. Scratch that—they weren’t little at all—they were mutant huge, like the Juggernaut or that beast Anne Burrell on the Food Network.
They were Royal Reds, which are large anyway, but these were like runt lobsters. Runt RURNT lobsters. Which I had to devein. Large shrimp = large “vein.” And we all know that’s no vein.
Perhaps it was the fact that I combined two recipes, and added my own touches, which required no small amount of culinary math. There were metric-to-customary system conversions, divided fractions, non-linear equations. Perhaps I forgot to carry the one or multiply by the reciprocal? Seeing as how my ACT score in Math was like a -87, this could be the source of my trouble. Whatever the case, it’s clear I am a victim of Mischief. It happens to all of us every now and then. Guess it was just my turn. It’s a shame, because the jambalaya really did have potential. And it took a lot of work. Seriously…I peeled so much garlic I had to take a nap.
And I made all these notes, and took all these pictures to document the process.
Oh well, you win some, you lose some. And it’s actually OK, because even though I love the idea of homemade stuff vs. the box, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with Zatarain’s jambalaya mix. Not one damn thing. Just in case this made you hungry for jambalaya, here are the two recipes I tried (in vain) to merge. I’m betting that if you follow the instructions, they’ll turn out just fine. 😉