Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

MISC: Evolution of a Meal

Most of the time when I make something for dinner it's in one of either two circumstances: (1) I have a recipe I want to make; or (2) I am throwing something together out of whatever we have hand. But sometimes something different happens. Sometimes I see something somewhere or think of something and then I get an idea in my head of something I want to have and then I have to figure out how to make it.

For example, I recently ended up with a simple couscous, but in order to get to that point, the dish itself went through quite an evolution. It started when I saw these beauties:

Photo: Woof! Woof!

These are stuffed jalapeños wrapped with bacon. They really looked good and they stuck in my mind. Then, when I was at the farmer's market I saw this nice basket of jalapeños and I was reminded of the stuffed peppers, so I decided to get them and make some kind of stuffed peppers.

I thought I didn't want so much cream cheese, so I decided to think of alternate things to stuff them with. I decided I wanted a Spanish theme so I headed out to find some ingredients. Well, this was my first mistake. There's a reason there's so much cream cheese and that's because jalapeños are really freaking hot, and they stay that way when you don't shove a bunch of creamy stuff in there.

I did buy some goat cheese but apparently not enough. Anyway, at the store I decided on a stuffing of goat cheese, idiazábal cheese (a sheep's cheese from Spain), chorizo, couscous, and saffron. I cooked the couscous with butter, and then mixed in all the other stuff, filled the peppers with it, and baked them until the outside was wrinkly and cooked looking.

And then I took a bite and my mouth burned of a thousand fires. All the goat cheese had mixed and absorbed into the couscous and there was no creaminess left to counter the heat. But I discovered that despite the hot pepper, the filling was actually really good on its own.

I decided to save the rest of the peppers for pickling, and use the rest of the chorizo as a meal portion. Which is how we end up at the ultimate meal, which was the couscous with grapes and olives and it was really good in the end, if it took a while to reach its ultimate form.

And now you see why I usually just find a recipe. If I had to do that every time, well, I suppose cooking would be more of an adventure but also more of a pain.


good thing your recipe evolved into something less hot but perhaps you should try stuffing your stuff into a bell pepper? Or is that too pedestrian of a recipe?

I had sausage stuffed mushrooms at Cybelle's over the weekend. They were really disappointing. There was no sauce or garnish provided. You realize how important presentation is when there is none.

said by dhp at 6:45 AM Delete

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