August 22, 2008

The Result: Pasta & Co. Black Bean Lasagna

It took me 4 hours to make this dish. 4 hours. 4 hours!!!!! It was so labor intensive! I really don't think that the flavor was enough of a reward for the 4 hours of prep and cooking. The overall taste was decent; actually, a bit on the bland side. The thing that horks me off is that I frittered away precious toddler napping time! I only have a small window of time by myself during the day, while my son is taking a nap. It is a wonderful time of the day. I don't have to parent during nap time. It's total "ME" time. That nap time is gold! When that precious little interlude is interrupted, I get a little perturbed. Today, I spent my "me" time making this recipe, when I could have been doing more worthwhile sitting on the couch reading my new copy of Cooking Light magazine! Do you see the problem??? Ugh.

Back to the boring, and somewhat bland, time-suck of a lasagna....

The funny thing was that the ingredients list has some pretty flavorful items on it, but in small quantities. I guess the amount of spices are so small, the result ends up being a not-that-great type of experience. Especially with 4 hours worth of effort! Did I mention the wasted 4 hours of my day???? I just want to make certain everyone understands that I am annoyed.
Also, the black bean sauce made the whole thing soupy. The texture was not like a true lasagna should be. We have 1/2 a pan leftover, so I am hoping that the flavors get stronger and the texture gets firmer with a little time in the fridge. Cross your fingers. Otherwise, if it does not improve, I think the dogs are going to have a feast within the next couple days.

In light of my fiasco last night, I made sure to follow the ingredients list and measurements exactly (hence the 4 hours of my life that I can never recover). What I am trying to say, is that any negative outcome is totally not my fault...and I played by the rules by following the recipe. Which brings me to another thought that I had while cooking...and cooking....and cooking....and cooking. I really do not like to follow recipes word for word. I am impatient. I don't like measuring. I don't like a lot of fussy little steps.
When I find a new recipe, I typically read it over and make sure I have everything for it. I get a mental game plan of how everything is going to be prepared and in which order. I think about the method, rather than the individual steps. Then, I do all my prep work. Once everything is set up, I just cook from my game plan. I will refer to the recipe, but not follow it word for word. Ninety eight percent of the time this process works out to my advantage.
Today, I actually followed the recipe step by step. I found it tedious, and the result was just okay....not great. I can now understand why people find cooking to be a chore. Cooking is usually relaxing for me, but it was not today (or yesterday, for that matter). Strictly following the recipe made me uptight, and stole the pleasure out of the whole process.
I think I learned that I should just stick with how I normally do things. The fun part of cooking, for me at least, is the creative part. Apparently, I get a little cranky when I don't get the freedom to improvise. I think it is the whole "I don't like to follow the rules all the time" attitude I sometimes have. Recipes are for squares! Okay, just kidding....maybe I am getting a little carried away. Anyway, no more exact recipes.

Oh, and I won't be wasting another 4 hours on this dish any time soon.

No comments: