The Bistro: Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Zucchini… An Epic Fail

We all know that experimenting in the kitchen is risky business, experimenting by its very nature, but doing so with food can ultimately lead to a disappointed palette if the task is not undertaken with both commitment and a working knowledge of flavor pairings.  Unfortunately, the worst kind of cooking experiment you can partake in is exactly the kind I found myself in just a few days ago, the accidental experiment.  That’s right, the moment when you realized the random recipe you were trying to make up from scratch was going to be a disaster and you were forced to call an audible.  That was me.  And it was terrible no matter how you slice it.

As you all know E and I are trying to eat healthy, which is not as easy as it sounds when you have a cookie restaurant that delivers delicious treats straight to your door open just minutes away.  But I digress.  Anyway, while we’re trying to eat healthy, we also love waffles, and just got an awesome waffle maker this past Christmas.  Ok, I may have bought it and stole it back in a gift exchange, but whatever.  But one day I stumbled upon a couple different recipes for healthy waffles… Essentially they were sweet potato waffles that included some type of veggie like zucchini or spinach.  Well I decided to go for it and try to make these hopefully delicious yet healthy little miracles.  But for some unknown reason, I didn’t want to use any of the recipes I found, not even as a starting point.

The next week I got all of the groceries I thought I needed; some sweet potatoes, a couple zucchini, and spinach.  Everything Else I figured we had lying around.  I cooked all of the vegetables the way I normally would, used a food processor to ground them up and mixed them all together.  I added in some milk, a little cinnamon for flavor, and plenty of baking soda to make sure they were nice and fluffy.  At this point it’s all a little hazy, but I vaguely remember an egg or two, olive oil and maybe some nutmeg.  Who really knows?

It was all mixed together and in what I thought was the right consistency, so the only thing left to do was heat up the waffle maker and start making these awesome waffles!!  Unfortunately, I only made it through one attempt when I realized all my effort was for naught.  There were zero waffles made because nothing would stick together.  I couldn’t get the batter to stay in form no matter how long I cooked it!  Quickly realizing this was a lost cause, and in fear of doing any harm to my waffle maker I decided to move in another direction.  So I got out the muffin pan and all of our muffin cups.  Looking back, I probably should’ve added in some flour or anything to hold this batter together, but alas I just started scooping batter into the muffin cups, hoping for a miracle.  Once I had the cups filled and the oven preheated, in the prayer covered muffins went.  30 minutes later they came out closer to hot pudding cups than anything else.  Not cool.  Into the trash the “muffins” went.  Another try, another failure.

At this point I called it a day.  The waffles and muffins had been a failure but I still had plenty of extra batter that I had to do something with!  So I needed a completely different direction to go with.  After thinking it over for a day or so, I landed on Chili.  In the past I had made this awesome slow-cooker recipe for pumpkin chili, and I figured this would be a good starting point for me to use as my new launch pad.  So I went back to the grocery store and picked up a few more ingredients like peppers, onions, and ground turkey, primed and ready to turn my terrible waffle batter into a delicious Frankenstein-style chili.  I cooked everything as the recipe called and added in plenty of the necessary chili seasonings/spices.  This time though I was confident again, so sure that this experiment would finally pay off.  Yet again, I was dead wrong.  After finishing the chili, I stuck it back in the fridge, planning to take the leftovers in to work the next day and eat it for lunch.  But when the time for lunch came, nothing but disappointment made its way into my system.  In a word, the chili was horrific.  The taste and texture were completely off base.  The most imperfect and incredibly ridiculous blend of sweet and savory you’d ever find.  It only took two or three bites and into the trash it went.  And soon after I got home, the rest of the leftovers would also be thrown into the trash as well.  A final attempt, resulting in the culmination of my culinary failure.

Needless to say, I will not be experimenting in the kitchen again anytime soon.  Just stick to the recipe, and make delicious food.  Sometimes it really is that simple.  Even for someone like me who doesn’t like to follow rules, sometimes my deviancy leads to some pretty tough lessons being learned.  Unfortunately, this experiment left me with wildly underwhelming and poor tasting food, not to mention a significant waste of money in terms of lost groceries.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I will experiment with food again in the future, but I’ll be sure to at least have a recipe as a guideline when I do!

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