Sunday, November 17, 2013

When Best Intentions Fail

Sometimes, the best culinary intentions fail, resulting in a mediocre or even disastrous meal. Typically, it happens when I lack focus, and a lack of focus is predetermined by how many times I have to switch between the roles of mother, wife, pet owner, housekeeper and, of course, the kitchen chef. As I take another bite of local candied salmon, relaxed and ready to focus on my writing, I picture myself earlier in the evening, running around the house in an erroneous attempt to be everything to everybody.  

Marcus is becoming crafty enough to overcome any barrier I put up as a way to contain him in his play area in the living room, that consists of a bright orange sectional, a three-legged music table, an Imaginarium activity cube and a couple of cardboard boxes that I am yet to unpack. As he crawled out of one side of the play pen, crying and dragging two building blocks- one in each hand- along with him, I would catch him and walk over to the other side to lower him back in. 

That repeated itself about six times before I gave up and sat him in his high chair. Luckily, I bought a new portable model just a few hours earlier- the old one did not have the straps, and Marcus, being an opportunist that he is, insisted on standing up in it while reaching for the light switch, the paper towel holder or anything else that caught his attention. Fortunately, the Walmart purchase (Cosco Flat Fold Portable Highchair) cost me a fraction of what I was prepared to pay, occupied minimal amount of space and served its purpose of getting a child fed wonderfully. 

The cross-section of a purple carrot
Bob, on the other hand, kept demanding attention the best way he knew how. Watching me change his brother what must be a dozen times a day, he decided to have an accident of his own and peed on the carpet in Marcus' bedroom. So, as I dried the wet stain while attempting to keep Marcus' curious hands out of it, I wondered how dinner, prepared in such a hectic environment, will turn out. I rushed back to the kitchen and to my relief, the vegetables were slowly cooking in a large pot. Phew...

The vegetables were rather unique: purple potatoes, purple carrots and much more common red beets. For several days, I anticipated making purple mashed potatoes, and although the idea itself sounded intriguing, the end result was beyond disappointing. Once cooked, I pureed the ingredients in my Vitamix, but instead of discovering smooth and fluffy potato puree, I found a glue-like mass that although smooth and tasty (the mixture also contained lightly browned golden pearl onions, butter, milk and spices) was far from appetizing and bared little resemblance to classic mashed potatoes. 

The cross-section of a purple potato

Disappointed with the result, I called on Google for a reasonable explanation of what happened. Surprisingly, all sources, including, confirmed purple potatoes to contain a medium level of starch, making them the so-called all-purpose kind. Was over-processing to blame? The only way to find out would be to mash my purple vegetables by hand next time around, although I am now more inclined to use them in salads in a diced form.

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