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I subscribe to a site called Tastespotting.  Its an amalgam of reader-submitted recipes, food-related stories and events.  I often browse the site for inspiration, become hungry in the process, and sometimes try the reader-submitted entries.  Based on the amazing pictures on Tastespotting, I had high hopes for two recipes in particular, but sadly, they never really took off.

The butternut squash soup was a dish I labored over for more than an hour, dreaming of silky butternut squash soup paired with hot, fluffy bread.  When I lived in San Francisco, I made butternut squash soup a few times.  Paired with fresh sourdough bread from the Boudin bakery (just a few blocks away!), this simple meal was quite possibly one of the best ever.  I’ve since lost that recipe for butternut squash soup, but stumbled upon one for roasted butternut squash soup with wild rice and apples.

Butternut squash soup

Sadly, it wasn’t as great as I hoped it would be.  I’m hesitant to post the links to the recipe and the website because the end product just wasn’t very good.  I followed the basic recipe instructions, but left out the wild rice and apple chunks at the end, since I wanted a smooth-textured soup.  Instead, I added the apple directly into the broth and pureed it along with everything else.  With everything that went into this soup (veggie broth, celery, carrots, apple, onions, thyme, butter, butternut squash, almonds, etc), I had expected lots of flavor.  Unfortunately, the end product was very bland.  There wasn’t as much of a butternut squash flavor as one would expect, or any flavor at all.  Trash day was today and sadly, this batch of soup went out with it.

Another recipe that looked promising was the one for “authentic” Kung Pao tofu.  I brought the leftovers to work the next day and my coworker was like, what the heck is kung pao tofu??  I said, you know, its like kung pao beef, kung pao chicken, but with tofu instead.  Ohhhh…weird, was the response I got.

Kung Pao Tofu

I have to say that this dish tasted very ABC and like an Americanized attempt at a Chinese dish.  Hubs had a lot to say about this.  It didn’t taste like kung pao to me either, but for what it’s worth, it wasn’t too bad.  I kind of liked it.  It had a sweet, slightly spicy, salty flavor.  It looked great and smelled great.  Paired with rice, the mix of veggies and tofu made for a substantial meal.  I won’t be making this dish again in the near future, but I won’t write it off completely.  I will say though that the sauce is incredibly thick…I had to thin it out with an extra 1/2 cup of hot water to avoid a big gloppy mess.  Too much cornstarch in the sauce recipe in relation to the amount of liquids used, I think.

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