Friday, January 13, 2006

worst idea ever

Once in a while, during the process of cooking, I have A Truly Terrible Idea (tm). And once in a while, I find myself utterly unable to resist the temptation to follow up on that self-same idea.

Today, Seppo was sick so I cooked him some rice porridge during the day while working from home. After cooking his porridge, I thought to myself, wouldn't it be nice if I had some kimchee jjigae?

I looked around the fridge and found some kimchee I had been aging for just such a purpose. I had some extra firm tofu I had bought a week or two ago. Excellent. I found, to my delight, that there were a couple of rashers of bacon in the freezer, as well as some ham we had frozen from the holidays. In addition, I had some leftover frozen rice cakes that would go well in the stew, since I didn't feel like taking the time to cook rice. I had a little chicken broth leftover from Seppo's rice porridge. This would be the perfect storm of jjigae.

But as I was cooking, I thought to myself, "Hmm, that's really not enough bacon. I need more fat if this is gonna turn out right."

This is when I had the Truly Terrible Idea (tm).

I opened the fridge to find a nob of unsalted butter. I'm sure this jumped int my mind because last night, I watched some of Robert Rodriguez's "10 Minute Cooking School" on the Sin City dvd, in which he made some breakfast burritos, a part of which was making the tortillas from scratch using butter and lard.

I should have gone for the lard, or even Crisco. Or even oil. Seriously, these are all bad options, but none of them would have been as awful as the butter actually turned out to be.

Without the benefit of hindsight -- or, apparently, sanity -- I took the nob of butter and dropped the entire thing into my gently bubbling stew. I looked at it for a second and thought, "Hmm, I could fish out the butter before it melts all the way," then foolishly rejected that idea.

The stew turned out disgusting. Any reasonable person would have realized this was the only possible result.

I tried fishing out the solids from the liquid. It wasn't so bad that way, but any liquid was utterly buttery and gross. The worst thing was that I realized that in every other way, this was probably the best kimchee jjigae I had ever made. Sigh.

I actually tried dumping the liquid I had and re-adding water and some jjigae paste that comes in a jar. But even then, it was (and still remains, in a little container in my fridge) too buttery.



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