Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Martha, Martha, Martha!

Martha Stewart is the pain in my ass. Or, at least her people are.

I bought her Everyday Food cookbook a few weeks ago. I bought it, not because it was earth shattering, but because the recipes seemed similar enough to stuff that I already make that it would serve as a source of easy meal ideas with flavors that I already love. It certainly has shaped the meals that I have made since I bought it.

My problem, and the reason that Martha is a pain in my ass, is that she makes things too difficult. Sure, the recipe only takes 15 minutes to prepare and 15 more to cook and you are in and out of the kitchen in under 30 minutes flat, but has she ever tried to make the recipes in her book?

I have a particular bone to pick with two recipes (I am writing from Chicago right now and dont actually have the book on hand for the exact recipe names, so you will have to excuse me when I get them a little wrong). The first of these recipes is the Tortilla Pie. Whats not to love?! Tortillas, black beans, corn, green onions, a little cumin, all mixed with melted cheese...lovely! That is, its lovely until you try to serve it. The bottom tortilla get hardened by the heat of the oven and required a Ginsu knife to cut through it. If you do manage that endeavor allthewhile maintaining the pie shape of your tortilla tower, you then have to figure out how to eat your "slice." Out comes the Ginsu again... I guess that the effort of eating it wouldnt have been that big of a deal if it was tastier. In the end, the dish wasnt seasoned enough for me and lacked pizazz. If the only umph to your dish comes from stacking a bunch of tortillas together, you need to make another dish.

The second recipe I had difficulties with were the Black Bean and Sweet Potato Cakes. Unlike the previous dish, they tasted pretty good, so I may try to alter the recipe to "make it work." Basically you combine shredded sweet potato with the mashed beans, add spices, and include an egg to make it all bind together. That should work, right? Wrong. The directions call for making good sized bean and potato balls and flattening them before you stick them under the broiler. After, say...5 minutes you are directed to flip them over. At this point the egg fails you and you are left with bits of bean and sweet potato charring under the broiler and one lone "cake" has remained intact. Sigh. As you can see in the photos, for all the trouble they caused, they dont even turn out pretty.

Martha, why do you do this to me?


Beverly said...

I'm sorry! I hate it when cookbooks have recipes that don't turn out as promised, or that aren't realistic. That is why I love my Best Recipes cookbook ... everything (almost) always turns out the way they promise!

Oh I notice that one of the latest Tastespotting pics is of tea eggs! Mmmm, tea eggs!

Mary Christmas said...

I think these days that so many people buy cookbooks just to look at the pictures and publishers know that.So some of the recipes are not tested really.Just my guess.