Eating at the Improv

January 2, 2009 at 8:21 pm (Food)

Next time I’m doing major cooking in the kitchen, I should probably figure out the difference between what I *think* we have in the house, versus what we actually have, and whether what we have is usable. Clearly, I am due for a fridge purge when the mayonnaise was stamped, “Best if used by January 12, 2008.” Yikes!  (I’m still convinced that was a typo because we didn’t buy it all that long ago…or…did we?) No mayonnaise!?!?! CRAP!!! The crab cakes call for 1 cup, the mushroom caps call for 1/2 cup, and the devilled eggs call for 1/3 cup. I needed the whole freekin’ jar…

This either called for The Husband to run to the store YET AGAIN after just trudging home from there earlier in the day. And who am I to further disturb his slow march to Level 80 on World of Warcraft? Mayonnaise, Schmayonnaise…I’m creative. I decided to improvise (and make a mental note that my 11-year-old is due to make a fridge purge over the weekend…he’s the only one brave enough).

Saving the Crab Cakes…

The previously-posted recipe for crab cakes called for 1 cup of mayonnaise. After double-checking the date stamps on the other condiments because I’m now paranoid, I added instead of mayonnaise:

  • 3T of A-1 steak sauce
  • 2T of French’s yellow mustard
  • 2 shakes of garlic salt
  • extra parsley
  • a tiny pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 3T of shredded parmesan cheese (idea borrowed from the Stuffed Mushrooms recipe…)
  • a few more shakes of black pepper.

The Result: Family decided that this was the best batch of crab cakes I’ve ever made. The consistency was perfect, and because of the cheese, they fried easier and faster than ever. My instincts seem to have been right on with this one.

Saving the Stuffed Mushrooms…

The posted recipe called for 1/2 cup of Mayonnaise…here’s what I used instead:

  • 1/2 T Tupperware-brand blended seasonings, garlic flavor
  • I left out the lemon juice
  • I doubled the amount of A-1 steak sauce (my stock substitution for Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon of Hungarian paprika (yes, it makes a difference…just like the difference between Mexican vanilla and McCormick from your grocery store)
  • 2 eggs

The Result…Again, a winner. The kids even noticed they’d never seen these gobbled up so quickly, (even though my 4-year-old did feed his to the dog). YESSSSS!!!!

Saving the Devilled Eggs.

This was a trickier proposition because the mayonnaise is the ingredient chiefly responsible for the filling’s creamy consistency. Hmmm….here’s what I added instead of mayonnaise:

  • doubled the mustard used from 1/2t to 1t
  • 1/2t of Hungarian paprika in the mix, not just for sprinkling over at the end
  • 1t A-1 steak sauce (at this point, what the heck I already had it out…)
  • 4T milk (This was my big risk…I was pleased to see that the egg yolks seemed to sop the milk right up, and the mix had an appropriate consistency after that)
  • 1/4t garlic salt

The Result: Edible, but not as good as other times I’ve made them, according to my 11-year-old expert. He said something about the consistency was “off,” but he couldn’t say how. His 13-year-old sister completely disagreed, but then she didn’t eat half as many as he did.

I love to experiment in the kitchen (especially when the result works out!!!), but sometimes it’s even cooler when not having something forces the experiment. I feel that I’ve grown in my abilities. I did not, however, made Crepes Suzette once I realized we had no flour (how can you run out of FLOUR???). That will have to wait. I suspect my next post in the Food category might have something to do with a fridge purge. Until then, here’s a challenge…everybody go through their fridge and tell us what’s the oldest thing you found?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: