Organic Spinach Ribbons Topped With Smoked Mozzarella

Organic Spinach Ribbons Topped With Smoked Mozzarella

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bad Food's Like Being In "Time-Out" - It's Just Not Good!

Growing up, it's very fair to say I was not a "good child."  I don't think it was intentional on my part. I think it was simply out of my hands.  Present date, my Dad says, "Lisa, your head is as hard as a walnut."  Present date, my husband Chris says, "Lisa, your head is as hard as a walnut."  Yes, Chris picked that up from my Dad but I assure you - he agrees with my Dad ...500%!  (lol)

So when you're not a "good child", you spend a lot of time in time-out.  I know I did.  Being in time-out was not good. It's was just not good at all!  For me, it was primarily not good because I was simply bored.  I had a lot of energy as a child. I was up at six o'clock in the morning and still runnin' around like that Roadrunner cartoon at nine o'clock in the evening - much to my parents' dismay.  And no, this was not fueled by sugary soft drinks - my beverage intake consisted of water, milk and homemade vegetable juices.  My Pappy had this vegetable juicer that was the size of a small child and ate 2-3 bunches of carrots in 30 seconds.  I was scared of that vegetable juicer - very, very scared.

My first memory of time-out was in Iowa. Mrs. Baker was my teacher and she did not like me.  Seriously, the woman did not like me.  I think she was jealous of my always perfectly shined shoes or perhaps the huge, colorful gumball-like pigtail holders I proudly sported every day.  Or maybe it was my too-cute outfits my Mother consistently dressed me in ...which I detested because I wanted to wear pants and a t-shirt like a boy so I could play with all the other boys at recess.  Regardless, I spent a lot of time-out in Mrs. Baker's class.  It was not good.  It was just not good!

My first memory of bad food would be Sloppy Joes my Mother made when we lived in Pennsylvania.  I don't know what happened that day she was cooking.  I don't know how it's possible to screw up meat and tomato sauce but let me assure you - she did it!   The sandwich that was put in front of me was, after my first bite, so bad and scary it was the equivalent of being afraid of heights and being taken to the high diving board and instructed to "dive."  Seriously, it was bad. It was scary. I don't know what happened.  Maybe it was too spicy (my Mother loved her some spicy food) or maybe the bread was stale or maybe the meat was rancid (the latter I seriously doubt).  I just don't know.  Oh, and I was sent to time-out because I absolutely r-e-f-u-s-e-d to eat that sandwich.  Fast forward a couple years ....there was a restaurant in Iowa that served Sloppy Joes and I loved, loved, loved them!   My mother's Sloppy Joes were simply a big FAIL!  It was not good.  It was just not good!

My second memory of time out was in Pocos de Caldas, Brazil.  My teacher was Mr. Dillard.  He had this moustache that appeared to be on steroids.  This thing was so big it took over half his face.  It was all you could look at when you saw him.  Then there were his pants.  He wore those stretch knit leisure pants that, unfortunately, were popular in the 70's and he wore them 3 sizes too small.  Mr. Dillard was not a small man. Mr. Dillard was not an Adonis.  It was very, very clear via Mr. Dillard's stretch knit leisure pants that (a) he wore tighty-whities as his male undergarment, (b) he had man cellulite on his bottom and (c) it was very possible he was the first man on Earth that could be "with child."   Due to all of Mr. Dillard's "attributes", it was very hard for me to focus in class and not make fun of him with the other kids.  I'll never understand why it was always ME that got "caught."  It was always ME that was singled out ....out of all the kids laughing.  I spent a lot of time in time-out.  Well, perhaps it had something to do with me asking him one day in class if he was wearing his wife's pants.  I'm quite certain it didn't help my cause.  To ensure you have the proper visual....Mrs. Dillard was about 5'2" and weighed about 100lbs.  Mr. Dillard was about 6'2" and weighed about 300lbs.  Mr. Dillard always made me wear one of those pointy hats made out of neon orange poster paper when he sent me to the corner for time-out.  I felt like I was auditioning for a spot in the Ringling Brothers And Barnum & Bailey traveling circus. It was not good.  It was just not good!

My second memory of bad food was this casserole my Mother made.  She loved to make it.  My Dad ate it. I don't think my Dad liked it much because he always seemed deflated when it was placed on the dinner table.  I think my Dad ate it for his own sanity - to tell my Mother her casserole was not good would be comparable to telling Mike Tyson Mike Tyson he was not a good boxer.  The end results would have been equally mind boggling.  Now I really don't know what was in this casserole.  It's like she just took whatever was in the pantry and tossed it into a casserole dish, poured water on it and baked it 'till it was lukewarm.  Some nights it would have a green tint.  Some nights it would have a brown tint.  Some nights it would have a grey tint.  The texture was comparable to biting into a banana that's way over-ripe.  It was not good.  It was just not good!

My last memory of time-out was in Mobile, Alabama.  If I wasn't in time-out I was in the Principal's office.  I'm going to sound a little paranoid when I teachers didn't like me.  (lol)  Honestly, they didn't.  It's okay - I didn't give them much reason to like me.  I was, hands down, the class clown.  I was always laughing.  I was always making people laugh.  I was always in time out.  I was always in the Principal's office.  By this age (6th - 9th grade) it wasn't as traumatic for me.  It was more embarrassing.  Mrs. Dorgan liked sending me to time out, and the Principal's office, the most.  Mrs. Dorgan was by no stretch an attractive woman.  Mrs. Dorgan, and I'm strictly going by the odor she exuded here, was not a follower of woman's deodorant.  On a hot Summer day, standing next to Mrs. Dorgan was absolutely, hands down, not where you wanted to be.  Mrs. Dorgan also wore these pantyhose that swish-swooshed when she walked.  Now, I don't mean like a pseudo quiet swish-swoosh.  I mean, it sounded like you were taking a cheese grater and attempting to grate the screen on your back porch door.  It was something I, apparently, found hysterical.  Once I got to laughing in Mrs. Dorgan's class, I just couldn't stop. Well, I stopped laughing once I was sitting in time-out.  I also stopped laughing when I was making the oh-so-familiar trek to the Principal's office because I knew when I got Home I was in big time trouble.  The kind of trouble Sylvester would have been in if he'd been able to catch Tweety and enjoy as his afternoon snack.   Big trouble. It was not good.  It was just not good!

My last memory of bad food would be my own creation last month.  I decided we were going to have Beef Stroganoff for dinner. I decided I was making my own sauce (why, but of course!).  I'm not a sauce out of a packet kinda gal.  No way.  No how.  It just doesn't happen. So I start digging through all my cookbooks looking for that perfect Beef Stroganoff sauce.  I searched and searched and searched.  Chris walked in the kitchen at one point, I looked up - like a wild deer, and Chris promptly turned around and walked out of the kitchen.  He was aware it was not really "safe" in the kitchen.  So finally I found the recipe.  This was the one.  It was perfect.  All the ingredients spoke to me.  So I started mixing and dicing and simmering.  Chris walked back in the kitchen and said, "It smells good!"  I was encouraged.  This was goin' to be a rockin' Beef Stroganoff!  The extra wide egg noddles were cooked to perfection and tossed with extra light virgin olive oil & dusted with fresh cracked pepper & a tiny amount of sea salt.  The sauce was bubbling.  The aroma was fabulous. And then it all went wrong.  I decided to put French's mustard in my sauce.  Why?  I have no idea.  But I did it.  I not only put French's mustard in my sauce, I put quite a bit of French's mustard in my sauce - and I didn't taste the sauce after I added the French's mustard. I have no idea what came over me.  The only explanation I can come up with is that an alien virus from "The X Files" got into my bloodstream somehow and altered my ability to think clearly.  So I plated the dinner up - I proudly put our dinner on the table.  I waited for Chris to try his before I tried mine.  I watched him put the forkful of Beef Stroganoff in his mouth.....and I watched him promptly spit it out.  It wasn't what I would call a pleasant moment at the dinner table that evening.  I tasted it.  I promptly removed it from my mouth.  It was horrible.  It was beyond horrible.  I think a piece of liver dressed with a dirty ashtray and a large dollop of rancid mayonnaise would have tasted better.  It was not good.  It was just not good!

So how about a good Beef Stroganoff sauce recipe?!?  One that will make your stomach sing!  No worries - I've made the recipe below...several times!  It's good.  It's just really good!

2 good shakes of Canola oil
2 tosses of salt (salt to taste)
5-6 handfuls of oyster mushrooms (chopped)
4-5 grinds of cracked pepper (pepper to taste)
1/4 stick of unsalted butter
small handful of fresh parsley - chopped
handful of yellow onion - chopped
2-3 pours of dry white wine
2-3 squirts of catsup
1/2 of a small container of sour cream (do not use light or fat free)
3 cups of beef broth
small spoon of Dijon mustard

Place all ingredients in a pot (except the sour cream and beef broth) and bring to a simmer - about 3 minutes.  Add the beef broth and bring to a boil - reduce the heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes -stirring often.  Add the sour cream and stir until the sour cream is evenly blended in the sauce.  You can add more salt and pepper at this point if you need too.  Serve over extra wide egg noodles mixed with about 2lbs. of sliced cube steak (cooked, of course) and ..."Enjoy!"
P.S.  I've also made this with sliced chicken!  It's just as good!

Always "Push The Parsley!"
~ A Girl Cook

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