Do you ever dream or day dream about how two ingredients would taste together? Of course you do, we all do! My mind starts going when I do a check of what’s left in the refrigerator and pantry, as well as when I’m shopping for food. Then once it’s time to go into the kitchen to cook our dinner I’ll start thinking to myself “Okay, how can I make this more interesting than last time, or what new spice or ingredient can I experiment with today.” To me that’s what cooking is all about, experimenting and trying new things. My favorite way of testing out new flavor combinations is by staking a bite size amount of new ingredients together for a small taste. Often times I discover some great new flavor combinations that become favorites. But sometimes, well things don’t turn out quite like I had imagine.
Baby spinach and pears taste great together. The sweet tenderness of the pear really compliments the crisp mild taste of baby spinach. These two together make a great salad, just add some walnuts and goat cheese and your set. Baby spinach and mushrooms also taste great together. Both are mild and neither overpowers the other. I love to use mushrooms and baby spinach together in stir frys, along side chicken, stews, and curries. So I got the idea that baby spinach, pears and mushrooms would or should taste pretty good in the same dish. Well, that’s not really the case. Before I started on the rice I stacked a piece of raw pear, a piece of raw mushroom and a couple of raw baby spinach leaves together. The taste was quite good, mild and crisp with a slight sweetness from the pear. But once the rice was finished, that was a different story. It was edible but not quite the savory, salty and splash of sweetness I quite envisioned. I don’t know if the failure was a result of the spices just not complimenting the main ingredients, that the flavors change once cooked or if it was just an overall failure. My poor guinea pig, I mean my husband, still ate what was put in front of him but didn’t ask for seconds. Haha! He’s a good sport and for that I shall not torture him with this dish again.
I almost didn’t photograph and post this but I thought I’d share my most recent failure. After all most of us have them and that’s how learn. Right? You could probably tell that I didn’t put much effort into the photos, I felt it wasn’t quite a dish deserving of a decent photo. So please excuse the horrible photos. If you’re brave enough I dare you to make it, haha!
1 3/4 cup or 320 grams long grain white rice
1 Portobello mushroom (100 grams or 3.5 oz), thinly sliced
5 oz or 140 grams Button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 firm pear 10.5 oz or 300 grams , in chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
100 grams or 3.5 oz baby spinach
2 1/2 cup or 600 ml vegetable broth
1 tsp. salt
large pinch of ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tbsp. olive oil
grated Parmesan, optional
1. Heat the oil in a large pan, saute the mushrooms until soft, drain the excess liquid. Add the garlic and saute 2 minutes. Next add the spinach and cook until wilted. Pour the rice into the pan and stir to well combine. Add the remaining spices and pear chunks into the pan and again stir well. Pour in the vegetable broth, stir, cover and simmer under medium low heat.
2. After 15 minutes check on the rice. Taste the rice for tenderness and if needed add a little bit more broth or water. Make sure that the broth/water does not dry out before the rice is cooked through. If so pour just a little bit more into the pan. Once the rice has cooked through add some grated parmesan cheese if you like. Rice should cook through in about 20-25 minutes. Serve as a side dish or vegan/vegetarian main meal.
Remember kitchen failures are okay we all have them. Tell me what was your most recent kitchen failure?