a food funk
Nothing is sadder than a string of bad meals.
Wednesday night I stir fried some wild duck that had been in my freezer too long. No amount of hoisin sauce could take away the off flavor of the duck.
Thursday night, we went to a Persian restaurant. Too many ingredients were bad. The radishes served as condiments were rotting. Grilled beef had the flavor of poor quality. And "saffron" basmati rice had no flavor whatsoever.
Plus, my lunches both days had been sad leftovers.
I was having a bad week. I needed something simple and delicious to snap out of it.
I never thought I might be saved by zucchini.
zucchini, green garlic, basil
Zucchini has never interested me much. It doesn't have a bad flavor. It just has never seemed to have much flavor at all.
But some bloggers have been talking the past week about a strange synergy between zucchini and coffee. They claim zucchini enhances the flavor of coffee.
This was something I had to try.
There also has been a lot of talk lately about green garlic. It is on sale at Central Market for 99 cents a bundle.
So for lunch today, I grated a zucchini, salted it for 30 minutes, rinsed it, and then sautéed it with some green garlic.
To finish it, I sprinkled some fresh Thai basil and mint that I have been growing:
This was unlike any zucchini dish I had ever tried.
The zucchini was moist, but had some crunchy edges from the sauté -- like a hash brown but with more juice.
The green garlic added a fresh, vegetal garlic flavor, but was not nearly as bitter as pungent as normal garlic. The salt added a brightness to the zucchini. The herbs added complex, summery flavor notes.
The dish sang.
Halfway through this amazing, simple dish I remembered the coffee.
As I started to make it, I discovered that my wife had made coffee this morning and left it in the pot. So I decided to try the experiment with 3-hour-old coffee.
A sip. Nothing. A gulp. Nothing.
I swished it around my mouth as if I was tasting wine. Nothing. No strong flavors of nuts but chocolate. But also, no bitterness. No stale coffee flavor.
The zucchini had simply neutralized the flavor of the stale coffee, mellowed it out, made it palatable. But it didn't enhance the flavor either.
Perhaps I will try the experiment later with higher quality, fresh coffee.
Yet the zucchini/coffee experiment had been a success. I discovered that zucchini makes stale coffee taste ok.
More importantly, for the first time, I have fallen in love with zucchini.