Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dinner with Madame X

Last night I was reading a book and watching Lana Turner as the title character in Madame X when I realized I hadn't eaten dinner yet. I was kind of tired and run down from the mess my sinuses have been all week, so I wanted to make something simple, and I thought I might just make some hummus. It's easy, and I could pick at it all night without worrying about it staying hot or cold, so I went to the cabinet for the beans and started looking for my recipe.

While I was pulling it out, I spotted this other recipe I had marked in a food magazine and left on the counter for roasted garbanzo beans with rosemary and parmesan cheese.

"Ooooh, let's try that!"

"What if it sucks?"

"Where's your sense of adventure?"

"A sense of adventure is why Lana Turner is faking her own death right now. That's where it leads. We should just make hummus."

"Oh, for God's sake. What does this recipe call for?"

A lot of beans, for the most part:

rinsed, drained garbanzo beans

While garbanzo beans are easy to rinse (and I always rinse mine; I have no idea what that slime in the can is, and I never want to know), the recipe called for them to be dried, too, and that took forever. I shook the strainer, let it drip while the oven preheated, poured them onto paper towels, blotted them with more paper towels, and still they seemed wet.

Eventually I decided they were dry enough, doused them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then spread them on my foil covered baking sheet to roast. I didn't want to deviate from the recipe on a first attempt, but even then it didn't seem like nearly enough salt or pepper. I figured maybe the rosemary, which I added in the last few minutes of roasting, would add some more flavor, as would the parmesan cheese I dusted the beans with when they were finished roasting:

roast garbanzo beans with rosemary

I was doubtful, but hungry, and I took a spoonful and hoped for the best.

When I looked up, still chewing, I saw that Lana and I were making the same face:

drunken lana

That's right. The beans were as bad as being drunk, depressed, and crying while living in a Mexican flophouse under a fake name in an ugly bathrobe. It wasn't just that the roasted beans were pretty much flavorless, but they'd also had all of the moisture roasted out, so they were flavorless, hard, and dry. Even worse, the rosemary also dried out, so it was like a bowl of slightly softened BB's dusted with pine needles.

Like Madame X, I should have made different choices. She shouldn't have cheated on her husband, and I should have just made hummus.

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