Hye Thyme Cafe: Kitchen Nightmares

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kitchen Nightmares

No, not the Gordon Ramsay variety of Kitchen Nightmares - I was just in my own personal kitchen hell today. Ever have one of those days where nothing you touch turns out right? You have, right? It's not just me?? Right?!?! Well, I'm 0 for 4 today! I have been wanting to try Mochi for a while now. If you're not familiar with it, the first time I had it was for dessert at a Japanese restaurant. It was kinda like a marshmallow filled with ice cream, and it was crazy good! I didn't know at the time that there are savory and other sweet versions that do not involve ice cream.  

I know that a few of my blogging buddies have made Mochi and had good results. It's actually a very soft dough made with a kind of rice flour. In doing some research, it sounded like it couldn't be any easier, and there are very few ingredients involved. I still managed to screw up somehow! I think it was the rice flour that did me in. Almost all of the recipes I looked at referenced Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour. I was thinking Mochiko was the brand name, but I just Googled it, and now I'm thinking that's a specific "type" of sweet rice. I did not recall having seen it at my local grocery stores, but I needed to pop into a health food store yesterday, so I looked there. I did not see Mochiko, but Bob's Red Mill has a Sweet Rice Flour, so I bought that.

Another common thread in most of the recipes I looked at called for cooking it in the microwave for 2 minutes, stirring it, then cooking it for another minute or two. One recipe called for cooking it for a good 10 minutes. That's a big difference! I started off with two minutes, added some almond extract and a little pink food gel for color (figured that would go nicely with the raspberry sorbet I was going to fill it with), and returned it to the microwave. Supposedly, it would turn into a shiny ball of dough. What I had was a bowl of pink slime! I put it back in, again and again, thinking maybe the other recipe was right and it needed to cook longer. Nope!

I was hoping maybe when it cooled it would come together, but it just never happened. I'm not giving up though. I'll try again - maybe tomorrow with the same flour and a different method. I'll have to keep an eye out for the Mochiko.

Moving on to my disastrous dinner... 

I didn't have anything in mind for today, but we had a few pieces of chicken in the freezer, so I pulled those out to defrost. I didn't feel like going to the grocery store for veggies, but I knew we had spinach in the freezer, and I had just picked up a bag of Farro at the health food store. I figured I could come up with something.

There is a restaurant in New Orleans I used to frequent that had a killer Romano Crusted Chicken. I thought this was really weird the first time I had it, but they served it with a Creamed Spinach with Sambuca. Sounds weird, right? It may sound weird, but it tasted really good. They have an email listed on their website, so I contacted them a few times to see if I could get the recipe. Not only did I not get the recipe, but they never responded to my emails at all! Why bother posting it?!? Humph!

I decided to pound the chicken into cutlets and make Parmesan Crusted Chicken. I definitely wanted to try the Sambuca Creamed Spinach, and for the Farro, never having used it before, I had no idea what to do with that. The package said to make it plain, like rice, or to mix it with herbs or vegetables. Since I did manage to find one recipe for the spinach online, and it called for a little nutmeg, I couldn't think of what to put in the Farro. I decided to just cook it with a can of Delmonte Petite Cut Zesty Jalapeno Diced Tomatoes. I figured tomatoes go with spinach and chicken, and the herbs wouldn't clash with the nutmeg. 

  • Parmesan Crusted Chicken - Dredged in a mixture of Panko Crumbs, flour, Parmesan and pepper, then dipped in milk and back in the crumbs. Tasted like nothing at all!  
  • Sambuca Creamed Spinach - Although there was only 1/4t, all you could taste was nutmeg. If you were blindfolded, you would not have even known you were eating spinach! You could smell the Sambuca but couldn't really taste that - or the onion and garlic that were also in it.
  • Farro - Package called for cooking in AT LEAST 3 cups of water, so I used 2 1/2 and the liquid from the tomatoes. There must have still been 2c of liquid in the pot when it was done?? It was so similar to pearled barley or wheatberries that I probably won't bother with it again since it costs more. A good option if you're a vegetarian though because of the protein and fiber.
On top of all that, what was I thinking taking a picture of spinach on a green plate. Duh!

I raised a white flag of surrender and washed the dishes in silence ... resisting the urge to try another batch of Mochi tonight. Lady, back away from the appliances!



  1. Oh My meaty goodness! LOL. Cant wait to try this one :)

  2. OK Singh, I'm really hoping that was sarcasm since my dinner was a bust. If not, and you do plan to make this, at least try adding some salt and garlic powder to the mix. Good luck!! ;)


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