Today is more of a story then it is a recipe. I learned on Thursday night that sometimes we go a little too far with our culinary creativity. For the most part, when Jeff and I cook we follow recipes with a little bit of this or a little bit of that.
Our dinner disaster started I brought home wet scallops vs dry scallops. After reading a brief article in Cook's Illustrated, there is a chemical called STP (sodium tripolyphosphate) which can be found in wet scallops. It can give them a slightly soapy taste. Dry scallops have a cleaner taste and they sear much better. I was being lazy, I went cheaper, rather than better.
Jeff decided to sear the scallops (anyway) and mix a hazelnut topping with the searing process, two different recipes. As he was preparing the scallops, I was tasting the toasted hazelnuts coming from the oven. I thought they tasted a little odd, maybe rancid? I couldn't remember how old the hazelnuts were, even if they are in an air tight container. I ate another nut that tasted OK. I chalked it up to one bad nut. With Jeff putting his mixture together, I started mine.
I decided to saute zucchini, carrots and scallions and then added orange juice and some orange rind. They were tasting alright, but something was missing. I think it was a salty or sour component to balance the sweetness. To finish off the meal, some quick couscous.
So, we sat down to eat.
I guess that's all I can say, because the closing remarks were, "I think this is the worst dinner we have ever made." Yes, the hazelnuts were rancid and had a very bitter taste. They didn't complement the scallops, at all. (I'm beginning to taste the nuts again as I write this!) The vegetables were tolerable and when you mixed them with the couscous they did taste better. Overall, that meal rated a 2 on a scale of 1-10. Hence, no recipe. Plus, I'm not sure you would want to take the time to re-create this.
I think sometimes you can add and subtract a few ingredients, but on the whole, sticking to the original recipe sometimes it works the best.