Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Tale of Ugly Food

It's not p.c. to say flat out in public, "This is ugly." But you know - it is. It just is. It is possibly the ugliest appetizer I have ever made. Next time, I shall have to disguise them in pillows of cotton in the same way I disguised my ugly drawings in grade school. Even if I spread them around a gorgeous dish of mixed greens, they would still be ugly.
But - they're tasty. Maybe I can only make them for family members who still trust me and close, really-close, extremely-close friends. I don't know the future of the recipe - I only know it was tasty enough that my husband asked me what sort of meat I used. When my husband is eating mushrooms and thinks its meat - that usually means pretty tasty.
In another lifetime - (this would be my actress days when I stopped waitressing and was typing in an engineering office - oh - you do get the picture... how I never speak about my "acting" jobs ...) - anyway - in my past, I was inspired to make chocolate truffles. I don't know why - I saw a recipe and thought, "I could do that." Well. No. I couldn't. I mean - it tasted really good and I had the nerve to bring a platter of them to all the engineers I worked for and stepped aside to listen to the critiques. Some remarks were not G or PG rated and since I write for children, I shall not dwell on the exact words - you can imagine. But by the end of the day, all the truffles were eaten. By the end of the year, I married one of the engineers.
Ugly food can win hearts.

An hour ago, I made fifteen of these little tartlets - filled with mushroom mousse. My husband, daughter and I are the only ones around today. My daughter (just before she popped one in her mouth) mentioned, "I'm not going to lie to you. These look disgusting." Well, there are two left.
In the interest of being politically correct and standing up for ugly food - below is the recipe. It is from Tastes of Italia.
You need: (Serves 6 - or in my case - 3)
8 oz mushroom
1/2 medium onion
2 T olive oil
2 T Italian parsley
1 T butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 package of frozen phyllo dough tarts (15 to a package)
Coarsely chop the mushrooms and onions. Heat the olive oil to medium high and add mushrooms and onion. Salt and pepper the mixture. Cook till browned - about ten minutes.
Cool. Transfer to food processor. Add butter and parsley. Pulse till the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Fill tart shells.
Note: They tell you to fill a pastry bag to pipe it into the shells. I didn't. I saw their photo - it was still ugly. They also tell you to serve it a room temperature - which I did. Tasty - but I think next time (see, I am thinking of next time), I will warm them briefly in a 250 degree F oven.
Anyway, ugliness is in the eye of the beholder.


Pearl said...

just tell them "i doubt your stomach can tell if a food is pretty or not." :)

Reeni said...

I call dibs on the last two! I love the story! Maybe men don't see food as being ugly or pretty - they see it for what it is - nourishment. I be they taste divine!

Donna-FFW said...

The ingredients sound wonderful. I cant imagine theyd be anything but delicious. Your blog had me chuckling today, thanks for the smile..

Paula said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've had fun browsing around yours, and I've got to say that I'll be back for sure! This appetizer recipe is no ugly duckling to me! They are a real swan of an appetizer, and I know that my hubby would gobble them up. Your crab cakes and your salmon, both a couple of posts ago, are also lovely. YUM!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. i don't care what they look like, as long as they taste great. Actually, the parsley dresses these up quite nicely.

Dewi said...

Not at all! These are in fact very cute and sounds really delicious.

nicole said...

I love your daughter's reaction when she saw them :). I love ugly food- it's usually pretty tasty!

joe@italyville said...

I know of so many "ugly foods" that I absolutely love! close your eyes and say mmmmmmm.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

My tastebuds would surely not find them "ugly". I bet they taste wonderful!



Heather S-G said...

They look pretty good to me...I bet if you close your eyes and pop one in your mouth...they would be called beautiful!

OhioMom said...

LOL ... I usually tell my guys "it tastes better than it looks", some foods are just not eye candy, but are fab tasting. Guess you don't have any left for me ?

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

Mushrooms may not win any beauty contests, but if you love them, you love them unconditionally. All you have to say is mushrooms and I'm there. I could eat the whole platter.

Gloria Chadwick said...

Claudia, hasn't anyone told you that ugly is the new beautiful? LOL.
I love mushrooms and your recipe sounds really good. Maybe you should have an "Ugly Food is Beautiful" contest on your blog, asking other foodies to submit their ugly food. :)

Joie de vivre said...

All it needs is a little color...perhaps some julienned roasted red pepper strips and some scallions chopped in matchsticks laid on top?

Claudia said...

I love Gloria's suggestions. An ugly food give-away? But then joie de vivre showed me how to make it pretty ...

Sophie said...

Ugly-no! Tasty-yes! I love using mushrooms and also like the fact that they're hearty and meaty; you would've fooled me too :).

Heather said...

hahahaha. i'm sure that cotton balls would make it all better :)