Monday, April 10, 2006

Miso-ry? No, no, no, Conspiracy!

Yesterday was a strange one. I had an idea for a post that didn’t really work out somehow.

It was … Sabotaged! Some people are apparently not living every minute of their lives for the benefit of my Blog (traitors!). Don’t they know how my Unique Visitors and Page Loads statistics will suffer?

I know this is the reason for the collective unease and feelings of disorientation felt around the globe yesterday, but it could not be helped, and for that I apologize.

The ostensible reason for this situation (I know it was really a conspiracy!) was the freezer. It died.

Despite the accusations, I don’t have any real emotional attachment to the freezer. It sits below the refrigerator and hums away – mostly at night – seemingly happy to be there. I almost never use frozen food, so it is really just a place to put chicken and fish bones until it’s time to make broth. And of course a place to stick magnets, with pictures or schedules or phone numbers, or other things that will soon be forgotten. (I mean, it's cute and all, but were really just friends).

But it apparently died a few days ago – maybe it’s been slowly dying for a week or more and finally reached the critical point. And I did nothing. I was accused of being in denial and secretly in mourning. For the freezer.

But I just had a really bad cold last week. And really couldn’t smell the ever more pervasive odor of slowly defrosting and rotting chicken and fish bones.

Until Saturday. My sinuses cleared, and like a shovel to the head, the smell finally got through. I accused everyone of indiscriminant crimes against humanity! I mean, my God! How could everyone let this happen? Didn’t they notice?

I got back a lot more than I dished out. Apparently they had noticed something amiss. (In retrospect, it’s clear that they had noticed! They had somehow conspired to cause this mishap! And suffered though it’s stench until I was forced to take action! Imagine the planning, the diabolical calculation that went into this! And, obviously, everyone but me was a party to it!).

Well, not so bad. Just turn off the freezer, throw everything out (mostly old bones), clean it up, and that’s that.

So I thought. But I couldn’t get the freezer trays out to clean them without moving the entire refrigerator out of its space so the door would open further. No problem. Just slide the thing out – it’s on wheels.

But it turns out there is an ecosystem living in my house I was not aware of. A thriving, growing, frightening, and somewhat fuzzy community. Hiding right in the middle of my kitchen.

I don’t know how often everyone else looks under their fridge, but I apparently do it rarely. Very rarely. Basically never. And it shows.

I took pictures – before and after – but decency prevents my posting them.

Suffice to say that there were things found – in a greasy, fuzzy state, that we had lost years ago.

I didn’t actually find a dead animal (thank god), and no mold was present. Just a thick greasy fur of accumulated debris.

And since retail waits for no woman, I had the pleasure of detoxing this environmental disaster area myself. Plus, it was explained, it’s really pretty much all my mess anyways, since I’m the only one who cooks in there. Maybe I can get federal funds from the EPA to help?

I think they broke the freezer somehow in some insidious, Sherlock Holmes-esque fashion. To either force me to clean it. Or worse yet – to Sabotage! my contemplated meal concept for the day. Somehow they had probed my mind (while I was sleeping?) – found out what I was up to, mentally so to speak, and decided collectively to take it down. Make sure the idea never saw the light of day. Conspiracy! Sabotage! Well, paranoia at the very least!

In any event, the real post was supposed to be about my tendency to try new things impulsively. How I rely on a bit of luck to pull together newly discovered items into something nominally edible.

And the resultant stockpile of odd ingredients left behind.

Sauces, powders, wilted green things, fruit that has weeped into the counter and is no longer recognizable.

I really don’t like to throw things out, either. Somehow, it feels like I should have been more clever and found a way to incorporate the rest of something into a recipe before it went bad.

Which brings us to the gigantic sacks of Miso Paste – red and white – that have been sitting in the back of my fridge for weeks. I purchased them to make some Miso soup. I think everyone enjoyed the soup, and likes Miso in a general way, but we are not major miso consumers. It’s not a staple part of our diet. More of a novelty.

And I guess I thought the soup would required more miso paste than it did. Lots more. Lots, lots more. So we have enough left to last through this millennium.

As I conspired a way to incorporate miso into the evening’s dinner – they apparently were a step ahead, and had conspired a way to bring down the entire dinner without my ever becoming suspicious of their actual intent.

The freezer was just an innocent victim, sacrificed to accomplish their monstrous plan.

See what I’m up against here?

I finally did find a recipe that used miso – Miso-Glazed Black Cod on Sweet Pea Shoots. But the time had run out to really do it the right way. So it was more of a stalemate than a victory for either side.

Plus, the pictures came out really, really bad. (How did they pull that off as well, I wonder?).

Since the meal and the pictures turned out sub-par, I decided to repost the idea some other day. In the mean time, I've found a much better looking miso - black cod recipe. Dining well really is the best revenge!

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