Pears, Mushrooms and Spinach. What was I thinking?

>> Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pears; Mushrooms; Spinach; Pears; Mushrooms and Spinach; rice; baby spinach; recipe; still life; Spicie Foodie; rissotto; parmesan cheese; thyme; rice dishes; vegan; Vegetable Rice; vegetables; fruit; vegetarian
A tale of kitchen failures and bad photos to go with a strange recipe.

Do you ever dream or day dream about how two ingredients would taste together? Of course you do, we all do! My mind starts going when I do a check of what's left in the refrigerator and pantry, as well as when I'm shopping for food. Then once it's time to go into the kitchen to cook our dinner I'll start thinking to myself "Okay, how can I make this more interesting than last time, or what new spice or ingredient can I experiment with today." To me that's what cooking is all about, experimenting and trying new things. My favorite way of testing out new flavor combinations is by staking a bite size amount of new ingredients together for a small taste. Often times I discover some great new flavor combinations that become favorites. But sometimes, well things don't turn out quite like I had imagine.

Baby spinach and pears taste great together. The sweet tenderness of the pear really compliments the crisp mild taste of baby spinach. These two together make a great salad, just add some walnuts and goat cheese and your set. Baby spinach and mushrooms also taste great together. Both are mild and neither overpowers the other. I love to use mushrooms and baby spinach together in stir frys, along side chicken, stews, and curries. So I got the idea that baby spinach, pears and mushrooms would or should taste pretty good in the same dish. Well, that's not really the case. Before I started on the rice I stacked a piece of raw pear, a piece of raw mushroom and a couple of raw baby spinach leaves together. The taste was quite good, mild and crisp with a slight sweetness from the pear. But once the rice was finished, that was a different story. It was edible but not quite the savory, salty and splash of sweetness I quite envisioned. I don't know if the failure was a result of the spices just not complimenting the main ingredients, that the flavors change once cooked or if it was just an overall failure. My poor guinea pig, I mean my husband, still ate what was put in front of him but didn't ask for seconds. Haha! He's a good sport and for that I shall not torture him with this dish again.

I almost didn't photograph and post this but I thought I'd share my most recent failure. After all most of us have them and that's how learn. Right? You could probably tell that I didn't put much effort into the photos, I felt it wasn't quite a dish deserving of a decent photo. So please excuse the horrible photos. If you're brave enough I dare you to make it, haha!

Ingredients :
1 3/4 cup or 320 grams long grain white rice
1 Portobello mushroom (100 grams or 3.5 oz), thinly sliced
5 oz or 140 grams Button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 firm pear 10.5 oz or 300 grams , in chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
100 grams or 3.5 oz baby spinach
2 1/2 cup or 600 ml vegetable broth
1 tsp. salt
large pinch of ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tbsp. olive oil

grated Parmesan, optional

1. Heat the oil in a large pan, saute the mushrooms until soft, drain the excess liquid. Add the garlic and saute 2 minutes. Next add the spinach and cook until wilted. Pour the rice into the pan and stir to well combine. Add the remaining spices and pear chunks into the pan and again stir well. Pour in the vegetable broth, stir, cover and simmer under medium low heat.

2. After 15 minutes check on the rice. Taste the rice for tenderness and if needed add a little bit more broth or water. Make sure that the broth/water does not dry out before the rice is cooked through. If so pour just a little bit more into the pan. Once the rice has cooked through add some grated parmesan cheese if you like. Rice should cook through in about 20-25 minutes. Serve as a side dish or vegan/vegetarian main meal.
Pears; Mushrooms; Spinach; Pears; Mushrooms and Spinach; rice; baby spinach; recipe; still life; Spicie Foodie; rissotto; parmesan cheese; thyme; rice dishes; vegan; Vegetable Rice; vegetables; fruit; vegetarian

Remember kitchen failures are okay we all have them. Tell me what was your most recent kitchen failure?

Tomorrow, April 29 is the last day to sing up for the YBR. Sign up here if you haven't done so already.


Alina---Explora Cuisine April 28, 2011 at 10:53 AM  

By the way this side dish looks like in your photographs, it must be fresh and very flavorful! For me pears and mushrooms are too much, but I bet a lot of people will find this lovely dish amazing! Hope you have a great evening!

Spicie Foodie April 28, 2011 at 10:59 AM  

Hi Alina,
No it wasn't, hehe You too have a great evening.

hmariek April 28, 2011 at 11:08 AM  

Oh the story of my life! I am almost embarrassed to share my worst recipe failure. I imagined a nice crispy sweet potato hash on pumpkin pizza crust. Then I threw chocolate chips on top.. what was I thinking? It was horrible, to say the least.

ClassicKitchenTwist,  April 28, 2011 at 11:31 AM  

Failure or not, your pics are always amazing and I love when people share failures! My recent failure was a marinade I was concocting for a New Belgium Brewing recipe- 1st attempt was one of the worst things I've tasted, however, kept tinkering with it and used it for something else and it turned out great!

Pegasuslegend April 28, 2011 at 11:38 AM  

I just love to gaze at your photo, it not only makes me hungry it makes me admire how talented you are... just mouth watering!

Spicie Foodie April 28, 2011 at 11:48 AM  

@hmariek, Hehe, I can't see liking the chocolate chips but everything else sounded goo.

@ClassicKitchenTwist, Thanks, it happens to us all. So yours turned out to be great just for a different use. See we learn:)

@Claudia, Thank you but I don't think this dish would make you feel hungry any more, hehe!

Sandra April 28, 2011 at 11:50 AM  

:))) well, I think your photos look amazing, as well as your presentation, I would just leave those pears out and the rest is delicious combination:))
I love your story...and I do have my share of un-tasty food when it comes to my little experiments hahaa My last experiment with my guinea pig was much like watching baby eating for the first time hahaaha but yours is good sport!:)

Spicie Foodie April 28, 2011 at 11:57 AM  

@Sandra, Thank you! Hehe, our poor husbands :)

Anonymous,  April 28, 2011 at 11:59 AM  

Hey, kudos for owning up to a failure! While I agree that this combo probably isn't the most appetising, I do think your dish would work very nicely with some nuts (perhaps almonds or pine nuts?) or even chickpeas instead of the pear. As for the baby spinach and pear salad with sharp cheese and walnuts - one of my favourites!

Spicie Foodie April 28, 2011 at 12:09 PM  

Thanks, I have no shame in showing my kitchen failures. Thanks for the tips, they all sound great. I'll have to try them instead of my horrible combo.

Anonymous,  April 28, 2011 at 12:41 PM  

Glad to know you have kitchen failures too! It's too easy to look at bloggers that make amazing food all the time and think they never make something that isn't perfect :D My most recent failure is some crackers I made yesterday. I didn't roll them nearly enough and they really dry your mouth out when you eat them. Yuck :D I'll try again I'm sure, hehe.

RavieNomNoms April 28, 2011 at 12:58 PM  

I think the photos turned out great, just like they always do. This certainly does sound like an interesting dish, I would try it just to see what it was like. It certainly doesn't look bad at all!

Emily Malloy April 28, 2011 at 1:17 PM  

Oh no! Isn't that the most frustrating thing! You go girl for posting this! Speaks to your character! :)

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 28, 2011 at 1:18 PM  

I love the failures! They're just stepping stone to perfection, right?!

Nikki @ The Tolerant Vegan April 28, 2011 at 3:46 PM  

This is perhaps the loveliest failure ever!

Cooking Rookie April 28, 2011 at 7:36 PM  

That's a very interesting combination of flavors :-), especially pears and mushrooms. But the result looks absolutely delish!

Michelle Chin April 28, 2011 at 7:40 PM  

My kitchen failure... hmm, the last time was doing a recipe wrongly. :D

I make weird combo sandwiches. Like chocolate, cheese, jam and smoked salmon. Sounds weird but it tastes great. ;D

Anonymous,  April 29, 2011 at 12:38 AM  

Well, I wouldn't be upset if someone served me that plate of food! I think it is interesting how much cooking something can change the flavors and textures. Apparently things that go together when they are raw, don't always work when cooked! Thanks for sharing. We definitely all learn by hearing about mistakes.

Foodiva April 29, 2011 at 9:35 AM  

The way you photographed this, it looks like the dish was a success instead of a failure! But kudos to you for sharing with us the reality of our kitchen experiments. Sometimes recipes work, and sometimes they just don't. But when you stumble upon a great recipe, it's like discovering electricity, or the theory of relativity, or even sliced bread...haha, the feeling's amazing!

MsByn April 29, 2011 at 2:23 PM  

Lol. I had a dream once about pumpkin waffles with cream cheese with chocolate shavings... it was the night before Thanksgiving, so we even had the ingredients. I made it the next morning and it was DIVINE. Its our yearly tradition now!

My most recent failure was probably the couscous recipe I made, because unlike nearly every other thing, there are still leftovers in the fridge. I don't think my family cared for the texture... or I did something wrong. I hate wasting food, so I'm glad it doesn't happen often!!

I think its great that you have such a great attitude about mistakes and that you were willing to post about it. Your recipes are always so divine:)

spcookiequeen April 29, 2011 at 10:38 PM  

Let's see this morning I decided I would tackle the macaron, besides coming out looking as ugly as sin, they tasted awful and I threw them all in the garbage, at least your guinea pig ate your experiment. lol Hope you have a great weekend.

Magic of Spice April 30, 2011 at 11:37 AM  

It certainly looks good and I think the ingredients work wonderfully together. I would like to try it with a wild rice though, maybe with a splash of citrus to draw out the flavors?
Nearly all of my kitchen disasters involve me attempting to bake's truly a frightening scene, lol

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