When I was young I always heard people say “women like guys that can cook” so I always paid attention when people were cooking. Early on I knew I liked eating and I knew I liked women, might as well get this easy one out the way. I watched cooking shows a lot, but I never followed recipes. I blame the people I saw because they never had written recipes to go from either, just cooking from the soul I guess. As you can imagine, I’m good at the dishes I know, and in most cases I can improvise and not blow the meal, but it’s not a diversified list of dishes that I’m good at. Now that I’m older and I’ve had my food a lot, with no desire to do another burger joint, I figured it was time to finally read a recipe or two.
I don’t remember exactly what I typed into Google, but after looking through pages and following various links, I landed at Gypsy Plate. She has a whole lot of pictures of dishes that look really good, so I checked a few of them out and decided to make Ropa Vieja. Spoiler alert, her version looks better than mine. I looked at the list of ingredients and went on Instacart in an effort to not forget anything. I had every intention on following this recipe to the letter, minus the olives, because I think olives are soggy dirt grapes and I hate them. Olive oil is cool though.
The Instacart shopper couldn’t find or simply chose not to get the meat I asked for, or the capers or the wine. With my hand clearly forced I went into the grocery store to get the last few ingredients, wine, beef, and capers. However, I left with beef, caramel covered apples, blueberries, raspberries, oatmeal cookie oat milk creamer, chai teabags and some Ice Breakers. I know, I forgot 66% of what I came for. The oat milk creamer and chai were a come up though, so no regrets. Moving on…
The day of cooking, I realized about 1 step into prepping everything that I forgot most of the stuff I went to the store for and just decided to improvise. I didn’t have the time or dedication to return to the store AND come home to make this food. I substituted chicken broth for white wine, and I simply chalked up the capers. I did everything else according to the recipe I think. I started around 2:30 pm and we began eating at 6pm. Though the outcome was still tasty, I can’t really call it Ropa Vieja seeing as some very key ingredients were missing. However, I can say that I’ll be returning to Gypsy Plate for more meal ideas. Even though I failed on many aspects of the execution this time, the outcome was still very enjoyable.
In the process of making the rice, I was watching the Bulls game so I burned it, and was only able to salvage a little bit. I made black beans as well just like Alpana did, but I forgot to take that picture. Again, blaming that on the Bulls game, Bulls won! All in all it turned out fine, my daughter went back for seconds, and she never does that unless I’m making lasagna (which I am pretty good at).
My advice to people like me that suck at following directions…gather all of the ingredients on an actual list at least a day before, don’t attempt to cook on game days, or at least start well before game time, if you still forget something use the best sense you have available to not ruin it with your substitutions. Good Luck!