A Garden Dinner Disaster

A few short hours ago, the fam and I arrived back home safely from a quick trip back to Pennsylvania. Since I did all the driving, once we walked through the door and got the kids some cereal (they only get cereal for dinner when they’ve been really, really good!), Daddy was in charge while I got dinner together. And even though I considered grabbing us both a bowl and a spoon, after walking out back to check on the garden, I realized dinner was at my fingertips.

Garden Goods

Beets, cukes, chives, lemon balm, and thai basil, all ready for some dressing-up. I would like to take credit for the cherry tomatoes, but I can’t as those are from my father’s little backyard plot; my tomatoes aren’t quite ready yet. I am starting to wonder if I might have a case of late summer tomato blight, but I’m not sure that their current condition wasn’t brought about by an unfortunate lack of watering while we were gone. Oh dear.

Noodle Cukes

As I lovingly washed my veggies, then sliced into the cucumber, I thought I could whip up a Thai/Vietnamese summer noodle dish that would highlight the beet greens, herbs, and veg… it would also be quick and require little more stove time that boiling a pot of water. Done!

Nuoac Cham

So I grabbed the fish sauce, limes, garlic, sugar, and chili sauce (I’m plumb out of fresh chilies)…

Noodle Bowl

Soaked, rinsed, and distributed the noodles…

Noodle Finis

Juilenned, chiffonaded, and dressed the greens and herbs on top of the tomatoes and cukes, which were resting ever so gently above the rice noodles.

Doesn’t look so bad, right?

Soap for Dinner

It. Was. Terrible.

I mean awful. Ridiculously disgusting. Bitter, overpowering… soapy! Really… I swear it was like eating flakes of Ivory. So much time and energy and patience wasted while watching and tending to those little guys when I could have just plopped down a dollar at the pharmacy for a bar of soap. The sauce was delicious, but everything else was so over-the-top strong, that both my husband and I cut our losses and ran back to the kitchen for some noodles and cukes (after fishing out all of my dad’s tomatoes!).

Recovery Bowl

I have a feeling that tomorrow there will be a clean patch of dirt where I’ve stripped the earth of the offending romantic-garden-ideal-busting Ivory soap plant. Oh yes, Hell hath no fury like the woman frothing at the mouth from a sudsy leaf!

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8 thoughts on “A Garden Dinner Disaster

    • Oh Karen! You are always so incredibly kind and generous. You really are one of my favorite people!! You know, this could be a fun way to use up some of those wedding snapshots! πŸ˜‰

  1. What a tragedy! Your photos are so beautiful and your process inspiring, so I’m sorry to hear it didn’t turn out. But honestly, it makes me feel better since many of my efforts fail! hahahaa!

    I made a lovely cherry pie for Rich’s birthday right after we got married. I even made the crust. But I had used a can of pie filling PLUS sugar and flour (as if I’d used fresh cherries) because I misunderstood the directions. It looked great, but it tasted awful. Like really bad cherry candy. So, despite all our sincerity, sometimes it just doesn’t turn out the way we want.

    Do you know what tasted so funky?

    • HA!! OMG! I am a _terrible_ baker… TERRIBLE! I even took a class to help out once, and even it failed me (although I did learn how to make a lovely savory souffle!). After I took the class a few friends of mine invited me to dinner and asked that I bring dessert. So I rolled out my newly acquired baking recipes and whipped up the coffee cake that we practiced two weeks earlier. But instead of using baking soda, I used trash can deodorizer WITH baking soda (thanks, Arm’n’Hammer, for confusing people everywhere with your orange box design snafu) and wondered why my batter suddenly had such a strong, fresh, floral scent. πŸ˜‰ Luckily the mistake was discovered before anyone took a bite, but still. πŸ˜‰

      I’m not sure why it was so soapy and bitter… I suspect I have especially potent basil right now, and that lemon balm is best left for steeping in tea and not eating raw in salads. I’m going to test my theory a bit later after the rain stops πŸ˜‰

    • Heh… yeah, it does take a little of the sting out of it… thanks! It helps even more knowing I got some blog fodder from it. πŸ˜‰ Blech… I can still taste it a whole day later! Pa-tooey!

  2. Oh dear, what a bummer! It sure did look pretty. I recently had a disasterous dinner experience in following a new recipe. I made substitutions that ended up making my salmon cakes so salty you couldn’t eat them. I was so pissed! All that time and effort, drowned in salt. It put me in a foul mood all evening. Oh well, live and learn.

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