Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day Zero Project #101: Have dinner by candlelight

"Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear." - Lucas, Empire Records.

Or if you'd rather have the video version (and who wouldn't):

Occasionally while I am out and about with my friends someone will ask me about this list in one of two ways. Either they say I'm crazy and then keep a healthy distance from me for the entire rest of the evening or they wonder how I get the ideas for the things that I end up doing (whether it's this list or other crazy stuff I end up posting about elsewhere).

Here's the secret, first I steal the basic premise of the idea. This is a Day Zero Project list, so I obviously have the shell of an idea already formed. Then, I let my overactive imagination go to work and try to come up with the most awesome idea I can. I think to myself "Yeah, dinner by candlelight is cool, but how can I bring it up a notch or twelve."

Let's trace the idea from it's roots to try and show just how imaginative (i.e. potentially crazy) my head is. First, we were talking about foods that we ate growing up. As a native Midwesterner both me and my wife remember eating goulash growing up.

"Ah, but how can that be served fancy?" I asked, since I do love the idea of making food look pretty.

"Impossible," responded my lovely wife. "It's just a delicious, gross looking pile of macaroni, beef and tomato sauce with a little paprika and sour cream thrown in."

To which I responded, "Impossible? I'll show you, I'm going to start a restaurant and serve only super-fancy versions of the Midwestern comfort foods that we ate growing up and...wait? Did you say sour cream in your goulash? That doesn't even make sense."

And so an idea was born. An impossible idea to create a restaurant with delicious goulash. But before I go public with my restaurant I should probably do some recipe testing, right?

That reminds me, I have  a Day Zero goal to have dinner by candlelight! I'll pretend I have a restaurant, light some candles, and cook some food. And now I have my new restaurant Comfort.

 And every restaurant needs a menu (and bourbon cocktails), right? Done.

And, of course, there has to be food, right? Done.

For the record, the menu item pictured here is my Midwestern Comfort Trio. Which consists of (from left to right

1) Runza - bread dough filled with seitan (fake beef), onions and shredded cabbage. This recipe needs major work.

2) Goulash - aforementioned basic ingredients with homemade Crème fraîche and paprika. I don't like to brag (actually, I do), but I knocked this one out of the park. So good.

3) Loosemeat sliders - slider bun with homemade pickles, spicy mustard and seitan. Just a bit salty, but I've almost got it figured out.

So, basically, that's how a crazy idea is formed. Spend a few minutes, come up with something a little weirder than your first thought, make a restaurant and then let your significant other go to the coffee shop and brag about their partner.

It's really that simple.

Also, if you happen to decide you want to make a fictitional restaurant, take a tip from the real deal and hire someone to do the clean-up because this is no fun...

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