Cooking fail

Dear sisters,

I have to confess that I have a lot of cooking fails. When we cook together at family get togethers we always eat really well, I loved making that Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk from the July 4th reunion and making strawberry pies is my jam (hah. hah.).

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This might make you think that I always cook perfectly at home. Not so. I’m a great special occasion cook, twice a week or so I plan a delicious meal that I can’t wait to make and eat. Last Friday we had lime and chipotle chicken sausage burgers with asian cucumber salad, kale chips, watermelon, and cherry clafoutis and I couldn’t wait to make it all. But for all the other meals, the boring lunches and hurried dinners, I can sometimes get a bit sloppy. One day last week I was really craving homemade mac and cheese and since I hadn’t gotten groceries since coming back from NY and I had tons of cheese I dove right in and made Alton Brown’s stovetop mac n cheese. I didn’t want to wait for it to bake in the oven. I wanted it NOW! The only problem was I didn’t have a lot of one type of cheese–I had some gouda, sharp cheddar, and an italian style hard cheese I’d gotten by Cabot (supposed to be a blend of aged swiss and hard italian cheese). I made it according to the recipe and it looked so creamy and delicious. I couldn’t wait.

I took a bite and was immediately disappointed. The swiss cheese had overpowered all the others. Or maybe it was the 3/4 tsp of mustard in it that I didn’t like. Whatever it was, the taste was off. I ate a serving and packaged the rest up for the freezer. The next time I’m craving mac and cheese and need a quick lunch I’ll eat one and remind myself not to be so hasty when cooking.

I think most of my cooking problems come from impatience and a lack of experience. I’m starting to make things without recipes, last week I made an edamame, feta, pepper and corn salad that I made “off book” and it was just alright. Luckily Kevin loved it. My successes still come from recipes I’ve learned from my favorite blogs or from family recipes–there’s no way I could screw up spaghetti carbonara, sloppy joes, cashew chicken curry, Grandma Grastorf’s Shortbread and I have Smitten Kitchen’s crispy chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe memorized. Day to day though I tend to make it up a bit more, I guess it shows I’m growing up as a cook and learning what I like. However, my taste testing is still pretty hesitant. I’ll try something and think, “That’s pretty good” but after I’ve eaten a serving of it I don’t really like it. Or something like the mac n cheese incident will happen and I won’t realize I don’t like it until it is too late.

Confession time sisters/blog readers, have you ever had a kitchen fail?

Love,
Jewel

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4 thoughts on “Cooking fail

  1. Haha, I just had a cooking fail on Monday! I made dinner–fettuccine with sausage and kale (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fettuccine-with-Sausage-and-Kale-233976). I started making it and realized we didn’t have enough pasta, so Krestia went to 7-11 (our only option in our small town!) and got some. Then I realized that it called for Pecorino Romano cheese, and I always use Parmesan, and I had thrown out the Parmesan a few days earlier because it was moldy. Sadly I cannot get good imported Parmesan at 7-11. 🙂 Also I left out the broth, figuring it was too much of a pain to make some with my Better Than Boullion, and besides, the sausage would provide enough flavor. We ate it without the cheese but it was pretty bland. Sigh, a good lesson to check ingredients first. There really is no substitute for good Parmesan cheese. Also when making a dish with very few ingredients, leaving two of them out makes a big difference! Usually my cooking fails happen because I’m in a hurry and I just want to use up ingredients and I skip crucial things. Krestia is a much more careful, deliberate cook and his food is pretty much always good. I’m lucky.

  2. I tend to have pretty epic tantrums when it comes to cooking fails, I’ve been known to slam pot lids on the floor (or cry). Maybe I’ve matured a bit as I haven’t had one in awhile 🙂 My last cooking fail was probably the brownies for Bradley’s birthday–I overbaked them and they weren’t a very good texture and it was a waste of a lot of good butter and precious cocoa powder that Sarah mailed me from the States.
    Last week I made homemade mac and cheese–I usually use the zippy cheese sauce recipe from Moosewood and then bake it with pasta. This time I just made the recipe on the back of the package of macaroni from Tesco (the grocery store) and BD said it was the best I’ve ever made! Sigh 🙂 I guess he also doesn’t like the 1/2 t of dry mustard in the zippy cheese sauce? Sometimes simpler is better I suppose.

  3. The most epic food fail I can remember right now was this pasta dish that Martha and I tried when I was visiting her the week before Archer was born. I don’t remember much about the actual dish beyond that we ended up with a solid hunk of overcooked pasta. It looked delicious on paper but was oh so ever not when we made it.

    1. that was hilarious, wasn’t it. every time i see that recipe in my cookbook i laugh and laugh. Pasta with Potatoes, a classic Italian dish!

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