So, I like to think I am a pretty good cook. I can't make red wine foam or a mise en bouche of sweet corn chowder with thyme bubbles, or even a simple apple gelée with black olive powder (yes, these are all things I ate just last week at Marigold Kitchen. I will write about it later). But I can make a damn good loaf of bread, pot of chili or chocolate cake. However, sometimes I absolutely BOTCH whatever I am making and last night was one of those occurrences. So I thought to myself, what other dishes have I completely ruined?
|This picture will make sense in a bit...|
1. Salmon Cakes
I still say that these weren't that bad, but other reliable sources would adamantly argue otherwise. When Evan and I had just started dating, I decided to try something new! and experiment! and not follow any recipes or even look into any sort of directions! An attempt at the salmon version of crab cakes, one of my favorite things in the world to eat, I ended up making strange pinkish crunchyish mushyish patties that made my entire apartment smell like an outdoor fish market in the summer. Poor Evan, in what I believe to be early relationship lies to avoid confrontation, forced a smile on his face and said things like "they're not that bad" and "I can really taste the salmon" but I think he only took one bite. If you were to ask him now, he would truthfully tell you they were disgusting. They all got thrown in the trash- outside.
2. Key Lime Pie
Ok. Let me start by saying I make an awesome Key Lime Pie, and make one for almost every holiday at the request of my family members. And it's always perfect and beautiful and brings happiness to all who taste it. Except for two Thanksgivings ago, when I again decided not to use the recipe (I should probably learn my lesson by now...) because "I've made this pie like a THOUSAND times mom, I don't NEED the recipe! I am a master pastry chef!" I used three times the amount of lime juice that was needed. Now, this might not sound like a lot, until I tell you that was nearly the entire bottle of juice concentrate. And it is SOUR. I'm not a scientist, but I know that chemistry things happen, and don't happen, when measurements are off. And clearly something was off because as I was mixing the ingredients I was thinking hmm this is really runny. This is really odd looking. So, what did I do? I added more sugar. And then another egg. And suddenly I was out of control and started throwing whatever I could find into that pie. Typically, it bakes for a short while to set, but I had that pie in the oven for like, 2 hours and it just remained a runny liquid mess in the (now soggy) shell. A guest we had staying for the holiday with us, bless his heart and soul, tasted it and his face twisted and contorted in a way that only happens when ingesting pure lime juice. He looked at me and said through pursed lips "mmmm". What a liar! I am a prideful person and so I looked at him and was like "oh, I love sour! I have a refined palate and intense flavors are so good and I bet it would taste great on ice cream" and then I tasted it and began cursing myself for not following the recipe. It went in the trash.
3. Savory Bread PuddingSo, this brings us to the coup d'etat. Last night, I wanted to clear out the fridge, which means the ingredients I used were not exactly... fresh. I wanted to make dinner for me and my roommate, and she had two full loaves of old bread. I was inspired by this recipe from the NYT about what to do with stale bread which I have made and loved in the past, but decided to take a few artistic liberties this time. I added spinach, I added an entire can of crushed tomatoes, I used extra eggs, I used the gross old white bread. But I was feeling pretty good about it! Amos Lee blasting in the background, I was sautéing the spinach with garlic and some (wrinkly old) tomatoes, toasting the bread in the oven to give it more "texture", and so on and so on. For about an hour we waited while this seemingly tasty dish cooked away, but it wasn't really looking any different. Finally I had had enough! and pulled it out of the oven only to discover the top and bottom were burnt, but the middle was still oh-so-mushy since the egg was still RAW. We scraped, cut, peeled and sorted out the "edible" bits and sloppily plopped a serving in each of our bowls. Even topped with loads of Parmesan cheese we barely made it past the first bite. Spongy, squishy, crunchy, doughy... we sent that thing straight down the disposal and ordered sushi.