Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Kitchen Confessions: Last Night's Fiascos

I don't want this blog to be limited to eternally chirpy posts. I'm not here to sell anything, or convince anyone of my mad cooking skills. Arguably, I didn't start this blog to share great recipes, but to process and learn from our food-related adventures. What's the point of blogging only about our successes?

Can you tell that I'm trying to work myself up to publicly admitting my stupidity? :)

Fiasco 1: The Challah.
I made Challah yesterday to serve with our morels (as recommended by Gourmet) and to submit to Psychgrad and Giz's Tried, Tested and True event. I chose this recipe because a) Gourmet recommends serving the morels on Challah, b) Challah is associated with a lot of powerful memories for me, and c) because I make the recipe so damn often that I've hammered out its kinks. It fit with the whole "tested" theme.

For future reference, there are an endless number of "kinks" that can be summoned up through the powers of absent-mindedness. I knew this: last week I ruined the Challah by adding the water and oil in the wrong order (among other things). Well, my accomplishment for this week was to divide my ingredients by 4 ... until I switched and started dividing them by 3 halfway through.

ARH, so preventable! The recipe in the book (with all my "notes-to-self" written in the margins) is 4x as much as we need. I knew that I should be dividing everything by four, I've done it before, and I even had correct measurements written on this blog! Worse case scenario, the fact that I used all four of my measuring cups should have alerted me to the mix-up. Dumb!

In the end, the bread turned out mostly fine. The the ratio of water-to-flour was correct, but there was insufficient yeast and egg and oil and salt. So, while the texture of the crumb was perfect and the end result looked phenomenal, the flavor was much tamer than I remembered... less salt, less butter-flavor. I'm just kicking myself that I made such an avoidable mistake and that I submitted it to an event for "tested and true" recipes. I mean, the recipe itself is wonderful and perfect, it's just my apparent inability to follow its directions successfully. Oh the irony.

Fiasco #2: The Morels.
D was so jealous that we bought and cooked morels without him last week that he insisted that we repeat the recipe. So we bought another $20 box of morels at the Farmer's Market on Sunday.

And decided to cook them on Monday. And didn't refrigerate them.

In my defense, I had no idea that you have to refrigerate mushrooms. They're already fungi, right? But you do. Or they go bad. Very bad.

D approached me skeptically after smelling the morels on Monday evening. They smelled awful, but I was hoping that a nice wash and saute would take care of everything. Suspension of disbelief. Yeah right. To make a painful story short, D went to all the effort of making the morel recipe, and we threw it out after one bite.

Sigh. Mondays.


Johanna said...

Dividing up ingredients is a tricky business! I think the ability to share the good and the real is why blogging is such a good way to learn about cooking and so different to cookbooks!

Krysta said...

Been there done that... and I sympathize.

Psychgrad said...

I feel your pain Neen, tonight i complete screwed up this recipe. It's a good learning experience (or at least that's what I keep telling myself), but it's so sad to see/taste the lost potential.

I do plan to post it. Maybe we can learn from each other's mistakes.

katiez said...

Nothing so bad as bad mushrooms...
A friend collected a big bunch on the golf course one day - planned on making a mushroom omelet for dinner. He forgot them... Left them in the bottom of his golf bag (which was in a cool, basement locker, but still) 2 days later he pulled out a club covered in black, slimey goo....
When they go bad, they go very very bad...

katiez said...

Oh, and fiascos are ever so much more fun the successes... to write about, I mean!