Friday, June 18, 2010

Food Friday: It was Bound to Happen

It's been a long time, and I mean long time since I've had a total blunder in the kitchen.  But, it was bound to happen, and this week it did!

Zucchini Soup, page 27
This was, dare I say, more soupy than I'd like.  I know, I know.  If the title alone didn't warn me, the fact that it's in the "soups and salad" section certainly should have.  But my nose smelled the curry powder and I think it expected something thicker.  Once I got my mind under control and in line for thinking soup, not curry, it went better.  This does have a nice summer feel to it.  Since you let it cool before blending (and really, you should do this lest you have a very big explosion in your kitchen.  I didn't learn that lesson this time, only because I'd learned it the hard way before), it isn't a hot soup like what I'd want in winter.  Instead, it's more of a cool soup with yogurt.  LK and I both agreed it would go well with the pita chips from Rachel Ray's tomato dinner (you know, #157, the one I didn't like any of but the pita- anise. yuck).

Pink House Chicken Salad, pg 36
When LK and I were first married and living in a guys dorm as house parents (what a first year that was!) I once breaded chicken breasts in lemon pepper.  Seriously.  I didn't know how powerful that stuff could be so I took chicken, poured out lemon pepper on a plate, and rolled the bird around in the pepper until it was nice and covered.  Let me just say that there were not enough mashed potatoes in the world to make that chicken anywhere near edible.  So when Tanya called for 2 TBSP of lemon pepper in this recipe, I for one was glad she noted
Sounds like a lot, but it's correct.
Thankfully, she was right.  While it is more than I might have been willing to put in on my own (following the first year experience, I don't voluntarily add lemon pepper to much), it was a perfect blend with the mayo, pecans (I used small ones so LK would eat it), and pineapple.  I didn't "chunk" my chicken, instead I poured 1 TBSP EVOO into a pan and got it hot.  Then I placed the chicken breasts in the pan and salted them with a little sea salt and just a dash of pepper.  Then I cooked the chicken until it had that nice brown crisp on each side.  Once the chicken cooled, I chopped it up in my food processor (yes! I got one- so need to blog about that vintage beauty).  I seriously ate this one by the spoonful.  It was so tasty.

Animal Crackers, pg 58
The boys and I made this before our family game night.  I didn't have buttermilk, so I made some with milk and lemon juice;  but I think that since I used 1% milk to make the "buttermilk" it made the dough sticky.  Or said another way, the dough was very sticky.  They were soft and tasty but it was a pretty doughy mess we made in the process of cutting out our animals.  Next time I think we'll be sticking with animal cracker snakes.  Or maybe rollie pollies.  If you like oatmeal cookies but you're not a fan of raisins, this will be right up your alley.  I'm personally a fan of the frosted animal crackers, so I snuck some icing on one or two of mine while LK was reading the junior books to the kids (shhh.... don't let them know I have icing in the fridge or they'll be asking for it on their waffles!).

And here it is, the moment you've been waiting for- the disaster that was me, in the kitchen, early on a kid-less Sunday morning.

Ham and Swiss Braided Bread Loaf, pg 90
I have a very strict rule- I never make something I've made before when entertaining.  That way, I don't know what it was suppose to be like should it not turn out.  And while I haven't made this recipe before, I did make one like it- the Rueben Loaf at the MOAB.  And that one was beautiful- it was art baby.  So I think I had my expectations up before I even started the HSBBL.  But it was our Brother's Keeper pot-luck and Tanya specifically states this is "fun to take to a potluck" so I had to try it. However ...
I didn't have Dijon mustard like I thought I did.  Thankfully I learned my lesson way back when I substituted ranch dressing for milk when making cheesy hamburger helper, and I knew that not everything that seems like it would work, will.  Thus, I stop short of adding horseradish sauce to French mustard in place of the Dijon.  Instead, I was a good girl and look up a recipe for Dijon. However...
It calls 2 cups of white wine and I only had 1/4 cup.  But! Again, being a super cook now, (or so I told myself) I divided the recipe down until I knew how much of each item to put with my 1/4 cup wine (and how exactly do you get 1/8 of 3 cloves garlic, yeah well it wasn't exact science).  However...
I did not reduce the cook time (doh!) so I cooked it down too much and from that point I just punted.  I added enough water to the "Dijon" mustard to make the 1/4 cups Tanya calls for - and while it had a tang that I'd expect of Dijon, it did not have the texture.  So when I added my 1/4 cup "Dijon" to the 1 c water she calls for- I got very sticky dough.  Dough that did not want to roll out pretty or braid well.  And then there is the fact that I forgot to buy pickles.  So I chopped up some Kalamata olives I had on hand.  LK and I agreed it wasn't a bad punt- but that the pickles would have been better.
I think it could have only felt worse if I could have lit a potholder on fire while pulling the cooked "meal" out of the oven.
And yet, with all that said, like the mangy pound puppy that becomes the quintessential family pet- the bread loaf was a hit! I only came home with a small piece.  It really was a Sunday miracle.

Here's to hoping wherever my head was this week, that it will be back in the kitchen with me where it belongs next.


Gena said...

I think I enjoy your food pictures even more than the recipes. They are beautiful.

meggo said...

Great post.

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