Dec 17th, 2010
Roasting on an open flame my a$%. It started as an innocent whim, spurred by seasonal lore. But roasting chestnuts, the nostalgic Christmastime snack, unfolded as a series of disasters for me.
Chestnuts: A Story of Failure
Apr 7th, 2009
Before I get started on describing this would-be dessert turned disaster -- wait, no. I think the title of this post pretty much sums it up. Two different foods, one type of dough. One day late, and many things short.
The Leftover Whole Wheat Pizza Dough-Cinnamon Bun Disaster
Jan 8th, 2009
I am not a pastry chef. I've only begun to work with yeast in the last two years, tinkering mostly with pizza doughs and a little lazy-cook sensation called No-Knead Bread. I've never attempted to make my own croissants. So, foolishly, I thought I'd skip ahead that French classic and try to make whole wheat croissants instead (which I have never laid eyes on professionally-made). Following that train of illogic, we come to the only logical conclusion: that they turned out pretty poor.
Mission Impossible?: Whole Wheat Croissants
Apr 27th, 2008
I love it when people who are not necessarily big cooks tell me about a recipe they crafted themselves. It's usually peppered with personal experience, and told in a way that reveals their trial and error with the ingredients and overall pride for its deliciousness. This type of story fell on my lap recently when an acquaintance emailed me his recipe for black beans and brown rice. It was simple, but fresh somehow. He insisted on starting out with dried black beans, not something I tend to do, and it included a whole bunch of fresh thyme and bay leaves in addition to onion, garlic and jalapenos.
The Scotch Bonnet Black Beans Disaster
Jan 1st, 2008
First things first, happy New Year. I trust that everyone's risen from bed and had their hair of the dog by now. For those who've been up longer, I hope that your New Year's Day dessert experience went better than mine. Or perhaps the word would be more "fruitful" than mine. Because my first culinary lesson of 2008 is that beets and sweets are not exactly interchangeable.
Beet Budino No-No
Mar 13th, 2007
I got an ice cream maker. I was watching the episode of Good Eats
all about premium ice cream and how simple it was to make, and the next day I ran out to buy an ice cream maker. For $50 I'll never have to go to the corner bodega to grab a pint of Haagen-Dazs again -- sweet.
The first batch, a basic vanilla ice cream made from the recipe in the Cuisinart machine's instruction booklet, was refreshing, sweet, and tasted so much like Breyer's vanilla it scared me. Who knew it was just cream, milk, sugar and vanilla? Immediately, fresh pineapple ice cream sounded tempting, green tea tickled my fancy (as did other teas, like what about Earl Grey?), but there was one question that had been lingering in my brain since middle school, and that was: White pepper ice cream. Sweet or spicy?
White Pepper Ice Cream
Dec 29th, 2006
I've finally garnered the nerve to document my ill-fated cooking adventure on Christmas. I'd had a half-baked notion this year of roasting a chicken stuffed with sticky glutinous rice spiked with Chinese sausage, shittake mushrooms, and other seasonings commonly found in a zongzi, or bamboo leaf-wrapped rice dumpling. The original idea was to serve this in individual Cornish hens, but after taking a glance at the tennis ball-sized fowl wrapped in plastic in the grocery store, I realized that this could not be.
The Nightmare that became Christmas Dinner
Dec 16th, 2006
Technology, bitter foe. I came home excited to make this recipe I saw in the Times, along with a fascinating article on Hungarian Hannukah cooking. Nevermind that I had really only read the article, and barely glanced at the recipe. I could remember well enough what kind of supplies I would need at the store--chicken quarters, Hungarian paprika, mushrooms, green beans, and carrots. But once everything was home, of course it was time to really follow a recipe. I'm not Hungarian and wasn't about to wing this.
NY Times Recipe Disaster: Stuffed-Under-the-Skin Chicken
Oct 29th, 2006
Everything was going fine and dandy, taking the sweet potato option from the pumpkin pie recipe in Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." Until pre-baking the pie crust. I've made my pie crust recipe (seen in Weeknight Apple Maple Walnut Pie) numerous times and never once encountered the dough sinking into the bottom of the pan, the edges repelling from their base. Even when making quiche, I pre-bake the crust a good fifteen minutes or so and never saw anything like this. So I'm concluding that it was the aluminum pie pan, which I was using because I was taking this pie with me to a house party. Those things should be sold with a boldface warning label on them! Does this happen to anyone else? Or only me, when I'm trying to impress my friends by bringing a seasonal dessert to a potluck Halloween party? I was hoping this was going to make up for my not getting dressed up. (Okay, so I had this great idea to dress up as a Red Army Communist China soldier, but I didn't make it to Chinatown to get the cap and stuff in time. Plus, it wouldn't look quite right if I brought a homemade sweet potato pie dressed up like that.)
Desserts: The Sweet Potato Pie Disaster
Sep 21st, 2006
Desserts have never been my close kin in the kitchen. I don't think my mother ever prepared a dessert, and she also wasn't the kind to keep the freezer stocked with them unless it was summer, and my brother and I begged and squealed for popsicles. Then, we got this nifty popsicle mold that we poured 100% orange juice into and froze. Its handles even had this basin to catch the melting juice, with a straw attached to slurp it up. So it was more or less drinking Tropicana rather than having dessert, but these days I have to hand it to mom, whose cavity-less kids stood testament to her sugar-free principles.
Desserts: The Disasters Part One