Monday, March 02, 2009

Give it a little time...but not THAT much!

Among all the newlywed gifts I unwrapped nearly 14 years ago was a small, brown, hardcover journal, illustrated with a page-by-page animation of a chef baking a 20' tall cake. The drawings are sweet & humorous, but even funnier are the handwritten notes I've kept of my "Kitchen Disasters" through the years.

Tonight was another.

When you try to cook a pie on the grill (Thanksgiving, 2005)...well, that's a "Kitchen Disaster."

I was SO excited, last night, to put my $13 organic pork roast (sale! kaching!) on top of carrots and pears in the slow cooker, sprinkle fresh rosemary & garlic on top, douse it in apple juice, and set it on low for 11 hours.

You read that right--ELEVEN hours. I thought, "That's one less than 12--easy to remember. It's 6 o'clock now, so...5 o'clock!"

You wouldn't BELIEVE how wonderful the house smelled when we woke up!

But it was at 5 o'clock POST meridian when I realized I'd been working on a 23-hour plan, NOT an 11-hour plan! What a dolt! I'd thought ALL DAY that we'd be eating tender meat just in time for dinner...24-hours, minus one!!

I'm just grateful that pork was on one amazing sale, and that carrots & pears aren't all-too expensive, because the entire brown, overcooked, dry, dry, dry mass of food went directly into the garbage.

Believe me, I have reset the clock in my brain, and will NOT repeat THAT mistake. Now, if only organic pork would go on sale again...

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FOR THE RECORD:
Kitchen Disaster #1: 082795
First time to cook in our newlywed life: tri-colored William & Sonoma fusili (a wedding gift) with sauce created from too many substituted ingredients (basil, oregano & garlic for spinach? What!?). "Just plain YUK! We ordered pizza."

Kitchen Disaster #2 083195
Joy of Cooking, p. 171, "Gazpacho." "Yuck. Looked like something regurgitated, and tasted very not good. Hmmm. Try, try again." I remember this all-too well. It was a texture thing--really gross.

Kitchen Disaster #3 041496 Easter Sunday
Sundays at Moosewood Cookbook (grilled veggies; a favorite!)
20 minutes @ 500 degrees (crisp & delicious), then brought them to Mom's & put in oven to keep warm while we waited for company & meal to be completed. "However, the oven I stuck them in was not 'warm;' it was at 400! We did not eat immediately and by the time our company arrived (late) my veggies had been doubly cooked...wow were they overcooked! I've never had squishier asparagus." Oh, that guest (guy) was ALWAYS running late...

Kitchen Disaster #4 062198 Poached Salmon recipe from Mom
"Simmering one hour actually was more like a one-hour boil & all the liquid was GONE when I opened the lid!!" Talk about dry...that was a bigger waste than tonight's pork...

Kitchen Disaster #5 Easter 1999 @ Mom's: Coconut Cream Pie
"I cooked it in TWO pie tins (they were stuck together). Pre-made crusts. Alright, but not great: burned a bit. More like coconut cream pudding."

Kitchen Disaster #6 112403 (Monday before Thanksgiving)
"Holy Cow~the ULTIMATE KITCHEN DISASTER!
Well, here I am again, journaling an egregious error over the stove. This one actually required a fire extinguisher & a vacuum cleaner to clean up half of the mess!" Burnt Almonds...oh, the details are too sad to reiterate here...MORAL: always read an ENTIRE recipe & have all the PROPER tools (including the right SIZES of pots, pans, etc.). Oh, and it's a WISE idea to have an extinguisher in the kitchen...

Kitchen Disaster #7 Rib-Rub, Grilled 071605
"This time I can happily say I was not the one at fault. Tom's been taking on a lot more of the cooking, is enjoying doing it, and does a great job. But Saturday was an admitted disaster. Tom spent hours making the ribs...but the meat was so overly seasoned (quite salty! Yikes) & over cooked that we barely got anything edible of it at all." The corn was also over-seasoned. We were a little excited about our new grill & its partner cookbooks... "It was a real dental floss nightmare all around, but Shadow was happy with rib bones!"

Kitchen Disaster #8 Thanksgiving 2005
Somehow, I'm missing the notes from the Thanksgiving with the turkey on the grill (which wouldn't cook, b/c it was too big, and we couldn't keep the grill TOP down...), and our attempt at baking pie ON THE GRILL! I guess that was was priceless enough to stick in my memory. OH! And the infusing needle that backed up with spices, and then finally sprayed spiced liquid all over the kitchen with one more stubborn squeeze!! Whaa haa haa! Yeah, there are notes about that somewhere else. I think they're in Logan's baby book. ;-)

Kitchen Disaster #9 Tonight 030209, as outlined above.

Hey! In total, that's not too bad for 13+ years of cooking/baking, eh? ;-)

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