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Oct 9, 2006 12:34 AM

What recipe/method/ process has irked you the most? [moved from General Topics]

I have made many difficult things, some when I was too naive to know that they were supposed to be difficult or tricky. All sorts of charcuterie and pastry but being assingned to make orange cream filled napoleans with stacks of phyllo which did not want to stick together and then having to candy cranberies as a garnish really sticks out in my mind. If the gourmet club member had said to make them using puff pastry I would have happily made my own but the real fiddly kicker was candying those cranberries which wanted to explode when coated with the caramel and of course it needed to be fairly warm or it would not coat, I tried letting it cool a bit and it did not want to adhere, no clues in the recipe. Aaarrrgh! It has been years but every time I see a cranberry recipe I remember the wilting and exploding cranberries. I finally got enough to use but in all it was a highly thankless task.

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  1. Yes the filo dough and I usually are at war when making spanikopita. I have to remind myself it really doesn't matter....but still highly frustrating. The results justify the frustration however.

    I detest pan-frying for the mess it makes of the stovetop so rarely do it.

    Other than that, mostly enjoy the processes. I guess I've weeded out anything not pleasurable in my repetoire. What does irk me is when I spend a good amount of time, happliy chopping, sauteing, finishing, making a huge mess, and using nearly every pan in the kitchen, only to have hubby say at the table...."Gee, that seemed like an AWFUL lot of work...." as if the ends didn't justify the means in his eyes.

    Gr-r-r-r.... daggers!

    3 Replies
    1. re: toodie jane

      Years ago I visited my sister and brother-in-law. I had been travelling and not eating well (too much pizza, etc.) In the afternoon I asked BIL: what's for dinner? He said: I don't know, maybe we'll order a pizza. I thought: No. Not pizza; someone should be making a home-cooked meal in this . . . home, so that would be me.
      I went to the store and made a full, nutritious dinner including my signature parmesan chicken breasts and orzo w/ broc rabe. It was good. They liked it. Then my sister said to me: did you have to use every pan in the house? Grrr.
      At that moment I realized she and I were at entirely opposite ends of the spectrum in thinking about cooking. Is using the fewest number of pots the goal? From my perspective, the *point* of cooking is making a good meal. Pots and utensils are meant to be used in the course of said goal.

      1. re: NYchowcook

        I'm with your sister on this. I hate clean up. I don't mind when I am cooking because I have perfected the art of using fewer pans, utensils, etc. but when my husband cooks, whether it's grilling steaks or Thanksgiving dinner, it looks like WWIII hit the kitchen when he is done.

      2. re: toodie jane

        My hubby says the same thing--altho I'm thinking that may be because he always does the cleanup! He seems to enjoy the meal and I'm trying to clean up more as I go. When the recipe is new and/or difficult that doesn't happen.

      3. I don't like peeling shallots.

        1. Blanching. It's supposed to make life more convenient, but I'm really paranoid that I'm going to warp my vegetables in the process. For the record, white eggplant doesn't blanch well.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lemonfaire

            Does ANY eggplant blanch well? I mean, isn't that like taking a sponge to water?


            1. re: TexasToast

              Not necessarily. Have you ever let eggplant drain? There's a lot of water in those suckers. Anyway, I've had some success blanching the regular old thin-skinned purple variety. However, the white eggplant's skin was way too thick and I ended up having to slice it away. (With a big knife, after my peeler got stuck in the skin.) Naturally, in the process, I ended up slicing a way a good percentage of the tasty part of the eggplant, too. Sad.

              Thus, I should amend me post to say that I hate both blanching and peeling.

          2. I suck at getting the most flavor and texture from meat.

            1 Reply
            1. Peeling pearl onions - I've stopped using them, though I've noticed that they can be bought frozen, and may try that instead.

              Peeling tomatoes - I don't bother....

              Browning meat - I seem to be too impatient to get the oil hot enough to brown it properly.

              8 Replies
              1. re: MMRuth

                I agree that pearl onions are a pain to peel (ditto: boiling onions and cippoline). But when I feel I must, I find blanching for 1-2 minutes helps the peel slide off. Ditto for tomatoes, which I don't mind as much.

                1. re: NYchowcook

                  Me too, I hate this. Even after blanched. Also hate separating cabbage leaves for stuffed cabbage. Hate it!!

                2. re: MMRuth

                  I've got 2 bags of peeled pearl onions in my freezer right now. They are fine for all sorts of things and save much unappreciated effort/

                  1. re: Candy

                    I agree.. Frozen Pearl Onion are WONDERFUL!! :)


                    1. re: Dommy

                      I use them too, they really save time and I can't tell the difference from fresh. They can be hard to find in my area tho.

                      1. re: jackie de

                        You can get them in most supermarkets.


                  2. re: MMRuth

                    I usually brown meats under the broiler.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Peeling tomatoes is EASY. Just score the skin and cover with boiling water for exactly one minute. Lift out of the water and the skin will peel off every time!