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I'll never make THAT again!

  • t

Last night I made fried chicken, It was really good but MAN!, between the brining,the buttermilk, the double coating of flour, the oil, the cleanup, I mean, it was good but at the end of the day,its fried chicken. It just wasn't worth it to me. I can get really great fried chicken here. And then there's always Popeyes. So is there anything you wont make? where the effort is not worth the end result.

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  1. Nope; absolutely nothing. If it's edible I'll cook it, no matter the "trouble".

    1. I've mentioned this on at least one other thread, but pierogi, and tamales. They come out fine, but no better (and certainly no cheaper, and most definitely no faster) than pre-made. It's like building a car from scratch. Just buy a damn car.

      That said, I might make pierogi and tamales again, if I have a day to kill and feel like cooking.

      9 Replies
      1. re: small h

        I have only made pierogi as part of a group effort. Friends and wine. I would not ever do it on my own.

        1. re: small h

          Last year I attended a one-day class on growing herbs, sitting at a table with four other people. During a class break we were looking over a schedule of future classes, including "How to Make Tamales." It turned out that of the five of us three had made tamales once and swore we'd never do it again.

          My own one-time tamale experience, like calliope-nh's pierogi experience, was a group project with alcohol involved. I might do it again under those circumstances.

          1. re: mandycat

            Really? I loved making tamales! I also love eating tamales! Unfortunately, my husband hates them, so there's no point in me making them.

            1. re: Jen76

              I think my issue was that, after what felt like three months of work, what we produced wasn't all that much better than what you could get, $15 a dozen, at just about any local Mexican restaurant. Of course, I was living in San Antonio at the time, which probably made a difference.

              1. re: mandycat

                gotcha on the tamales, rewarding but one huge PITA, easier to just buy 'em especially if you live in a place like SF where there's somebody's grandma selling fresh and excellent ones on the corner by the BART station on your way home. you're happy they're good and she makes a buck. it just doesn't get anymore win, win and win! than that IMHO.

                although I wouldn't mind doing a tamale making party again, just someone elses.

            2. re: mandycat

              Obviously, what I need are more drinky cooky friends. And a kitchen large enough to accommodate them. I'll work on the former, but the latter probably ain't happening in this lifetime.

              1. re: small h

                small: you can do a hell of a lot with a camp stove and a picnic table... so it's just once or twice a year. but yes the former is the more important factor.

                1. re: small h

                  <I'll work on the former, but the latter probably ain't happening in this lifetime.>

                  I'm drinky cooky. Where do you live? ;-)

                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                    Manhattan. Which means I'm short on camp stoves and picnic tables! But c'mon over, we'll spread out into the living room.

            3. I enjoy the process of cooking and like making really complicated recipes

              18 Replies
              1. re: twyst

                veal prince orloff (oy!) and dobos torte (could not, no matter what, get the caramel crackle top right)

                1. re: twyst

                  As do I, I"ve made causolet from scratch a few times and I'd do it again ( making my own confit to boot) I too love the process of cooking but come on! theres nothing in all your cooking experience that you wouldn't make again?

                  1. re: TVC15

                    There is one thing I will not bother making again - phyllo pastry. It was fun to make but easier to buy.

                    1. re: TVC15

                      I'm with you. I like cooking but some things just aren't worth the effort to me. I'm a lazy cook unless it's for someone I love very very much! Fried chicken -- I agree. Let someone else make it, unless I've got a sous chef and a dishwasher that day.

                      1. re: visciole

                        In a similar vein: puff pastry. I have friends who swear only homemade tastes right, but for the work involved, I've come to peace with frozen dough.

                        1. re: pine time

                          Puff pastry is very easy to make and I find it relaxing, unless it is above 75° and then its a hazing ritual for kitchen noobs or malcontents.

                          I don't like deep frying because of the resulting mess on almost every horizontal surface.

                          1. re: Kelli2006

                            [Quote]Puff pastry is very easy to make and I find it relaxing, unless it is above 75° and then its a hazing ritual for kitchen noobs or malcontents. [/Quote]

                            I'll have to remember that when I open my restaurant and some plongeur pi$$es me off. LOL

                            1. re: Kelli2006

                              I'm with you, I HATE deep frying, mind you, I like deep fried food, who doesn't, but the mess puts me over the edge. Also, I live in Illinois, and in the summer my condo gets so hot, last time I deep fried, the temperature inside rose to 89 degrees, and I had the air on....

                      2. re: twyst

                        Same here - the more complex the recipe/technique and elusive the ingredients the more I enjoy it! If I see an interesting item in the store I invent a recipe to make it better. For example, many purchase Nutella , marshmallows or ketchup. Would never buy it but make it instead.

                        1. re: chefathome

                          Could you share a ketchup recipe that you enjoy?

                        2. re: twyst

                          I enjoy the process of cooking also, but some recipes are not complicated. They are tedious and repetitive. I'm willing to believe that you don't mind tedium and repetition, but are you saying that of all the things you've made over the entire course of your life, every single one was something you'd make again? They were all fabulous? Not a clunker in the bunch?

                          1. re: small h

                            I mentioned phyllo above and some things I have made I certainly have not liked but it has generally been personal taste as opposed to not making again for inconvenience. As a recipe tester there are definitely some things I would not bother with again - thought of those last night. But I can almost always tell by a recipe whether it would work or not so only choose those that interest me. :-)

                            Having been diagnosed with celiac disease this year there are thousands of things I can no longer make but that is due to necessity.

                            Oh, I almost forgot - Sriracha! Fun to make but the commercial stuff is also very good.

                            1. re: small h

                              "but are you saying that of all the things you've made over the entire course of your life, every single one was something you'd make again? They were all fabulous? Not a clunker in the bunch?"

                              Oh, there have definitely been some clunkers. However thats not how I took the question from the OP. SAhe said her recipe came out very good, but was just too much trouble. There is definitely some stuff I doubt I will make again becuase it simply wasnt very good. Most of the time when that happens though I am tempted to cook the dish again to try to improve it.

                              1. re: twyst

                                That is precisely how I read the question, too - was it worth the effort? In the vast majority of cases I would say a resounding yes.

                                1. re: twyst

                                  Understood. I guess I just read your original response as a sort of dismissal of the very idea that you could find a recipe not worth making again because the end didn't justify the means.

                                  1. re: small h

                                    Oh, no - that indeed was not my intention! I should have explained myself more clearly to begin with.

                                    1. re: chefathome

                                      I've actually been replying to twyst, but Chowhound's been kinda wonky today, so apologies if there have been some crossed signals.

                                      1. re: small h

                                        OK - I guess I apologized for nothing! Kidding. Twyst and I are on the same page, anyway...

                                        I've noticed that about CH today.

                            2. Bagels, doughnuts, french fries, home made pasta noodles, home made ravioli.

                              22 Replies
                              1. re: Antilope

                                Bagels are relatively easy, just the waiting around is a bit much. It took me three hours one Saturday morning and I got a little more than a dozen. Now, I have a great Bagel World near me that makes fresh bagels for a little over 7.00 dollars for a baker's dozen. So, some of the time, it's not the difficulty but my time is much more well spent, I think. :)

                                Another long process that I won't be repeating is chicken marsala. It was from Arti's Party show and dear lord, I can buy good Indian food here in Boston. Why bother?

                                1. re: mcel215

                                  I love baking. I make homemade bread, rolls, sweet rolls, sourdough bread, muffins, cakes, etc. But after making bagels a couple of times, they didn't turn out any better than what I can buy and they are not worth the effort.

                                  1. re: mcel215

                                    Chicken marsala is easy - I assume you mean chicken tikka masala.

                                    There are certainly things I won't make because of the fuss or mess, like deep-fried anything, or phyllo dough, But when it comes to recipes I can almost always tell whether or not I'll like the dish and if in doubt, and it's complicated or expensive to make, I don't. There are a couple of recipes I made because of all the CH raves that I should have passed on: I did think I'd like the flourless citrus cake for which Nigella Lawson and others have recipes. I used Meyer lemons and added sugar to compensate, but really loathed the result. The dogs ate it. That Marcella Hazan tomato sauce using a load of butter, canned San Marzano tomatoes, and an onion was also a major disappointment which I doctored into vegetable soup but would never again want to make.

                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      Thanks grey,

                                      Yes, it's tikka masala ;-)

                                      1. re: mcel215

                                        OMG, I can't imagine what that recipe is that would make it not worth the effort. The way I make it is to marinate in a spiced yogurt, grill, then just make the sauce. So, so, so super easy with an amazing result. We eat it a few times a month, actually.

                                        To answer the OP - croissants.

                                        1. re: velochic

                                          I'm with you on the croissants. I tried, really, really tried... and what a huge waste of time and ingredients. Also, I'm no good at making wonderful homemade French bread either. And no, I'm not going to keep trying because I am a cheap Yankee and tired of wasting ingredients.

                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                            Another vote for croissants. I love to bake, and the one time I made my own croissants they were pretty good.
                                            But I can get some at Balthazar's any time. And they make 'em just a little better than I do :)

                                            1. re: iluvcookies

                                              With the advent of artisanal bakeries even outside of big cities, this is just not something that I have the patience to make when bought is as good or often better. Especially when you want them first thing in the morning. Easier to send the hubby out. ;)

                                      2. re: greygarious

                                        Complicated recipes with lots of ingredients are best ordered in restaurants. That's what restaurants are for.

                                        1. re: DPGood

                                          ...and that is precisely what I love to cook! The challenge makes me happy. I get such joy from replicating fabulous meals from French Laundry and so on. Of course my kitchen appliances limit me somewhat!

                                          1. re: chefathome

                                            You must have a lot of free time trying to "recreate" FL dishes.

                                            1. re: linguafood

                                              I do, actually. My job is teaching culinary classes once a week but other than that spend hours cooking each day - I also test recipes. So, I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to follow my passion! :-) And I do have Keller's books and use them so it is not as though I am making all this stuff from my head!

                                              1. re: chefathome

                                                Im trying to cook my way through TFL cookbook as well. Ive been doing at least a dish a week for about 6 months now. Don't know if Ill do the pig head, but Ill do everything else.

                                                Ive been building up my kitchen and its pretty decked out now with most of the new toys, so the alinea book is probably next!

                                                1. re: twyst

                                                  You and I think alike! I have the Alinea book and am cooking what I can from it. Do you have Heston Blumenthal's "The Fat Duck" cookbook? Brilliant. I even prefer it to Achatz' book. It truly is an amazing read.

                                                  The science behind food really fascinates me and I love to learn new techniques.

                                                  1. re: chefathome

                                                    I do have it, but I haven't attempted anything from it at all. I greatly enjoyed the 100 pages or so of the story of the restaurant though.

                                                    My Modernist Cuisine set arrived about a month ago as well, but ive only made like 3 recipes from it, that set is seriously heavy duty reading.

                                                    1. re: twyst

                                                      You have MC?????? I have not ordered it yet but it is number 1 on my wishlist, that is for sure.

                                        2. re: greygarious

                                          "really loathed the result. The dogs ate it. "

                                          love the phrase

                                        3. re: mcel215

                                          <Another long process that I won't be repeating is chicken marsala. It was from Arti's Party show and dear lord, I can buy good Indian food here in Boston. Why bother?>

                                          I've never heard of Chicken Marsala as an Indian recipe. It's Italian! and Chicken Marsala is incredibly easy to make, and not at all messy. I wonder what she did to the recipe to make it convoluted.

                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                            I think they decided it was "tikka masala" and not "chicken marsala" upthread a ways.

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              Here's the recipe, and yes it is tikka-masala. Perhaps I was just having a hard time with it, because I had never made it before. :)


                                              1. re: LePetitChefCanadien

                                                Yes, it is. I corrected my type-0 in the post just above yours to tikka-masala. ;)

                                          2. That award goes to Tom Colicchio's braised short ribs. Mega-prep time for what turned out to be a disgusting, greasy mess. Thanks, but no thanks.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: linguafood

                                              Oh hell yeah.

                                              I used a different recipe. I have never invested so much time and effort in a dish that turned out so, so bad.

                                              I don't "need" to deep fry in my house again.

                                              I know a group of older Italian ladies who were HORRIFIED to learn I wanted to learn to make homemade pasta.

                                              They told stories about being forced to spend entire Saturdays drapping pasta over anything in the house that would stand still. Every single one thought making pasta at home was a giant waste of time when it is so avaible and so cheap at the grocery store.

                                              1. re: cleobeach

                                                I have a pasta machine and haven't made any fresh pasta in ages. It's fun if you have a whole day, but otherwise....

                                                Back in the day I had this idiotic idea of selling homemade ravioli / pasta at the farmer's market. Then I made 3 lbs. one day for a dinner party, which took me about 4-5 hours, all told, to prepare.

                                                No way in hell I'd be able to make more AND sell it at a price people would pay.

                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                  for me it's not the pasta prep, it's the clean-up after that's the time chewer

                                                2. re: cleobeach

                                                  ROTFL! My main objection to making home made pasta is that somehow flour ends up in every room of the house. Cannot think of a messier process!

                                                  When I lived in Boston (North End) I used to buy fresh pasta sheets at Biagi and make ravioli or tortellini that way. Now, that takes a lot less time! :)

                                              2. that's (and those are) a dish ya do in volume. you're going to gunk up the kitchen for 2 servings the same you would for 20 (well maybe a little more but not much)

                                                1. Its the cleanup that is the killer, as far as I'm concerned with the fried chicken. I gave up doing that a couple of decades or so ago. It is a little hard to find really good fried chicken, but if a place offers it, generally they do it pretty well.

                                                  I don't make spaghetti sauce, which probably horrifies some of you. But I found that I could not make it taste better than a good jarred brand from the market. So, I buy it. Except that I don't make spaghetti much anymore, because I watch my carbs.

                                                  Now, it is easy to make salsa, and I may never buy jarred salsa again! It is also easy to make salad dressing, so I never buy that.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                    If you happen to have an outdoor gas grill w/ a side burner...that's your ticket to practically clean-up free fried chicken! I only make it every couple of years, but it's not that big of a deal.

                                                    BTW, OP, Brining is not necessary, IMO.

                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                      sue I'm with you on the salsa (pico de gallo in particular) BTW where in MO are you? cause back to the fried chicken question, in STL there is an EXCELLENT fried chicken house on the East side of South Big Bend (across from the McD's in a strip mall where BB goes up the hill into Webster) called Porter's, they also fry up catfish, salmon and shrimp for our pescatarian friends.

                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                        That's so funny, I have the opposite reaction. I think that pasta sauce is so easy to make from scratch, it tastes better, and you can get creative with a million different variations on it.

                                                        I agree that homemade salsa is very, very good, I've made it twice now -- but it seems to take like an hour of chopping vegetables! Tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro, squeezing lemons or limes.... I need to find a rhythm. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

                                                        Yesterday I made a classic ratatouille, using a proper recipe, for the first time. I always just cooked all those vegetables together and added seasonings and called it a stew. But the cookbook insisted that you have to saute each vegetable separately. I was on the phone in the middle of a long conversation while I was doing this, but yes, that could get tedious. The ratatouille is sitting in my fridge now: I'll find out during lunch if that extra time was worth it or not. I'm a bit concerned at how much olive oil it soaked up, quite frankly.

                                                      2. Homade hot sauce, what a pain, burning eyes & sinus, stinks up the house for days and if you don't process it it spoils in a week. I'll just buy sriracha and Tapatio, Tabasco and call it good.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                                          They age Tabasco for 5-years before selling it and it ages another 5-years in the bottle before I use it up. ;-)

                                                          1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                                            I'm making my own hot sauce as we speak and its been aging in the fridge for 3 days. I process it on Saturday.
                                                            I had 6 plants worth of various hot peppers that we very ripe and needed to be used so I decided to make hot sauce.

                                                          2. A couple things for me:

                                                            Corn tortillas. Homemade *can* be better than those you can buy but since I live down the street from a lovely Mexican grocery that will sell me large delicious fresh bags of them at a ridiculously tiny price, why bother?

                                                            I feel the same way about pho. I could make it, but I prefer to eat it at a place I go so often I invited the owner to my wedding reception. It's true I might be able to make pho to rival him at home, given time and practice. But at home, I'd never have the owner come sit with me, feed me bites of the meals he cooks for himself, and swap cooking tips with me. And at the prices he's charging for a bowl the size of my head, I prefer to make pho my "night off" dinner when we're broke and I'm just too tired to cook and $12 buys us a meal that tastes fantastic, isn't nearly as unhealthy as fast food, and gives me the sense of being treated to something that doesn't come out of my own kitchen.

                                                            I spent three years living in a remote part of Alaska where I could only grocery shop twice a year and had only what I could afford to mail or pay the $2/lb. freight for cold items. Having proven to myself that I really am *capable* of making nearly anything from scratch, I no longer feel the need to do so.

                                                            At the same time, there are also certain foods I don't eat anywhere but at home, because I know it's easy to make it delicious without an excessive amount of effort. Paying a foolish amount of money for a substandard meal annoys me and I spend the whole meal muttering things like "for what I'm paying, I could have made a whole pan that would have tasted far better" and I've been informed it makes me less than ideal dining company.

                                                            10 Replies
                                                            1. re: alitria

                                                              I've been informed it makes me less than ideal dining company.


                                                              I share your opinion on eating certain things only at home as well as your mumblings while dining out.

                                                              1. re: cleobeach

                                                                It's good to know I'm not the only one!

                                                                Lasagna seems to be the biggest culprit. Good lasagna isn't *that* hard. Decent lasagna isn't hard at all. So why does almost every plate of lasagna I've ordered at a restaurant taste like freezer burn and disappointment?

                                                                1. re: alitria

                                                                  Oh absolutely lasagna. Maybe it sits around too long?

                                                                  Chicken is another one on my list. I can't remember the last time I ordered chicken that wasn't fried.

                                                                  My restaurant "rule" is that food needs to be faster and cheaper that what I could make at home or fancier and/or more labor-intensive than I am willing to cook at home.

                                                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                                                    I suspect they're just using food service quality lasagne because the vast majority of people are unaware that's not what it is supposed to taste like, so they don't know they're being cheated.

                                                                    I have the same rule for restaurants. Occasionally, when required by necessity, I will eat out just to have food in my belly but I much prefer to enjoy the experience and treat myself to something that I don't get at home.

                                                                    The only times I have ordered chicken out any time recently and felt like it was vastly superior to my own cooking were at a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant selling roasted chicken as the special of the day with an asada style marinade. I am not ashamed to say I actually licked my fingers in public. The other instance was a whole roasted Huli Huli chicken bought from a roadside truck on Oahu that we had them cleaver up for us and we ate on the side of the road. Both meals were simple, filling, less than $10 and completely delicious. However, the fact that I remember both so clearly and eat chicken at least several times a week sort of proves there's a lot of mediocre food out there.

                                                                  2. re: alitria

                                                                    "So why does almost every plate of lasagna I've ordered at a restaurant taste like freezer burn and disappointment?

                                                                    LMBO! And I agree, lasagna is easy, IMO, if a little time consuming.

                                                                    1. re: alitria

                                                                      When a friend of mine was dying of cancer, people brought her family pan after pan of lasagna. Here she was, barely able to get out of bed, and she emailed me: "Could you please ask people not to bring us any more lasagna?" Apparently, most people make it so badly even a dying person didn't want to inflict it on her family! Yes, she had a sense of humor about it.

                                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                                        That made me laugh! It seems like if you're dying of cancer, you've more than earned the right to not eat bad lasagne out of politeness.

                                                                        1. re: alitria

                                                                          or as a friend's grandmother would say "Law, that was wonderful, but I simply can NOT take another bite" (after one small taste)

                                                                          1. re: alitria

                                                                            I do make a simple, cheap version of pho, but I agree wholeheartedly with your thought process. If there's someone in the city making it cheap and homemade, I usually end up making it once just to see if I can, and then buying it from then on. And being fed is so wonderful, isn't it?

                                                                            oh and CANDYCANES. It takes about 2 seconds for the candy to go from lava to too stiff to shape. They came out very, um, homemade looking, and I found EVERY SINGLE ONE lying in a dusty corner of my friends' offices and homes weeks and months later. And dear god, the mess. Hard crack sugar is pure evil. Boiling did nothing. Soaking did nothing. These things cost .99 a box. What was I thinking?!

                                                                            1. re: jvanderh

                                                                              I don't know, but I've thought it before as well.

                                                                              Sometimes, the idea that "everything homemade is better" combines with "I love a cooking challenge" in my brain to produce something fantastic that I want to keep picture of in my wallet and mail out in Christmas cards.

                                                                              And sometimes, well, there is an exception to every rule and I sometimes joke that I do my part by finding it, so others don't have to... Sometimes I should accept the fact that there are times that an industrial kitchen and large staff are going to outdo my decent home kitchen and profound stubborn streak. (But not many, darn it!)

                                                                  3. I just made a 3-layer German Chocolate cake out of my Fannie Farmer cookbook for my husband's b-day. It was good, but it was gigantic, extremely sweet and rich (3 sticks of butter if you include the topping!), and there's no way we'll be able to finish it. Probably wouldn't make it again unless we had more people to help us eat it.

                                                                    1. Wine.
                                                                      Back in the day I'd be out picking hedgerow fruit, sterilising demijohns, drinking sometimes almost drinkable wines... now I buy wine made with grapes in bottles with labels on the front that have not been drawn with felt-tipped pens.
                                                                      I do still look at bushes and trees, wondering what I can carry a few pounds of fruit in rather than see it go to waste. But then I remember the taste of The Good Stuff.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Peg

                                                                        This is a hard one...but come winter I know I would be missing it. Right now my house smells like a bad bachelorette party and I think...hmmm maybe the cello box would be a good thing!

                                                                      2. The wrapper for samosas. Used to make 'em from scratch for years and years, until an Indian lady told me, "oh, we all use wonton wrappers now." So do I now!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. I can't think of a specific meal or item I've made that I've sworn to never make again under any circumstances. I do have lots of times where I trade off time/effort/stress vs results/cost. For example, it is my plan to make authentic potato lefse just the way my dad likes it for my parents' 50th wedding annivesary. If I find that replicating his favorite lefse is too time-consuming or stressful, I will buy it because having the party be an overall success is far more important to me.

                                                                          To a lesser degree, I make those kinds of tradeoffs all the time. Sometimes I like the challenge of taking on something more difficult, other times I want a fabulous result, no matter who made all the meal components.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                            ITA with this statement. There are plenty of dishes I've made which are time/labor/cost intensive, and those I just decide never to cook *on a regular basis*. But then, I just wait until I get the mood or time, extra $$ or special occasion incentive, then break them out again. I will always prefer home-made to anything else, so what I actually eat day-to-day just depends on mood and opportunity.

                                                                            Although I can say, there are some methods I've decided to give over to convenience. I like to do everything by hand the first time, to get a feel for the actual process. But some things, like aioli, some breads, etc, I then switch over to using the machines for parts or all of the process.

                                                                          2. Fatty Crab's watermelon and pork belly salad. just not worth the 2 days of prep,10 hours of slow baking,double frying,rind pickling... for 5 minutes of sweet and savory crunch.

                                                                            1. I am with you on Fried Chicken and French Fries! A mess, big cost for the oil and I didn't feel like it was better than what could be purchased.

                                                                              I make homemade baked goods all the time that take a lot of time and sometimes expense, but they taste better IMO. I also make pasta all the time, but grew up in a house where it was made nearly every Sunday and I don't think it's hard at all with the hand crank pasta machine.

                                                                              1. Pretty much anything from Happy in the Kitchen by Michel Richard. It took four hours and three people to make his "kit kat bar" that required hazelnut brittle, hazelnut caramel, hazelnut mousse, and a crunchy cake crust. I will pay $20 for that dessert.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                                                  did it turn out right? I've eaten at his Central more than once and tried a few recipes, and I swear the guy leaves a step or an ingredient out of his published recipes (can't blame him and gives me pride that I can spot the gaps)

                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                    It turned out fine. Messier than what I ate at Citronelle but flavor-wise right on the money.

                                                                                  2. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                                                    I like making candy. It's a winter thing. But I would never offer to make it for July long week-end.

                                                                                    Sounds yummy tho..

                                                                                  3. My ex-wife, when not yet ex, shared with me her Armenian grandma's recipe for cheese boereg, which I deeply loved. The envelope is a flour and cornstarch egg-noodle dough, that you're supposed to work until it turns to hard rubber and THEN you roll it out as thin as tissue paper. Some time after we'd split up I felt the need for some of these things, and I did the Dough From Hell, which actually came out okay, if we ignore my inability to walk for a week afterwards. A year or so later I was visiting, and I mentioned I'd done the recipe from scratch. She looked at me as though at a lunatic, and said, "Are you kidding? That stuff is insanely hard! I just use filo."

                                                                                    Okay, and I don't do pasta any more either, but egg noodles? There's just no comparison; gotta do them from scratch.

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                      Me, too, Will. If I were to die tomorrow and could order one last meal, it would be my late mother's chicken and homemade noodles. After making many different egg noodle recipes over the years -- Amish, old church ladies cookbook options, etc. -- I finally discovered Anne Burrell's recipe, which includes olive oil. The dough is pure velvet and is a dream to work with. I'll never make any other kind again.

                                                                                      1. re: pilotgirl210

                                                                                        Can you point me to the Anne Burrell's recipe for noodles-would love to make them. Tx.

                                                                                        1. re: anndillman

                                                                                          I wanted to look at the recipe as well, and dug around for it. This is probably it: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/an...

                                                                                            1. re: anndillman

                                                                                              Thanx, lily and ann, for your interest and thanx for posting the link, which I was remiss in not doing. I make this dough in my stand mixer, which is sooo much easier than hand mixing. It does all the kneading for me and makes it easy to tell when the dough needs more liquid or more flour. I didn't know how much a *pound* of flour was so I just start with four cups. Turns out great each and every time.

                                                                                    2. Momofuku ramen. Gefilte fish. The Julia Child beef dish you thread lardons through. I like cooking complicated recipes, but not when they fail to come out delicious.

                                                                                      Oh, since I got my pasta device years ago I've made pasta once.

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                                                                                      1. re: sweetpotater

                                                                                        yeah in 17+ years I think I used mine all of maybe 4 times. ehhh I have a rolling pin and a knife. that's all Nonna Aldorisio needed.

                                                                                      2. I agree that the Marcella Hazan tomato sauce using a load of butter, canned San Marzano tomatoes, and an onion was not the fabulous dish I imagined after all of the extremely enthusiastic woohoos about it - so I will never make it again; my sauce is much better IMHO.

                                                                                        When I was younger I loved preparing complicated recipes - sort of a badge of being a very good cook. However, now that I am older I look for very simple, quick, and easy recipes that only taste as if I have slaved in the kitchen all day preparing a wonderful dish.

                                                                                        Other than that I agree with another poster that: "Complicated recipes with lots of ingredients are best ordered in restaurants."

                                                                                        1. Sea salt caramel...i think i shouldn't have used stainless steel pan...the sugar all crystalized in the bottom of the pan and it was a huge mass...took me several days to clean the pot.

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                                                                                          1. re: Monica

                                                                                            You didn't just soak it for a few hours? That usually works for me when I have a sticky (mostly sugary) mess like marshmallows or caramel or pralines to deal with. The water dissolves the sugar and all you have to do is swirl a little soap in there.

                                                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                                                              If its really stubborn just fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil. Mess gone.

                                                                                              1. re: twyst

                                                                                                Didn't work...it was like a clear thin sheet of brick...wouldn't melt when i boiled it.

                                                                                          2. sfogliatelle. Love it, can't make it well, not worth the trouble, and there are bakeries nearby that make it better than I could.

                                                                                            1. I made some kind of ridiculously difficult to work with basil cheese torta to take to the (then future) in-laws that not only took hours to make, but wasn't very good. Since then, if we bring an hors d'ouvre, it's a jalapeno cheese ball that we get from the quiver full folks at the farmers market. Everybody likes it better to boot.

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                                                                                              1. re: agoodbite

                                                                                                How could I forget the awful carrot cake Thanksgiving! My ILs were in town (a very rare occurance) and I thought the best way to make them feel welcome at our house was to pull out all the stops for Thanksgiving dinner.

                                                                                                I didn't know it at the time but they are very simple eaters.

                                                                                                I had a recipe ripped out of some cooking mag for a very complicated carrot cake (I know that sounds weird) that took me two days to make and icing.

                                                                                                When I served it, they bite into the nuts and immediately shut down.

                                                                                                That day I learned two lessons. 1. Know your guests' preferences and 2. stick with what you know. Not only was the cake too, too much but I am not a baker, at all. It was too complicated and the end result wasn't very good.

                                                                                              2. charolette russe (a sort of custardy/cheesecake). Simply NOT worth the hassle.

                                                                                                1. Yesterday I sauteed a lot of chicken breasts to use tonight in Arroz con Pollo for guests. It had been a while since I had had a frying pan going like that and I had forgotten the mess. I had to clean top and front of the stove, the hood, counter, wall, adjacent toaster and coffee pot, and then I had to scrub the floor with Mr Clean because I was slipping and sliding on spattered grease. Not worth the trouble. I thought next time I might modify this dish to use bought fried chicken. Arroz con Popeye.

                                                                                                  1. I stand alone in my shame, admitting that I will never, ever ever again make clam chowdah from scratch, which is to say I'll never undertake to do that many clams at once for several gallons of soup when I can buy it from the clam shack down at the pier.

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                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                      I make chiles rellenos and I claim that they are the most trouble to make. The end result is so good, however, that a couple of times a year I make them. In restaurants they are almost always soggy messes with loads of grease.

                                                                                                      Anyway, one buys Poblano chiles and then blackens the skin (I do it outside on the bbq because the oils in the chiles make me cough and gasp for breath). Peel off the skin, cut the chile open on one side and get rid of the seeds and membranes, stuff the chiles with whatever you want - I usually use pepper jack cheese and garlic. Beat some egg whites until stiff. Add some beaten egg yolks and fold in. Dredge the filled chiles with flour so that egg coating will stick a bit more easily. Dip the chiles in the egg mixture so that they are covered by it all around.

                                                                                                      Slide into hot, non-stick pan filled with about a quarter inch of oil. When brown on one side, turn over. Take out of pan and allow to rest on a mass of paper towels which absorbs the grease.

                                                                                                      Actually, before I make the rellenos, I make a tomato-based sauce with some browned Mexican chorizo added. Put the rellenos on a big platter and pour the sauce over.

                                                                                                      You can understand why I only do this about twice a year. They're so much better than any I've ever had in a restaurant that it's worth it every once in a while.

                                                                                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                        HA! once I did those and they were good, but I hadn't cleaned all the seeds out so they were frickin spicy, do NOT offer your gasping guests a tumbler of scotch to wash it down. it took years to receive forgiveness. live and learn.

                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                          I live on a small island with ONE good restaurant if you are not looking for a burger or cod and chips.

                                                                                                          If I crave it, I make it.

                                                                                                          But I really can't make risotto, I get angry just thinking of it! Urggg. I want it, cheesey winey carby goodness. But not when what i get is sticky gooby greyness.

                                                                                                          I suck at rice things

                                                                                                          1. re: Luna2372

                                                                                                            Look for a baked risotto recipe and try that. I make it because I'm lazy, but we like it.

                                                                                                            1. re: Luna2372

                                                                                                              It's not risotto, but an easy way to get the cheesy, winey, carby goodness is to use orzo instead of rice. It eliminates the need to stir and always comes out delicious. I do that when I desperately want risotto, but just can't bring myself to stand and stir.

                                                                                                        2. My wife and I used to play "cookbook Bingo" every week. I have thousands of cookbooks. We had "nerd dice" so we would roll for bookcase/shelf/cookbook/page/recipe on page if needed. You could refuse two times and HAVE to do the third. One time it was peanut butter squid done in a crockpot.
                                                                                                          To be honest, very tasty, but other than the two of us, nobody was ever interested in the leftovers.

                                                                                                          1. Gnocchi. Delicious but my GOD did it ever take long. Gnever again!

                                                                                                            1. I love croissants..I really do. I had considered making my own until one day I saw them being made on a Julia Childs episode. Nope. Not in this lifetime. I really understood that day what kind of cook I really am..I love to cvook, and I'm passionate about it.. However, there is a limit to the kind of effort I'll invest in preparing something I like. The key factor to me is time spent.

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                                                                                                              1. re: Toni6921

                                                                                                                Oh, yeah, croissants! I had never understood what all the fuss what about surrounding croissants... Then I went to Paris. Oh. MY. GOD. They were so good! Unfortunately, when I returned home, I couldn't find any that even came close, even at my favourite bakery! I tried making them at home and they were delicious, almost as good as the ones in France (almost...) but they took soooo looooooong to make. Ugh...Never doing that again. Finally, though, a few weeks ago, my granmother found a little place on Saltspring Island (where she lives) and she says tha tthe croissants there are the best she's ever had, and she has also been to France. Hallelujah! (The only problem is, I only go to Saltspring Island about twice a year...)

                                                                                                              2. Actually after making a few recipes with their either typos, that were never tested, lost in translation or horrors, made up on the fly, I have this to say. These boo boos have taught me quite a lot, sometimes you have to plunge on through on your own. Go to the library and read read read recipes. Talk to people like you are now. I now know that pizza dough doesn't need 1 T of salt and that I need to drain fat off certain meats. Baking soda, and powder are very different and it's important that I should know why. Cooking with cooking wine is a huge mistake, and not to fry chicken in olive oil. It's these kind of mistakes that I chalk up to my training as a fairly decent home cook. How else would I of been forced to read good reliable cookbooks, ask questions of experienced people, and exchange valued family recipes? The kicker, some people are just downright mean, they leave specific ingredients out, yeah they do that-all the time. So this kind of thing forces a person to study on their own, and hone their own skills, but mostly to train their palate.

                                                                                                                Who wants to rely on recipes? Fried chicken, really? Been trying to perfect fried chicken forever now....Every single recipe is subjective you've got to remember that. No disrespect intended, but some of things I've seen on TV made by "celebrity chefs" sort of scare me, and the names would probably shock you. (or maybe not) Keep reading Chowhound there are some awesome cooks on this board.

                                                                                                                1. the way I learned to cook is that I was never intimidated by something, I just carried on. So, no, the effort has always been worthwhile.