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Foods you dread making because they’re time-consuming

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Let me first start off by saying I’m thankful to be blessed with an abundance of food. That being said, as I become more health conscious I shop more carefully, make more items from scratch, and do more canning and freezing. Some things can’t be rushed, thus food preparation seems to take an increasing amount of time. (Even with time-savers like a food processor and blender.)

Usually I do things in large quantities because if I’m gonna do all the work, may as well make it worth the effort. Certain foods I have to gear up for bec they’re a major production. So here it is.

Soup. I make several kinds from scratch and they’re all time-consuming.

Anything during canning season. Those of you who also can will understand.

Things that make it less dreadful:

Make components in advance. I’ll generally make stock ahead of time. Also freeze leftover meat or chicken so it’s ready to go. Spread prep time over a few days. Prep one day, cook the next day, portion & freeze after that.

Listen to music, books on CD, phone family and friends (altho if prep requires loud noise from exhaust or blender, forget it)

Change environment. While prepping items for canning I generally like to sit outside on the deck. The tranquility is great and I feel less confined to the kitchen.

So while I may not always feel the joy of cooking, there’s joy in knowing I have delicious, healthy food readily available.

Can anyone else relate to this?

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  1. I just have one, which is officially called Amaretto Truffle Brownies, but in my kitchen, it's known as the Damn Brownies. 3 layers, all of which need prep, then cooling before the next layer. They're delicious, and friends demand them when I invite them for dinner, but Damn Brownies they'll always be.

    Oh, and I guess my version of authentic biryani would be in that class, too. In fact, a friend describes most of my Indian recipes as "begin with 4 pounts of ridiculously fine sliced onions, a peck of garlic, chop and de-skin a flock of chickens, home-grown and individually roast spices"--well, you get the picture. I try to tell her that most of those recipes were originally done by a hired cook, not exactly a quick heat and eat American meal.

    19 Replies
    1. re: pine time

      Could you share the recipe for damn brownies? They sound like they're worth the time. Thanks.

      1. re: chowser

        Here 'tis. Note that the original recipe calls for boxed (20 oz.-ish) brownie mix, but I make a homemade brownie base.

        Amaretto Truffle Brownies
        Supposedly makes 48 to 54 bars (yeah, right)

        Brownies
        21.5 oz package fudge brownies (haven't seen this size in years, so use a little less oil & water if using a slightly smaller package. Even better, use your favorite homemade brownie batter)
        1/2 c oil
        1/3 c water
        2 Tbl Amaretto
        1 egg
        3/4 c chopped almonds

        Filling:
        8 oz softened cream cheese
        1/4 c powdered sugar
        8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
        3 Tbl Amaretto

        Ganache:
        1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
        1/4 c whipping cream
        1 Tbl Amaretto
        1/2 c sliced almonds. toasted

        Oven to 350. Grease 13 x 9" pan. Combine all brownie ingredients. Bake for 26-33" until set. Avoid overbaking. Cool thoroughly.

        Filling: beat cream cheese & powdered sugar, add melted chips & Amaretto. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

        Ganache: Over low heat, melt chocolate chips with cream, stirring constantly. Add Amaretto towards the end of cooking. Spread over cream cheese topping. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before slicing. Keep refrigerated.

        1. re: pine time

          Thanks--sounds good. It's like a chocolate cream cheese brownie w/ ganache topping only w/ a lot of amaretto. Can't go wrong with that!

          1. re: chowser

            I also made it once with Kaluha in place of Amaretto--good, but I prefer Amaretto.

            1. re: pine time

              Hmmm - I don't like Amaretto - Kaluha sounds wonderful though. Just a taste preference for you?

              1. re: Jeanne

                I had made it so many times with Amaretto, just needed a change, so grabbed the Kaluha. Don't see why you couldn't sub other liqueurs (Chambord comes to mind). Now I'm wondering about using rum. Hmmm, may be another batch in my future.

                1. re: pine time

                  frangelico would be good, too.

      2. re: pine time

        Chiles en nogada is the ultimate Mexican labor of love, Oaxacan moles are a close second. And there is no dread. One plays music and pours wine and dances along the way.

        1. re: Veggo

          Ah, what an image! Will use music, wine, and dancing to banish the dreads!

          1. re: Veggo

            Mole, sí. All the toasting, roasting, grinding. But there is no dread, it is truly a labor of love

            Chiles en Nogada? Real version or cheaters version :-). Peeling all those walnuts is a chore, so I use walnuts that have already been shelled and cleaned. The rest of it's not too bad.

            Posole...if you're making it with the dried hominy corn and are going to slack it, cook it and pull out the pedicle so it will bloom <sigh>

            1. re: DiningDiva

              DiningDiva, I love Hominy and have read some on how to make it "from scratch". Could you talk a little about how you do it?

              Let me give you some of my (ignorant) impressions:

              1. Use Dried Corn.
              2. Boil it in a Lye/Slaked-Lime/Cal solution (with Salt, and maybe other spices). (If you could, please address this. That is, what ratio of Lye to water?)
              3. Drain, and repeat step 2. Drain, and repeat once more.
              4. Shake/Peel off that outer layer.
              5. Eat as is, or,
              ...
              6. Dry your Hominy (in a dehydrator)
              7. Grind to a semi-course grind for Hominy Grits (which, themselves, need to be cooked).

              I believe that I left out a step where you let the Hominy sit and the "shells" (or "peels") will float to the top and then you can simply scoop them off. That might be between steps 3 and 4, or replace 4 altogether.

              Again, any and all notes would be appreciated.

              1. re: DougRisk

                I'll pull out my directions for processing corn for posole when I get home and, hopefully, get them posted later on today.

                1. re: DougRisk

                  Okay, here are the directions (from Diana Kennedy)

                  The large dried white corn kernels are know as cacahuazintle (ka-ka-wha-zint-lay...or words to that effect). Rancho Gordo sells it -http://www.ranchogordo.com/mm5/mercha... - and if you've got a Mexican or latin market in your area, they will too, and may even sell it in bulk rather than packaged. Dried corn can be found with the pedicle or without. The pedicle is that hard, fiberous piece at the base of the corn kernel. If it's been removed, the corn kernel will appear straight across the bottom. I've seen it both ways here in San Diego. Diana says that the dried hominy with the pedicle is usually labeled "con cabeza" but I've not seen that in my area, perhaps it's true in Mexico. Where the corn has the pedicle removed she says it should be labeled "descabezado"

                  Since it can be a time consuming project to slack, cook and take the pedicle out, it is possible to prepare a large batch up to the final cooking step and then freeze it in batches for future use.

                  8 oz of whole dried hominy with the pedicle is about 1 1/2 cups and will yield 3 1/2 - 4 Cups of finished product depending upon the quality of the corn.
                  For 8 oz of whole dried hominy you will need 1 1/2 rounded teaspoons of cal (powdered lime, aka Calcium Hydroxcide

                  )

                  Put the dried hominy into an enamel or stainless steel pot and add cold water to cover the corn by 2". Set the pot over medium heat.

                  In a small bowl dilute the cal with about a 1/2 cup of cold water. Add it to the pot through a fine mesh strainer. Press on any little lumps so that they get sieved through the strainer into the pot. The water will turn milky.

                  Cook for about 20 minutes or until the skin can be easily slipped off the hominy. The hominy will turn bright yellow. .

                  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

                  When the corn is cool enough to handle, drain it and put it into cold water. Rub the kernels together with your hands until all the skins have been cleaned off. (This step is pretty quick and easy). Skim off the skins and discard. Rinse the corn.

                  Using your thumbnail or a small paring knife remove the pedicle. This is the point at which it can be frozen

                  When all the corn has been cleaned put it in a pot and cover by 3" with fresh water. Bring to a fast boil.

                  Continue cooking until the corn is tender and the kernels have "bloomed", about 1 1/2 - 2 hours depending upon the age of the corn.

                  Reserve the cooking liquid to add to the soup. You can use a pressure cooker for the last step above (cooking until tender after removing the pedicel); bring up to pressure, lower heat and cook about 30 minutes.

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    I was away for the weekend, so, a belated, "Thank you".

                    About the dried corn, I actually have a fair amount of it at home. It was one of the reasons that I wanted to ask about it.

                  2. re: DougRisk

                    go to Ansonmills.com and check out the recipe there. it's wonderful.

                  3. re: DiningDiva

                    Molé si, si. I don't begin until I have time to enjoy the process, truly a labor of love. Assembling the ingredients borders on a meditation.

                    1. re: janeh

                      I agree :-). I love pulling everything out of my "Mexican" closet, going throught, figuring out what I need. But I just love that process of watching all those improbable ingedients cook down into something that far exceeds them and is a totally new and unique flavor profile

                  4. re: Veggo

                    I have a simple recipe for Oaxacan mole negro: get up early on Saturday morning, mosey on down to the farmers' market, find the guy who runs the Oaxacan food booth and say, "Here is $5: please give me a tub of mole negro". Perfect mole every time!

                    A lot of Mexican dishes are time consuming but worth it. Every so often I persuade Mr. Tardigrade to make tortilla soup from scratch. Haven't tried chiles en nogada yet, but I'm tempted.

                    ETA: I once made mole poblano from scratch, complete with roasting several types of chiles, grinding all the spices, etc. We like to joke that Diana Kennedy's recipes should really start with "Have your maid...."

                  5. re: pine time

                    I agree with Hyderabadi Biryani. It is a labor of love. I know aunties who've been making it their whole life and till this day it still takes them three hours.

                  6. frozen turkey

                    cheese enchiladas

                    hash brown potatoes

                    scalloped potatoes

                    apple pie

                    1. Wiener Schnitzel & Caponata. Love, love, love eating Wiener Schnitzel, but it 's such a massive PITA -- a million and one bowls or plates, and it's all gone (inhaled) under 10 minutes.

                      So delicious, but not often on the table.

                      The caponata is also relatively involved, the recipe I have makes a ton, so I only make it for dinner parties or potlucks.

                      My man would likely add his dolma. Talk about time-consuming. Delicious, too, tho.

                      1. Eggrolls, lumpia, springrolls, etc.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: letsindulge

                          When our kids were still kids, I would get everything together and we would all sit at the kitchen table and roll up and freeze about 20 dozen lumpia. Days gone by.......

                          1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                            Exactly...you have to do it assembly line fashion! Homemade taste best because you can adjust to your taste, but ordering is much easier and almost the same cost after buying the ingredients.

                        2. It is a personal rule of mine that I never cook anything if it would instill dread.

                          On the other hand I have looked forward to making complicated, time consuming, meals and when finished being so tired of dicking with it that I didn't want to eat it.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: kengk

                            I'm the same way. If I don't want to make something, then I don't or I take a short cut. I'm not above making a lasagna w/out boiling the noodles, using canned sauce, ricotta cheese when I can't be bothered. It makes those times when I do it all from scratch that much nicer and I never get resentful of cooking.

                          2. To tel you the truth, I don't cook dishes that take too much time. There are some dishes that take a lot of time but don't use a lot of my time... like braises or roasting a turkey.

                            My truffles take a little effort in that I have to make the ganache, dish them, roll them and then dip them but that is pretty much a labor of love. They are also my signature dish that always get raves.

                            Bottom line... if a dish is going to take a lot of my time...it had better be magnificent.

                            1. Tamales, but they're soooooo good.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Antilope

                                Ugh. Never again. Threw a huge b-day party for one of my ex's milestone bdays, and spent DAYS rolling cocktail-sized tamales. I had hundreds of those damned little things. Many of the guests were born and raised in Texas, and they all raved about them, but I told them they'd better enjoy 'em, because they weren't getting any more out of my kitchen. I've never even thought about making them since.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  <one of my ex's milestone bdays>
                                  Did he have multiple milestones, or do you have multiple exes?.......:)

                                2. re: Antilope

                                  See, I don't mind making tamales at all! I mean, it's a fool's errand to do it by myself, but I can always get someone willing to help if they're paid in finished product..

                                3. The only thing I really dread (occasionally) is these little cookies I make that people go mad over. They're very small and it takes 2 pieces to make each one so an absolute ton have to be made to have enough to go around and everything has to be kept very cold while making them so it's do some, back in the frige, do some more, back in the frige..... The assembly isn't too bad now that the man helps out (together we've got it down!)

                                  I've refused to make them for about a year and a half now- people were starting to expect them and they disappear so fast that I was getting annoyed and it wasn't fun any longer. Its a family recipe that I agreed to keep a secret when it was given to me so I can't just say "Here, make it yourself!" I'll make them when I'm ready to again and when they will be considered special again.

                                  For things that there is no way around taking the time it takes to do it well, like the roux for tonight's gumbo, I do something like talk on the phone while I stir and stir and stir. I find it so worth it, though!

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                    "Its a family recipe that I agreed to keep a secret when it was given to me so I can't just say "Here, make it yourself!"

                                    I have never understood this way of thinking. I have many recipes that I've developed over the years - some like my shrimp & grits recipe that rival a James Beard award winning restaurant in my area. I wouldn't hesitate to share the recipe. I just don't get it.

                                    1. re: Jeanne

                                      Are you talking about weezie or about the person who initially gave weezie the recipe? If weezieduzzit made a promise to someone to keep a recipe secret, then weezie should not hand out the recipe. Broken promises can be a pretty big transgression. FWIW, I don't keep my recipes secret either and am absolutely delighted when someone asks me for them, but different strokes for different folks.

                                      1. re: nofunlatte

                                        Exactly- respect is big in our family. I'm honored that she both trusted me to keep my promise and that she felt I had the skills to make the cookies (I was pretty young when she shared it with me.)

                                      2. re: Jeanne

                                        I don't understand either, but as nofunlatte said, a promise is a promise..

                                        People will ask me for a recipe, and usually I didn't use one but my verbal explanation is so vague that I doubt anyone has actually ever tried to make a dish they've eaten from my kitchen.

                                        1. re: megjp

                                          haha this is my problem. people can ask for any recipe they want, but chances are all i can do is tell them what i put in it. i always just kinda throw stuff in until i think it tastes good! it makes several of my friends very frustrated because they THINK i am protecting a secret recipe or something... when i just dont measure!

                                          also, when i DO measure, it never ends up tasting as good, because then it is too much math to adjust it (adding fractions? yuck!)

                                          however, i do totally understand a promise being a promise. although im firmly in the "ill at least TRY to tell you how i made it" camp

                                        2. re: Jeanne

                                          You don't have to get it. :)

                                      3. I really like Boeuf Bourgignion, specifically from Julia Child's recipe, but it is so time-consuming that I just keep making more simple beef stew recipes.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Midlife

                                          Yes! Julia's Beef Bourguignon...and I'm such a perfectionist that I only make it with homemade beef stock, "slab bacon", etc. But I justify the time by rationalizing that with just the two of us left at home, I can invest the SEVERAL hours and have 2-3 dinners from it during the week.

                                          Oh - and Eggplant Parmesan

                                        2. I love steamed clams and once in awhile can get a nice bag of small fresh ones at Costco. I want them super clean because I like to eat the broth so that means scrubbing each one with a toothbrush. Dread the work, but the results are worth it.

                                          1. Many sympathizers here. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could whip up these amazing dishes more quickly? But alas, the time invested is what makes them so special.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Spice_zing

                                              Lasagna.....Starts with making homade meat gravy (sauce)...then I make the noodles and roll them out.... boil them....I do buy fresh mozzarella and ricotta and fresh grate the pecorino ramano.... assembalge is almost an hour.....usually make two 9x13 trays...freeze one and cook one an hour to eat the next day....but the work does payoff...everyone loves it!!

                                              1. re: PHREDDY

                                                My lasagna is similar, but I make the sauce earlier in the week, the pasta and assembly on another day. Makes eat easier...

                                                1. re: PHREDDY

                                                  The first thing I thought of when seeing this topic was lasagna. Doesn't help that I like to use vegetables (spinach AND red peppers) AND meat (ground beef AND italian sausage), and a bechamel along with red sauce for the meat. My love for "the works" is my downfall. It's not even just the time it takes to make, but the time it takes to clean up that's annoying, and I loathe loathe loathe doing the dishes and have no dishwasher.

                                              2. Pierogies! But nothing beats homemade.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Chevy14

                                                  I miss my Ba Ba! She had those down.....

                                                  1. re: Chevy14

                                                    Seconded. I get so excited to make them, and then I barely even get started before I'm over the whole process. For one thing, I always tell myself to prepare the fillings the day before to break up the work, and then I inevitably end up doing it all on the same day. So by the time I even start thinking about dough, I feel like I've already done a ton of work.

                                                    I probably only do it once a year. I will make a terrible babcia (...if I ever have kids to open up the possibility, that is).

                                                    1. re: Chevy14

                                                      +3 My great bacia and all my aunts would sit around the days before a holiday making TONS of them.... the cabbage ones were always my favorite.

                                                      1. re: Chevy14

                                                        Yep, pierogie. What a pain. My family loves them as part of a family dinner and we aren't even polish. Our nanny was when I was a kid and it is her recipe.

                                                      2. Ratatouille. Love it, but it takes me forever!

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                          that one I've gotten pretty good at -- takes me about 45 minutes, start to finish.

                                                          For a shortcut version (it isn't really ratatouille, but the flavors are the same, and it's hand-off) -- slice all the veggies thinly, then layer them in a pan like lasagne - a layer of eggplant, a layer of zucchini, then a layer of halved cherry tomatoes -- scatter some basil leaves, S & P, and drizzle with olive oil. Repeat until your baking dish is full, then bake at 350 for an hour. I've even wrapped a metal pan in foil and done this one on the grill.

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            I love the thought of this especially on the grill!!!

                                                            1. re: IndyGirl

                                                              I make it that way on nights when I'd rather spend time with my family or guests than fart around in the kitchen (and when it's hot? no contest)

                                                        2. Boston baked beans from scratch. They take forever (soaking overnight then baking for 8 hours or so) but are SO worth it. I should make them again soon!

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Euonymous

                                                            but they are no work, just time.
                                                            I don't dread any dishes because I don't make anything unless I feel like it. I guess the most time consuming things I make are some elaborate cakes , and gefilte fish.

                                                            1. re: Euonymous

                                                              Can you share your boston baked bean recipes? I have been trying to find one that I like. As gross as it sounds, i just want something that pretty much tastes like a can of pork and beans!

                                                              1. re: Mel.D

                                                                My recipe is from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. You can probably find a copy in the library. This doesn't make something that tastes like a can of pork and beans, though. It's much better!

                                                                Here's a link to a similar online recipe.

                                                                http://www.newenglandrecipes.org/html...

                                                            2. Croissants

                                                              1. I using cooking as an excuse to listen to "All Things Considered." Cooking everything from scratch may burn 30 minutes to 1 hour of my time a night, but at least by the end of it I'm pretty well informed on the day's news.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: von_levi

                                                                  same! but I listen to this american life ;)

                                                                  1. re: carlee134

                                                                    Me too! Or the Moth!

                                                                2. Maybe I'm strange but I really enjoy the process of cooking and baking complex and time-consuming dishes. But then I am at home and have more time than most. I am drawn to recipes with a very long list of uncommon ingredients.

                                                                  At the moment the only thing that comes to mind is phyllo pastry.

                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                  1. re: asulikeit

                                                                    I enjoy preparing and cooking gefilte fish but it takes time to grate and grind fish, etc.
                                                                    as well as: petcha(jellied calves feet)
                                                                    2 eastern european old fashioned favorites

                                                                    1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                      today was the first time ive ever cooked fresh artichokes because i never wanted to deal with all the cleaning involved. i grilled them and then drizzled a balsamic vinaigrette over them, and found out its absolutely worth the effort. especially when they come with 8 inch long stems like these did!

                                                                      also agree on mole as stated earlier

                                                                      homemade ice cream is another one i will add. gotta make the flavor components, then make the base, then chill it, then make the mix-ins, then freeze the base, then mix in... its always worth it in the end, but its time consuming!

                                                                      homemade pasta, bread, and pizzas are similar. lots of individual prep for each component.

                                                                      i agree though that listening to music while doing these things helps. and honestly, once i have a good Pandora station playing and am covered in flour up to my elbows, its extremely therapeutic.

                                                                      1. re: mattstolz

                                                                        What cleaning do you do for an artichoke? I just chop off the top and use scissors to cut the remaining tips. It probably takes me less time to do that than say prepare broccoli.

                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                          cut off the tip, take off the tough outer leaves, and (since these had large stems) peeling the stem and base.

                                                                          which is why i realized that its not nearly as much work as i was imagining. even though it does make a slight mess haha

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            my bunch like artichokes, but don't even like the work involved in *eating* them!

                                                                          2. re: mattstolz

                                                                            Prepping artichokes? Usually all I do is rinse to encourage the passengers to exit, chop off the stems, put them in a pot and steam until done. Then when serving I put a large bowl on the table for the discarded parts of the leaves. Not elegant, but quick.

                                                                            Now if I have some baby artichokes I will pull off the outer stems before I fry them.

                                                                            The only time I made ice cream I got to do the hand-cranking part - at them end, when it was getting hard.

                                                                            1. re: tardigrade

                                                                              the other thing i learned while making my artichokes the other day was:
                                                                              if youre cutting off the stems, you're getting rid of what is EASILY the most delicious part of the entire artichoke.

                                                                              1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                Didn't say I threw them away - I cut them so the artichokes can sit in the pan.

                                                                                Every so often my favorite local store gets artichokes with really long stems - 6"-10". It's an advantage of being close to the growing fields, along with getting the ones with frost-damaged leaves really cheap.

                                                                                1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                  i was really surprised to find artichokes with really long stems here in Florida, since i'm assuming the 'chokes themselves came from california. but was so glad i did!

                                                                      2. While I enjoy making them, prepping and rolling out a large batch of tamales can take some time.

                                                                        The last time I made them, I was lucky to have access to a good deep freezer, plenty of counter space, a few days worth of time off, and an angelic wife who kept me properly lubricated with plenty of cold beer and good music.

                                                                        Although, when I got down to rolling the last dozen or so tamales, they were looking a bit more like little summer squashes rolled in damp corn husks than tamales.

                                                                        1. Peeling and deveining shrimp- yuck!

                                                                          1. Agree on prepping seafood and pierogies.

                                                                            The rest of my list:
                                                                            -eggplant parm, although it is the bf's favorite
                                                                            -whole turkey (mostly if I am doing the defrosting or cleaning up)
                                                                            -smitten kitchen coffee cake - this is mostly because it requires whipping egg whites and I do not have an electric mixer

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: anythingonce

                                                                              Eggplant parm is one of those things that can take a long time, especially if you're frying the eggplant (I like them really thin which is even more time consuming) and making the sauce. OTOH, if I don't feel up to it, I use Trader Joe's eggplant slices (prefried), their tuscan tomato sauce and it comes together in no time. Not as good but still very good.

                                                                              1. re: anythingonce

                                                                                Oh absolutely, eggplant parm. When I was little, I had an aunt who would stockpile brown paperbags from the grocer to use as "mats" for the slices to sit/drain on. I was in charge of the salting of the slices to draw the moisture out. The prep/dipping/frying/resting work was a two man (or one tiny old Italian lady and one little kid) job, and it took up the whole kitchen. Delicious results though but man, a daunting thought now.

                                                                              2. I find that if something takes a long time to prepare... browning, stirring, reducing, etc. I completely lose my appetite so that by the time it is done I don't want to eat it. Great diet technique.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                  My problem is similar, but I believe also related to all the sampling I do along the way.

                                                                                2. I have a recipe from Bon Appetit (back in 92-93 or thereabouts) for a Spanish flan that is heavenly -- it's not difficult, but you have to let it rest in the fridge overnight, so it's never on the "spur of the moment" desserts.

                                                                                  I also have a recipe for a triple-chocolate mousse (dark chocolate, milk chocolate with raspberries, and white chocolate with almonds) -- it's frozen, so you have to make each layer, freeze it, then make the next layer. TOTAL pita, especially when chocolate mousse isn't that difficult or time consuming if you just make one flavor.

                                                                                  And Christmas cookies -- rolling all those little balls in sugar, or cinnamon, or powdered sugar -- yep, they are only made once a year, because it takes me that long to get over the futzing around.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    Would love your recipe for the triple chocolate mousse sunshine842.

                                                                                    1. re: Jeanne

                                                                                      I'll have to see if I can find it!

                                                                                      Here it is:

                                                                                      McCalls Masterpiece (found at http://www.theingredientstore.com/joe...

                                                                                      )

                                                                                      A Slice of Heaven

                                                                                      Three-Chocolate Mousse

                                                                                      September 1993 Page 153
                                                                                      (Interesting - the photocopied recipe I have is from the September 1990 edition, page 124! It's the same recipe, though)

                                                                                      McCalls Beat Recipes

                                                                                      Nonstick Cooking Spray

                                                                                      Dark Chocolate Layer:

                                                                                      8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
                                                                                      1/4 cup butter
                                                                                      2 tablespoons almond-flavored liqueur
                                                                                      1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

                                                                                      White-Chocolate Layer:

                                                                                      1 1/4 cups heavy cream
                                                                                      1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
                                                                                      6 ounces white chocolate
                                                                                      1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

                                                                                      Milk Chocolate-Layer

                                                                                      1 cup fresh raspberries
                                                                                      8 ounces milk chocolate
                                                                                      1/4 cup butter
                                                                                      1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

                                                                                      Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
                                                                                      Raspberry Sauce (recipe follows)
                                                                                      Chocolate Filigree (Recipe follows)

                                                                                      1.With cooking spray, grease 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2 in loaf pan, line with plastic wrap. With dried beans,
                                                                                      fill roasting pan 1/2 full. Wedge loaf pan into beans, tilting pan lengthwise.

                                                                                      2. Make dark chocolate layer: In saucepan, over low heat, melt chocolate with butter, stir in liqueur.
                                                                                      Cool; folding in cream. Pour mousse into loaf pan; smooth the top.
                                                                                      Refrigerate both pans until mousse is firm, about 2 hours.

                                                                                      03. Make white chocolate layer: In saucepan, combine 3/4 cup cream and the gelatine. Soak 5 minutes.
                                                                                      Add chocolate; heat over low heat, stirring until smooth. Place pan in a bowl of ice water. Cool,
                                                                                      stirring occasionally, until mixture is texture of unbeaten egg whites. Remove from ice water.
                                                                                      Stirring in the almonds. Beat remaining 1/2 cup cream with rotary beaters, till stiff peaks forms, fold
                                                                                      into chocolate mixture. Remove pans; from the refrigerator; repossion pans so the pan tilts in opposite direction.
                                                                                      Pour in the mousse; smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

                                                                                      4. Make milk chocolate layer: In food processor, puree raspberries; strain to remove seeds. In saucepan, over low heat,
                                                                                      stir in chocolate, butter and puree until mixture is smooth and chocolate is melted. Cool: fold in cream.
                                                                                      Remove pans from refrigertor. Set loaf pans level on counter. Pour mousse into loaf pan, smooth top.
                                                                                      Cover loosely with plastic wrapped well and frozen up to 1 month before serving.

                                                                                      5. For easy slicing, freeze mousse about 1 hour before slicing. To serve, arrange a dinner fork, rounded side down.
                                                                                      and a soup spoon, rounded side up, on a dinner plate. With some unsweeted cocoa powder in a lined sieve, dust plate,
                                                                                      sprinkle cocoa over the utensils. Carefully remove the utensils on each plate. Arrange a slice of mousse to one side of the
                                                                                      silhouette; if desired, decorate each slice sauce, chocolate filigree, whipped heavy cream and fresh raspberries.

                                                                                      Makes 10 to 12 servings:

                                                                                      Raspberry Sauce:

                                                                                      1 pkg ( 10 ounces) frozen raspberries in light syrup
                                                                                      2 tablespoons cornstarch
                                                                                      3 tablespoons water
                                                                                      In food processor, puree the raspberries, strain into a saucepan.
                                                                                      In a small cup , mix cornstarch and water, stir until blended; stir into raspberries.
                                                                                      Simmer 1 minutes. Cool' refrigerate cover till serving time.
                                                                                      Makes 1 cup

                                                                                      Chocolate Filigree

                                                                                      3/4 cup chocolate melting waters, melted

                                                                                      Line baking sheet with waxed paper.
                                                                                      Pipe designs on to wax paper. Set a side until hardens. Store in air tight container.

                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      And I would love the recipe for the flan! Oh, pretty please? I'd like to try a recipe that comes with a stamp of approval. The only flan I've ever been blown away by was by some lovely Michoacan ladies who live a few hours away...I miss it!

                                                                                      1. re: Vetter

                                                                                        Easy -- it's over here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                        Not a difficult recipe -- but you do have to be careful with the custard -- it's mostly just time-consuming (and be very, very careful making the caramel -- not only can you burn yourself, that stuff is as sharp as broken glass if you break it after it sets up. I never would have believed you could cut yourself badly on a piece of broken caramel!)

                                                                                    3. lamb curry pie - each step is at a min. 15/20 minutes

                                                                                      1. Anything deep-fried. a) Takes time and constant attention. b) Not good for me anyway. c) Makes a mess to clean up. e) Always feels dangerous ("My God, what if all this grease catches fire?"). d) Leaves me with used fat that I probably won't use again for months so I end up throwing it out, which is wasteful. And if I fried onion rings in it this time and want to fry doughnuts in it next time, unwanted flavor lingers. Simpler just to x the entire process out of my life, which I have done. Once rented a holiday home in Italy in which the kitchen had a huge vat of pre-used liquid fat, apparently to be used for frying by any and all renters. Disgusting.

                                                                                        1. Certain sauces from scratch, (butter chicken off the top of my head) they taste so much better than store bought but 3+ hours into just the sauce alone is annoying!

                                                                                          Amend to the canning. Cherry preserves anyone? Enjoy it now, because I doubt I will make those again!

                                                                                          1. Spanokopita (from ATK's Best International Recipe). Dear god, I love to eat it, but oy!!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: katydid13

                                                                                              Second that!

                                                                                              And add a new one to the list, manicotti. Need to find the sheets, because filling the pre-shaped tubes are for the birds!

                                                                                            2. For me, it's a Middle Eastern mezze dish called kibbeh. The fried kind.

                                                                                              It take a long time to brown the ground meat and onions till it becomes dry and cool enough to work with. Then making the shell, forming the tubes then filling and closing. When working by yourself this can take several hours. The soup kibbeh are also very time consuming. Different filling. I'll do it on occasion but not as often as I would like due to the time involved. Here are some pictures of the fried kibbeh before and after frying and the soup kibbeh frozen, in a beet soup and cut open.

                                                                                               
                                                                                               
                                                                                               
                                                                                               
                                                                                               
                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                Scuba, we love you not just for your cooking and knife skills, but for being so anally geometric! I hope I stay on your dinner invite list!
                                                                                                Vegs

                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                  Ah thanks Veg.
                                                                                                  Must be all that math I took in school

                                                                                                2. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                  Quite a production! So organized. Your kibbie pix reminded me of a funny story you can probably appreciate.

                                                                                                  Mr. Spice and I were invited to dinner at the home of some Lebanese friends. The wife had been giving me cooking lessons so I was there early to help with the prep. Kibbie was on the menu so she asked if we wanted it raw or cooked. Curious, I said, “I would like it raw but I don’t think Mr. Spice would go for it.” She made a quick call to her mother-in-law who had fried kibbie in her freezer and offered to bring it.

                                                                                                  The raw kibbie was very flavorful and looked like a ham loaf. You would’ve never known it wasn’t cooked. So we hatched a conspiracy. I said, “Let’s not tell Mr. Spice it’s raw. He’ll like this but if he knows it’s raw he won’t try it.”

                                                                                                  At dinner everyone was watching Mr. Spice’s reaction. He consumed it like everything else on his plate. Finally unable to bear the suspense, we told him the truth. Totally unfazed by our scheme, he exclaimed, “IT’S GOOD!”

                                                                                                3. I basically ignore all dessert recipes that involve separating eggs and whipping up the whites. i know, i know -i'm missing out on a whole array of ice creams, mousses, and cakes. i just don't have the patience for the separating and whipping.

                                                                                                  1. If I dreaded making it, why would I make it? Hmmm...

                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: AlkieGourmand

                                                                                                      That's my take on it too.
                                                                                                      There are some things that I make that require a bit of extra prep, and which I put off making until I can motivate to do it...but nothing that I dread.
                                                                                                      So, no dread, but it takes a little bit of motivation to make my favorite homemade tortellini.

                                                                                                      1. re: AlkieGourmand

                                                                                                        well, most of the things that are intimidatingly hard to make are special occasion dishes. i make them because i know once theyre done they will make other people very happy.

                                                                                                        also, with things like canning, soup making, and pasta making, once i actually get going on it, i remember how therapeutic it actually is chopping, stirring, smelling deliciousness...

                                                                                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                          I hate making stock. SPecial shopping trip for the ingredients and no dinner to show for it afterwards. Dealing with all the nasty bones and leftovers. Straining the stuff. Waiting hours for it to be done. Finding containers for it. Washing the big stockpot afterwards. Halfway through I usually just chuck the whole thing out.

                                                                                                          1. re: Rhee

                                                                                                            <halfway through i usually just chuck the whole thing out>

                                                                                                            explains the lack of a dinner to show for it...

                                                                                                            but really, i just toss the leftovers in a slow cooker with some veggies and let it go for a while. pretty easy!

                                                                                                            1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                              Concur, a crockpot will change your attitude toward stock forever.

                                                                                                              1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                                As will a pressure cooker

                                                                                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                  Hate pressure-cooker stock - and have now tried it multiple times. Watery and anemic.

                                                                                                                  Slow-cooker works well - or I just start it on the stove on a day I'm puttering around the house.

                                                                                                                  Special shopping trip? Nah -- keep a ziploc bag in the freezer, and put trimmings - carrot peels, leek tops, onion skins (which add a nice golden-brown color to the stock - onion skins are a natural dye), etc., etc., etc to the bag until you've got a good amount. Another ziploc bag to throw chicken trimmings and carcasses into. If you're short on veggies, an onion and a stalk of celery (this is also a good time to clean out the vegetable drawer and add anything that's looking a little past its prime)

                                                                                                                  When you've got a carcass or two, and a good bag of veggies, you're good to go -- dump it in the pot with a few bay leaves, some thyme, and let it do its thing while you go do yours.

                                                                                                                  Excellent stock -- and you've used all the otherwise-wasted trimmings that taste fine, but aren't all that great to eat.

                                                                                                      2. There are plenty of time-consuming dishes that, while I don't necessarily mind the time or effort it takes to make them, there are components that drive me nuts.

                                                                                                        For gumbo,for some reason dicing bell peppers just makes me crazy.

                                                                                                        Enchiladas take a long time start-to-finish but I enjoy the zen of them, right up until everything is in the pans, and my hands are covered in oil/sauce/filling/cheese... taking another 30 seconds to wash my hands at that point drives me nuts.

                                                                                                        And tamales don't bother me at all - except for the day 1 work of shredding pork.

                                                                                                        ETA: I will never make another chicken pot pie from scratch. I do so about once a year, thinking how good it sounds, but four hours to make a pot pie and end up with... pot pie? Never again. I swear. Until next year.

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                          Shredding meat is fast and easy in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Once I learned that trick I haven't dreaded shredding anything :)

                                                                                                          1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                            That is an amazing tip, thank you!

                                                                                                          2. re: shanagain

                                                                                                            Shanagain, I'm with you on the gumbo. While it can stew unattended with little supervision, it's the darn prep of all the ingredients that take forever. And the roux!! It takes about an hour of constant stirring to get that deep caramel color. I make a HUGE batch once a year, enjoy a serving or two and then freeze the rest. At least my efforts are rewarded.

                                                                                                            1. re: sheilal

                                                                                                              If you don't have a Kindle, consider one - it makes the roux process much better. (I keep mine in a ziploc when using it in the kitchen.)

                                                                                                          3. Cassoulet is usually a 3-day undertaking for me, especially if I confit the chicken (or preferably duck). But I wouldn't say I "dread" it. I don't mind spending a lot of time in the kitchen, as long as there's nothing else going on and I have everything I need. My GF makes some involved baking goods, like homemade croissants and biscotti. She rarely has the time to do it, but when she does she seems to really enjoy herself.

                                                                                                            I also roast my own coffee, and sometimes I dread having to roast. Especially when it's 9PM and I realize we don't any beans for the morning. I use a whirly-pop popcorn popper, so I have to manually crank the thing if I want fresh coffee.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Jeebs

                                                                                                              Reminds me, we need more coffee for the morning. No hand cranking here. I just need to babysit the roaster which gives me time for an evening cigar. Hehe

                                                                                                              1. re: Jeebs

                                                                                                                I like cassoulet, too, but I soooo cheat. I confit my own ducks, usually two whole. But, I freeze my legs(gasp!) so the cassoulet does not have to start with, 'Salt a duck.' I also cheat on the meat. I keep trimmed off parts of this and leftover bits of that. When I have the right amount of a variety of meats and bones, I make cassoulet. I like rabbit, but I am usually unhappy with any preparation other than stew. I have one in the freezer and it's going in the next cassoulet.

                                                                                                              2. Homemade liver pâtés taste SO much better than bought ones, and are one of my absolute favourite foods, but the arm-breaking 30 minutes of pushing them gradually through a fine sieve always puts me off making them more often than I otherwise would :(

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: verysimple

                                                                                                                  You might try a food processor next time.

                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                    I used a food processor the first time I made duck liver pate, and then I pushed it all through a fine sieve and it captured exactly nothing. So I agree, skip the sieve, just clean the livers well.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                      I do use a food processor :( and the sieve captures a great deal from the initial puree! And I trim them meticulously. What am I doing wrong?!

                                                                                                                2. As long as I have the time and am not rushed, I generally don't mind all day cooking.

                                                                                                                  I am one who generally does not want to eat it by the time I have spent all day on it.

                                                                                                                  While they tend to be the simplest meals....I hate any meal involving the large roasting pan. I abhor cleaning it with all of my being and throughout the meal all I can think about is facing that pan. One reason I hate Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                    Janet, would you consider buying an aluminum pan that would fit inside your roaster? Roaster provides stability for the flimsy aluminum one and no big pan to wash, especially if you line it with foil so it doesn't even get oven-borne grease.

                                                                                                                    1. re: nemo

                                                                                                                      The issue is getting my husband (the one who uses the pan)on board. He swears it cooks differently when lined with foil or the like.

                                                                                                                      With the new Dawn detergent it isn't as bad, though I still get more soapy, greasy water on me than I do in the sink when rinsing, etc.

                                                                                                                      Before I met him, I always kept disposable roasting pans on hand.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                      All of my baking pans are a pain to clean. I have a double sink, which means that absolutely nothing fits in it (my 3 Qt Sauce pan, my frying pan, etc). So, cleaning things by hand is so difficult. I hate double-sinks.

                                                                                                                      1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                        Yes....I have a double sink too. One side is larger and so many things (my Dutch oven for example) will fit in there, but the large roasting pan is my nemisis.

                                                                                                                        When I die, if that dirty roaster is awaiting me, I'll know I'm in hell.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                          hopefully you at least have a hose attachment for your sink. my sink does not have this feature. dutch ovens and roasting pans will be the death of me one day.

                                                                                                                          1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                            Nope.....no hose here either. It sucks.

                                                                                                                    3. real fried chicken

                                                                                                                      bolognese sauce, and my god, the green lasagne with the balsamella and the sauce, which is possibly the most delicious dish ever but which does take a freaking long time to make

                                                                                                                      i feel that canning would instil the same oh-I-want-to-do-I-have-to-yes-I-do-oh-its-good-god-I'm-exhausted sense. But I want to, I really do.

                                                                                                                      1. My brisket (the braised kind, not smoked). I make it twice a year for Jewish holidays. And what I realized a few years ago is that it's not the cooking of the brisket that is annoying since it basically goes in the oven for a few hours, but it's the slicing. We usually have between 16 and 20 people for these holiday dinners and I make about 20 lbs. of meat. My theory is that as long as I'm making it, I might as well make a lot and freeze some of it in smaller portions.

                                                                                                                        About 2 years ago, I got a real meat/deli slicer, so that helps, but it requires undivided attention and my kids to be nowhere in sight when the slicer is out. My husband cringes when that slicer comes out!

                                                                                                                        And even when the brisket goes in my oven(s) at 9:00am, cooks for about 4 hours, cools down, and then I get around to slicing it (usually after my kids go to sleep), I am still cleaning up the kitchen at 10:00 at night.

                                                                                                                        But, my guests love my brisket year after year, so I keep making it and that makes me happy. And as others have said, after looking at it all day, I rarely want to eat it but I am happy when I pull the smaller portions out of the freezer a month later!

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                          I don't have a real deli slicer but know what you mean about the time it takes to take it apart and clean it along with the general kitchen clean up. If you are interested in making the brisket more often and haven't used a long slicing knife, they make ones for competition BBQ where looks count. Not cheap. Even an inexpensive electric knife may work well to slice your brisket and clean up would be quite easy. I've thought about getting a deli slicer but passed on it mostly because of the space it takes and the clean up.

                                                                                                                        2. I would never make something that I dreaded, but I will say that one time I made moussaka, and it took so incredibly long that I've never made it again!

                                                                                                                          1. In the introduction to one of the recipes in The Tassajara Recipe Book, Edward Espe Brown says "There are several parts to the recipe, but nothing very mysterious or complex. It takes a while, but it is time giving life, time well offered." The quote often comes back to me at appropriate moments.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                              Love this. Really puts things in perspective.

                                                                                                                            2. Any of the cakes in SKY HIGH CAKES.. although they are so good. Luckily I have been so busy this year that anything with lots of ingredients.. I just buy instead of making. Time is money. Pride about things being homemade, can be had another day/year...

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                YES...making yourself crazy in the process doesn't help anyone.

                                                                                                                              2. ive realized since this thread started that honestly, the foods that take a long time i dont dread. the are extremely relaxing for me to prepare. i love all the little steps and being busy doing something i love and will make other people happy.

                                                                                                                                the only meals i dont look forward to preparing are the ones that are more run-of-the-mill and that i will be eating alone. not my favorite

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                  You definitely have a point. Even as much as I love to cook, when I was single, my refrigerator was the same barren wasteland of takeout and ketchup as everyone else's. Once in a while I'd get of a mind to cook, so I'd either freeze it or take it to the office to share.

                                                                                                                                  (I did feed myself more often than relying on takeout-- but it's was the simple, get-the-job done stuff most of the time)

                                                                                                                                2. One of the curses of having lived in Louisiana and leaving is the mighty Terduken. 4 hours of prep and 4 plus hours of cooking.

                                                                                                                                  Make cornbread stuffing, oyster stuffing, and bread stuffing.

                                                                                                                                  3 hard boiled eggs.

                                                                                                                                  Debone a small chicken without breaking the skin any more. Remove the wings.

                                                                                                                                  Debone a duck. Muscovy if you can get it.

                                                                                                                                  Debone a large turkey.

                                                                                                                                  Since there is so little meat on the back, add a breast or two. Stuff the chicken with bread stuffing. Put the shelled hard boiled eggs in the center in line. Partially stuff the duck with oyster dressing. Put the chicken inside the duck. Stuff the rest of the duck, encapsulating the chicken. Stick your stuffed duck into the turkey.Use a dry cornbread stuffing inside the turkey as it will be absorbing most of the fats and juices. Truss the turkey and cook slowly until the inside is about 145 degrees.

                                                                                                                                  Don't forget to stuff the boneless thighs and drumsticks with a red wine and mushroom stuffing. You will never hear the end of it if you forget. Use cooked rice as the starch.

                                                                                                                                  Serve in one half inch slices. Ideally, each serving will have a ring of each dressing and bird, with the egg in the center.

                                                                                                                                  I chortle whenever I read the posts on the chicken being out of the fridge for X amount of minutes and should I eat it. All the poultry is at room temp for hours before it hits the oven. Frozen fingers don't work well around a sharp boning knife. And nobody has gotten sick so far.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                    Yep -- that one sounds great, but that one is just way more work than I can really work up the desire to deal with. (my oven wouldn't be big enough to hold the silly thing, anyway.)

                                                                                                                                    I'm sure it's delicious, though.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                      I saw a premade one in the supermarket for $65.00 last night. That is close to what it costs me.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                        that doesn't surprise me -- that's a lot of stuff, and a LOT of labor.

                                                                                                                                  2. Top three that I am obligated for various reasons to make every year.

                                                                                                                                    Pierogis

                                                                                                                                    Kifli cookies with homemade fillings

                                                                                                                                    rabbit sausage

                                                                                                                                    All three are PITA and so tasty they must be made.

                                                                                                                                    1. Stuffed grape leaves, stuffed cabbage and chicken enchiladas oh and my lace cookies. Not so much dread but I don't make them as often as I'd like because of how long they take.

                                                                                                                                      1. Pates/terrines.....puff pastry....tamales....croissants.....pot pies....asian foods (all that cutting & chopping).......