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what has been the greatest "happy accident" you have had, while cooking?

Did you put in the wrong ingredient and create a masterpiece of a meal?
Do tell.......

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  1. Ha good question! I can barely remember but I know there have been times when my husband has said this is the best XYZ you have ever made and me having no recollection on what I did differently.

    Perfect example is meatloaf and meatballs, lasagna, most soups and stews and ice cream. I make them with what ever I have on hand, not following a recipe, making it up as a go along. I always tell myself to write it down if I go way off the basic track but never do.

    Or the time I made this amazing pear and caramel tart and substituted all kinds of things and it came out so good. I have never been able to duplicate it….

    1. I'm sure this isn't what you are looking for but I was prepping for a meal and had a 3 quart tupperware canister on the counter. I put a clear plastic bag that I had gotten from the produce section of the grocery store in that canister and used as a garbage bowl. When I was through I just tied it off and threw it in the garbage.

      More on target ... I decided to brine my pork tenderloins with soy sauce and pineapple juice instead of sugar and salt. It turned out great!

      5 Replies
      1. re: Hank Hanover

        I'd be really careful not to do that for too long unless the pineapple has been cooked or otherwise processed to inactive the bromelain. It could turn your meat to mush.

        1. re: JonParker

          Now, I've only ever eaten teriyaki (and not cooked it myself) , but isn't pineapple juice a classic component?

          1. re: Violatp

            Yes, but CANNED juice. I made Bulgogi and thought I'd go "first class" for ingredients, so I used fresh pineapple which I pureed in a blender instead of canned juice. 3 hours later, I had meat paste.

            1. re: sbp

              Ah, got it.

              "The more you know!"

          2. re: JonParker

            I only brine pork tenderloins for an hour. Soy sauce and pineapple juice is pretty powerful.

        2. I once accidently turned off the oven while baking a cherry pie. Half an hour later, I remembered it and turned it back on. I finished baking the pie and it was the best pie we've ever had!

          2 Replies
          1. re: sandylc

            Recently saw an episode of America's Test Kitchen which mentioned something like this- they had a power outage while testing methods for roasting chickens in a preheated skillet & now recommend turning the oven off midway through cooking, leaving the bird in until finished.


            1. re: eclecticsynergy

              This goes to the concept of roasting/cooking proteins just below the 212 F mark. The preheated skillet had enough heat in it to sort of duplicate the method. Since I've been using the 'always below 210F' method every dish I make with protein in it is IMO far tastier/juicer/tender than any other method.

          2. Natural unsweetened peanut butter and chicken soup. This addition was a result of me experimenting and "correcting" an otherwise bland soup. I knew of a Jamaican/African Peanut soup, so I threw caution to the wind and went with it. Glad I did.

            1. Must be about 30 years ago, my older brother had just gotten married and was spending the holidays with his in-laws, but sent me a $40 check and asked me to spend it to buy our Dad a bottle from a specific year from the Pfrum vinyards in Germany. (Something he'd sampled during a wine-tasting course.) The wine was delicious, there was about a third of a bottle left after Christmas dinner, which got stuck in the fridge door. A couple days later Mom made a beef stew, and not realizing it was the VERY expensive wine, poured the last of it into the mix. Dad was very torn between being mad and telling her it was the best beef stew he'd ever eaten.

              1 Reply
              1. I was making fudge and for some reason it wouldn't set. I hated to throw it all out, though, so I made a chocolate cake and frosted it with the too soft fudge. So many people told me it was the best chocolate frosting they'd ever had and I don't think I could recreate it if I tried.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Skippy1414

                  I am thrilled to read this - I made a new fudge recipe for Christmas and it would not set, so I put it all in a ziploc and tossed it in the freezer, thinking there's got to be something I can do with it. Now I know what I am going to try! Thanks!

                  1. re: Skippy1414

                    My mom made a chocolate cake for a party that got stuck in the pan. She had to scoop it out with a spoon. She chose to start over, but I told her to serve it warm in a dessert glass with a scoop of creme fraiche and call it chocolate bread pudding.

                  2. I made a chili years ago that 'needed something'. I added a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter and a few anchovies. Been adding them ever since.

                    1. I make a pulled pork in the oven and generally switched up the flavorings I'd add into the pan with the pork shoulder.

                      The first time I added roughly chopped onions, it was a double of happily having a very good cut of meat to which NO water had been added, and forgetting about the meat completely for hours.

                      The onions had caramelized in nothing but the pork fat and so, instead of pulling out my flavoring agents as I normally did, I just mixed in the onions as I pulled the pork apart in the pan.

                      It got absolute raves and I've tried to make it that way ever since. I say, "tried," because I just can't seem to get my hands on a decent, fatty, pork shoulder that doesn't first exude a couple cups of water that I have to siphon off.

                      I even considered that perhaps that first one also had the water but it just cooked off, but nope. The onions have never caramelized the same way again. I think I may have to go with pork from WF or something and see if it works then.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Violatp

                        Many commercial meats, esp. pork products are injected with water and salt, sometimes as much as 12% or more. They usually reveal this somewhere on the package.

                        1. re: Enso

                          I think even many of the unlabeled ones do it, too. The meat I've gotten is generally in the regular store plastic wrap, you know?

                          Anyway, I've encountered it often enough now that I'm reluctant to make my dish until I can be sure of the meat and that means getting it from a butcher who can be questioned! :-)

                      2. I was making peach jam quite a few years ago and put the sugar at the bottom and didn't stir right away after adding the peaches. I must have gotten distracted and by the time I got back to it to stir the sugar was caramelizing. I figured I may as well go ahead with the recipe and see how it turned out. It was fabulous!
                        My Mom still asks about that jam every year and despite my efforts to recreate it I have had no luck.

                        1. I was trying to think of a way to make my Tuna Salad with a bit more umph.... so it wasn't exactly an accident.

                          I had some fresh dill and so I added it (dried works okay too). To that I added a some very finely chopped red-onion, which I macerated with seasoned rice wine vinegar..

                          I rarely eat tuna anyother way now my mom and GF too love it - it also makes the best toasted Tuna sando ever (add some of the dill to the tomato soup if you're dunkin').

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sparky403

                            That reminded me of my tuna happy accident. We were in our twenties and at a friends house drinking and we were hungry and my friend said well make burgers, I have beef. Well, the meat was off and now there are four of us that are hungry and its late. So we hit the fridge and cupboards and came up with one can of tuna. She said tuna noodle and the guys said "food now". I took a mees of veggies that's she had in the fridge and started chopping. Celery carrots cucumber zucchini bell and peppers went in.we had to stretch it to feed four. It was delicious and i still make drunk tuna salad sometimes to this day. If it weren't for the situation I probably wouldn't have added that much stuff. Thank goodness she liked her vegetables.

                          2. Had a left over live lobster. Cooked up a New England boiled dinner and added it at the end. Now if I could only catch some cod down here....

                            1. While making my anisette biscotti dough, I stupidly measured the anisette liquor over the mixing bowl with the liquid ingredients. Well, it spilled in of course, and I thought it would be a problem, but I just added a little more flour and they are fine and the taste is even better.

                              1. Not a "cooking" accident but a happy find...

                                We don't have a root cellar or, an optimal cool, dark area in our home for wintering vegetables. Or so we thought.

                                Last fall we'd just come home from the farmer's market and every one of my kitchen countertops were covered w bags of vegetables. Then the phone rang and friends of ours were ini the neighbourhood and en route for an impromptu visit.

                                In a valiant attempt to effect a hasty clean up, I quickly grabbed all the bags of produce and tossed them into the dryer so they'd be out of sight.

                                Well, when I went to retrieve my veggies I realized that, because of the outside venting, my dryer provided the perfect environment for storing produce. Very cool but not freezing. Definitely dark and, in close proximity to the kitchen. Perfect! Quite the accidental find.

                                1. MANY years ago, Dad decided Sunday dinner would be beef Wellington... thinkin he saw it on Julia or Jeff... about only cooking sjows on TV at that time. I was maybe 19-20 yo and very comfortable in kitchen. Tenderloin cooked in pastry cruts... how hard could that be?? It looked great before going into oven and FABULOUS when it came out.

                                  Only problem was, ya COULDN'T CUT the crust!?! It was like plaster?? Brother (about 15-16) was LITERALLY rolling on the floor, while my Grandfather kept trying to convince me it was "just fine"! We almost hadda chisel the crust off, but LUCKILY that big $$ piece of beef was cooked PERFECTLY medium/rare!

                                  1. Mistakenly thought I had a wedge of cabbage, so I started the panade for frikadellen before shredding and nuking the nonexistent cabbage. I DID have coleslaw, so I drained and used it instead. Never went back. Now I no longer drain it - instead I use the liquid in the panade.