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Recent cooking fails?

I've been cooking more lately due to better meal planning and cold weather. Many good things but a few really awful fails. Hopefully I'm not the only one? Thought I'd share to get these most recent flops off my chest.

Thai pork with peanut sauce (crockpot) - Too peanutty and managed to be both blah and ick. One kid ate it, the other took one bite and stated it was the worst thing he'd eaten in months.

Granola - I've wanted to make granola forever. Inspired by some really good stuff a friend made, I did a batch. And overcooked it. Such a waste of fruits and nuts.

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  1. Do you use recipes? I do and, if I have a failure, it's usually due to operator error. When I use trusted sites/people, I'm almost always pleased with the results.

    3 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      You know, I usually don't use recipes much but with the whole "better meal planning" kick, I have been. The pork recipe I followed pretty exactly. Granola was pure operator error - I was worried it was too moist and overbaked.

      1. re: tcamp

        with granola, I keep the honey and dried fruit out of the baking -- burns too easily. I'd rather only have to worry about over-toasting nuts.

        1. re: tcamp

          Don't you hate it when you follow the recipe and it turned out to be a disaster? I have been there, and now I try to reduce the risk by either only going with the well-rated recipes, or consulting the recipe from a few different sources and "averaging" the quantity and techniques...

          At least your kid was honest about it...

      2. Yep, I have fails. I made my fave green chili but forgot to buy a jalapeno. I made it without, and it was simply not as flavorful. A big disappointment.

        You learn from you fails though. And none of us is perfect.

        1. I have tried several different recipes involving a protein and peanut butter in the crock pot and they have ALL been fails. I use my crock pot almost daily and this is the one combo I will never try again.

          2 Replies
            1. re: nat8199

              I make this regularly with a few tweaks (using crunchy peanut butter adding in the peppers much later) and it always comes out great.

              http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/thai-...

            2. Not recent, but my Epid Semi Fail was a beef wellington... YEARS ago. Dad saw it on some cooking show... back when most were B&W... Julia, Graham, Jeff, etc. Was totally comfy in kitchen (maybe 18-19 yo)... BIG $$ hunka beef wrapped in pastry crust... how hard could it be?? It looked beautiful going into oven, even BEAUTIFULLER coming would BUT you could NOT cut thru crust!! It was like CONCRETE!! Luckily, once chiseled off... beef was perfectly pink thru out!

              1. The first time I used sour cream in a stroganoff. It curdled in the dish, because I didn't temper the sour cream with a bit of the hot liquid, as well as I continued to cook the dish vs. removing the pan from the stove and slowly adding the sour cream to the dish.

                It ate OK, but looked like hell. Didn't keep the leftovers.

                12 Replies
                1. re: LindaWhit

                  I made a Martha Stewart chicken curry where that happened when I added the yogurt to the rest of the sauce. Thankfully it was before I added in the chicken so I did something else with the chicken and the rice I had made.

                  1. re: juliejulez

                    I gave up on Martha Stewart's recipes years ago.

                    1. re: Candy

                      She is a great inspiration with ideas and presentation, but her actual recipes are very hit-and-miss.

                      1. re: sandylc

                        Really? I have found really good results the dozen or so Ihave tried over the years.

                        1. re: melpy

                          I went back to my files to see what I had made over the years:

                          Lighter General Tso's Chicken
                          Chorizo Stuffed Mini Sweet peppers
                          Sparkling Strawberry cocktail
                          Miso glazed cod
                          Pork Bulgogi

                          were several that I can find at the moment that were pretty good. The first one especially we have made on multiple ocassions.

                      2. re: Candy

                        My dear former neighbor was a very accomplished cook and she said she regularly found Martha's recipes to be "off"

                        1. re: cleobeach

                          Ditto. Even when they turn out they are rarely worth the bother. But the pictures always look so beautiful so I kept trying for years.

                          1. re: sweetpotater

                            I made an awful chocolate bread pudding from a Martha Stewart recipe. It was so bad my nephew a) wouldn't eat it and b) still teases me about it eight or ten years later.

                            1. re: THewat

                              I tried a Martha Stewart chocolate bread pudding recipe one year at Christmas, I think - it wasn't inedible, but no one went back for seconds and the leftovers went in the trash.

                        2. re: Candy

                          I haven't made many of her recipes but she has a recipe for cut-out sugar cookies that I've used regularly for the past 5 years.

                      3. re: LindaWhit

                        If sour cream is heated to a boil it will curdle - like any kind of cream less than 35%. It should be stirred in off of the heat to prevent it from curdling. A tip from an old school cookbook says to mix sour cream with a little flour to stop it from curdling.

                        1. re: KaryOsmond

                          Yup, I know that now (stirred in off the heat).

                      4. I tried to make stuffed pork chops for the first time. I'm a pretty good cook, so I didn't think it was a big deal. I looked online for some recipe ideas, but then remembered I had some Stove Top stuffing in the pantry to use up, and since it was just for me and the kids, I decided to use that. I sauteed some onion and mushrooms in butter, and used that mix with hot water to make the stuffing per package instructions. Tasted great. I then took 3 boneless pork chops, and cut a pock in them, stuffed them with the stuffing, heated some olive oil, and seared them on each side. Looked great. My son requested sauce on top, so I combined a couple ideas from online and used a can of cream of mushroom soup (don't judge, we like the stuff sometimes), with a touch of milk, and lots of pepper. I covered it with foil, and put it in the oven for 45 minutes, ncovering for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

                        They didn't look appetizing. The soup just sat on top of the chops, instead of melting down as I expected. When we cut into the chops, the juices from the pork had soaked into the stuffing and made it super soggy. We each ate a couple bites, and then finally I said "OK, who wants cereal for dinner?"

                        DH came home and asked what was for dinner. I showed him the chop on my plate. He decided to make himself an omelette. LOL

                        1. It isn't recent but I once used powdered sugar instead of flour in bechemel sauce....

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            I did that with cookies once. They made a great crumbly ice cream topping after

                            1. re: autumm

                              That sounds really tasty, especially starting with snickerdoodles or speculoos. Talk about recovering from a disaster...

                            2. re: C. Hamster

                              I recently grabbed the flour shaker when making tortillas, it took a few horrible tortillas and a messy pan to figure out what I had done - the powdered sugar and flour are in similar shaker tins.

                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                This made me smile. How cute. I hope you learned a valuable lesson that powdered sugar is not the same as flour.

                                1. re: v2pham

                                  Reminds me of another episode where I used salt that I though was sugar in my coffee. I was babysitting at someone's house, and it was, to me, where the sugar would have been. Couldn't figure out why the coffee was so bad until later. If you have never have experienced salt in coffee, it is a horrid experience.

                              2. A djion, pepper cream sauce for the beef on Christmas Day. It looked as bad as it tasted.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: cleobeach

                                  Bummer, that sounds like it would be good.

                                  1. re: tcamp

                                    Sigh..it would have been. I tried to make a substitution to the recipe which didn't help matters but the key to the fail was I let the sauce break.

                                2. I try a lot of new recipes, so some are bound to be not great. Most recent was just last night when I tried a baked version of a sweet potato and zucchini fritter. I think some of it was the recipe, and some of it was the wrong expectations on my part. I thought I would still get a crispy fritter even though I baked them. It made 8 fritters, 6 went in the trash.

                                  1. Made the chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon, but had two bags of flour- one was vital wheat gluten, one was just plain- and they got mixed up. So my cutlets were not chewy at all, just doughy and bleh.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: callmijane

                                      Oh! Those cutlets are the best!! I should make them again, its been a while..

                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                        I once ate a vegetable protein barbecue sandwich in a restaurant that was so good I couldn't believe it, tasted just like beef. So I bought a box of the veg stuff and followed the recipe meticulously but it came out with the exact consistency of dog poop on the street when you step in it, sort of slippery and slidey. Forget that one.

                                        1. re: Querencia

                                          Years ago I was on a road trip with my sister, brother-in-law and their 4-year old daughter. We stopped at a diner for breakfast. MY B-I-L, being German, ordered a large plate of sausages for breakfast. They arrived, in a big pie on the plate, nearly burned and greasy. Their daughter took one look at the plate and said, "Ewwwww, doggy do-do", in a voice that could be heard all over the diner. At that point we all lost it and laughed until we couldn't breathe.

                                    2. I make an icky-weak-overly-watery white bean soup a few months ago. No recipe (since I've made various--successful-- iterations through the years). I suppose I just didn't pay enough attention to my ratios.
                                      Bummed me out, but my non-cooking SO didn't seem to notice and slurped the stuff with plenty of French bread.

                                      My take on failing, is that it means that you are DOING, or at least attempting.

                                      Best wishes for the future and Have Fun in the kitchen. :)

                                      1. Halved a butternut squash, oiled and roasted it. When caramelized I scooped out the flesh and simmered with cream, stock, and an herb/spice cheesecloth sachet. Some two to three hours after I started it was finished and I blended it with a stick blender. Then I realized I'd forgotten to remove the cheesecloth sachet.

                                        4 Replies
                                          1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                            Extra fiber! Did you taste/eat the soup, or toss?

                                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                              I threw it out since there were strands of cheesecloth throughout. Bummer.

                                              1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                Just think....what other meal have you ever made where you can eat AND floss at the same time?

                                          2. Most recently i burned the crap out of a good $15 of pine nuts.... There were some choice words coming out of my mouth over that..!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                                              I recently ruined a giant, beautiful, greek-ish salad by dumping pine nuts all over it before tasting. Yep, they were rancid. Turpentine, anyone? I was livid...so many good ingredients wasted. We tried to pick them out, but I had stuck the salad, now tossed with dressing, back in the fridge while I finished prepping the rest of dinner. So the whole thing was contaminated.

                                            2. Not too long ago I was making a batch of peanut butter blossom cookies and my dumbass dumped in the flour and other ingredients with the butter, eggs and sugar that I was supposed to cream together before adding them. I noticed it as soon as I did it, so I didn't continue any further, but since I was making them for my brother's Birthday that night, it was imperative I start over, and wouldn't you know, I had just used the last egg and had to go to the store to buy more before continuing. :/

                                              1. I had 3 in a row.
                                                1) corn bread from Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking. After coming to Chow evidently the problem is that as a NYer I expect a sweet corn muffin like corn bread. That is true I suppose. I never had one that wasn't sweetish. This had zero sugar. Put it in freezer maybe I will make my first ever cornbread stuffing one day

                                                2) Silan chicken - my sauce was so good - my chicken so raw....sigh
                                                I blame the fresh never frozen thighs that came half frozen despite their name

                                                3) cholent from balaboosta cookbook. DO NOT listen to her about the amount of salt. I love salt. I even eat the salt at the bottom of the pretzel bags but this....I had to throw out. What a shame.

                                                After three in a row I told my husand I lost "it" and thats it no more cooking. Didn't last long as I made chicken soup today and it came out great

                                                1. Two fails this week...same meal..

                                                  Asian Slaw...used a new brand of Fish Sauce and it was far too strong...Squid Brand

                                                  I haven't made rice in the microwave or oven in probably 20 years....tried to make Rice Pilaf using the standard 2:1 ratio....the rice was hard.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                    Yeah, squid is strong. I only use it if it is cooked into something. I recently "discovered" Red Boat, which is about $7 for 500 mL even at the asian market. I use that for slaws and salads.

                                                    I had a malaysian friend that told me to use fish sauce in scrambled eggs instead of salt. Ruined a batch using Squid. I know a Thai Grocer, very small and local store, that recommends Squid over Three Crabs. He calls Three Crabs "white boy fish sauce."

                                                  2. The last two pork adobos I prepared just were not up to my standard. I overcooked the pork both times. The first fail was because I used very lean pork. The second fail I used boneless pork ribs and simmered the dish about 15 minutes too long:( I also managed to make mush out of a pre-cleaned and prepped package of fresh stir fry vegetables. I knew I should have barely blanched them and then thrown them into sizzling oil for a quick toss:( I had to toss them after a few bites:(

                                                      1. re: BobbieSue

                                                        I made honey sesame chicken in the crockpot.
                                                        Kid told me its "disgusting mommy"
                                                        Husband told me he's throwing the crock pot out the window

                                                        1. re: BobbieSue

                                                          I have come to the conclusion that crockpots should only be used for keeping foods warm, not cooking them.

                                                          1. re: Isolda

                                                            I have great luck with cooking things in the crock pot, but I might just pick winners. I do soups, pulled pork, shredded beef, chicken thighs for tacos, whole chickens (no one in our family likes skin, so we don't need crispy skin).

                                                            Now, if you try chicken breasts or really lean meat, it generally doesn't turn out very well. It probably also helps that I do most of my slow cooking in a 30 year old thrift store model - the newer slow cookers run at a higher temp.

                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                              You can get a reasonable braise with a crock pot. I just did some lamb shanks that came out very well.

                                                              You can also get a mess of overcooked vegetables. I only use mine for keeping things warm, a faux braise for meat (cook vegetable separately on the stove), or beans for a party.

                                                          2. I got some really bad ones recently!

                                                            I was trying to make the no-knead bread again. First loaf was with a lot of walnuts, and while serviceable and delicious, I thought it was a bit dense, so maybe the yeast was getting old.

                                                            Second batch needed to be nut-free for school, so I used toasted mixed grains and seeds and mixed flour. Added extra yeast for good measure, but loaf was dense even after extended rising. Baked it anyway, hard as rock outside and dense and raw inside. Sliced and toasted to make crackers but had to toss most of it away.

                                                            Finally noticed that the yeast expired a year ago, but seeing the first loaf was fine, I tested the yeast and sure it was dead as a dodo. There was a little bubbling in my loaf but maybe due to the natural fermenting!

                                                            Still determined to make another loaf, I got a new jar of yeast from the grocer's (and some extra flour), checked that the yeast is good until 2015.

                                                            After a lot of work and anticipation, another rock hard, dense loaf still raw in the middle. That is 6 pounds of wasted ingredients, and a lot of time and effort!!

                                                            I wouldn't believe it, but finally I tested the "new" yeast and it was completely dead too.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: vil

                                                              I have failed many times at no-knead bread. I gave up.

                                                              1. re: cleobeach

                                                                My no knead has been perfect for the last few years until this past fall when I had to resort to proofing in the electric oven by the heat of the oven light. Beautiful loaf on the outside but no dice on the inside....gummy in places. I will get brand new yeast and try to warm my kitchen up but mine does much better in the sunny months when the kitchen is very warm.

                                                              2. re: vil

                                                                No knead bread has very weak structure due to...lack of kneading...and a very slack dough. Adding in lots of heavy goodies like grains and seeds is pretty dicey, even with very fresh yeast.

                                                              3. Not necessarily a fail -
                                                                Last night I asked my husband to take out the pizza dough from the freezer. Came downstairs this morning to see that he took out puff pastry.
                                                                Asked him about it- he said "dough is dough whattaya want"

                                                                21 Replies
                                                                1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                  This is exactly why I don't send my husband out to do a grocery shopping...a few days ago, he came home with half rotted grapes and paid a small fortune for it too. I was so upset.
                                                                  sent him to buy a block of mozzarella cheese to make baked ziti, before he left, i asked him to buy the one that was on sale if possible..came home with 4 bags of string cheeses saying, it was on sale. I am not making this up!

                                                                  1. re: Monica

                                                                    Cheese= cheese
                                                                    I guess that's the thought process

                                                                    Tonight I made pizza. Few different types. Pointed one out and said THIS HAS FETA. (He doesn't like feta). Puts it on his plate, covers it in red pepper, takes a bite, and asks "did you put feta?" *smh*

                                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                                      In the interest of marital harmony, mr. CB isn't allowed to do grocery shopping either. He comes home with the most amazingly, frustrating "substitutions."

                                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                                        When my daughter was like 9 months old and I would purée her vegetables for baby food I sent my husband to the supermarket. I told him to get any vegetables - how bad can you screw up right? He came home with decorative gourds...

                                                                          1. re: Siegal

                                                                            You know, I think most of these husbands don't like to go to the store anyhow. I mean, you "accidentally" bring home decorative gourds once and then you are not "allowed" to go to the market anymore.

                                                                            It's just the opposite at my house. If I send my wife to the market, I get three or four calls with questions. She's always been sweet about it, but it is just easier to go myself!

                                                                        1. re: Monica

                                                                          This is hilarious! I can't remember the last time I sent my husband to the grocery store. No matter how detailed I make the list, he ALWAYS manages to come home with at least one thing wrong. And this is a guy who managed $45 million dollars in construction projects last year and keeps all the details in his head. It blows my mind!

                                                                          1. re: flourgirl

                                                                            They may know the words but they ain't got the music. I had two elderly neighbors, both recently widowed and absolutely helpless in the kitchen, could not boil water. Here's the thing---both were engineers. One had two PhDs in two different kinds of engineering and the other one had written six engineering textbooks. They could have invented the concept "kitchen stove" but could not cook.

                                                                            1. re: Querencia

                                                                              Exactly. My husband can handle million dollar clients, but can't seem to cook a dish without using ten utensils, four pots, and setting off the smoke alarm. And he's so nervous he'll get food poisoning so everything is charred

                                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                                You should send them to cookingforengineers.com, it speaks their language.

                                                                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                  That's a great website! Thanks for reminding me about it.

                                                                                2. re: Querencia

                                                                                  My husband isn't an engineer, but is a computer programmer and is quite advanced at it. Cooking is a disaster for him.

                                                                                  He tried to make alfredo sauce for me once - ended with hard chunks of cheese fried in butter. When I had ankle surgery I had prepared a bunch of casseroles and frozen them. He would defrost them and cook them the next day with a bag of microwave steamed veggies for a meal. He would actually bring the bowl of veggies and spices into the bedroom so that I could season them for him because he insists that 'you just do it better'.

                                                                                  1. re: jw615

                                                                                    He must be related to my husband. I microwave "better"

                                                                                    1. re: jw615

                                                                                      Not all engineers are inept at cooking. I found these stories pretty funny as I can't trust my girlfriend to make a grocery run without writing down specific instructions. I suppose since I am employed as an engineer but am trained as a chemist I am the exception not the rule.

                                                                                      1. re: carrytheone

                                                                                        of me and my husband, I'm the one with the engineering degree (with a programming background) and I'm generally the cook! My dad is also an engineer though and has the same attitude as the gentlemen described above. My theory is that math or cooking, it's all about interest. I can't stand it when my dad says he "can't" cook or when my mom says she "can't" do math. It's fine if they just can't keep their attention on it, just be straight about it.

                                                                                        As for my recent cooking fail, see my recent thread about saving watery polenta. Massive fail!

                                                                                        1. re: kazhound

                                                                                          Well put. Engineers are typical stubborn and set in their ways.

                                                                                        2. re: carrytheone

                                                                                          It may be the training in chemistry. My husband swears that chemists are natural cooks. (He 2x majored in chemistry & biology and is in fact an excellent cook.)

                                                                                          1. re: masha

                                                                                            I got interested in cooking when I majored in chemistry. It was when I was taking organic that I made the connection that this is like cooking.

                                                                                        3. re: jw615

                                                                                          Reminds me of our dentist friend whose wife left a cassrole for him to warm up in the oven. He left the cling wrap on the top and had to go hungry since it was just a plastic melted mess.

                                                                                          1. re: melpy

                                                                                            foodservice plastic wrap is oven safe and boiling water safe to use for many cooking recipes and is a valuable technique in a commercial kitchen.

                                                                                3. Epic failure meal during the NE Patriots epic failure in Denver.

                                                                                  I was making an eye of round roast via the high temp method. I followed the recipe wisdom to a T. The roast was cooked to perfection (I was aiming for medium rare, and that it was, really beautiful to look at), but still tough as shoe leather. We ate it thin-sliced but whoa...bummer.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                    I made a recent roast eye of round, shoe-leather tough, into a cottage pie. The food processor subdued the offending protein to a manageable texture.

                                                                                    1. re: sr44

                                                                                      That's a really good idea, sr44.

                                                                                  2. Oh, for sure. This past weekend my mom and I made cheese zombies for the second time. (These are homemade buns stuffed with velveeta and green chile, replicating a favorite 1980s Bay Area school cafeteria food.) I'm just glad that the first time was such a great success, because if this were our first try, I don't know that we'd have tried again.

                                                                                    It was my fault. I don't do a lot of bread-baking, and I just went with the recipe, rather than trying to fix the dough that I could tell was too dry. I figured it would work, but no. It was very hard to work with, whereas the first time it was super-pliable and easy. This time, we could barely wrap it around the filling, and even though we pinched and pinched, all but one of them leaked. And even though there was still filling and you could knd of restuff the rest, the bread was kind of dry and dense.

                                                                                    Bummer, BUT we know what went wrong and that they CAN come out right. So.

                                                                                    1. pork cooked in milk..looked and tasted pretty disgusting to us....we made a cold sandwich next day with lots of condiments.

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Monica

                                                                                        I've been curious about this dish for a long time. It sounds weird but some cookbook authors swear by it. I'll wait for someone else to make this for me as I am afraid of wrecking perfectly good meat.

                                                                                        1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                                          I too was curious about the dish...well, I can't say it was disgusting as I ate it next day in a sandwich form but it wasn't my kind of food. There seem to be a lot of people here who are a fan of this dish so maybe give it a try?

                                                                                            1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                                              I am curious as to recipe source and method as well.

                                                                                              Had a friend send me the pork in milk recipe done on The Chew TV show a short while back and upon viewing the show doing the recipe, it seems to be well executed by Mario Batalli. Hmmm.
                                                                                              John Leguizamo helped cook it.

                                                                                        2. I decided to make individual microwave chocolate cakes -- a last minute idea to celebrate my husband's birthday on a weeknight. The consistency was gummy, not cake-like, and they were really oversweet.

                                                                                          I'm not sure what went wrong exactly. I halved the recipe. The recipe called for melting the chocolate and butter either over a 2x-boiler or in the microwave. I did the latter and it did not seem to work very well, requiring multiple nukes, and even then I had to vigorously whisk the butter-chocolate mixture to get the last bits of chocolate to melt and integrate. The cakes also took longer to "bake" than the recipe suggested. It may just be that our mw is underpowered compared to the norm -- I don't ordinarily use it to "cook" anything other than occasionally par-cooking potatoes before transferring them to the oven or grill.

                                                                                          Overall, the best part of the dessert was the vanilla ice cream on top. I'd regretted that I'd not just served that.

                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: masha

                                                                                            I once followed a recipe for a "mug cake"
                                                                                            Ain't no cake.

                                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                              Agree completely. There had been a thread about them last year on CH in the lead-up to Valentine's Day as something sweet one could make on a weeknight. I'd saved the thread and used one of the recipes. Wish I'd just put some ice cream in the mug, and then topped it with the unmelted chocolate chips that went into the cake.

                                                                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                I found a recipe on Pinterest for a mug pie and made it. It was a disaster, lol, and looked nothing like the photo!

                                                                                                1. re: BobbieSue

                                                                                                  The "cake" stuck sooo badly to the mug and exploded in the micro :(

                                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                    Oh, God, that got me laughing, I apologize. Now I know not to try mug cakes. I will trade you this one though---once I tried using food coloring to get a nice rich brown Thanksgiving gravy and the gravy ended up blue.

                                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                      I used to make mug brownies all the time, worked GREAT. No mess, no fail. You have to adjust for microwave wattage, though:

                                                                                                      Microwave Chocolate Mug Brownie (low carb but you can use sugar and white flour in place of my subs)

                                                                                                      2 Tbs vegetable oil (I use walnut or avocado)
                                                                                                      2 Tbs water
                                                                                                      1/4 tsp vanilla extract
                                                                                                      dash salt
                                                                                                      4 Tbs granulated xylitol or to taste
                                                                                                      2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
                                                                                                      4 Tbs all purpose flour (try smaller amount of carbalose)

                                                                                                      In a 12 oz coffee mug, add water, oil and vanilla. Whisk well.
                                                                                                      Add cocoa powder, whisk well. Add sugar, whisk well. Add flour, whisk
                                                                                                      well.

                                                                                                      Microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. Center should be slightly molten.
                                                                                                      Enjoy with a spoon. Careful brownie will be hot.

                                                                                                      Using a 1500 watt microwave. 60 seconds makes a molten center
                                                                                                      brownie. 75 seconds make a uniformly done brownie

                                                                                                2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                  The basic idea for these things apparently works, it's just that every thoughtful application (where they're really trying to make cake, not some pale imitation) I've seen requires an iSi whipper to aerate the thing before microwaving it.

                                                                                                3. re: masha

                                                                                                  Yesh! None of those mug cake recipes seems to work out right. And they're all usually incredibly unhealthy too.

                                                                                                  My version is to buy a box of angelfood cake mix (must be angel food) and a box of any other cake mix - I like devils food, because of the whole angel/devil thing. Mix both boxes of mix into a single container - no adding any other ingredients, just the two mixes. When you want cake mix some of the dry mix with water, milk, soda, melted icecream, yogurt, whatever - pick a wet ingredient and experiment! Just get it to cake batter viscosity. Nuke in a BOWL, not a mug, for about a minute. serve with a dab of frosting or a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce if you like.

                                                                                                  It's not a rich luscious cake by any means, but the eggs in the angelfood cake mix help it to rise a bit so you don't end up with a hockey puck. If anything it's a bit dry and spongy if I use just water, so I either try to use a wet ingredient that has a bit of fat in it - milk or yogurt work great, or add just a couple of drops of oil when mixing.

                                                                                                  Also -nuke in a bowl, not a mug. Any time I use a mug I end up with a mess, and cake dried into the bottom corners of a mug are a beast to clean. A bowl is much much easier and I seem to get a better texture.

                                                                                                4. Not overly recent…but

                                                                                                  Peanut soba noodles – stuck together like crazy. It was like eating a big blob of sticky noodles

                                                                                                  Gingerbread bars – disgusting! The taste of molasses was so overpowering it ended up in the garbage right away

                                                                                                  Most recently, I was in a huge rush and flipped a banana bread out of the pan WAY too early. It broke it half. Whoops!

                                                                                                  1. Messed up banana pudding. The directions called for continuous whisking of milk, cream, and egg with corn starch. Somehow I missed that and just simmered until I realized that most of the starch had settled to the bottom of the pan.

                                                                                                    Undeterred, I extracted the liquid from the pan and chilled it. It came out more like banana cream with gooey starch bits, but they're no worse than tapioca balls I suppose.

                                                                                                    I think it is a good recipe, maybe tone the sugar down a bit and keep everything whisked:

                                                                                                    http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

                                                                                                    1. Ok. I have one. My recent attempt of "hot and sour" soup was ok, but it was worse than the one from the week before.

                                                                                                      Also I have been alternating my egg waffle recipe, and it seems I am making it worse in the last few attempts. That is ok. I cannot get better until I get worse. Growing pain.

                                                                                                      1. The other night I made a chili sauce for enchiladas using dried ancho and New Mexico chilies. I soaked them in hot water, removed the seeds,and discarded the water. Pureed them with onions, garlic, jalapenos, and seasonings, added chicken stock and cooked it out until it thickened. It was still so bitter I threw the mess out and resorted to the canned stuff in my pantry. Very disappointing! I threw the dried chilies out, too. I won't waste my time again.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: elegraph

                                                                                                          I have done this also.Trying to make my own sauce for enchiladas,rellenos,whatever. All of the ingredients are available. Followed recipes. Rick Bayless you make it look so easy.Mine tastes like shit. I just don't have the touch.

                                                                                                          1. re: elegraph

                                                                                                            I have had this happen, but it was years ago. Maybe try dry roasting the dried ancho and New Mexico chilies in a pan for a few minutes before soaking. I also usually add tomato juice in addition to the stock before cooking it down to thicken. Some recipes suggest using tomato paste.

                                                                                                            1. re: elegraph

                                                                                                              Anchos are just dried poblanos so they shouldn't really be that bitter. I've made moles with anchos as the base that weren't bitter at all. Maybe you got a bad batch? I usually taste some of the chiles after soaking and even on their own they don't seem that bitter.

                                                                                                            2. Forgetting to add yeast to the bread machine when making dough.

                                                                                                              I make most of the bread and sweet things we eat. I often use my old 1988 Panasonic bread machine to mix the dough that will later be formed and baked into bread or sweet pastries. I have forgotten to add the yeast too many times, so I now keep a pad of small Post-It notes next to the bread machine. When I put yeast in the machine I put a Post-it on the machine so I know that I have remembered to add the yeast.

                                                                                                              1. Yesterday I made the yellow cake from the 2004 Baking Illustrated book. The batter was very thin and the cake never rose very much and looked odd and bubbly. The end result was coarse and almost soft sugar cookie-like.

                                                                                                                I got out the Cake Bible and compared the recipe to Rose's yellow cake recipe. There were some small differences in the egg and BP areas, but most strikingly the flour and sugar were the same weight in Rose's recipe (10.5 ounces), but the Cook's recipe called for 7 oz. of flour to 10.5 oz. of sugar.

                                                                                                                Misprint? Editing error? I did something else wrong? I weighed the ingredients, BTW. And I did make the Rose cake which turned out beautifully (and triple the height of the Cook's cake).

                                                                                                                Maybe there are (is?) errata out there that I haven't found...

                                                                                                                1. Do you toss cooking fails if there are leftovers? Ok to eat, but just bad tasting sort of fails.

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                    I usually try to eat it one more time in the event it maybe tastes better after sitting, but if that doesn't turn out (which it doesn't 95% of the time), in the trash it goes.

                                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                      I gave it the good ol "better the next day" try and out it went.

                                                                                                                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                      I try to repurpose. We really don't like waste.

                                                                                                                    3. Total fail yesterday. I've been smoking pork butts for around two decades and the one I did yesterday ended up total mush, and flavorless. Never had an experience like this.

                                                                                                                      I rubbed it down with a nice spice rub, Arizona Deaming by Penzey's, smoked it for four hours on apple and hickory, then let it go a few more hours until the IT hit 200. (Usually I pull it at 195F but fell asleep.) The only flavor was from the rub and smoke. The pork had no pork meatiness at all. It was just this mush with a hint of smoke and spices, and that's it. That pig must have had a boring life and been fed cardboard or something. Blech!

                                                                                                                      1. Cacio e pepe. Was watching Bourdain when he was in Rome.
                                                                                                                        Eating that pasta served in the formed Parmigiano cup.I wanted some.Butter,some pasta water, pecorino, and parma cheese, black pepper. Sauce broke horribly. Broken dreams. Yuck.

                                                                                                                        1. Pizza, everything about it was disgusting.

                                                                                                                          Made Better Homes and Gardens red plaid cookbook's whole wheat pizza crust. It may have been that my wheat flour had expired 5 years ago but the crust was disgusting (the texture was also terrrible).

                                                                                                                          The sauce made from canned tomato sauce with garlic powder, oregano, basil added was dry and bitter.

                                                                                                                          My husband bought fat free mozzarella cheese (now I know why I don't send him to the store) so it was like plastic on top of the pie. Apparently he said everything we buy at home is fat free, which is pretty much false besides skim milk.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                            The crust probably suffered from the flour. Whole wheat flour can actually go rancid in a way white flour can't, which means when it goes it doesn't taste good at all.

                                                                                                                          2. Triple chocolate chili - triple gross!

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: pegasis0066

                                                                                                                              Triple chocolate is excessive but is one of my favorite pairings with chile powder! Give it another go if you feel courageous some day.

                                                                                                                            2. Roasted broccolini: the flower ends were a little too much on the black and crispy side, and the stalks were still hard.

                                                                                                                              Then there was what were supposed to be gingerbread men but ended up as gingerbread slabs because the dough was too dry to roll out: I ended up patting it into a roll and cutting off slices to bake. I think I invented gingerbread hardtack.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                                <I think I invented gingerbread hardtack.>

                                                                                                                                LMAO!

                                                                                                                              2. Looking for something to bind a meatloaf I was making for a gluten-free friend, I put vermicelli-thin rice noodles through the Cuisinart expecting them to pulverize. They didn't. No matter how long I processed them they stayed in tiny lengths about 1/8 inch long. If I had put them in the meatloaf they would have looked exactly like maggots. Threw them out.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                  Good idea to keep in mind for Halloween!

                                                                                                                                2. Engivita yeast instead of ground ginger, in pumpkin pie. Little bags same colour...gave the pie a lets say rich taste.

                                                                                                                                  A ham bone soup that had a lot to much cabbage and cooked to long and had a caramelized cabbage thing going on. not cool.

                                                                                                                                  those are my worst

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: daislander

                                                                                                                                    Hmm...I think I like the idea of Caramelized cabbage

                                                                                                                                  2. A couple nights ago I made orzo, lemon, and chicken soup. Way too lemony, way too much spinach. Not enough orzo. Way too much leftover! DH ate it every day until it was gone. He has an iron stomach and hates to waste, lol!

                                                                                                                                    1. Two giant loaves of beautiful sourdough Pain de Campagne.

                                                                                                                                      Forgot the salt.

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                          I know. Kicking myself repeatedly.

                                                                                                                                      1. banana bread last night - specifically to use some over ripe bananas - forgot to incorporate the bananas... as I put in the oven I felt like I was missing something LOL

                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                          Whew.
                                                                                                                                          I was feeling oh-so-stupid after my recent banana bread fail. I mean {{{banana bread}}}??? Seriously?

                                                                                                                                          I don't need a recipe (I thought) I can make this stuff in my sleep.

                                                                                                                                          In my case the interior never baked fully. It was like banana pudding encased in banana bread (perhaps I invented a dessert?). A quick google search implies that I had too much banana. I should have given you some. ;)

                                                                                                                                          Hoping my weekly Friday pizza turns out. well. At least we have quick carry-out for that!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                            Banana bread without the bananas. Love it! Did you still eat it? I'm sure the bread was still good, right?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: v2pham

                                                                                                                                              I ate it but it was not "good" it was just "edible"

                                                                                                                                              1. re: v2pham

                                                                                                                                                Oh dear! This reminds me of my 18th birthday. I was the one who always made cakes for all my friends and had been griping that I never got a cake at school on my birthday because nobody ever made me one. So on my 18th birthday, my best friend who while well meaning had NO business attempting to cook anything... ever.. decided to bake me a cake. Appearance wise it was an impressive frirst attempt. As I cut into it and serve up the first slice I hear her say 'why is it white???' Apparently it was supposed to be chocolate cake - but she forgot the cocoa powder. This week is 20 years later - I still haven't let her forget about that. I should find the pictures from that day and post on facebook or something.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: JasFoodie

                                                                                                                                                  Time to let that one go (without a FB revisit) - you are both more than twice the age you were when it happened.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                    yeah, i'd have to agree. it's annoying.

                                                                                                                                            2. Tried to make a sauce that involved incorporating butter and an acidic mix, if memory serves. I realized at the last minute the butter in the recipe should have been softened. I figured what could go wrong? I'll just melt the butter and whisk *very* briskly.

                                                                                                                                              Then I tossed that out after it wasn't even close and tried something else. Live and learn.

                                                                                                                                              1. caesar dressing. Ive made a million times in a food processor. Last 3 times I can't get it to thicken. I tried with cold yolks room temp yolks.. I dunno what is going on! Think I will try it in a blender?

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: daislander

                                                                                                                                                  This cheater's solution to that same problem, with no time to do over, was to add mayo until the consistency was right.

                                                                                                                                                2. My Christmas fudge was horrible. I cheated and used the recipe on the Fluff container, which is supposedly fool-proof. It isn't, 'cuz this fool overcooked it. I had a slab so hard I had to throw it on the ground (in a plastic bag) and pound it to get it to break into pieces. My family thought it was delicious. I thought it was nauseatingly sweet.

                                                                                                                                                  Next time, I'll make it from scratch using a candy thermometer.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                    My mother always made the Fluff recipe, but no one had the heart to tell her how awful it was. Chalky and sickeningly sweet.

                                                                                                                                                    If you ever need another quick recipe, just heat up some sweetened condensed milk and stir in some bittersweet chocolate and vanilla. Pour into pan and done.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Burnt my split pea soup the other night. The whole batch ruined. Even though I tried to not scrape the bottom, hoping I could save it, it tasted burnt. I was so disappointed, wasted my ham bone.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Lasagna in the crock pot. This is my go-to technique but this time it overcooked and was bitter rubber. Kid still ate it, the weirdo.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: iheartcooking

                                                                                                                                                        Kids are weird. You just never know with them

                                                                                                                                                      2. I haven't been reading this thread but finally took a look because tonight's dinner was a fail of epic proportion! And I had to laugh that the OP posted about a peanut sauce in the crockpot.

                                                                                                                                                        I cooked this peanut butter chicken today and it smelled good. Then I tasted it and knew that nobody would eat it. I am not picky, and this was disgusting! I'm not sure why but I think one reason was that it had too much cumin.

                                                                                                                                                        All I know is that we ended up ordering chinese food.

                                                                                                                                                        http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2011/...

                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                                                          A TABLESPOON of cumin? Ummm, no. Maybe a tsp. max for 1-1/2 lbs. of chicken.

                                                                                                                                                          And so many comments on that thread and no one said anything about too much cumin.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            I used 2 lbs. of chicken, but still. I went back after I tasted it to see if I read it wrong. I thought it sounded like a lot but when I make something for the first time (and especially since I just started using the slow cooker), I like to follow the recipe and adjust it next time.

                                                                                                                                                            There will be no next time with this one.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: valerie

                                                                                                                                                            Crockpots are the worst. I have one that I use for various things, but actually COOKING a whole dish in one? Never again. Not since I had a truly epic fail with some braised chicken thighs with sherry concoction. It really sounded like it would be good. And it really, REALLY wasn't.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                              I won't use crockpots for chicken after one not-so-good dinner, but they aren't the worst. I use it for beef stew, pulled pork, and chicken stock all the time.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                I swapped out a broken crockpot for an electric pressure cooker last year and I'm never, ever going back. I may be doing it wrong, but I use it about the same way...only dishes that would take hours now take 45 minutes. Then it can stay on a low simmer if it needs to.

                                                                                                                                                                A few years back, it seems that crockpots lost a true "low" setting (probably some food safety zealousness) and stopped being useful for most dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: scoyart

                                                                                                                                                                  It was more than 15 years ago - FDA regulations forced manufacturers to increase the cooking temps for both Low and High to prevent the possibility of illness - although I'm pretty sure there was no documented cases from lots of people getting sick from food cooked in a crockpot.

                                                                                                                                                                  As for me - I like the smell of long-cooked foods from crockpots or when cooked on the stove or in the oven, so I'll stick with my old-fashioned crockpot.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: valerie

                                                                                                                                                              That recipe seems to be missing something Peanut Butter+Cumin+Chicken Broth dumped over food just does not seem like enough to make a good flavor there is nothing Thai there really at all. Good call on the Chinese. I like my slow cooker but it is not a miracle worker. Not sure how I would fix that recipe but I would start by sweating my onions first (raw onions in crock=Yuck) adding the peppers at the end so they are not overcooked - incorporating chili paste or powder into the broth and just crumbling peanuts on top rather than trying to braise in peanut butter muck.

                                                                                                                                                              If you are looking for a Thai flavor at home on the eazy Maesri pastes are really fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                            3. Not an absolute fail but not to my standard. Put 8 pounds of rubbed bone in country style ribs in a 225 to 250 degree oven for 18 hours. Never broke down to be perfectly pulled apart. Dried out even though it was very fatty.

                                                                                                                                                              I double foil panned it with draining slots. Some what embarrassing that it was so dry but it has plenty of uses.

                                                                                                                                                              1. A quasi fail: I made no-knead bread over the weekend and unwittingly failed to completely mix the dry ingredients into the wet. When I turned out the dough from the bpwl for the 2nd rise, I discovered the large amount of flour at the bottom of the bowl. (Used my KA mixing bowl, with a tapered bottom, so it wasn't obvious until then.) I decided to fold over and knead the loose flour into the dough and then proceeded pretty much with the recipe. The bread did not rise as much as it usually does so I ended up with a fairly small loaf, but it tasted ok.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Still getting used to induction. I have twice scorched some dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah. Induction heats up pots really really fast. I've had a single-burner induction cooker for over two years. Love it, but had some very burnt or very nearly burnt dishes in the beginning.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. My failure: I became arrogant and overconfident about making blender Hollandaise. After having had it come out perfectly multiple times recently, I decided that I did not need to consult the recipe. "Let's see, the ratio of hot butter to egg is about one stick per egg. I don't need to consult the recipe! I've got it all in my head." So I made a Hollandaise that didn't thicken because either (a) I put in too much lemon juice (about double what I should have) at the beginning; (b) I put in too much salt at the beginning (about double what I should have); (c) I did not let the very cold eggs come to room temperature; or (d) I did not warm the blender with hot water; or (e) I added too much hot butter to the eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                    Then I tried fixing the watery Hollandaise by adding another very cold egg yolk. No effect. Then I remembered something I had read in a Michael Ruhlman book and added a couple of teaspoons of hot water. No effect.

                                                                                                                                                                    Then I just used the sauce as it was on my Eggs Benedict and watched as the emulsion broke apart on my plate. It tasted okay but too buttery, not eggy and lemony.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 10 inches of snow outside. i have a bunch of lemons to use and decided to make avgolemono for the first time.

                                                                                                                                                                      so bad, you guys.

                                                                                                                                                                      what happened? i whipped the whites to soft peaks, added the yolks and lemon while whisking, tempered it and added it all in. huge layer of foam on top and the rest was just basically broth and rice.

                                                                                                                                                                      out of desperation i decided to puree it which did make it creamy... and i forced myself to have a bowl but i am regretting my decision.

                                                                                                                                                                      my husband wouldn't touch it and he eats almost ANYTHING- my most recent fail was a crockpot chicken enchilada soup a la pinterest that i wouldn't even touch. he ate the whole thing.

                                                                                                                                                                      anyway, ideas for why i ruined the avgolemono today?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. You know a dish is a total failure with you take one taste and throw the whole thing away, without trying to doctor it to save it. Of course, the ultimate total failure is when the dog won't even taste it. Or it's so bad you won't even give it to the dog. That's probably the dish you hide in the trash can, under something else, because you don't want the trash man to see it. ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                        Burned, scorched, too much salt or too much spice heat are the one's hardest to salvage.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I tried to make some comforting vanilla pudding, but I didn't temper the eggs properly - so I got pieces of egg white laced throughout the dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                          I made this recipe before, but this time, I think I was too slow in whisking the mixture.

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RogueFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                            Years ago, when we were first married, we bought a name brand frozen pumpkin pie from the supermarket, for Thanksgiving. When we cooked it and served it, there were large bits of cooked egg white all through the pie. The very big pie factory mixer must have been broken that day. I couldn't look at a pumpkin pie, after that, for several years.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Bad Valentine's breakfast experiment: quinoa flour pancakes. The fanciful, free-form heart shape of these cakes did not rescue them. The texture was not crunchy enough to feel like a crispy treat, and despite the brown sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg they still tasted strongly of quinoa. I like quinoa but apparently not in a breakfast pancake.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: powella

                                                                                                                                                                              If the pancakes were made with pure quinoa flour, I imagine they would taste strongly of that "raw", grassy taste (that I do not care much about either)!

                                                                                                                                                                              I have been making my weekend pancakes with experimental blends of flour that include quinoa, buckwheat and ground seeds and nuts, and, while quite good, the grassy quinoa taste is noticeable. I wonder if toasting it (the flour) in advance will help eliminate that taste.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Made Michael Voltaggio’s Spanish-Inspired “Mac & Cheese” on Williams-Sonoma web site. It calls for Spanish chorizo, Bomba rice, Manchego cheese and Spanish soft goat cheese, which are all pricey ingredients. It was a culinary crime because the ingredients did not bring out the best in one another, the combination reduced the dish to mediocrity. Why bother using Bomba if you are going to treat it just like Arborio rice? The goat cheese took center stage, what a pity.

                                                                                                                                                                              Guess I'll have to make some paella soon to help me recover from this traumatic experience...

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: CookingAdventurer

                                                                                                                                                                                I do not know anything about the Bomba rice but it does sound like all the other ingredients are much better off served on a platter without any tampering. At least that is what I would do.

                                                                                                                                                                                This reminds me of another mishap I had years back, before I knew any better. I treated soft goat cheese as "any cheese", and included it in a mixed cheese pasta dish, along with the usual ingredients of ham, cheddar and parmesan (probably - I cannot remember). It was awful with the taste of the creamy goat cheese. So bad that my housemates, some of which were usually not picky, would not touch it.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I had a "derp" moment in the kitchen Wednesday nite.

                                                                                                                                                                                Made a sauteed mushroom , sugar snap peas, carrots and broccoli dish that was set to go over thin spaghetti.

                                                                                                                                                                                Blanched veggies and then fired them up with other ingredients and spices and sauce and set aside and turned off burner.

                                                                                                                                                                                Got pasta water boiling and added pasta to big pot.
                                                                                                                                                                                Then I got a business phone call that went on and on and when ended I was on the couch and then caught up in Olympic coverage.

                                                                                                                                                                                Whelp, boiling pasta has no real smell, except an hour later when it breaks down to mush, the water evaporates and then that lovely semolina crust begins to form on the pan bottom, to which one goes, "OH s*&^, I had pasta on!"

                                                                                                                                                                                First time I had done that in over a decade.
                                                                                                                                                                                Good thing pasta is cheap and I, like NASA, have "triple redundancy" backups in the pantry.

                                                                                                                                                                                To add insult to injury, I was hungry , of course, so I just dumped the hot pasta mush into the plastic trash bag so I could get cooking more pasta and did not let it cool.
                                                                                                                                                                                Whelp, it was so hot it melted thru the side of the trash bag making mess/incident #2. Oh well.

                                                                                                                                                                                LOLZ. And Derp. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I did it again. Made some truly awful roasted tomatillo salsa. Too much garlic. I made delicious versions all summer but definitely lost my mojo.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                    This happens to me too as to dishes where I just "wing" the recipe and I've not made it in awhile. In particular, a few weeks ago I made some cole slaw, which is something I make often in the summer but not so much in the winter. The seasoning was completely off -- we ditched the leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. A couple weeks ago, I tried toasting quinoa before cooking, I don't know what I did,but I did it all wrong and wound up tossing out the whole thing

                                                                                                                                                                                    So many people say "oh, it's so much better if you toast it before cooking" but after rinsing it well, mine just wouldn't toast and the dish was a bomb!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. This was an off week for JTP

                                                                                                                                                                                      made a beautiful soup from chicken stock, roasted butter nut squash and other veg - favored with turmeric and saffron - a hint of curry - lovely. On tasting I felt it needed just a little "kick" hello Cayenne Pepper good bye all other flavors in the soup. Its edible, almost good but too hot and you don't taste anything else

                                                                                                                                                                                      Then

                                                                                                                                                                                      Banana bread - I think the baking powder is off and I burned it too - also I used to flat a pan - resulting in a very flat, somewhat charred, less than fluffy banana bread

                                                                                                                                                                                      and the strawberry upside down cake last week that went into the LEAKY spring form pan (now discarded) to drip its strawberry goodness onto my oven bottom. I did catch it in time and transfer and the cake part cake out perfect but the strawberry topping was a loss

                                                                                                                                                                                      most frustrating is these are all repeated errors!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I recently tried Ina Garten's Buffalo Chicken Wings. Even when I was reading the recipe, I was skeptical. The buffalo sauce is made up of one STICK of butter and only 4 teaspoons of hot sauce OR 1 teaspoon of tabasco. Huh??

                                                                                                                                                                                        And then you brush the sauce on while baking, instead of tossing it all together.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I did the recipe exactly as written, and needless to say it resulted in a pool of butter in my baking sheet and plain tasting wings. What a mess.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I just took a look at the reviews just now and it seems like there's a crazy mix of rave reviews and terrible reviews. I can't imagine how people are raving about them. Doesn't the sauce proportion look wrong to you, Chowhounds?

                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.yummyreads.com

                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NancyChin

                                                                                                                                                                                          This is ALL wrong. Buffalo sauce can have a higher or lower ratio of butter to hot sauce, depending on how spicy/vinegary you like your wings, but a good rule of thumb for "medium" (like you would get if you ordered medium at the Anchor Bar or pretty much any wing joint upstate) is two parts Frank's Red Hot (don't use Tabasco, it just doesn't work) to one part butter. I like mine a little spicier so I typically go 3 parts Red Hot to 1 part butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Aside from that, however, the recipe has another issue: baked wings are SACRILEGE. True Buffalo wings are always, ALWAYS deep fried, with no breading of any sort, and they are sauced upon serving. If you must bake them, I would suggest doing it on a rack at a high temperature, to try to get them as crispy as possible. Sauce ONLY after they're cooked. Brushing the sauce on before the skin is crisp will just give you nasty, soggy-ass wings.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                              I see you are talking butter here. Wasn't the original recipe margarine? Just curious - I would use butter if I made them.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                I would imagine a lot of restaurants use margarine, since it's a lot cheaper than butter (the original recipe from the Anchor Bar in Buffalo is still a secret, so I'm not sure if they use margarine or not). I use butter - it doesn't affect the texture negatively and of course the flavor is divine!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I have two epic ones, not recent:

                                                                                                                                                                                            In college, guests were coming, and I was making shrimp parmesan. I had no backup plan. Seems like things were going OK until I put a boatload of parm in at the end over high heat. The whole thing melted and congealed into a platter-sized mass. To this day, it is known as the infamous shrimp brick. Embarrassing, but we still ate it with steak knives and laughed.

                                                                                                                                                                                            "Healthy" beef stroganoff. Fake meat, eggless noodles, lowfat this and that. Disaster. I even had a dog at the time. She smelled it, looked up at me and said "Really?"

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                              I tried making a cheesecake with "healthy" ingredients and it failed miserably!
                                                                                                                                                                                              some things just aren't meant to be "healthy"
                                                                                                                                                                                              ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                Shrimp brick, awesome. Thanks for sharing.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Also, according to my 6 year old daughter, it is a disaster everytime I make anything with kale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I made Swedish meatballs for my husband's birthday dinner. I have no idea what went wrong but the meatballs were BAD.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/german-a...
                                                                                                                                                                                                    this recipe... it was terrible!
                                                                                                                                                                                                    794 reviews, 41/2 star average rating, I followed it exactly and it turned out ridiculously sweet, and had the texture of a brownie on the bottom

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I started a thread about repurposing brownies because a huge batch baked in mini cupcake pans wouldn't release and came out in fudgy crumbs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had more batter and wound up baking it in an 8x8 pan, and they were PERFECT!
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ugh!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Naniamo bars is a good one if you need to repurpose brownies. Its basically what the bottom layer is plus some coconut.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Bought a brined organic chicken from Trader joe's to make roasted chicken...salted the whole bird and let it sit in the fridge for a day forgetting the fact that the bird had already been brined. It was too salty! made a chicken soup out of it and was delicious with no extra salt added..

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. You're not the only one. I had a cooking fail just last night when I attempted to make a fried Vietnamese pastry that called for glutinous rice flour. I didn't have glutinous rice flour so I just used regular rice flour. Bad idea. Apparently they are not interchangeable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          What happens when you substitute glutinous rice flour with regular rich flour? Well, you may just end up visiting a dentist. Once regular rice flour is fried, it hardens like a rock. I couldn’t bite into the pastry at all. The whole batch went straight into the trash…with a loud thud.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          So what’s the difference between Glutinous Rice Flour and Regular Rice Flour? It’s what the name suggests. Glutinous Rice Flour is thick and sticky once cooked. In a dough, it’s malleable and easy to work with. Regular Rice Flour hardens like a brick once cooked. In dough form, it is brittle, making it impossible to encase any type of filling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Recipes can call for a combination of the two, with most being Glutinous Rice Flour and a few teaspoons of Regular Rice Flour. The Regular Rice Flour is to make a thin crusty outer layer and you just need a little of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am going back to the kitchen to attack the recipe again with full vengeance. I will be armed and ready with my Glutinous Rice Flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: v2pham

                                                                                                                                                                                                            lol. cornstarch might have been closer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Not a huge fail, but I subbed frozen chopped turnip greens for spinach when making creamed greens, and it just doesn't compare to freshly wilted spinach in the dish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Too harsh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Did it again over the weekend. Lentil salad for a luncheon potluck. Ingredients were all decent but the finished product took on the lovely hue of baby barf. And was a bit bland to boot. Ugh. Only about 1/4 was eaten and I put the rest straight into the compost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Aww, you should have posted a "how to save?" thread to keep the CH entertained

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I still smile whenever I think of the hound who asked what to do with hot dog water. I'm normally a big reuser so I applaud the thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    perhaps some hot dog water is just what you Lentils Needed LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. A friend is learning to cook more and more. She wants to "keep it healthy" and "healthful".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                She went out and purchased all the ingredients listed on a recipe she found that to her sounded great. Some sort of Asian stir fry type "authentic" recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                As I stood next to her to sort of offer support, as she had asked of me, I was puzzled by the counter full of bottles. She bought so many bottles of Asian sauces and stuff that I asked her what was so "healthy" or "healthful" about this? Besides a few veggies and a nice piece of fresh beef, everything was some sort of chemical concoction in a bottle, with ingredient lists so long I didn't bother to read each and every single one of all those bottles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The results were iffy. She did a good job with the execution of the recipe, proper technique, etc... but it had so little appeal with all those bottles poured into the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fresh? It was before it was used in the recipe...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. i made a FANTASTIC thai curry carrot soup recently but forgot to remove the lemongrass stalks before I pureed it with the stick blender, so there were little bits of horrible tough fiber throughout.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I may have done something similar--I didn't remove the lemongrass from a curry--kept running into chunks I had to pick out. At least it wasn't pureed, but like finding bones in your fish!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I don't usually have fails, but I made the most revolting dinner of what was supposed to be Dover sole meuniere the other night. I shudder to think of the number of things that went awry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Butter too cold, cooled the oil, greasy fish, broken into pieces, just totally disgusting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I had a meuniere that turned into a manure, too. Once.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, I needed to hear that from someone. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. My biggest fail lately have been the look of my dishes. I made a white bean gratin the other night and threw in ground turkey so it would be more of a meal than a side dish. It was so delicious and creamy but it looked something my dog threw up with absolutely no color.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Tabaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Decades ago, I made something that we both have forgotten the contents of, we just recall it as "green." Same sort of deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stuff that sounded like a good idea til you got to eyeball it. Tasted like crap, too, in my case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tabaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          whenever I see this happening with a dish I'm making, I will do a small dice of either carrot, or red pepper (whichever would be complimentary to the dish) and throw that in for some color
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (your dish does sound really tasty though!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Monday night had company for dinner, which is very rare. I just thought ahi tuna & asparagus on the grill would be simple & quick along with a wild rice pilaf with mushrooms & shallots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I overloaded my little rice cooker and so it turned into this bubbling, oozing mess on my kitchen counter. The cooker also didn't automatically turn off so when I finally took the lid off the rice was total mush.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In the meantime, a storm complete with high winds, rain & hail blew in (gotta love north TX) as I was trying to light the grill outside, and I overcooked both the fish and asparagus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My guests were too busy drinking vodka/tonics (oh, and I was trying to refill their drinks as I was trying to run back & forth outside to the grill) to even notice the storm until one said 'gee, is it raining?' I'm soaking wet and my hair is plastered all over my face from the wind & rain!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The meal was edible, but not up to my standards. They polished off everything!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds like it turned out perfectly! You can laugh about it for the next twenty years.......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yep, liquor them up and they'll be happy with anything!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think that's what Jesus would do! *wedding at Cana* :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Teague

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  it is the exact opposite of what he did at the cana wedding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Made a cheesecake last night that called for baking one hour, then turning off the oven, cracking the oven door, and leaving it alone overnight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The problem began before it entered the oven. The recipe didn't specify a pan size, so I used a 10" springform pan. Guess what? Besides filling the springform pan, the batter also filled a 2-cup casserole dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I opened the oven in the morning, the big cheesecake had blossomed out of the pan with a deep dark brown ring around the top, and deeply grooved cracks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Of course, I tasted some of the outlying "blooms", and it tasted mediocre. Then I cut slices and poured on the recipe's strawberry topping (especially to hide cracks). Too much lemon in the topping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DH claimed the rest of the cheesecake, saving it from the garbage. Apparently his standards aren't the same as mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. #1 Buns. Again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The daughter wants buns with the taste and texture of an Italian/Portuguese bakery that closed down years ago. I have made buns that taste like baguettes, ciabatta ,Wonderbread-like, sourdough, yada yada yada.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I cannot make buns like those that came from the bakery. The "little breads" I have made were all tasty, but as my daughter says, "They're all right, but they're not BUNS."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                #2 Raisin bread that tastes like the Sun Maid stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hubby and I have really liked the various raisin breads that I have made, but daughter is right: they don't taste like the Sun Maid bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is really annoying. I have made everything from sourdoughs, laminated doughs, enriched doughs and basics, but those two things elude me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, but in the meantime it's just really starting to pi55 me off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Last night's dinner- meh.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Overcooked pork chops on the grill and underdone potatoes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I once made Indian pudding in the crockpot and it came out looking like sloppy joe filling in color and consistency. I have no idea what happened. Tasted good and we ate it with our eyes averted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I tried to make kale chips three times using a couple internet recipes that came with rave reviews. I followed them carefully checking the kale chips closely to avoid charring. All had a carbon taste. Never again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: noodlepoodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Was it kheer that you made? Did you use cinnamon sticks in the recipe? I've had slightly over-fried (to extract flavor) cinnamon sticks make a pan of mujadara turn dark brown-red before...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Earlier this week, I decided to make cole slaw. It was the first time I'd made it in months, as I think of it as a warm weather dish. It's pretty much a free-lance recipe, where I adjust the seasonings as I taste. It really tasted off as I was preparing it -- which I attributed to an overly strong onion -- so I kept added celery seed, to add a sweeter note. (My husband has diabetes so there is no sugar in my recipe). It did not really taste right but I served it anyway. Hubby took one taste and said "wow, this is salty." At that point, I remembered that I'd had the same issue with slaw that I'd made in the fall. It also dawned on me that the seeds of the "celery seed" were much finer than usual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ends up that I'd used celery salt, not seed. It was pretty much inedible and it all got pitched. I never keep celery salt on hand so all I can figure is that I bought it by mistake last fall when I thought I was replenishing the celery seed supply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I once bought celery salt Instead of celery seed. Ugh. A crapload of coleslaw went in the garbage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The good news was that all of the main ingredients in the slaw had been picked up on sale. Aside from the money misspent on the celery salt, the slaw probably didn't cost $1. But it meant that we had no veggies with our dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I know the feeling. It's not only about the money though, it's that "omigosh I am such a a moron" moment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Care to share your coleslaw recipe? I promise I'll buy the right ingredients!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sure. As stated above, the recipe is pretty freewheeling so the following is pretty rough in terms of the quantities of each ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Grate one half of a medium size head of cabbage and 3 medium size carrots. Combine with one small chopped onion.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of a neutral oil (I use canola) -- just enough to coat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Add about 1/2 cup of cider vinegar, several shakes of dry mustard, and a liberal amount of Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and celery seed. Mix thoroughly. At this point I typically taste the mixture to gauge the seasoning.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. Add a liberal amount of mayonnaise. My guess is that it's at least one cup and could be 2 but I never measure. Also add in whatever additional vinegar and seasonings you think necessary based on tasting so far. Mix thoroughly, taste again, and adjust as necessary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How much vinegar and onion you add should depend upon when you plan to serve the slaw, as the taste of both will get stronger if held for several hours or overnight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Note also that the dressing tends to get rather liquid-y if the slaw sits. You will need to stir it thoroughly to reintegrate it with the veggies. My suspicion is that you could omit the oil and minimize this issue. The original slaw recipe from which this one evolved included the oil so I always do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks! Definitely looking forward to trying it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made this tonight with my toddler. Used bagged slaw and skipped the oil. I used maybe 1/2c-3/4c light mayo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was delicious! She ate half the bowl!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am so pleased. And I love the fact that you made it with your little one. Nothing like cooking with a young child to get them to eat things they might not otherwise try (but maybe she already liked slaw).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cheesecake, based on your experience, I've omitted the oil from my cole slaw recipe the last 2 times that I've made it. The taste is unaffected and leaving it out reduces the liquid-y consistency. Thanks for improving my recipe!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. We get fresh meat every week from a local CSA so I cook a lot. Usually 5-6 meals a week. I am also dairy free due to severe lactose intolerance -- this is a relatively recent discovery (January 2014) so I am still learning and experimenting with how to substitute dairy in some recipes. I am a pretty good cook, since I do so pretty often and am pretty intuitive in the kitchen, so I haven't had any major disasters. I did try to make popovers with coconut milk and they did not "pop" at all. But they were still a pretty tasty, dense little egg muffin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The biggest "fail" most recently happened last week. I was going out with some friends on Thursday (a standing date, every other week). On Sundays, my husband and I are gone all day, so I spent the day Thursday braising some beef short ribs from our weekly CSA pack for dinner on Sunday. We had an assortment of leftovers in the fridge for my husband to have for dinner Thursday night. Before I left to go out with my friends, I removed the bones from the short ribs, roughly chopped the meat, and put the meat in a separate container from the sauce so that I could skim the fat off the sauce on Sunday when I finished the dish. I told my husband that the short ribs were for dinner on Sunday and also listed what we had available for leftovers for him to eat that night. One thing I had finished up for lunch that day was some leftover pulled pork in BBQ sauce. So I get home later that night and ask him what he had for dinner, and he tells me, pulled pork. Pulled pork? But I ate the rest of that for lunch today. He goes to the fridge and pulls out a container and shows me -- my braised short rib meat. Over half of it eaten on a bun as a sandwich. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bummer. I assure you that the other three residents of my house would not be able to tell, by sight, shredded short rib meat from pulled pork. Which is why, when I prep something for a meal in advance, I double wrap the container with masking tape upon which I write "DO NOT EAT. FOR THURS DINNER."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In my inlaws house, they hide things in paper bags and write "medicine" or "science project"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cheesecake17, i think that is hilarious! do they have children at home still?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I had the opposite happen. I had collected a bag of scraps, stored in the freezer until trash day. I thought I had hid it well enough that it was "safe"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Went out for an evening meeting and left VERY specific instructions for Mr. CB to put a prepped meal into the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For reasons even he can't explain, he could not see the pyrex dish containing the evenings meal front and center in the fridge. Instead he rummaged around the freezer until he found the garbage bag and he cooked the contents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    He was surprised when I refused to even taste the garbage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Like tcamp, I am now hardcore when it comes to labeling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mr. alka can't find the requested item, even though it is staring at him front and center.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No! That's why it's so funny.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My youngest brother in law is in his early 20s, and just finished college

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In my house, in order to keep my step son from scarfing things up, I'd write "this is 'cgarner's' I've bitten into it and I have a cold sore, do not eat"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    it was the ONLY label that worked!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Growing up, we were 5 kids (2 girls & 3 boys). My grandfather jokingly called us "the locusts" when we came to visit. My dear younger sister had a method to preserve her portion of leftover food in the fridge. She would say, "Don't anyone eat my food, 'cause I spit in it!" After hearing that, who would take the risk she was just bluffing, or was she??? ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The comment about locusts made me giggle. I may use that for my own kids if your do not mind. And you'll never, ever, never never know if she actually spit in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        An aside - I was in marching band in high school, and we had a show where we'd release balloons. I proposed to change that to releasing locusts instead. Needless to say, we didn't change the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah. That wouldn't have stopped my brothers Not even for one second.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. this morning's eggs with bacon. i cooked them way too low and the pre-cooked (by me) bacon crumbled into them didn't do one thing for them. blah. i should've added some truffle salt to give some flavor to the eggs. i should also have re-crisped the bacon first, and then added the crumbles on top once the eggs were done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i had intended to cook up some bulk breakfast sausage, drain fat then add in the scrambled eggs to cook. i like that technique better, but i was lazy. serves me right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the other day i did a stupid and neglectful thing -- left some chilean sea bass for too long in fridge. cooked it. had to toss. broke my heart. and then i kicked myself for buying it in the first place if i didn't intend to cook it right away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      irony - mr. alka ate the leftover part with just eggs and loved it. they were local organic eggs with very rich yolks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Twice recently I've winged making something and had it turn out really good the first time and then, since I never wrote down any quantities the first time, screwed it up the second time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      First was a Mexican take on Catalan picada. Toasted almond flour and grains of paradise, paprika, saffron, a little thickening bread, roasted garlic, and a charred tomatillo all blended into a thick sauce. Made it once and it wasn't delicious and unlike anything I'd ever had before, tried to make it again last week and it was nowhere near as good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Second was a vaguely North African approach to eggplant. Purged, squeezed, cubed, mixed with tahini and dredged in a blend of almond flour, anise seeds, coriander, cinnamon and roasted orange peel (a poor man's ras el hanout), and baked at 350 for 40 minutes or so. Came out crunchy and flavorful with the silky interior I love in fried eggplant with none of the greasiness I dislike. Tried again this afternoon and it came out almost burnt and flat-tasting, although I think that was because this afternoon I used an unusually bitter eggplant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I almost wish I hadn't ever made the good one...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        your eggplant idea is good. how avoid a bitter eggplant?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When it comes to north american eggplant i try to find smaller firm ones but even then it seems to be a crap shoot. I try to purge more zealously and remove seeds but some eggplants are just bitter. Might have to switch to chinese eggplant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Sad to say, my most recent fail was The World's Driest Easter Ham ;-((((((

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DH and I saw a demo of heating up the ham in a baking bag. Great idea! Let's go out and buy some baking bags!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        After gentle heating, the bag was full of juice- the ham's juice- rendering it so dry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ugh!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Never again. I'm going to stick with a loose tin foil cover from now on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          oops! i know one is supposed to add liquid tor making roasts. i wouldn't use the baking bag just to heat up a cooked ham. sorry it is dry!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          did you save the liquid and make a gravy? i see ground ham salad as a possibility for the ham. ham and bean soup. ham and peas with alfredo sauce on pasta. julienned ham in cream cheese scrambled eggs. gumbo! (i've rescued some large ham slice that had gotten dry in fridge by gently warming in a skillet with some pork/veggie bouillon, and then added water enough to cook some grits in the skillet -- quick grits).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          life gave you a dry ham, make ham-o-nade! ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Definitely plan on making the best of the leftovers. DH heated the ham, and he threw out the liquid.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Darn! Really good idea to have kept it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The leftovers will make for great dishes. That and the fact that I bought the ham on sale for $1.49/lb makes it hurt a bit less!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              did you have a bone-in? even if it was bone-in, you got a great price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and then there's always ham and split pea soup. at the evening it is nippy enough to enjoy this soup even now here in NOVA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It was semi boneless, and I definitely wanted the bone for future use.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Funny, we ran into our neighbor at the Giant and she'd just come from picking up a ham at Costco.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                She was disappointed to find such a low price at Giant!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Plus, the sale hams qualified for 4x gas rewards, so I was really pleased.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, btw, DH did save the ham juices!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and THAT'S why you married the right man. boom!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i find sale prices at local stores to be as good as (on the whole) costco. in fact, i should go to harris teeter to see if they marked down hams post-easter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Hollandaise, made in the microwave - I've lost the "knack" and the last 3 - 4 batches have separated to be scrambled egg in butter. I though it was due to a change I made to use more lemon juice, less water. But yesterday's attempt with what I though was a tried & true recipe, carefully-measured and closely- timed was still a fail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm going to get a dozen eggs and experiment with the stovetop version. It's asparagus season and sauce is such a nice addition for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've done stove top once, then tried the blender version, and don't plan on going back.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I once made the mistake of reheating my hollandaise in the micro- whoopsie- scrambled eggs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Still ate it though- it tasted good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For reheating, I make a pseudo double boiler with a small pot (an inch of water) and a collapsable veggie steamer which holds the bowl containing the sauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cover with tin foil and steam until heated through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I like this chef confessional….

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For Lent, tried to bake fish but used too much lemon juice because I dislike the "fishy" smell through the house and thought that would help. Also, planned to lightly coat it with cornmeal but discovered I had none and improvised with (gasp!) bisquick and some cayenne pepper. It baked a thin, mushy biscuit layer around the fish. The fish was done but the flour concoction was not. I actually ate it because I hate to waste. Bummer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: foodcompletesme

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I boil cinnamon sticks when I cook fish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Gets rid of the smell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Not really a "fail" but certainly dumb and annoying. On Easter I burned the sugar/butter/spice topping for candied sweet potatoes - twice! I've figure I've made candied sweet potatoes using the same recipe about 100 times (about 3 times a year for 30 years), and this is the first time I ever burned the "candy". Then on top of that, when I was scraping out one of the cooled pans, the hardened burned sugar layer scooted across the pan and crashed into a million pieces all over the floor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Springhaze2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I overbeat my whipped cream yesterday as I was getting desserts plated to the point that it was pretty much sweet butter. All I needed was a small dollop to garnish each plate along side some cheese cake and fresh berries, so not a disaster but so stupid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I purposefully over whip my cream all the time. I like it better don't know why.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Did you really make butter like where the water separated out?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Siegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, the water didn't separate but it lost all of its fluffiness. It was perfect and then I realized that I needed to add a bit of vanilla and sugar; I should have stirred them in by hand but was multitasking and decided just to use the electric mixer. It still tasted fine but the texture was off. I placed some berries and a small basil leaf in the center of each dollop on each plate, so it wasn't too obvious that it was past the stage where it formed peaks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Siegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Count me in as to liking over whipped cream as well. It is how my dad used to make it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Did the same thing on Saturday b/c I used the immersion blender instead of my usual electric mixer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I made a sweet potato pie from Fannie Farmer - I have made it before flawlessly so I know the recipe is good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I poured the mix in the crust and realized I forgot the butter - poured it out mix in butter, back in the oven

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    when I took it out of the oven I realize I forgot to add the liquor which really adds the kick to the taste

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the "tart pastry" crust is WAY too salty I don't know I don't recall using much salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the texture and flavor are off
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    its really horrid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Defrosted some miso marinated wild caught salmon yesterday. Tossed it on the grill and then got to watering the yard. The poor salmon has, shall we say, extremely overcooked and tough. We each at about half, and called it quits. Too bad. I tend to feel really bad not honoring animal protein. At least we had a lot of salad and cauliflower soup on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Aussieshepsx2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I know how you feel about wasting animal protein! It bothers me immensely too. I work at a hospital and shudder when I see all the wasted food leaving patients rooms uneaten. I feel bad for the little chickens and pigs that died for nothing : (

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodcompletesme

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          having been one of those patients, i have to say, i empathize with you about the waste, but at least in the case of the ill, it's waste through things beyond their control, not waste due to snobbery or pickiness...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodcompletesme

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What stinks is that the hospitals require the food to be served to the patients, whether they want it or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When I gave birth to my daughter, my husband brought me breakfast/lunch/dinner and snacks. I told the nurses I wasn't go to eat anything (let alone open it) and they shrugged and said they had to bring it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Such a waste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But when my mother was in hospice, they asked her if she wanted to eat, and she said "no". So they didn't bring the food to her. She wasn't right in the head then, and was answering "no" to everything. They didn't bother to think any further about it. By the time I figured out what was going on, she had been starved for about 3 days. I took her some food and she was so happy to see it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So there is a reason to ALWAYS present the food in healthcare situations, even if it isn't eaten/wanted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is a really great point.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                When you're old and/or ill, you need the fuel.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Every bit(e) counts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I understand why it's ordered and delivered. It was just a shame to see it all trashed. I showed them what I'd be eating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They couldn't get the order right either. I asked for kosher meals only, vegetarian when possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, there are a lot of broken parts in our "health" system.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's like medication- it's ordered and must be delivered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Aussieshepsx2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i'd have flaked it finely and mixed with some cream cheese to make a spread for crackers or bagels. maybe added some capers and minced shallot and a touch of worcestershire sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Yesterday, I was in what I call "cooking quicksand"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, the more you try to right the wrong, the further you sink!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I set out to steam broccoli for a cold soba salad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cooked the shit out of it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Crap.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OK, now what?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Broccoli cheese soup!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bechamel not thickening up as I'd like.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Make more roux and add to bechamel.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    New roux just won't incorporate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pull out immersion blender and blend.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OK, we have a thickened bechamel.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add almost an entire stick of shredded Cracker Barrel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bland, bland, bland.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add some other cheeses on hand, including some Pecorino.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Need I go on?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ugh!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In the end, it's decent, with some extra cheese on top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not at all what I initially envisioned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sometimes, I think the Cooking Gods curse your endevours to keep your ego in check.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i never ever get broccoli right! that's why i love the birdseye steamfresh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      which cracker barrel cheese?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A few years ago, a local store put the steam fresh on sale for 99 cents. The Birdseye website had coupons, and for some reason there was no limit on the amount allowed to print.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I bought 40 bags at 50 cents/bag

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I got that same deal, our local Acme Market had it on sale and they double coupons! Free Broccoli was had by all that month!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I hope they knew it was free!!! My family ate free oatmeal (from whole foods) for a few months

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In my house, broccoli goes from rock hard to mushy in the steamer in about 5 seconds. Or so it seems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What do you mean by "in the steamer"? I use a collapsible metal insert in a standard sauce pan to steam broccoli (and other green veggies). I typically steam for 6 minutes if cut into fairly large pieces or 4 minutes if into small florettes, and the broccoli invariably is perfectly al dente.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is what I mean - a collapsible steamer. I was being somewhat hyperbolic but it is true that I very easily can overcook broccoli.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You might try a steam-saute instead. I hate hate HATE mushy broccoli, so I usually heat a little oil in a non-stick skillet, add the broccoli with a little water (usually whatever water is clinging to it from being washed is enough) and cover it for maybe a minute, then remove the cover and saute until the water is gone. It's much easier to judge doneness this way, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No question that if you let it go too long, it's unappetizing. We are fanatics about using a timer when cooking vegetables so that they don't over cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Try this NYT granola recipe...works like a charm for me every time. I leave dried fruits out until the whole thing cools:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/hea...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Science Chick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, I'm about ready to try again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Did it again last night. I was late getting home and rushed dinner. I made sun-dried tomato cream sauce but tomato bits were too big and I didn't season it correctly. I delegated bacon frying to kid and he took them out long before they were crisp. I put them back in the skillet to refry them and then the hot bacon dressing didn't really come together properly. It was all eaten, including the spinach salad which came to work with me today, but I kept thinking, "wow, this could have been much better."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Cooking Easter pies (both sweet and savory) put a Ham pie with a yeast dough crust on the top shelf of my oven, it rose further than I thought and the top of the crust cooked onto the heating element. By the time I smelled the burning bread, it was too late

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Totally stuck!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I did my best to salvage but the oven and house smelled like burnt toast for hours

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. The LA School District coffee cake.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                so sad, what a disasterous flop :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. A couple of weeks ago I made a big batch of coney sauce that included a 46 ounce can of tomato juice. I was impatient and did not simmer it as long as the recipe suggested. I removed much of the liquid with a ladle until the consistencey was where I wanted it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The resulting sauce was like a spicy tomato soup, or a beanless, meatless chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I decided to attempt to recreate the spicy tomato soup. The result was too sweet from the onions and also too spicy. It will now become enchilada sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. tried to make a vegetable to compliment a turkey meat-loaf that was seasoned with a Jamaican curry powder - clearly I still do not understand turmeric - a rarely inedible dish - threw the whole thing away which I never do but the flavor was nothing short of gross - the curry turkey loaf was tasty enough though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Last night I attempted a pecan brittle. The directions called for melting plain sugar on medium-high heat. I knew I was in trouble when the directions said to heat until it reached an amber color... Mine looked like molten espresso. Yep, I ended up with Burnt Sugar Pecan Brittle. It weighed down the trash can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CookingAdventurer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        have you tried microwave brittle? i've done it with peanuts and didn't have to worry about the stovetop version, which spooks me a bit (because i don't want to get burnt). i'd toast the pecans in a dry skillet or oven first, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I make candy seldom, but when I searched the internet regarding burnt sugar, quite a few people recommended using the microwave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: CookingAdventurer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the only thing i'd do differently is try to spread the brittle better to make it thinner. i'll eat peanut brittle as long as i can get a bite -- even if it is with my molars! LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. My biggest fails have been equipment failure caused by me. First I have been in a small apartment kitchen for the past four months and a small stove with 4 small burners and 1 rack in the oven. I routinely turn the wrong burner on and this time I had a glass lid on the other burner so by the time I realized my food was not cooking I looked and the glass lid had tiny cracks all over it. I turned off the burner and used a peice of cardboard to move the lid off the stove. It completely shattered and fell apart then but it was all contained so I just left it to cool then threw it away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My last fail was on Easter Sunday I was making a shank end ham for my family I did not have any thing to cook it in not even a 9x13 cake pan so I bought aluminum roasting pan it came with two of them so I took the paper off the inside of the top pan and the plastic around the outside that held the two together then put the ham in and poured in dr pepper to cook it in and rubbed the outside with brown sugar and crushed pineapple then put it in the 450 degree preheated oven. I put it in and then stood thier watching mouth open, staring at the plastic on the bottom of the pan melt, drip, and then catch fire on the bottom of the oven. Finally realized thier is a fire in my oven and turned off the oven, grabbed a silicone oven mitt patted out the fire, removed the pan opened windows and ran the fan and then I had to run the plastic on the oven rack under cold water to crack it off then took It outside to smash off the rest of the plastic. Then came inside and used a steel bench scraper to remove the still warm plastic from the bottom of the oven. Finally was able to cook the ham again and had a successful dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I was (allegedly) going to teach a friend of mine how to make fresh pasta and Bolognese sauce. The semolina flour I picked up was a different brand, but I had no concerns......pasta is something I usually roll out pretty easily on a hand-cranked machine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So, here's the lovely golden dough we made....we can see it's rested, smooth like a baby's butt and we're ready to roll! Sadly, the dough is not. It goes though the 1st pass fairly easily, but beyond that, it comes apart in thin, damp clumps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No problem- thinking this is a teachable moment, I confidently say that all we need is to add a little flour. WRONG. It makes the problem even worse, and I'm confounded about how it can seem to be such a nice texture as a mass of dough, but an utter failure when getting rolled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Final hail mary was to go in the other direction and add a little water to the dough. It turned the mixture into something that resembled a snotty beach ball, and it was clear there was negligible hope of incorporating into a homogeneous mixture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The true lesson: have a well-stocked pantry. We made pasta Bolognese with lovely dry noodles that night. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The one nest of pasta that we did manage to eek out of the batch is STRANGE- dried up very quickly on the counter, so it's even more brittle than dry pasta. I might cook it up just out of torturous curiosity......and then have a new addition to the list of fails. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: 4Snisl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mmmm mmm, snotty beach ball! ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i'd have tried boiling clumps of the dough atop a pot of chicken stock, as dumplings (after all that work!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good idea! I'll remember the tip the next time I inevitably botch up my dough. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. basmati rice from trader joe's turned to mush. i'm blaming the rice, as indian store basmati is fine with my age-old technique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i'll be salvaging it by making rice pudding, which i haven't had in a gaziliion years...with some cardamom, i think, & maybe pistachios on top!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. This happens to me too frequently. Last week a buddy was over. It was a nice day and we were sitting outside, smoking cigars and eventually planning to meet up with my wife for dinner after work. He loves Bloody Mary's and so do I but I rarely make a full batch of mix @ home because my wife thinks it weird to drink then anytime but @ brunch. Anyway we emptied a #5 can of Sacramento TJ, fresh lime juice, horseradish, Whatsthishere sauce, celery salt Old Bay (my secret ingredient) & Tabasco. After tweaking it a bit it was PERFECT! The best I've ever had. Instead of leaving perfection alone & because there was a small amount of Tabasco left in the bottle that I didn't want to put back in the fridge, I added it to the mix. It went from an A+++ to a B- instantly. Now I have half a pitcher of mix I don't really want to drink.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                seafood soup!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                but i must say if you don't want a B- drink at all, then you are very particular! ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If it was the original A+++batch I would have happily drank Virgin Marys. Now I'm forced to add vodka. BTW: I'm using Kirkland vodka from Cognac, France. Smooth like butter and $20.00 for the 1.75 ltr.bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Whatsthishere sauce"... I love it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Today's cooking fail is brought to you by a novice rice user. I'm not a huge fan of rice, but wanted to make this recipe for stuffed zucchini. The recipe calls for 2/3 cups of long grain rice. It does not tell you if it is supposed to be cooked or uncooked, but after 45 minutes of simmering in the pot stuffed inside zucchini it was still rock hard. I took it out of the zucchini, and chopped the zucchini and after an additional hour of cooking, the veggies are all completely broken down, and the rice is al dente. The sauce is good, even with mushy veggies, but I think I must have eaten too much bread in the mean time and too much undercooked rice, because my tummy hurts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SarahCW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    add a little hot chicken stock, cook till it is absorbed, and call it risotto. ;-). just add a knob of butter and some good pecorino romano or parmesan cheese at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I just tried to make an ethiopian cabbage dish, and hated it. I think I just don't like turmeric, or put in too much. I've had something like it in restaurants and it was good. But I found my attempt inedible. The dog liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, this is very old history, but when I was around 8 or so, I made my birthday cake (orange cake mix, my favorite at the time) with bright green frosting. My plan was to make the cake look unappetizing so that my brother and sisters would not want it, more for me. This backfired, I found it so disturbing all joy was gone. Nobody ate that cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Not recent but my first. When I was bout 12 (1962)I made a batch of Oatmeal Raisin Cokkies from the recipe on the Quaker Oats box. The came out nothing like the ones my mom made. They were flat and kinda gritty.When my mom came home I asked her what I did wrong. In a motherly way she asked me "Honey, did you put the oatmeal in?" Dah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I got some sourdough starter from a friend, and was so excited to try it out. Weighed out the ingredients and everything. Fail. Tried again with a slightly different recipe. Fail again. Gave up measuring and did it by eye - finally success! (I rarely measure, and treat recipes as guidelines, for everything else, and now for bread too.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I managed to mess up a boxed cake mix recipe. I forgot to add the water. It turned out fine though!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Well I did it again last night

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            made a leek and rood veg soup - puree with immersion blender and the end result

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            taste like dirt - eating dirt - I have to assume its the leeks which I sliced and soaked and rinsed but I must not have gotten the grit off - UGH - the fact that the soup is relatively flavorless I could fix but the actual sandy texture Is too much - I don't think I can strain it out so its going to be grit my teeth and bear it or toss - ARGH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sorry JTPhilly - that sucks. If you have a hair sieve, then you might be able to strain the broth if it wasn't pureed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                nope its pureed and then some - and the worst part - its not the first time I did this, I really thought I did a good job cleaning the darn leeks too but everything else was peeled so it had to be them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MMMM sand soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Adding Leeks to Tumeric and fluff rice and on my list of culinary nemesis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This used to be a huge problem for me too....check out this video where Jacques Pepin demonstrates how to clean and chop leeks (leek part starts ~2:30). Using this approach, I have eliminated this problem!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.marthastewart.com/913923/j...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Science Chick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's an awesome video.....he has such good knife skills.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  usually you can't taste dirt but like you said 'grit your teeth' can feel it. I find dirt taste always comes from a dried herb of some kind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. I kinda failed last night by using too much coarse salt in the cole slaw. but I redeemed it by adding much of all the opposite flavors plus more cabbage. ate it again tonight and again my husband said how good it was (I was hiding in shock).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I recently tried to make potato bread. Thought I would try an old recipe (about 100 years old) from the Google newspaper archive. The dough seemed real sticky and gluey. Probably too much of a ratio of mashed potatoes to flour. While baking, the loaf collapsed and sunk in the middle, making a really dense, doughy loaf. After trying a slice, the loaf went into the trash. Back to the drawing board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. A failed broccoli salad last night that I rescued, sort of: I'd clipped the recipe from the NYT years ago but never made it before. Wanted to do something different and summery. The recipe called for tossing raw broccoli florets with red wine vinegar, then sautéeing garlic and cumin in olive oil, adding sesame oil and red pepper flakes, and then adding the warmed oil mixture to the broccoli, allowing it to marinade for a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The first problem arose when I went to add a few shakes of the red pepper flakes: the plastic shaker top was not fixed in place, so it fell into the oil, along with 2x as much as pepper as required. Fished the shaker-top out and figured that the pepper flakes were old so probably not that strong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      After the dish had been marinating for an hour, I tasted and the favors were overly strong of the cooked oil mixture -- with a very strong garlic flavor and none of the astringency of the vinegar. To brighten it, I first added some lemon juice and pieces of sweet (yellow) peppers. That helped but the cooked olive oil flavor was still too dominant. Then added some extra virgin olive oil, rice wine vinegar, and finally, after more tasting, some grated carrots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Final results were edible but about half was leftover and it got tossed. Oh well. Weekends are when I try new recipes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. a couple "dont's" from my efforts last night

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        don't buy seasoning packets for the cool graphics when they don't have instructions in English

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        don't try to add some smoky flavor by placing a dried sprig on one side of your gas grill

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        unless your desired result is charred skin undercooked chicken and potatoes boiled in dirt flavored water

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I tried to use up some seasoning packets I bought at the Russian grocery - one with a pic of potatoes one with chicken - the potato one did nothing - I think I was supposed to sprinkle on the cooked potatoes rather than season the water? who knows - the chicken I will never know as I decided to burn some dried sage on the flame side of the grill while the chicken baked on the off side - closed the top and walked away - this made a big grease fire and the rest is history as is the chicken. At least the sautéed chard came good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I decided recently to jump on board the 'made with something other than basil' pesto bandwagon. I had a bunch of kale in the fridge that wasn't inspiring me in any other way, so I decided to give it a shot. Googled a few recipes to get ideas and then headed into the kitchen to improvise based on the recipes I'd read.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          All looked good - it was a lovely bright green color. Then I took a taste. OMG GARLIC! It overpowered everything! I'm a garlic fiend, so without thinking I'd tossed 3 large cloves of garlic into the food processor. Now if I were making a stirfry or even a pasta dish this wouldn't be a problem, but I'd forgotten about the rule that the finer the garlic will be cut up, the less is needed. Three cloves of garlic pureed into one bunch of kale completely overpowered it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Refusing to be defeated though, instead of tossing it 'raw' with some cooked pasta as I intended, I heated it with the pasta in a skillet and added a bit of greek cream cheese and some pasta water to turn the pesto into more of a creamy green sauce. Cooking the garlic to mellow it out worked well, that turned out to be pretty tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The refridgerated leftovers mellowed a bit, but still were pretty strong. Told myself that I will have to remember for next time that just 1 clove of garlic will suffice!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Then the next week I had 2 heads of red cabbage to get though. Out of curiosity I googled red cabbage pesto - apparently it exists! So, I decided to give that a try. Did you know that when you add an lemon juice to purple cabbage it turns this amazing shade of pinky purple? The color was something else. And yep, you guessed it, too much garlic again. I'm so used to just grabbing a few cloves that I didn't even think about it. This time I dumped it all into a container in the fridge and told myself I'd give it a day to mellow out before using it. Ten days later, I hadn't even touched it - I couldn't get past that color! I finnally dumped it down the garbage disposal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lesson learned.. less garlic. Kale pesto good, red cabbage pesto, not so much.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JasFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LOL - I recently made a kale pesto due to being a bit over-kaled and opposite you I forgot the garlic entirely -which I realized on first bite - tasted like approximately nothing- meh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I baked what should have been a blueberry ricotta custard cake substituting mascarpone for the ricotta, because I was too lazy to go to the store. BIG mistake! When I took it out of the oven, and even more when I removed from pan, it was dripping with grease! Yuck! Too much fat, the cake couldn't hold it all. Inedible. My first inedible cake. (I made with ricotta a week later and it was excellent.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Had an epic brain cramp yesterday:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Decided to make a recipe I had saved for a cake topped with a peach and berry compote for a dinner party. I'd never made it before, which violates one of my basic rules of entertaining, but it looked pretty simple. Anyway, I made the cake fine and was preparing the compote. As I added the slurry of corn starch and water to the sweetened peaches, the whole mixture started foaming. Realized that the box of "corn starch" was in fact baking soda. Took one taste and it was awful. So the whole peach mixture went down the disposal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Went to plan B, which was just to top the cake with fresh berries as I had no more peaches. Realized that the cake, even with whipped cream on top, would be a bit dry without the sauce from the compote so I improvised a berry sauce, blending some blueberries with raspberry jam, cranberry-orange relish, lemon juice, and a bit of blueberry syrup. So it worked out ok.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Realized that the box of "corn starch" was in fact baking soda."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Whoops! Good save...although it must have been heartbreaking to toss those peaches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, very painful, Pedalfaster: first because I'd really been looking forward to the recipe; I love the combination of peaches and berries when both are at the peak of the season. Second because I'd bought them at the farmers market rather than the grocer; spent $6 for 6 peaches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      your save sounds quite delicious. I hate to waste food too and $1 per juicy peach down the disposal...many sad faces :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cooking 9-1-1. My friend and I thought we invented it but apparently it is widespread!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, good save!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I put baking soda into the egg whites for pavlova thinking it was cream of tartar once. I thought I got it out and went ahead and baked it, but the pav came out almost rubbery. I should have admitted defeat and whipped up a fresh batch of egg whites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Quinoa salad: fail.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was thinking of this thread recently and now that I see there are still some followers I will post my recent fail. A friend had given me a small container of southwestern flavored quinoa that needed to be cooked up. To that I added black beans and chickpeas and bite size cooked chicken pieces thinking I would create a nice, cold summer salad. I thought the southwestern flavor quinoa would be adequate flavor but it was so bland not even ranch dressing saved it. I threw out the whole bowl after trying one small portion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. last few weeks it's been fun trying to create TimBit knockoffs for hubby. different flavors and toppings/glazes. even though I 'thought' better than to do this, in the batter/dough along with the yeast etc. 'somehow'<(?) nutmeg, cinnamon and galangal went along in there too, ooops. as I thought what might happen, it didn't rise, so made another tiny batch and combined the two. that rose nicely and it sorta worked but really, I gotta think better instead of going amiss.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Timbits are doughnut holes from Tim Hortons in Canada.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yep, love the little gems as does my husband .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              like to play withl ideas of my own and sometimes they bommm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I love them, too. Haven't had one in over a decade. Doughnuts and doughnut holes in Asia just aren't... well... sometimes they're acceptable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. A close call picking basil. The friendly bumble bee that lives in the herb garden didn't want to share and I accidentally picked leaves off the pepper plant that was planted amidst the basil. They look like giant basil leaves but they don't turn dark and wilt after being julienned and added to tomato sauce. I got to pick them out one at a time. The spouse found this very amusing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Best fail to date last night

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I decided to make turkey "shepherds pie" there was not really any fat in the pan or fond to deglaze after cooking the turkey meat - which was browned with a trinity of onion, carrot and jalapeno - (some fresh garden tomatoes and blanched beet greens added just at the end) - meat mix tasted good but left nothing in the pan for "gravy"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            added butter made a roux - deglaze with white wine - here is where it went bad - no stock on hand, but I DO have the water from pressing the greens -( which is red from the beet stems) walla I can use that!, not really "worried" about the color because its going to combine with the meat in the pie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            .... but, well, a picture is worth 1000 words - I successfully made a pan of bubble gum pink glue - it tasted approximately like Elmers but without the depth!- here is a photo of the carnage after pouring most of it off (it went in the trash - I was afraid it would clog the disposal)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just knew that odd Russian packet of mushroom soup mix would come in handy - saved the day on the pie (although there is now odd grains of barley in with the meat - I cant read Russian LOL) -I am glad I pulled the plug on the "gravy" before it went too far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think you win the Interwebz today with that picture, JTPhilly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                trust me Linda - it looks better than it tasted :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It looks better than it tasted? Really????? (Sorry, JT, it doesn't look good at all!) Not to worry--you definitely win far more battles than you lose :)