I’m a big fan of Simply Ming on PBS (in fact, I’m just a big fan of cooking shows on PBS in general).
But Simply Ming seems to be one of the only platforms on TV where real, heavyweight chefs can come and showcase a dish (Daniel Boulud and Shaun Hergatt were recent guests). And he always starts the show with a cocktail, usually something simple and elegantly-made, which he offers to the guest before they get cooking. When pastry chef extraordinaire Johnny Iuzzini was on the show recently, Ming made him one of his favorite cocktails–a cocktail that Johnny said he always orders at a new bar to see if they make it right–a simple daiquiri with white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup.
Something about that combo really intrigued me (and also the fact that it’s a classic cocktail) so the next time I was at Barkeep in Silverlake, I picked up a bottle of white rum, the one you see at the top of this post. I had the limes, I had the sugar and water, I also had (foreboding music) the cocktail shaker.
The bar was set very low. I wanted to recreate the Olive Garden chocolate cake that we used to get for our non-birthdays, growing up (non-birthdays because my parents would lie and say it was somebody’s birthday so we’d get a free cake) and would keep in our refrigerator for the week. I’d eat it cold with a glass of milk and it always hit the spot. I wanted something simple like that, so I turned to Twitter. A follower suggested I make the chocolate cake on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa container. I was sold.
We all mistakes in the kitchen, even those of us who’ve been cooking ten years or longer. My mistakes are all documented here on the blog: The Pound Cake That Threw Up. The Fried Chicken That Wasn’t Crispy. The Blueberry Disaster.
In all of these cases, the food was salvageable. The pound cake went back into the oven, the chicken was edible if not exactly crunchy, and the blueberry innards tasted OK over ice cream. But last week I made a dinner so repulsive, so awful, it could only go one place: the garbage disposal. Here’s what happened.
Look, I’m going to level with you. These are pretty pictures I took last weekend, on a Sunday morning, after I’d made coffee for myself and read the Sunday New York Times and decided I wanted some breakfast. In the refrigerator, I had leftover English Porridge from April Bloomfield’s cookbook, with its great salty sweet kick. Instead of heating it back up, I thought: “What if I turn it into pancakes? Oatmeal pancakes?” Seemed reasonable enough.
No good deed goes unpunished; or, in my case, no attempt to craft a timely, seasonal post–this one for Valentine’s Day–goes un-disastrously.
I’m not usually that kind of blogger, but this time around I thought, “Well, why not have a beautiful, chocolatey Valentine’s Day-oriented dessert on my blog for Monday morning? What harm could that cause?” Clearly: lots of harm.
What’s there to say when you burn your sticky buns? It’s a pretty unkind thing to do. On a Sunday morning, you pique everyone’s interest with rumors of sticky bun making; then you roll them, pop them in the oven, and fill the apartment with a wonderful smell. And then you burn them. What kind of a person are you? Not a very good one, I imagine.
When Craig’s parents stayed with us last year for Craig’s graduation, they were very amused to come home one day to find me in the kitchen candying orange peel for no reason. “Do you just do that?” asked Julee, Craig’s mom. “Decide to make something just for the heck of it?”
Pretty much! And that’s precisely what happened last week when Craig left to rehearse a friend’s screenplay reading (a reading that actually features one of my READERS who introduced herself to Craig at the rehearsal; hi Meg!) and I decided to make bananas flambé.
Let’s be honest–you get a bit of a thrill when I screw up, don’t you?
Lord knows I’ve screwed up enough on this blog to justify its name, and here are a few of my favorite disasters.