Tag Archives: failed recipe

Hard-boiled egg

Okay, you’re all going to laugh at me this time. I apparently can’t make hard-boiled eggs. I am the laughingstock of the culinary world.

See, I wanted to make some hard-boiled eggs for salads. I used the Rouxbe method: bring cold salted water to a boil, add eggs, reduce heat to a simmer, set timer for 12 minutes, then when the time’s up place eggs into an ice bath to stop cooking and prevent the grey ring around the yolk that has been a feature of every single hard-boiled egg I’ve ever eaten. I let mine sit under running cold water because I don’t have ice in the house right now, but what the heck. If they had the grey ring, I’d live.

Left them in the fridge until dinnertime. Took one out. Cracked it on the counter. The whites were still runny, let alone the yolk!

I think what did it in the end is that my “simmer” was closer to a “poach.” I know, I know: bad chef, walking away from the kitchen before verifying the temperature. Mea maxima culpa.

Anyway, they’re back in some hot water now. (New method: put eggs in cold salted water, bring to a boil, take off heat, let sit for 20 minutes, drain and cover with cold water, let sit for 15 minutes.) They will almost undoubtedly have the grey ring. I honestly don’t care at this point.

So… there you go. My shameful confession. You may all take this brief moment to revel in your superior technique and let me know how you make your hard-boiled eggs.

Update: After the second cooking (method mentioned in penultimate paragraph), the eggs are actually perfect: hard-cooked all the way through but no sulfur ring. Yay!

Bread without yeast

You wouldn't know it to look at it, but this is a 1.5-lb loaf.

You wouldn’t know it to look at it, but this is a 1.5-lb loaf.

This, friends, is what happens when you get distracted when making your bread and use baking powder instead of yeast. The containers are about the same size, about the same color, and… yeah, I mucked this up good. This is a 1 1/2 lb loaf. It looks like a hockey puck. I bet you could even use it in the NHL or something. Sigh.

Cooking in somebody else’s kitchen

The evening of New Year’s Day, I was playing D&D. And since I was at the host’s house pretty much all day, I decided it might be nice to have some baked goods for the game. Specifically, chai gingerbread bars, because the host had indicated that he likes them, and I aim to please.

Now, this is a recipe that I’ve made quite a number of times, am quite comfortable with, and figured it wouldn’t be too much of a problem, except for one small thing: my friend isn’t a baker.

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Freezer meals: cranberry chicken and beef stew

One failure and one success! (Eh, can’t win ’em all.) To start with the failure…

Cranberry chicken

Cranberry chicken

1. Cranberry Chicken

I admit, I was worried about the cranberry chicken pretty much as soon as I put it in the bag. It’s little more than chicken, apples, cranberry sauce, an onion, and some flavoring agents (lemon, honey, etc.). It made a lot less than the other recipes, only enough for dinner for me and Marc and a half-serving of leftovers. But that’s okay, because it wasn’t very good.

It might be that we cooked it too long. The directions are for 8 hours on low, and we probably had it in the crock pot around 10, but this was clearly Much Too Long. Despite being in a slow cooker all day, the meat was tough (i.e. overcooked) and the taste was… meh. Tart and sweet, but not in a good way. We ate our portions for dinner (reluctantly), but neither of us touched the leftovers. So this one — not so much a keeper.

 

Beef stew

Beef stew

2. Beef Stew

This one, on the other hand, went quite well. It’s admittedly kind of hard to screw up beef stew (recipe here), but still. It’s always nice when things come together, especially after the cranberry chicken disaster. The taste is good, it’s very hearty, and it makes enough for dinner plus another 2-3 servings. Putting it from the freezer to the fridge last night wasn’t quite enough time to defrost it, but it’s okay. Ten hours in a crock pot means that it was fine.

The one change I’d make next time is to add some barley. There’s a lot of liquid in this recipe, and I think adding in a 1/2-cup of barley when I toss everything into the crock pot (not in the freezer bag — I don’t think barley freezes that well) would do just the trick.

In any case, we had this with some baguette for dinner, and… yum! Just what we needed on a cold day like today. This one’s a keeper.

So we’re now halfway through the recipes I made for the first batch. Still to go: fajitas, taco soup, cilantro-lime chicken, and BBQ chicken. Clearly, our meals are gonna be somewhat Mexican-inspired for the next few weeks…

Freezer meal: sausage and peppers

Sausage and peppers, bagged and ready to go into the crock pot.

Sausage and peppers, bagged and ready to go into the crock pot.

Trial #2 with the freezer/crock pot cooking was sausage and peppers (recipe here). Sadly, unlike trial #1 (coconut curry chicken), I probably won’t keep this one in my recipe book. It was… okay. Ish. Quite acidic, and the consistency isn’t the crisp, dry sausage that you like to get in sausage-and-peppers, but more, well, crock pot-y. Moist.

Also, unlike the coconut curry chicken, this one looks like it might only make 4 or so servings, even with rice. (Maybe only 3 Marc-sized servings.) We had enough for dinner for both of us with Marc taking seconds, and I’ll have enough for lunch tomorrow, and then there’s probably enough left for Marc’s lunch, and that’s it.

*shrugs* Can’t win ’em all. I’ll keep “sausage and peppers” on my list of things to make when I’ve got time to actually cook the sausage properly in the frying pan, but it won’t be on my list of crock pot meals. Oh, well. Tomorrow: cranberry chicken.

Bread machine – Russian black bread (disaster!)

Collapsed bread makes me sad.

Collapsed bread makes me sad.

Brown bread loaf #3: despite using the exact same recipe and the exact same settings as last time, this one is a poofy, collapsed monster. I can only theorize it’s the 1/4 tsp less yeast or the ridiculously high humidity. And if course in supposed to bring this to brunch today… Sigh.

Chai concentrate

For a variety of time-related reasons, I find myself needing to buy lunches for most of this week. And while I generally try to be frugal, some of the lunch deals come with tea (or, rather, coffee that I replace with tea). Now, when I’m bringing lunches from home, I have an afternoon snack consisting of a baked good and my favorite black tea from DavidsTea, Buttered Rum. But I figured if I was going to be getting bland bag tea with my meals anyway, I might as well try to spice them up.

Fortuitous, then, that my RSS reader should deliver this recipe for chai concentrate. It’s pretty simple, really: one tin of sweetened condensed milk with a bunch of spices stirred in. Conveniently, I happened to have a tin of sweetened condensed milk sitting on my pantry shelf, a relic from last Channukah when I got a book of dessert recipes, many of which called for condensed milk. I meant to bake the recipes, never got around to it, and so I had this tin of condensed milk that was looking for a use. (It’s good until September 2012. I checked.)

For one thing, I’d never used sweetened condensed milk before. Until now, I’d really only ever heard it referenced in Good Omens. (Shadwell drinks it a lot.) It’s… very thick. Much thicker than I expected. More the consistency of honey than milk. Also, it’s very sticky. I stirred in the spices and put it in a 250-ml mason jar to bring to work. (Only replacement: replaced the cardamom, which I didn’t have, with 1/4 tsp ground ginger.)

Bought some tea with my lunch and tried it out. It’s… okay. It lends the milk and sugar and a bit of spice to the tea, but it’s not really “chai.” And when you get down near the bottom, it’s very granular because of all the spices that have settled there.

Will I finish the container? Probably, given that it lasts 6 months in the fridge. Will I ever make more? Probably not.