Disasters Archive

Friday, November 2, 2007

caramelized brown butter rice krispie treats

caramelized brown butter rice krispie treats

Salted. Browned butter. Caramelized. Rice Krispie Treats. Surely, you can’t hold it against me. Who could resist? These are some of the most enchanting words in the dessert lexicon. I am weak within the earshot of them. And if you can imagine my husband–in his predictable but lovable answer to everything–whispering in my other ear that chocolate chips would really make these babies sing (fine, he doesn’t talk like that, but guess who has the last word here? nya-nya!), you can pretty put together the story of how we ended up with this.

caramelized brown butter rice krispie treats

Let’s jump right into the Lessons Learned, shall we?

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

over-the-top (irksome) quiche

quiche crust

Oh, hi. Did you miss me? Are you hoping for a new you’ve-got-to-make-this-omg recipe today? Well, I’m sorry, because apparently the flan was just the beginning of a string of cooking failures. It’s a shame because I was really excited about this one. First, it was quiche, and real women, you know, eat quiche. Second, it had two pounds of mushrooms in it, and I have a mushroom story (no, not that kind!) I have been meaning to tell you for a year, and this would have been my perfect chance to share it. Third, it was a Thomas Keller recipe, and although I may not be his number one fan, I hear that the man can really cook. Finally, it was called “over the top” and if there is one thing I can’t say no to, it’s a dish a simple as quiche made into something absurdly involved.

Okay, I was kidding on that last part. Or was I? As you can see, this cooking experience has left me all sorts of wobbly. The truth is that I knew it would be ten times fussier than your average dough + filling + bake = quiche but I was intrigued. The photo on Food & Wine looked so towering. Nobody would ever write a mocking tome about it.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

flan flop


1 a.m. Saturday, I texted Alex to say: “Being dragged to M Shanghai now. Flan was an inedible disaster. Will turn in cooking credentials now.”

Really people, it was that bad. My friend Molly took one look at it, pushed it away, and said, “I think I’ll skip this one. Sorry, Deb.” Jocelyn had one bite and pronounced that “This is the first thing that you have ever cooked that I actually didn’t like.” Darren smartly pretended he was too full from dinner to try it. And I nibbled on my spoonful, trying to figure out how something with such glorious flavors as rum, coconut, caramel and vanilla–from a batter that smelled so good, I wanted to wear it as perfume–could go so horribly awry. Oh, and then I drank some bourbon and forgot about it.

But it’s Sunday now, and I demand answers. To rewind, Jocelyn was making turkey tacos for dinner (which were delicious, by the way) and I wanted to make a flan for dessert. I scoured my cookbooks and cooking websites, deciding to (danger! danger!) combine two recipes to get what I desired, namely a dreamy coconut, caramel and rum flan with a real caramel layer on the bottom (or top, once you flipped it out of the pan).

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Monday, April 2, 2007

mixed berry pavlova

miniature pavlovas

I think it pretty much goes without saying that I wasn’t going to be allowed to show up to my parent’s seder tonight without one of these, but when my mother came down at the end of last week with both bronchitis and conjunctivitis in both eyes, did not consider this, perhaps, a sign from above that she would be given a pass on the thirteen-guest dinner tonight and insisted upon foraging ahead, she asked if I could attack the second dessert we’d decided upon–the mighty pavlova–as she wanted to wait until she was no longer contagious to start cooking. I thought that was mighty considerate of her, and of course, had been chomping at the bit to make it anyhow, so I didn’t mind.

plumes of shiny egg whites

Pavlovas are one of those things that I’d never heard of three months ago but have heard about almost weekly since. There was Nigella’s with passion fruit on her new show, Ina Garten’s mixed berry version and her subsequent mention that it would be included in her last meal on earth, no small feat for a woman known for starting every recipe with “beat a pound of butter in a mixer.” But the clincher was Shuna’s gorgeous guest-post on Simply Recipes a couple weeks back, and its step-by-step photos. What better to counterbalance the riches of thick swaths of whipped cream between layers of dead-serious chocolate cake but a giant meringue piled with fresh fruit? And why had I not thought to make this for Passover before?

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

caustic confit

lemon confit shortbread tart

When I first saw a recipe for a Lemon Confit Shortbread Tart in Wednesday’s New York Times, I was still too deep in my cooking-failure funk to consider trying my hand with it, although I did say out loud and to nobody in particular, “Well, doesn’t that look nice?” But when making weekend plans with my parents and my mother told me that she’d seen some lemon tart in the paper and really wanted to make it, I knew it was destiny, and secretly rejoiced that it would be someone else coughing up for nine lemons.

lemon confit

And what’s not to love? Shortbread, double-crusts, Mom’s ancient fluted tart pan and lemons, from pulp to pith and peel all sound sounded so irresistible. I have been absorbed with this “whole lemon” cooking concept since I made a sorbet last summer that involved exactly that, ground with sugar, and frozen with pureed fresh strawberries. It’s the best recipe to have graced my ice-cream maker to date.

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