So, this blog is supposed to be about my cooking journey right? I’ve noticed that I haven’t really given you any insight into my cooking errors (yet another error on my part). Anyway, yesterday was stock day. I took a tip from Bon Appetit online, and roasted my bones first. I was so dang excited for this batch. I let is slow simmer overnight, and my kitchen smelled glorious the next morning. The broth looked rich and dark and as I lifted my spoon for a taste, it hit me. BITTER. My flippin stock was bitter! Why you ask? I added a full lemon to the stock and it bittered the shit up. I thought about this as I added the lemon, but I tossed it in anyway. I do that a lot. I foresee the cooking error before I do it, and I do it anyway. Why? WHY DO I DO THIS? It’s actually been the culprit to many a kitchen mishap. Do any of you do this too?
Anyway, in the spirit of embracing my authentic self and trying to be better, here is a list of lessons I’ve learned from kitchen mishaps:
- Don’t add a whole lemon to your stock and let it cook overnight. Maybe add just the juice at the end, or the whole lemon the last half hour, but don’t keep it in there 18+ hours.
- To get a good sear on meat, really take the time to make sure your pan is the right temp (not too hot not too cool) and really just leave it there for a few. I often get impatient and prematurely flip the meat, or put it on before the pan is got enough.
- For the love of all that is delicious don’t add food to a pan that you know is too hot. YOU.WILL.RUIN.YOUR.FOOD. I did this the other night with risotto.
- Keep your knife cuts consistent. Otherwise you will end up with overcooked and undercooked pieces in the same batch of whatever you are cooking.
- Don’t have too much going on at once. YOU WILL BURN SOMETHING. Read your recipe and plan ahead. If you are making a particularly intensive dish, take care of all of your prepping before you turn on the oven or stove. This is what the French call Mise en Place.
- Know what your ingredients taste like before you cook with them.
- When you know something is ruined, start over. I once accidentally added sweetened canned pumpkin to a batch of my pumpkin soup AND THEN SERVED IT TO GUESTS! It was terrible. I just felt bad wasting the food. In hindsight, I should have just ordered pizza instead.
- Forgive yourself. We all have our off nights/days. My cooking mishaps have made for some great laughs between my husband and I throughout the years. Ask him about my ‘Beef Stroganoff’.
I am going to certainly add to this list as time goes on. Trust me.
Want a laugh? Here are the pictures of what we call the ‘doomed Valentine’s day breakfast of 2014’. This was a clear example of having too much going on at once.
I’ve got something brewing besides my broth. I’ve been testing meal kits from various sources, and I will report my results in the next week or so. Until then happy cooking.