Three New Experiments

Raquel StecherAbout Me
Blogger at Thoughtful Eating and Vintage Brand New. Please add my to your circles.

Hey, I'm not perfect. I never claimed that I was. In fact, there is still a lot about cooking that I need to learn. There are a lot of techniques that I need to fine tune and a lot more recipes for me to try out. Not to mention all the cooking equipment I have yet to use!

Here are a few firsty firsts. Dishes/plates I tried. I made mistakes and I learned from them. Because that's what cooking is all about. Learning from your failures and becoming a better cook because of them.

1. The Meatball Sub


Here I took small Ciabatta rolls and split them in half. I laid out 8 bottoms onto a baking pan and topped each with three meatballs, some marinara sauce and some fresh mozzarella cheese. I broiled it in the oven until the cheese was a little brown and very melty. Then I placed the tops back onto each sandwich.  I really love meatball sandwiches and dream of creating the perfect meatball. Alas, the right mixture of meat, filler and seasoning escapes me. I can't quite get it right. In this sandwich, the meatballs were so-so but the combination of the marinara, fresh mozzarella and the Ciabatta bread made it a worthy meal.

2. Pulled Pork Plate


Maybe my biggest mistake was making this on a queasy stomach? I saw a recipe for Slow Cooker Chipotle Pulled-Pork Sandwiches on the Betty Crocker website and thought it would be a good last hurrah for my beloved Crockpot before I put it away until the Fall. The recipe calls for a whole pork shoulder which I intended to buy but just couldn't. I carried a shoulder with me through the grocery store and freaked out about it looking like a real body part. I put it back into the meat section and picked out another cut. I don't remember what it was but it worked. I rubbed a dry seasoning onto the pork, set it to cook in my crockpot and when I came home from work it was cooked to perfection. Soft and fall-off-the-bone-that-wasn't-there-to-begin-with. I made the sauce per the directions but I think I had too little sauce for that much meat. The coleslaw was an experiment. I tried a dressing of mayo, dijon mustard, salt and grated onion. It was so-so. I wanted to put a sprinkle of sugar but my beau fought against it as he started to devour the bowl. I really wish I had pickle slices and thinly sliced onions to go with the sandwich. And that the bread was better. The salt and vinegar kettle chips went well with the meal and the sandwich was just fine!

3. Tuna Noodle Casserole


Who the heck eats this stuff? This is the first time I have ever even tasted Tuna Noodle Casserole let alone make it. My cooking and recipe skills were at it's best here. I completely created this recipe from scratch with virtually no help. 1-1/2 bags of egg noodles, Bechamel sauce made with 2 tablespoons of flour, 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 cups of milk, a cup of frozen peas and 3 small cans of tuna. Salt and pepper to taste and a breadcrumb topping. Baked it in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes and when I opened it up to take the casserole out I was almost knocked unconscious from the bad fishy smell. Blech. When I tasted it I felt a bit strange. Like that feeling you get when someone looks at you inappropriately and it gives you the heebie-jeebies. I much prefer my tuna and pasta combo cold, not hot or warm or even room temperature. Double blech. Let's hope my beau doesn't get food poisoning when he eats the stinky leftovers.

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Have you had any recent failures or experiment gone so-so? What's the best lesson you've learned from a cooking mistake?

1 comment:

mumfusa said...

i LOVE this post! probably because i can relate to it. a lot. there are too many dishes to name that have gone haywire, but my most recent (and pungent) mistake was two fold. (1) chopping onions in preparation to caramelize them and (2) attempting to caramelize them. i used butter instead of oil or oil instead of butter. i don't know. all i know is that it ended with me waving an empty cereal box at the smoke detector in hopes it wouldn't start screeching.

it didn't.

also, i need to improve my knife skills. i cut myself last weekend and while it wasn't a nasty cut, it was a nuisance as it was on the pad of my thumb.

and that's a day in the life of my kitchen.

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