Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Water for Chocolate and other Kitchen Calamities

I thought I was doing pretty well in the kitchen. Over the holidays, I made several roasts and some really delicious side dishes like roasted vegetables, homemade cranberry sauce, creamed parsnips, and some tasty soups. I even came up with a delicious pumpkin smoothie recipe. All was going well until a string of semi disasters happened - three, to be exact, which makes perfect sense, since they say things happen in threes. The first calamity was the frozen vegetable debacle. I had set aside some snap peas in ziplock bags in the freezer, thinking I was being thrifty, in that we were going out of town and in no way would consume said bag of snap peas before departing. Upon arriving back home, I was feeling particularly savvy as I whipped out the frozen peas and tossed them into the microwave for dinner. Much to my dismay, they came out as soggy as a pair of socks in a rainstorm. Yuck! How did all that water get in there? I was/am baffled.

The second calamity had to do with my attempt at Christmas cookies. With all the holiday cheer going on and article after article floating into my in box about easy recipes for holiday treats, plus the fact that my husband was treating for a brand new rolling pin, I decided it was time to attempt the sugar cookie. I had some cookie cutters in holiday shapes that I was excited about using. I followed all the directions carefully, measuring out the eggs, flour, butter, etc. with the diligence of a science student. In fact, with much more diligence than Rachael Ray, who herself admits that she does not bake, or measure...hmmm. Anyway, I chilled the dough as instructed, but it must have been in the fridge too long, because I ended up with this wad of dough on the counter that I could not tame. The rolling pin kept breaking it up into tiny pieces. Then, the dough got too warm and kept sticking to the pin! Finally I made the best of it, and for all that trouble ended up with 3 stars, 2 angels, 2 gingerbread men, and a partridge...oh wait, wrong song.

The last calamity was trying to make melted chocolate. I was trying to make the most of the pathetic batch of completed sugar cookies by immersing them in a delicious chocolate covering like I'd seen on tv once. I thought I'd save time by microwaving some deluxe organic chocolate bars I'd been saving in the cabinet. Big mistake! Within one minute, (OK, I turned away to watch the finale of "Law and Order,") the kitchen was smoking, the chocolate burnt and smoldering in the bowl, and I feared I had set off the sprinkler system in the entire apartment complex, waiting any moment for the fire department. I opened all the windows, threw the bowl into the sink, drowned the burning chocolate in water, turned all the fans on, and decided to call it a night. I've been eating the cookies anyway, so traumatized by the chocolate incident that I've decided a plain old sugar cookie is not so bad after all. Tira misu, anyone?

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