Friday, February 13, 2009

CHG’s Hall of Shame II: Even Shamier

First, there was the original Hall of Shame.

But now …

In a world …

Where sometimes, recipes don’t work out …

No matter how much you want them to …

It’s …


To celebrate Friday the 13th, we here at CHG thought we’d bring you even MORE failed recipes. See, in the effort to cook three frugal, nutritional, delicious dishes per week, we create quite a few duds.

But there’s a bright side to those failures: we can post about ‘em anyway, to let you know that we don’t write up EVERYTHING we cook. It’s gotta be good, or it doesn’t make the blog.

So, without further ado…

(NOTE: To protect the innocent, some sources have been omitted. Except Jenny Craig – she can take it.)

Meringue Cookies
Oh, man. WHAT did I do wrong here? I used the correct ingredients in the right amounts. I beat the crap out of the batter – there were stiff peaks APLENTY. I left the cookies in the oven for all two hours. They were supposed to look like this. Instead … ack (see: to the right). You need to know: The Boyfriend likes almost all food. He’ll eat anything with sugar, cheese, or barbecue sauce. (Mmm … sugared cheese with barbecue sauce…) He did not like these cookies.

White Bean Cakes
These had promise, and in the end, after a billion alterations, were somewhat vaguely edible. But as written, the recipe simply didn’t work. It called for two cans of drained beans, pureed with a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Alas, with so little liquid, the beans turned to spackle in my food processor, and I had to triple the juice just so they would budge. Still, if you need to repair a hole in the wall with something citrus-scented, it’s highly suggested.

Pommes Anna
This was actually very tasty and so, so pretty. You might ask, “What’s the problem then, jerk?” Sadly, the portions were teeny-tiny. The Boyfriend and I polished off the whole thing in a single sitting, meaning we ingested almost 24 grams of fat each. Great if you don’t care. Not-so-great if you write a blog about healthy eating.

Pumpkin Spice Scones
These baked wonders from Eggs on Sunday were another case of Should Have Done the Numbers beforehand. Delicious, though, and a nice treat if you don’t mind the extra calories.

Mushroom Bruschetta
Oh, Jenny Craig. After I praised you and your floppy hats, why did you dis my kitchen with your dry, pedestrian bruschetta? Granted, it wasn’t inedible. But it was more boring than a Counting Crows concert. And by god, I didn’t think there was ANYTHING more boring than a Counting Crows concert.

Broiled Grapefruit
This was entirely my fault. I tipped over the grapefruit halves in the broiler, causing all the sugary, buttery toppings to spill out. They immediately congealed at the bottom, burning into a pile of black bubbly goo not unlike the La Brea Tar Pits. (We even found a dinosaur femur in the pan later.) And with the sugar gone, all that was left was warm grapefruit. Fail.

Tunisian Chickpea Soup
My fault again. On the bright side, I did find out that red curry paste should never, ever be substituted for chili sauce. But only after the burning subsided. Good times.

Chickpea Puree
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Like hummus, only blander.

Sweet readers, what’ve you messed up lately? Do tell.

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Ali said...

Black bean brownies.... after reading a number of tasty sounding recipes I decided to take an adventure and make something really weird. Unfortunately I didn't realize H had eaten all the eggs until after I started blending, mixing, etc. Well, I happened to have a package of flax meal that said you could replace eggs with a flax water mix and I decided to try it. Big mistake! Not only were the brownies terribly beanie, they were also really goo/jello-like. One bite and the whole pan went straight to the trash!

Jaime said...

Oatmeal pancakes. BORING. Also, when using unsweetened soy milk to replace regular milk, I think you might need to add some sugar. Whoops.

Michelle said...

I had to rehab an intensely boring tomato soup from the food tv site, with an entire head of roasted garlic and smoked paprika. Still not bad.

I am planning some broccoli cheese soup for later so disaster is anticipated.

Kelly B. said...

First of all, "dry pedestrian bruschetta" is now one of my favorite turns of phrase. I'm going to see how often I can work it into everyday conversation.

I tried to make potato and pea samosas about a month ago. The filling was delicious. But...I tried to make the dough without using a food processor, as the metal blade had cracked and Dave and I didn't feel like eating shards of metal with our dinner (that night, anyway).

How hard could it be, I thought? I made three of them with dough made m hand. I've met rocks that were softer. Ha! It was just plain bad.

mirthfairy said...

No no no, you're doing the meringues wrong. You picked one of those recipes that winds up the texture of floral foam/chalk. Blech. Try this one from this book .

1/4 c coca powder
3/4 c + 2 tbs powdered sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 tbs granulated sugar
6 oz (1 c) chocolate chips

Line baking sheets in parchment paper.

Sift coca and sugar together on sm bowl.

Beat whites w/ cream of tartar till frothy (30-40 seconds)

Gradually add coca/sugar mixture and granulated sugar to eggs. Increase speed and beat 1 min.

Scrape w/ spatula and beat until stiff peaks form (60-75 seconds)

Fold in chips.

Drop mixture in rounded tbs on sheets, leaving 1.5 in between. Allow to set for 45 mins.

Bake for 1.5-2 hrs @ 200F - less time for more chewy centers.


Jenna said...

I tried a "healthy" version of dumplings using cottage cheese in a chicken soup recipe.

Two words -

Testicle Soup.

Gray, rubbery, mottled orbs that blurped up the surface.

Had to throw the pan away in the end AND ultimately ended up ordered triple cheese pepperoni pizza and chocolate brownies to cheer myself up from that little fiasco.

Kristine said...

Don't know what you did wrong with the meringues. DH has even successfully made them before. Sorry, but that made me think they were fool-proof! We don't like them much, though. Even when flavored, they're pretty plain.

I haven't had any disasters lately, but MIL tried to kill a lasagna by not setting the oven temp right - to 250! Then she kept adding water (no-boil lasagna). In the end, the noodles were over cooked, and the sauce watery. Still edible, but disappointing (as well as late!).

Kelly said...

I thought the whole point of the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook was that the recipes were foolproof, but their black bean soup was thin and watery. (Was it because I was using cooked dry beans instead of canned?) I wound up having to add an extra can's worth of beans to make the puree thicker. And if you ever make this recipe, start with half the chili powder if you're a spice wuss like me.

Another recent recipe failure was a slow-cooker recipe for pork and white beans. The food itself was delicious, but the so-called half-hour of prep time took an hour and a half! I had to chop fresh herbs, sear the pork roast, boil a tomato-herb puree, and other stuff that one shouldn't have to do before one's first cup of coffee. I was late to work because of that.

The Blow Leprechaun said...

Not sure if this is what you were going for with your Tunisian chickpea soup, but I make this harira recipe and while I'm not normally a fan of soup, I could eat this one til the end of time.

Margo said...

um, yes. The very first time I made fried chicken. The recipe called for a 3 lb. chicken, cut up. I just dug 3 lbs. of chicken parts out of my freezer. But those parts must have been from a MUCH bigger chicken (or turkey??) because it was way underdone and too bloody to eat until slammed into the oven. My preschooler still screeches "I see blood, Mommy" when I serve chicken. sighhhh

Sara said...

My most fantastic fail ever: Cigarette stew. I struggled for years with stew-making, it was either watery, greasy, mis-seasoned, too thick, I thought i had made every mistake. But oh no, there was one more to make. I forgot to add the flour to the stew, it had been simmering for about 20 mins, so I decided I could just throw it in the hot stew, give it a stir, and all would be well. The flour all sunk to the bottom, stuck to the pan, and then burned. Its a weird sight to see smoke billowing out of a liquid, let me tell you. The result was a Guinness Beef Stew that tasted like I had thrown a pack of Marlboro's in for flavoring. It is my biggest cooking disaster yet!

Jessie said...

My fault: I had lime basil in the garden this year so I made lime pesto. Great idea if it's not cooked - however when put into a quiche it makes lime fruitloop quiche. I ate it, but it wasn't as fun as fruitloops.

eatclosetohome said...

I'm trying to learn to cook on/in the fireplace. 'nuff said. :)