A Year in Failures

A Year in Failures

I like to think I’m pretty up-front with you guys. When something doesn’t work, I admit it—especially on WTEB’s Facebook page, where I’ll often talk about current experiments. Many turn into blog posts, but more than a few end so miserably I can’t possibly inflict the recipe upon you. Instead, here’s a roundup of a year in fail. So, so many, it was hard to choose…

This is my most recent kitchen disaster, from just a few days ago. I had some leftover butternut squash, and after a lively discussion on the Facebook page about how to use it, I decided not to take anyone’s suggestions and just do my own thing. Bad idea. Brown Butter Banana Butternut Bacon Muffins don’t taste anywhere near as good as they sound. Come to think of it, that doesn’t sound all that good, does it? Stephen and I had a hard time choking down the one that we shared, but Harry? Oh, Harry. He ate THREE. I believe this eliminates all doubt that his eating habits are largely about contrariness. Whatever we do, he does the opposite.

Reaching further back, to last week (sometimes failures come in clusters)… After my amazing birthday dinner at Franny’s, I tried to replicate one of the dishes—a soft, creamy polenta, baked with greens and melted cheese on top. Instead of the spigarello they used, though, I subbed in broccoli rabe. Bitter, bitter, bitter. We muddled through dinner the first night, but the bitterness became so pronounced in the leftovers that we actually threw away food. Which, given our current financial situation, should tell you how bad it really was.

This bulgur pilaf seemed promising—it had broken bits of vermicelli, chopped olives, and finely diced preserved lemon. But the clumpy, gummy texture made for downright unpleasant eating.

Another pilaf that wasn’t blog-worthy. This one was mushrooms and barley, with what I think are small bits of chicken breast. Far too tomatoey is all I remember. If you could see the grimace I’m making from the sense memory of that flavor…

In July, I attempted to riff upon a very simple recipe for flatbread by Mark Bittman. I’m not sure anymore what I put in there, but it was a giant FAIL. Stuck to the pan, and what parts I could scrape out tasted like sawdust.

This was an attempt to make a quick, single-serve microwave chocolate cake. Because, frankly, this is something I need. But, um, it didn’t quite work out as hoped.

And here are a few I actually did blog about—though I spared you the recipes:

Ahh, the infamous grilled pizza.

My hamantaschen melted.

And let’s not forget my spectacular caramel sludge.

There you have it, friends. A year in failures. Hopefully 2011 won’t have quite as many.

Tonight we’re having some friends over with their daughter for a make-your-own pizza party: Lahey’s dough, with toppings that include fresh mozzarella, sweet or spicy salami piccante, olives, mushrooms, and fennel. Salad alongside, cupcakes for dessert (with strawberry frosting, which remind me to share with you because it’s amazing!), and at the stroke of 8PM, prosecco for the grownups and berry-ginger fizzes for the kids. I’m fairly confident none of that will turn out badly.

Happy New Year! How are you celebrating? And if you feel like sharing, what was your most spectacular kitchen failure of 2010?