Friday Fuck-Up: One Giant Cookie

Last week I was feeling down about life in general, not to mention, I was getting over the flu and had both sinus and ear infections. I needed a pick-me-up.

Now, I don’t bake. I know a lot of people say it’s my fault because I’m not trying hard enough or I’m not paying enough attention BUT REALLY SOMETIMES I DO EVERYTHING and even study the molecular science behind baking and it just doesn’t work for me.

But I’m not a quitter. At 10pm, once my roommates went to bed, I decided to embark on a new adventure: sugar cookies. I’ve successfully made cookies before, and I figured these can’t be that difficult, right?

Wrong.

Now of course I started with frozen butter, so I cut up the frozen sticks into slivers, put them on a plate, then mashed them with the warmth of my hands until the butter was warm enough for the cookies. That’s dedication, yo.

The dough came together and I did everything the recipe said, including rolling the dough in sugar and pressing it down all fancy-like with a glass.

As I was sitting there, proud of myself, thinking “THESE ARE GOING TO BE THE BEST COOKIES EVER,” I noticed a strange smell. Oh, it was smoke. COMING FROM MY OVEN.

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Friday Fuck-Up: Spinach Salad with Water Dressing

Bennett, in a post-hangover primal urge, ordered a pepperoni and onion pizza. After flipping through a few cookbooks (Cook with JamieThe Ginger Pig Meat Cookbook, Cook This Now) earlier that day, I wanted to be in the kitchen. But only for a second.

I washed some spinach and let it drain in a colander. I also threw in some flat-leaf parsley and—my latest experiment—carrot tops. I’ll stop there for a second. While buying said spinach, which was next to the carrots, at Truck Patch’s stand at the farmers market, there was a whole stack of carrot tops. Without carrots.

Apparently someone didn’t want the tops, so somehow they got chopped off and they were just sitting on the table. Looking pretty sad and lonely, actually.

That’s when I remembered this article touting the uses of vegetable parts usually discarded, like cauliflower leaves and apple cores. I asked what could be done with them and the lady said “juicing.” I didn’t have a juicer, but she gave them to me anyway. They tasted exactly like carrots. I know it’s not shocking, but it was kinda weird not to be eating an actual carrot and still tasting a carrot. Almost like smelling strawberries in wine and knowing strawberries never actually touched that drink. (I just watched Sideways, go with it.)

I finally get to the fuck-up after the jump.

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Friday Fuck Up: The Failed Unitasker and Nuclear Peppers

Maybe they were just doomed from the start.

My mom’s colleague in Texas sent us this pepper holder for the grill. I went over for dinner last night and she decided we’d try it out with some grilled jalapeno poppers. She cored the jalapenos (with the jalapeno corer) and stuffed the peppers with manchego cheese.

What you can’t see in the picture is how many times the damn things fell out of the holder. First, my dad put it on the grill the wrong way, so the legs of the holder fell through the grates and the peppers went everywhere.

Even after that though, every time we moved it, another one tumbled down onto the grill. All three of us kept scrambling to pick them up before the cheese melted onto the grates. As soon as one went in, another would fall out. We chalked this up to the peppers being too big for the holder (TWSS?) or our Pennsylvanian inability to figure out this device.

We left it on the grill for 30 minutes and the peppers remained pretty crunchy. I tried one and my mouth was on fire, like, running into the kitchen to drink milk out of the carton, on fire. We gave up on the grill and put them on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for another 20 minutes.

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Friday Fuck Up: Savory Yogurt Dinner

I often make my fiance buy a large tub of Greek yogurt when he makes his weekly milk and cereal run to the grocery store. I know not what I will do with said yogurt, but I know I will put the thick substance to use, be it mixed with fruit for lunch or turned into a sauce over a grain and vegetable salad.

But I’ve never thought about substituting chunks of eggplant, cucumbers and oven-dried tomatoes instead of peaches, blackberries and blueberries. And I should have stuck with that.

Instead, I shredded cucumbers into the yogurt, tossed in diced eggplant and roughly chopped oven-dried tomatoes. I sprinkled in salt and pepper and lemon thyme. During this incorporating period, I thought I was genius.

Then I took a few bites. It wasn’t terrible to start, but it just didn’t work. Especially the tomatoes. The tang of tomatoes and the extra oil that still clung to them made for a uncomplimentary creamy versus acid nightmare.

Both the Indians (raita) and Greeks (tzatziki) somehow make yogurt work at dinner, but this part German girl just couldn’t swing it. Any ideas how to turn yogurt savory?

 

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Friday Fuck Up: How Not to Squeeze a Fried Egg into a Panini Press

“Can you find a use for this?” Nick, more told me than asked me, as he ditched two leftover baguettes at me and market manager, Rebbie, as the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market was closing up.

I slathered goat cheese on the baguette when I got home, topping it with a tomato, for an easy after-market lunch before a good deal of napping took place. The next day I had plenty of baguette left. It hardened by then.

How could I use it: croutons, french toast, bread crumbs… Nothing excited me. I then remembered the panini press that’s been sitting in my apartment unused for about, well, since I moved into my apartment 4 years ago.

I wanted to squeeze a fried egg into this breakfast panini. Because really, how could I eat a sandwich before noon without an egg? The sandwich turned into an elaborate kitchen mess: sauteing garlic scapes with spinach, browning sun gold tomatoes, tearing basil, shredding smoked cheddar and baking bacon.

The problem I realized is the width of the baguette. There  was no fucking way all of this would fit.

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Friday Fuck Up: Bobby Flay I’m Not

Sometimes, you can pinpoint the exact moment when a dish goes wrong. Other times, you get to the end, give the food a taste, and think, “What the hell happened?!” And then, there are the times when things are bad, bad, bad, from start to finish. And even though you see it coming, you are powerless to stop it. Yep, that was me in my attempt at a chile rellenos of sorts.

It began with a trip to LA Mart in Silver Spring, my favorite spot for out-of-season produce from exotic locales. I usually stop in sometime during the dead of winter when I just can’t eat one more carrot. This time, I picked up some pointy, green, poblanno-esque peppers, figuring I could stuff them, cover them in cheese and call it a dinner.

I got home and the trouble began. I roasted the peppers on the stove, where they got all blistery and black looking. Not sure if that was good or not, but I soldiered on. The recipe I used directed me to scrape off the black bits and core the peppers, leaving a nice, smoky shell. What I ended up with were several limp, slimy green sheets. But I continued. The filling would redeem them, I figured. Plus, they would be covered in cheese.

The filling was about what you’d expect—black beans, tomatoes, spices—with one addition: grapefruit. A bit odd, I thought, but I was willing to give it a try. It could be one of those surprisingly delicious combinations, like pickles and cream cheese wrapped in corned beef.

Nope. It was just bad. It was hard to nail down what exactly was bad about it, which means it was also impossible to correct. But I now had about four cups of the stuff, so I stumbled blindly on. I “stuffed” the slimy pepper sheets with the grapefruit-black bean blend.

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