Thursday, August 19, 2010

triumphs and disasters

So I have now made a handful of blogs and given some pretty good information and tips (i hope anyways). I thought I might take a few moments and tell you about a few of my greatest cooking triumphs and some of my kitchen disasters!! For your reading pleasure..don't laugh at me to long!!!

My greatest triumph EVER was cooking an entire thanksgiving meal BY MYSELF! My husband (boyfriend at the time) actually told me that if my dressing didn't compare to his mother's then he was breaking up with me!! haha. He was joking of course! Or at least I think he was. I cooked my first turkey, home made cornbread dressing, gravy, broccoli and cheese casserole, corn pudding, fresh cranberry sauce (from scratch), sweet potato pie (2 of them) and a chocolate truffle. I bought frozen rolls that I cooked in the oven, though. I can't do it all! (but unfortunately, i did not get any pictures of this feast, because i did not actually get a camera until christmas the next month...meh)

We even invited his family over to eat and watch the football game that was on that weekend. I was SO nervous. But everything turned out great! His mother enjoyed it and that made me so happy! But most importantly, my man liked it! Our relationship was saved by a thanksgiving meal. What a story to tell the children, huh?

Another big triumph for me was for a "dirty santa" party we have had every year for the past four years. I did the traditional ham and all the fixings, similar to my thanksgiving meal. But the thing that I was most proud of, was my fruit platter...

It only consisted of green and red grapes and strawberries, but i used a pineapple, grapefruit, orange, and lemon, to make the bowls for the different kinds of fruit dip. It turned out great and everyone, including me, was impressed!

I have not ever had a HUGE disaster in the kitchen, though I have messed up a few times. Cooking has always come pretty natural to me. But not to long ago I invited my very dear friends, Cole and Amy over for supper. I was cooking chicken and dumplings from scratch. Making my own dumplings and boiling and de-boning a chicken.

I had made it several times before and had no worries. Cole loves home made chicken and dumplings, but Amy never really liked them. She said she wanted to try mine though, because she loved my cooking. I had everything prepared and was adding the dumplings to the broth when they arrived. Everything was going well until I started to smell a "burnt" aroma. I went in and tried stirring my dumplings and could feel the bottom of the pan was caked with burnt dumplings. I emptied the dumplings into another container, but the damage was done. The burnt flavor had already soaked into the chicken and it was AWFUL! I was not thinking when I started cooking and grabbed my biggest pot. It was stainless steel and was pretty old. Needless to say, we ordered pizza that night! Hello domino's!

Now i am going back quite a few years. My senior year in high school, I was taking some kind of job related class that let me leave school early to go to work. I didn't really have a job, i just liked getting out of school! lol But i did love the class. During one part of the class we learned how to garnish foods and make different things out of fruits and veggies. Which is were i gained the knowledge to make the fruit platter from my earlier story (see picture) After a couple weeks learning the tricks about garnishing, we were put in to teams and had to design a fruit or veggie platter and the teaching faculty was going to vote on the best. My team (or should I say, just me, because the guy i was paired with didn't care to do anything) decided to make apple swans and neat bowls out of lemons, oranges, and bell peppers. We filled the bowls with fruit and veggie dip. The arrangement was stunning and the food was yummy. My platter was picked out of about 15 different platters, and I won 1st place! WOOT! yeah I was pretty stoked. That moment told me what I really wanted to do. Impress people with food! Here is a picture an apple swan:

And one more of my disasters...

Not too long after Jared and I started dating, I decided to do something a little different for dinner. I had never cooked boneless pork chops before, and thought it was as good a time as any. I started looking through all of my cookbooks and magazines looking for recipes. I eventually ended up on the internet looking, because i needed something with a picture. For some reason, I needed to see what the words were trying to describe to me. (its a wonder i didn't fail my English classes) And also i wanted to what "looked" good. I came across a Paula Deen recipe, if i remember correctly, that was an orange glazed pork chop. The glaze being made from real oranges and juice. Not the fake ones, ya know, cuz so many people get those confused. O.o

I wrote down my list, went to the store, and couldn't wait to surprise my hunny with such an "elegant" meal. I was reading over the recipe and measuring out my ingredients getting ready to cook the chops. I got to the seasonings, and thought to myself "that is not enough seasoning for all this meat." So I literally more than quadrupled the amount of seasoning!! (and just for the record...I will reiterate that I never cooked pork chops, and also add that the only meat I had actually witnessed being seasoned were ribs. and they RUB THAT STUFF ON THICK!!!)

So anyways...back to my chops...

I started rubbing all the spices into my pork chops to let them marinate, just like i had seen people do with ribs. Do not ever do that by the way. The chops were so nice and golden brown and looked great next to those oranges. Jared and I were so anxious to sit down and enjoy the meal together...i had never been so disgusted by something in my entire life! UGH! horrible...horrible i tell you!!! And Jared, trying not to hurt my feelings, said "its not that bad." and ate it anyways. bless him! just FYI...the "leftovers stayed in my fridge for a few days untouched, and then hit the trash!!

So anyways...hope you enjoyed this little read, and I also thought that I might leave you with a little "food for thought":

Never be afraid to experiment in the kitchen. Dont always follow a recipe, get creative. Season and taste as you go, and most of all....HAVE FUN!

til next time...

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