Uh, Oh. That didn’t work…

Misc. / March 17, 2014

You haven’t heard from me in awhile. That’s because I’ve been brooding; crying in my apron like a spoiled bowl of milk. But I’m back and willing to come clean with all of you about why.

You see, about two weeks ago I was watching #ChoppedAllStars. And even though what I’m about to share was most likely staged, (isn’t everything these days?) I witnessed #MichaelSymon as he was unceremoniously chopped from the first round because he FORGOT to use one of the key ingredients. It was Okra, folks. Who forgets Okra?

Oh, man. He’s so sweet and I felt so bad…wait, I didn’t feel bad, I felt EMPATHY! Yeah, that’s it. A deep in your gut, hole in your diaphragm, void in your middle chakra kind of empathy. You see, being a cook is like any other kind of creative endeavor; you put your whole heart and soul into it. And when you mess up, your personal failure becomes so monumental you think about selling all your spatulas and moving to an Ashram. It’s especially hard when you make a glaring error. I could almost hear Chef Samuelson quipping, “Camine, that was an obvious lapse in judgement, and I  am surprised at your culinary immaturity.” But then, I would deserve it.

Given that, I knew I had to blog about the disaster, (there were two disasters, actually,) occurring when trying to recreate a specific pie recipe whose success is eluding me. The first time I simply cooked an Epicurious version of Marie Callendar’s Sour Cream Raisin Pie too long, and the inside was much too cheese-like and not fluffy. I wasn’t even happy with the baking directions as they said to cook the crust twice as long as I actually cooked it, shy about the time at first glance. As it was, the edges were already looking like the charred remnants of a Virginia Slims cigarette so I was doomed from the start.

The second disaster was because I simply went brain dead and tried to cook the meringue on top of a pie with a layer of soft, cold whipped cream in the middle. Yeah, it was a mess. If I had just topped it with more whipped cream, I would be on my way to the pie Hall of Fame. The taste of this two layer, Blueberry, Sour Cream Parfait Pie (shown above, as an inadvertent cross section…) was wham-bam awesome. But the presentation was a soupy, melted, marbly mess. (Don’t worry, there’s photos of both bombs in the slide show below, (insert “aaacckkkggg!!! here).

The good news is that I have now realized exactly what I want to do with the pie on the next incarnation. I’ll do it, and post the recipe soon. As it is, I realize I should have shared the disaster with you much earlier, so you would understand that cooking is NOT something that is perfect every time, even if you’re good. I want you to be inspired to experiment and don’t be afraid to fill your trash can more than you fill your pantry on those days when inspiration turns to embarrassment. Reflecting now, ost-apocalypse, I am fully 10 spoons smarter and wiser. (Which is my measurement of kitchen know-how.) And that’s how every cook gets to be better, and better, and better.

Maybe it will be me up there dissing Ina Garten someday. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

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