I don’t know about the rest of you but I never follow that rule that you should test every new recipe first before serving it to guests. And generally, I don’t run into too many hiccups.
Most experienced cooks have their “quick fixes” to easily remedy impending disasters: add flour or cornstarch to a sauce/gravy to thicken it, heap fresh fruit and whipped cream into the middle of a fallen cake, throw undercooked meat back into the oven for a while longer. If a dip is turning out too garlicky, I will boil a potato and puree it before adding it to the dip.
However, there are the rare times that you just can’t rescue something…and that always seems to happen when you have a dining room full of guests and no other plausible alternatives in the kitchen.
I was there a few weeks ago. I wanted to make a refreshing summer dessert, and given my guests, I couldn’t use flour or dairy. I found a gorgeous recipe for a Prosecco & Summer Fruit Terrine on Epicurious. I carefully read through the comments beforehand and it seemed fool-proof….there was my mistake, should have done a test version!
The prosecco gelatin didn’t set in the fridge so I put the terrine in the freezer for a few hours to see if that would help. Not so much. We had frozen fruit in a semi-solid prosecco sauce that night for dessert. Wonderfully refreshing on a sweltering summer night but not quite what I had in mind.
I know exactly where I went wrong – I overdid the fruit to gelatin mix (one of the downsides of being fairly laissez-faire with my measurements). And I’m determined to make the recipe again…and get it right this time.
But am I going to change my ways and start testing recipes in advance? Naaah…part of the fun of cooking is figuring how to fix the minor disasters and learn from the major catastrophes.
After all, the most important ingredient is dinner guests who don’t really care if the recipe turned out or not…
Any recent kitchen catastrophes you’d like to share?