Guest Post: How to bounce back from a major kitchen fail

A couple nights ago, Dave saw me looking at a recipe for peach crisp with maple cream sauce that I had pinned and decided he wanted to make it. SPOILER ALERT: It did not go well. Below is Dave’s account of the Peach Crisp Incident of 2013, and his subsequent redemption in the form of a truly delicious recipe he made up for Turkey Sloppy Joes with a rosemary cream reduction. I know, right? A school cafeteria classic made fancy? I think we’ve been watching too many Gordon Ramsey shows.

The other day I had the driven look of a long-time baker who grabs the spirit of inspiration from a new-found recipe that looks both delicious and fun.
What did I say after being gripped by this cooking passion, toiling away in the kitchen at the hot oven?

Ow, my spirit.

My inspiration came from the Pioneer Woman’s masterpiece seen here:

PW Peach Crisp

Mine came out looking something like hers, but generally tasteless, poorly textured and boring:

Crisp 2

It did not feel good to eat this thing.  So, on my path to healing, I have developed a multi-step program aimed at rebuilding my self-trust and bolstering my future cooking.

Step 1: Admission of past wrongs.
I once made a tiramisu cheesecake that called for coffee in the list of ingredients. In my early twenties, I had maybe had coffee twice, and thus I assumed that the grounds themselves would fulfill this requirement. Imagine cheesecake, but with dirt in it.

After dirt tiramisu, I had experimented to a great extent with fruit cheesecakes, to the point where I wanted to make banana cream cheesecake. After adding the mashed fruit to the batter, I cooked the pie for about two hours with it never solidifying. Banana cheesecake slurry just didn’t have a great ring to it.

Step 2: Define the problem.
Now Ree Drummond has given Heather and I a number of excellent recipes with great outcomes, so she obviously was not the problem. If you happen to try her Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce, I have some tips:

Use real maple syrup, as the light faux-maple syrup I used evaporated out of the mixture in no time flat.

Do not use baker’s sugar. The ultra-fine grains made my coarse crumb mixture turn into a dough. I know what you’re thinking – “Oh, I bet it got crispy while cooking.” Not quite. It got a little bit done on the top, but underneath it had the consistency of the Blob:

Crisp Blob

Use peaches that do not make you say, “These peaches taste gross.” Self-explanatory.

Step 3: Create your own recipe that tastes, well, awesome.

Turkey Sloppy Joe With Rosemary Cream Reduction

Turkey Sloppy Joes with fresh parsley, basil and rosemary cream reduction

You’ll need:
1/2 to 3/4 lb. of ground turkey
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of plain breadcrumbs
1 cup of chopped onions (I actually used leftover onion rings. I recommend this)
Approximately 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, four leaves of fresh basil and four leaves of fresh rosemary
Salt, pepper and garlic salt

Pour the whipping cream into a small pot.

Chop the fresh herbs and place in the cream.

Turn the pot on low heat and leave for approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the cream is nearly done, place the turkey, bread crumbs and onions in a bowl. Season with the salt, pepper and garlic salt.

Pour the cream mixture into the bowl and let it cool for a moment before mixing the meat with your hands. If you think it feels gross with your hands, remember that we all do.

Place the meat mixture into a pan pre-heated on medium heat and cook until there is no pink left (unless you are feeling adventurous), caramelizing if you wish. When the meat is almost done, I recommend broiling the buns with the cheese.

This recipe is for two people, but if you have more, just multiply the ingredients by the appropriate factor and…

Step 4: Tell Heather that math is awesome, preferably in the comments section.

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: How to bounce back from a major kitchen fail

  1. Closet Strategy

    I had a tiramisu disaster the one time I attempted to make it at home. After spending like $100 on ingredients, I couldn’t be bother to find actual lady fingers so I used some normal shortbread cookies instead. I thought they’d just soak up the Kahlua and get soft. They did not. In fact, they solidified into a rock-like mass that was impossible to cut with a steak knife, let alone a dessert fork. Now I just carry out any dessert with an ingredient list in excess of five items.

    1. heatherhomefaker Post author

      I can’t believe they didn’t soften! I probably would have tried the same thing. And I agree – for me, the point of diminishing returns is usually around five ingredients and/or 30 minutes of prep time.


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