Archive for the ‘What Not to Do’ Category

Last Wednesday it was snowing. Really snowing. And when it she comes down like that, I have one thing on my mind and that is what are all of the very warm to very hot things I can cook for us today?

This got me thinking, soup, hot drinks in several varieties…your teas, your flavored coffees, and your hot cocoas…

And this got me thinking about Christmas, which for some reason got me thinking about Caramel Corn…so, I got busy, found myself an online recipe and gave it a whirl. Here’s the recipe I used from the website, www.ellenskitchen.com.

Deluxe Caramel Corn
Way Better Than Crackerjack

Pop 4-6 quarts of your favorite popcorn and place in a large buttered roaster. Preheat oven to 200 degrees, put the popcorn in the oven while you make the syrup.

In a deep pot, stir together constantly while heating, then boil together at a full boil for 5 minutes without stirring:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup honey OR corn syrup

Remove syrup from heat, stir in:

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 cups toasted pecans, almond slices or other choice nuts

Syrup will foam high when you add the soda. Stir down and as it cools slightly, pour in a thin stream all over the popcorn. Stir in well with two large spoons or gloved hands, this stuff is HOT*HOT*HOT. Put the well mixed popcorn in its roaster into the oven uncovered, increase temperature to 250 degrees. Stir thoroughly every 15 minutes for 1 hour 15 minutes. Break apart and cool before eating or storing.

“This really isn’t so hard!”, I thought…I think I heard the Caramel Corn laughing at the way my simple mind works.

I did just as I was told in this recipe…I made a beautiful caramel and stirred when I should and didn’t stir when I shouldn’t. I removed caramel from heat, added said ingredients, and stirred its foamy contents into my popcorn. I was aware of its HOT*HOT*HOT-ness and was very careful. And then I baked and stirred every 15 minutes for 1 hour and 15 minutes. And we were so happy when we saw this beauty emerge from the oven…

The results had a certain je ne sais quoi about them and the sais quoi was bitterness. Yes, cue the tragic music, all of that hard work for nothing, for inadvertently I had set the oven a bit too high, resulting in beautiful, disgusting, bitter caramel corn. It was so hard not to eat it, it still looked so good and I kept trying it, hoping that it was only the piece I got last time that was bitter. Alas, every bite was more disgusting then the last…it was like being out on the ocean and seeing all that beautiful water and you can’t drink any of it.

Anyway, into the trash went all that carmel coated gorgeousness, but really this story has a happy ending, check back in on Friday for (Not So) Good Caramel Corn, the Sequel…and just like Aliens or the Empire Strikes Back, the Sequel will be way better than the original!


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Bad Streak

For some strange reason, it seems that every year around this time I experience a culinary losing streak. Have you ever had one? They’re so disappointing. My poor family. They are ever so patient and faithful but I wouldn’t have blamed them a bit if they had thrown in the towel and decided to partake of some of the fine (edible) dining options in our area.

Check out these delectable dishes I turned out…

  •  The Almost Egg Salad
You know how Egg Salad is really hard to make? Not! I don’t know what happened here. Inexplicably, the normal amount of time it takes to boil eggs was not enough this time and the eggs were, in a word: disgusting, I mean: underdone, okay, two words: underdone and disgusting. The shell would not even come free of these sad egg-scuses for hard boiled. Every time I would try to peel one, its gelatinous, little, center sphere would burst free and slime around in the bowl. It was so gross, I had to trash a whole dozen eggs. I know, I agree, totally un-eggs-ceptable.
I don’t think it had anything to do with the phone call I was on…
  •      Sad, Sad Buttermilk Pancakes
Question? Who do you know that actually messes up pancakes? Pancakes, for corn’s sake! Well, you’re looking at her, I tanked the cakes! This is an actual photograph of Sam’s cleared breakfast plate, Sam who lives for pancake morning. I was speechless. In a later assessment of this fiasco, I believe there was a shocking lack of flour in these flapjacks. The batter had been runny and the cakes themselves came out thin and overcooked. The utter shame not even a pool of warm, Vermont, maple syrup could cover up. I don’t think my texting directions to a friend had anything to do with it…
  •  Brown Soup
Last but not least, I must address the brown soup. This one is still an enigma (or maybe not so much). How does one ruin a soup made from like 5,000 beans premixed and packaged for me at my local Sprouts. Arguably, all I had to do was place the beans in some water, add spices and await delicious soup. I did not do that. Well, I did step one but somehow forgot step two, resulting in a huge pot of plain bean water. And FYI, once you have simmered yourself up some plain bean water, there ain’t a spice on the planet that will add even a tinge of flavor.

I don’t think it had anything to do with the fact that I was giving a spelling test at the time…
Well, after all this I thought about up and moving away but I’ll bet they have bad culinary streaks…even in Australia.

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