02 August, 2010

Distraction is not a good ingredient

I'm never at my best when I'm preoccupied, which happens a lot when I'm focusing more on the plot twists in my mystery than on the ingredients in my recipe.

Yesterday evening, I was faced with the dilemma of sitting down and getting a really great idea down on paper, or making dinner.  Hungry mouths tipped the scales.  Not having shopped in several days, I raided the fridge and found left over chicken and a box of shitake mushrooms.  Perfect, chicken crepes it is! 

After a short whirr in the blender, the batter went into the fridge to rest while I prepped everything else and made the Mornay sauce, all the while wondering how my antagonist (a young woman) learned to cut the brakelines on a truck.

Eventually it was time to make the crepes.  I grabbed the revered family crepe pan -- the one with the special dimples and blue lining my mother hand-carried home from Paris some 50 years ago and set it to heat.  A quick brushing of butter and I was ready to ladle in the luscious batter, carefully swirling at around the pan.   I watched as it bubbled (?), hissed (?), and bubbled some more.  I'd never seen batter do that before.  I poked at the edges which refused to brown and crinkle. Poking with a spatula created a gloppy mass.  Had I finally lost my culinary touch?  It was then that my eye caught the bowl on the back of the stove - the batter.  I'd been trying to made a crepe out of Mornay sauce.  Colour me embarrassed.

Now you know (one of) my most embarrassing kitchen moments.  Care to share one of yours?


  1. The first time I made my asparagus casserole recipe, I was in a big hurry, so I opened the spice cupboard door and saw a “red” spice bottle. Said that has to be paprika and shook away. It wasn’t until we started to eat it that I realized it was cayenne pepper instead. I still laugh when I think of it and I don’t think Margo has forgiven me yet. But NOW we try to keep the spice rack alphabetized. That puts paprika a lot further from cayenne pepper, but it also make it easy to find any spice. We have to rework it every few months, though.

  2. My worst was quenelles. Terrible. I'm a pretty darn good cook and nearly 30 years later my husband begs me to never make them again. Think gooey, sticky, and a mess to clean up. Not even the dogs were interested in them.

  3. Hmmm, sounds like my gnocchi. Guess I had the water boiling to hard - I ended up with mushy potato soup.

  4. My spouse mistook cilantro for oriental parsley when she was making a Chinese dish. Interesting eating.

  5. Once I made popovers and forgot the flour. Baked eggs, anyone? My husband said, at my first attempt at boiled potatos, "they are an insult to the German tongue." My friend did even worse. Her first attempt at mashed potatos and gravy resulted in her husband pouring the potatos over the GRAVY. All cooks have their moments of learning and/or distraction. Here's to imperfection in the kitchen.

  6. Okay, my disaster was when I was a child. I made my first cake, all by myself, about age 9, with mother out of the kitchen. I read the recipe, measured, stirred, poured it in the pans. I believe my mother did put the pans in the oven. However those bumpy things in the cake weren't nuts. I never washed the batter off my hands when they got sticky. The batter just rolled off into the pan in little dried up bits.