Archives for June 2012

Landbrot – A Wundubar German Cafe

A summer day, an outdoor table, and a light German brunch menu sounds like the perfect afternoon. And, despite a few serious service hiccups…this afternoon really was pretty close to perfection!

Landbrot is a new German bakery and cafe in the heart of the West Village. The interior, with its small balcony and large counter showcasing breads, tarts, and cookies, is homey and well designed. The outside cafe is casual and comfortable.

Touches like cookies served with tea reinforce the restaurant’s European feel.

Roasted Pepper and Leek Soup

This soup du jour was excellent. Sweet, smoky, and with a hearty texture, it was filling enough to serve as a meal but light enough to enjoy as an appetizer with friends. The bread served alongside was nutty and tangy.

Apple Cinnamon Muffin

Moist, with sweet chunks of apple. More of a breakfast item than a dessert one, this would be a wonderful way to start the day.

Salt Pretzel

An outstanding pretzel. Warm to the touch, crisp in some places, delightfully doughy in others. The brown crust is thick and crisp, and the insides are chewy. slathered with homemade  unsalted butter, it is a standout at the bakery.

House Salad with Potato, Carrot and  Kraut Salad, Baby Watercress, and Chives with White Wine Vinaigrette

I love this salad. It is light, it is bright, and it has textural variety. The potato salad, in between German and American style potato salad, is creamy with bites of boiled potatoes and bites of mashed potatoes. Dressed in a lightly acidic dressing with chives and plenty of pepper, this is a great dish for someone who does not like mayonnaise. The cucumbers are sweet in their tangy yogurt dressing, and the watercress is spicy and very fresh. I didn’t love the kraut, because it lacked that lip-puckering punch I really love in a good fermented vegetables.

Smoked Salmon, Garden Radishes, Green Apple, Fresh Dill, and Horseradish Spread on German Rye

Soft, buttery smoked salmon on hearty rye bread. The freshly grated horseradish adds a peppery kick that complements the radishes. The sweet-tart apples with the salmon were a revelation – they added a sweet component that I would normally never pair with fish! Served with a small salad and some kraut, this would make a  satisfying light meal all on its own.

And we were also gifted some beers…

Why, you ask?

Well, the service just wasn’t very good. Some people got and finished their meals before others were even served.  A few orders were wrong. We weren’t done eating for an hour and a half. For some cold sandwiches. I mean, normally, that would be a huge problem.


Our server knew that there were problems. She came out constantly and apologized for the slowness, saying that there would be more hiring going on this week to help with the brunch rush. She brought out extra food and drinks. She thanked us multiple times for understanding, and was sure that our glasses were always filled with water. In short, she ensured that we had a pleasant time and that I will return in a few months to see how the service has improved. It is amazing how good service can make or break a meal, and this turned a potentially awful situation into a very good one.

In a word, Landbrot is wundubar.

Landbrot Bakery & Bar on Urbanspoon

Italian Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes.

Everyone loves them, right? Everyone that is…except for me. I mean, I love chili. I love tacos. I love burgers. The problem is that Sloppy Joes are always too sweet. Beef cloaked in a sweet ketchup-y sauce turns out flat and one-dimensional.

Then, when Kitchen Play asked me to develop an outdoor-friendly recipe for Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend as part of their 30 Days of Outdoor Dining celebration, it got me thinking.

This cheese, made with Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano, has enough American cheese to make it perfect for melting enough Italian cheeses to give it sharpness and depth. This gave birth to Italian Sloppy Joes. Ground pork, Marsala wine, and roasted tomatoes combine for a totally new take on these sandwiches. They are so sloppy that they really should be eaten out of doors and can be finished on the grill or an indoor oven.

Best of all, the sandwich really highlights the tangy taste and smooth melting texture of the cheese.

Italian Sloppy Joes


2 lbs. ground pork
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup cream or whole milk
3 cups fresh spinach, washed
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 Tbsp. each cleaned and chopped rosemary, sage, and basil
Salt and pepper to taste
8 slices Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend cheese
8 sun-dried or oven dried tomatoes (re-hydrated in boiling water, if they are very tough)
8 hamburger buns or sandwich rolls, sliced

1. Put the onion and garlic in a large pan with the olive oil over medium heat. In about 10 minutes, the onions should be translucent and start to give off a deep, savory scent.

2. Add the herbs and for an additional 2 – 3 minutes, or until the herbs have wilted.

3. Add the pork and cook until the pork has become totally cooked through, with no pink color.

Some juices will collect at the bottom of the pan. Let them evaporate rather than draining them, because these juices enhance the flavor of the meat. This will take about 10 minutes.

4. Add the spinach and move it around for a minute or so until it wilts.

5. Add the wine, cream, and tomato paste. Then, taste for salt and pepper.

7. Put meat on top of one half of the roll…

with a tomato on top…

and finish with a slice of cheese.

8. Place in the broiler or under a grill, covered, until cheese is gooey and melted.

9. Top with remaining half of roll, and serve.

The pork’s natural sweetness blends with the fragrant Marsala wine, woodsy herbs, and fresh spinach to create a sophisticated ragu. Yet, the tomato paste and touch of cream ensures that it is familiar enough that kids will not be scared to try itand most likely, love it! Soft rolls soak up the meaty juices, and the sun-dried tomatoes provide a salty punch. The crown of glory here is the Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend cheese – melty and stretchy, providing a gooey texture and a nutty, tangy taste. These are perfect with homemade potato chips and a pile of napkins. Ketchup can wait for burgers.

For the chance to try  Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend, just read below:
Be sure to check Kitchen PLAY every day for the next fabulous recipe featuring new LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend or LAND O LAKES® Deli American Cheese. Then, get in on the fun by leaving a comment with your own “30 Days of Outdoor Dining” tip for dining al fresco this summer. If you do, you’ll be entered to win a lovely grilling prize pack, including one grilling spatula, one marinade brush, one set of tongs and one grill scraper. Kitchen PLAY will be giving away four prizes total, one each week! Please visit Kitchen PLAY for sweepstakes guidelines.

Disclosure Statement
*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Land O’Lakes as part of the Kitchen PLAY SideCar series. All
opinions given are my own.

Mitsuwa Japanese Gourmet Fair

The next time you want to visit Japan, just book your flight on All Nippon Airways.

Or, you can go to Edgewater, New Jersey.

There, you will find Mitsuwa, a Japanese grocery store where you can find everything from mascara to rice makers to food imported straight from Japan. All the signs are in Japanese and most of the employees are Japanese, too. There is a wonderful Japanese  food court and every now and then, there is a food fair with food and chefs flown in from Hokkaido, Okinawa, and other places in Japan.

The prices are also extremely reasonable.

Ready for a little trip to Japan?

If you are lucky enough to come here during a food fair, bypass the right side of the market  (where you can get delicious prepared sushi, gyudon, and other Japanese treats) and go straight to the food court on the left side.

You may be lucky enough to see an assortment of croquettes, filled with everything from squid to chicken curry to…

butter and potato. Butter listed first because it is absolutely the predominant ingredient in this patty. It is mashed butter with some potatoes in there. Yet, it is not greasy. Just rich, comforting, creamy mashed potatoes encased in a feather light batter.

If that doesn’t get your engine going, there is no hope for you.

Feel free to ignore the bean paste sweets. I keep trying to love them and I can’t even like them.

Instead, go towards a giant vat of fresh snow crab.

Get a rice bowl topped with salmon roe, the fresh crab, and Hokkaido uni (which is dryer and a bit brinier than the Santa Barbara uni I love).

Or, go with the crab topped inari. The tofu wrapper is supple and sweet, stuffed with slightly sticky rice, crunchy bits of lotus root, and  the richest, mildest crab you have ever had. Imported from Hokkaido, it is buttery and almost sugary. Tender and fresh, it is the best crab sushi I have ever had. At only $13 for 4 pieces, it is also a steal.

There are octopus scallion bombs for those of you who love fish cakes…

and a custard filled waffle that is more like breakfast than dessert.

I will leave the tuna pizza crepe to you to try. I’m not that brave.

You can find me at the buttery potato coquette station.

Oven Dried Tomatoes

The 1980s had quite a few trends best left back in time. Most of them have to do with tiered bangs and MC Hammer pants. However, there are some things from the 1980s that are easily made fun of but really have quite a bit of merit. Namely: The Bangles and sundried tomatoes.

In the 1980s, these little lycopene bombs were found on everything from bagels to pizzas to (probably) chocolate. They got overexposed, and, just like Corey Feldman, they are now a source of laughter and ridicule. Yet, they can really be so different from those leathery, tough little salt bombs that used to be de rigeur. If you roast them at home, with only a bit of olive oil and no added salt, they become sweet, juicy little morsels of pure umami.

Oven Dried Tomatoes



Olive Oil

Dried Italian Herbs

1. Slice the tomatoes in half and preheat oven to 200F.

2. Put  all ingredients in a shallow pan or rimmed cookie sheet lined with tinfoil. Stir with hands so the tomatoes are coated in the oil and spices.

3. Lay the tomatoes cut side up (the opposite way from how they are in this photo) in the dish and let them bake for 10 hours.

4. Serve and enjoy. Be sure to save the oil. 

The secret to these tomatoes is the lengthy cooking time and not juicing them. The very low temperature makes sure that the tomatoes really render out all of their natural sugars without burning or getting leathery. Though many cooks seed the tomatoes before roasting, keeping the seeds in results in a plumper, juicier tomato. As an added bonus, the juices bubble over and mix with the oil, making a very tasty olive oil for dressing pasta or roasting potatoes. These are so much better than the store-bought sundried tomatoes because they are just tomatoes – no salt, no preservatives. They are lush, tender, and totally addictive on a sandwich or mixed into scrambled eggs.

Let’s chow down like it’s 1984.

Lucky 777 Chili

Chili is one of those items that everyone loves. Spicy or mild, meaty or vegan, on a bun or out of a bowl, it’s just impossible not to love a hearty bowl of chili.

So, when I was invited to try Lucky 777 Chili, I figured I would like it.

I did not know that I would go absolutely gaga for it.

This  tiny shop on MacDougal Street has a couple of counter seats, an open section that lets you see your chili being prepared, and on the day I visited, the air conditioning was on the fritz. This isn’t the kind of place that you come on a hot summer day with the intentions of sticking around for a leisurely lunch. Luckily, service is fast and you are near several lovely outdoor parks. My suggestion is to order delivery or get your order to go.

Lucky 777 makes 3 kinds of chili – pork, vegetarian, and turkey. All the ingredients are locally sourced when available, and the batches are made each day. One of the most fun parts of the restaurant is how you can get the chili – in a sourdough bread bowl, on a hot dog, in a taco, or on nachos. Also, get a load of the complimentary toppings: cheese, vegetables, sour cream, even freshly made habanero relish all come free with your order. It’s really refreshing to see a place that doesn’t nickle and dime you to death. You can EASILY get out of here for under $10.

Pork Chili

This chili is what I had hoped it would be. Zesty and well-rounded with tender beans, sweet tomatoes, and hunks of juicy pork. It would be ideal with cool sour cream  and some raw onions. This chili is hearty, thick, and is more of a meal than as a topping for a burger or hot dog. The blend of 7 cuts of pork and 7 spices results in a bright, zippy sauce that has of citrusy cayenne heat, sweet undertones from honey or molasses, and the savory scent of cumin. It is decidedly traditional, and totally delicious. However…

Vegetarian Chili

This is the chili that won my heart. I am an out-and-out carnivore, but this chili was so special that it totally won me over. Using 7 beans (yeah, they really take the name to heart here) and a plethora of spices, this chili is incredibly complex and satisfying. It manages to avoid standard boring vegetarian chili by using different beans – toothsome, creamy, and meaty all collide here with smoky chipotle and fragrant coriander. This chili is so tasty that you don’t realize that you don’t feel over-greased and over-salted until you are done inhaling it.

Chili Fries

Served over thinly baked sweet potato wedges, this was one of my favorite ways to eat the vegetarian chili. The wedges were crisp and baked to order in a special convection oven-like device. Ladles of vegetarian chili rendered the fries saucy in spots while remaining crisp in others. Mozzarella cheese melted into luxurious strings, laving around crisp lettuce and tomatoes. The final touch was that fruity, spicy habanero relish. Don’t get the relish unless you like the heat, because it delivers!

The whole restaurant delivers. Is it even a restaurant? It is more of a shop, run by the affable Lou and his extremely enthusiastic and helpful employees. It only dishes out one thing, served in several variations. It just happens to do it perfectly. The price is right, the location is great for a night after the bars, and the food is really tasty.

Score another point for chili.

 *Disclaimer: My meal was paid for by the restaurant.  I was not paid or required to write a review, and my opinions are my own.*

Lucky 777 Chili on Urbanspoon

Moroccan Cured King Salmon Gravlax

As part of the Copper River Salmon Fresh Catch Crew, I was recently sent another shipment of fresh salmon from Alaska.

I know, my life really doesn’t suck right now.

The King salmon I was sent is aptly named – it is nothing less than  regal. It is the largest of the salmon that run the Copper River, with the highest fat content. It has a saturated orange color and an extremely rich mouthfeel. This salmon has only a one month season, so I didn’t want to play with it too much. I was very lucky to get some, and just wanted to accentuate its natural lushness and mild taste.

That’s when I came across this recipe for Moroccan gravlax. I had no idea how it would work, and I also didn’t want to spend THAT much time finding all the spices, toasting them, measuring them…etc. Bottom line – I wanted a shortcut.

That’s when I thought about using ras el hanout. Though there are many different varieties, this Moroccan spice blend tends to use aromatic and smoky spices like cumin, coriander, and ground rose. It has the deep, complex charictaristics of curry without actually USING any curry. Thus, it is perfect for accenting the fish instead of overpowering it. I thought I would add some aromatic vegetables and give it a whirl.

What I came up with might just be the best fish recipe I have ever made. Mild, complex, smooth, and incredibly easy to make!

Moroccan Cured Gravlax


1 lb. salmon fillet

1/4 cup salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup ras el hanout

Zest of 1 orange

1/4 cup fennel bulb, diced

1 loaf pan lined with cling wrap

1 brick or a few heavy cans

1. Mix all ingredients except salmon in a bowl until they are well combined.

2. Put the salmon skin side down into the loaf pan, and rub the seasoning all over the visible parts of the fish.

Be sure to get it everywhere, including the sides. You really want to pat it on thickly.

3. Roll up the sides of the cling wrap so the salmon is totally enclosed in plastic.

Add another piece or two of cling wrap if you need to ensure that the salmon is totally enclosed.

4. Put your weight, brick, or cans atop the salmon. Then put it in the fridge for 48 hours. No moving, no peeking!

5. By the time that you check on the salmon, it should have released quite a bit of moisture in the loaf pan, and the salmon should be  flat. Unwrap the salmon and put it on a plate.

6. Using the back of a butter knife, scrape excess seasoning off the salmon. Be gentle, as you will see that the salmon has become very delicate.

It will also have turned an almost glowing pinky-orange. This is the result of the salt and sugar curing the salmon.

7. Using a gravlax knife or a very sharp, flexible knife, slice velum thin slices of the salmon, just down to the skin but not cutting through the skin. Angle the knife so that you cut away thin pieces of the salmon without the skin. Go against the grain, on the bias. The grain changes on the salmon, and you may have to change the direction that you cut several times.

If you are not very skilled, you will end up leaving quite a bit of salmon on the skin – it just gets too difficult to slice all the way down to the skin, and you really want thin, even slices. It’s okay – just let it go or feed it to the cat. Lucky cat…

8. Garnish with a sprig of fennel and serve.

This is just astonishingly delicious. The salmon takes on the fresh orange taste, the sweet fennel, and the smoky warmth of the ras el hanout. It is not at all salty like some gravlax, just saline in the natural way that seafood is. When sliced thin, it almost melts on the tongue, leaving behind just the taste of the salmon and the aromatic  spices. This is almost the un-recipe – very set it and forget it! It is a welcome mix up from the classic dill gravlax and is fabulous with greek yogurt on brown bread.

With a gravlax like this, it’s easy to say long live the King!

Disclaimer: I was given the sockeye salmon as a sample. I am not being monetarily compensated for my opinions or recipes.

Lure Fishbar Happy Hour

When I heard that the man behind one of my favorite blogs was moving to the Big Apple, I knew that I would have to ambush him into having a meal together.

Maybe it’s that approach that makes me such an awkward friend.

Anyway, when Justin and his girlfriend Liz suggested Lure, I was game. I had heard great things about the happy hour , nd since it is a little pricey normally, happy hour is the perfect time to check it out.

This fish oriented restaurant is dark and is equally good for a business dinner or a group date. It looks like an ocean liner from the inside – it was all I could do not to start singing The Love Boat theme when I walked in.

Once again, I make an awkward friend.

Shrimp Tempura with Spicy Sesame Mayo

These confused me. At first bite, I loved them – tender shrimp encased in crispy coating, covered with a spicy, creamy sauce. Sweet, a touch salty, and perfectly fried. Then, my second bite tasted a little bit off; a bit iodine-y. My third bite wasn’t great either. Was this because the shrimp had been treated with too much  iodine or was it just a couple of off bites? I would give this a try again, but can’t say it was awesome this time.

Lobster Croutons with Golden Garlic and Chilis on Sourdough

Now, THESE were awesome. Tiny squares of sourdough toast topped with lobster salad. The lobster was perfectly cooked, bound with just enough mayonnaise and laced with crunchy, smoky bits of garlic. The lobster, sweet and juicy, was like a fantastic lobster roll with no filler. I could have eaten about 18 of these.

Chicken Lollipops, Buffalo Style with Blue Cheese and Celery

I originally just wanted to order seafood, but Justin bullied me into trying these.

Who’s the awkward friend now, I ask ya?

These were fantastic. Juicy little nuggets of chicken on the bone, Frenched so there was only meat right at the top. Cloaked in a thick but not goopy sauce that was plenty spicy, they needed only a quick swipe through the funky dressing to be that perfect marriage of meaty, hot, and salty that hot wings should be. These aren’t quite up to Croxley’s level, but for a pub-style menu item at a fancy schmanchy restaurant – I ain’t complaining.

I ain’t complaining about anything here. The prices at happy hour are great, the bar seating is comfortable, and the service is really excellent. Glasses never went empty and when we accidentally spilled a plate of lobster croutons, another order was brought gratis. I would come here any time with frends like Liz and Justin, to gossip about trashy TV and order more of those wings.

Sorry Justin, I know that kind of talk might bore you, but like I said…I’m an awkward friend.

Blueberry Lemon Streusel Muffins

I know that it’s summer and everyone is making light, calorie conscious desserts.

That said, if I see one more fruit salad masquerading as a decadent brunch, I am going to punch someone in the throat.

So you don’t want a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich this time of year. I get that. But how about showing some summer fruit some love in a muffin-cake hybrid? Using an Ina Garten lemon cake recipe as inspiration, I added some blueberries, reduced the fussy steps, and threw a streusel topping on there. I also used nonfat yogurt instead of full fat and added a little bit of sugar…hey, if you cut out butter, you can add sugar.

It’s the 11th commandment.

30 minutes after I started baking, I was in summer eats heaven. And – lo and behold – I was actually full after eating these for breakfast.

The last person to feel full after eating a fruit salad was an Olsen twin.

Blueberry Lemon Streusel Muffins



1.5 cups flour plus 2 tbsp. reserved

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup yogurt

1.5 cups sugar

3 eggs

zest and juice of 3 lemons

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 pint blueberries, washed and dried


1.5  cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup cold butter
1/4  cup pecans, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and combine all cake ingredients except blueberries and 2 tbsp. flour in a large bowl.

2. Mix reserved flour with blueberries until the berries are coated.

3. Mix the cake ingredients until thoroughly incorporated…

then add the blueberries and fold gently, taking care not to crush any of the berries.

4. Layer the batter into greased or paper-lined muffin tins, and turn your attention to the streusel. If you don’t use liners, be aware that some of your muffins will come out of the tin a little wonky, since the blueberries may adhere to the bottom of the pan.

5. Put all the streusel ingredients except the butter into a clean mixing bowl.

6. Cut the butter into small chunks. It is very important that the butter is cold, so it will create a crunchy, well-formed topping. Some people even run their hands under ice water before handling the butter to keep the mixture cool. Those people aren’t me.

7. Mix the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until the whole mixture forms into what looks like slightly wet sand.

8. Top the muffins with the streusel, and bake for 17 minutes, or until the sides of the muffin pull away from the edge of the pan or a knife poked into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

9. Let cool briefly and serve.

If you can tell that this is low-fat, you are smarter than me. This is incredibly moist, with the unmistakable clean scent of lemon wafting up through the vanilla cake. The texture is airy and small crumbed, with purple splotches where the blueberries burst and release their sweet-tart juices. The crumbly topping adds a bit of cinnamon spice and crunch to the soft muffins. Though this is great for breakfast, it is also delicious as dessert with vanilla ice cream.

Or even as an accompaniment to fruit salad.

The Taco Truck on the High Line

Summer in NYC isn’t just about the subway smelling like workout socks and hoards of tourists descending upon Times Square. It’s also about summer Fridays, movies at Bryant Park, and the High Line.

This elevated park in NYC is one of my favorite places. Sure, it’s open year round, but in the summer it really comes to life. That’s when people sit sunbathing on benches, stroll with loved ones, and genuinely enjoy life in the city. Try to see someone enjoying life in the city on a February day after a snow storm.

The High Line is right near Chelsea Market, where there are a bunch of delicious dining options, but now there are a few options smack dab on the High Line. Grab a bite, grab a chair in the sun or under the covered section, and enjoy yourself.

The bite that I tried was from The Taco Truck.

This food cart, featuring Mexican street food, uses organic, sustainable, and homemade ingredients as much as possible. There are freshly made salsas, overstuffed tortas, and crisply fried tortilla chips, but the real reason to come here is for the small, flavorful tacos.

Get a Mexican coke or a homemade agua fresca, pay for your meal, and wait for it to be cooked to order.

Each meal is made to order, so you may need to wait a few minutes for your food. Don’t worry – it won’t be too long. Use the time to find a seat in the shade.

Carnitas Michoacan with Guacamole and Habanero Salsa

Slow braised pork with onions, cilantro, habanero salsa, and guacamole. Usually, carnitas are shredded, like Southern pulled pork sandwiches, but these were in small nuggets. They were not as juicy as I prefer, but the flavor was sweet and rich. The corn tortillas were excellent – thin and pliant, loaded with fiery (but not crazy hot) habanero salsa. This salsa is fine for people who like relatively spicy but not burn-your-face-off-spicy food. The guacamole is a must – fresh, buttery, filled with cilantro and sharp onions. A spritz of lime ties it all together.

The Taco Truck doesn’t make my favorite taco in the city. But it does make a tasty taco, for a good price, in a fantastic atmosphere. Though it isn’t worth a special trip, it does feed a yen for Mexican food if you are on the High Line. And sometimes, that’s all that summer in NYC needs.

When Good Recipes Go Bad

It may surprise you to learn that I heavily edit what I put on this blog.

I want you to think that I am capable. That I am creative. That I am gifted at both sports and calculus.

In order to perpetuate these myths, I only post recipes that work well. Sometimes I have great ideas, WONDERFUL ideas that somehow…just don’t…quite…materialize.

In an effort to inspire you to continue to persevere in the kitchen, despite minor (or major) setbacks, here are a few of my biggest flops. Turn away now if you don’t want your illusions of me as perfect to be shattered.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Catastrophe #1: The Walnuts that Ate the Pesto

This recipe was going to be killer. I love pesto – who doesn’t? All you have to do is get some oil, some garlic, cheese, and basil, and there you have it!

And some nuts.

Ever wonder why it isn’t called nutso?

Because if you put too many walnuts in it, it has the exact color and texture of baby poop. Any hint of fresh basil or salty cheese will be utterly wiped out by the overwhelming taste of the walnuts.

My efforts to balance the taste and texture resulted in dumping in another cup of olive oil, rendering the whole thing sludgy and greasy. By this time, of course I ran out of basil and couldn’t fix it.

So near. Yet…not.

Catastrophe #2: Sherbet Punch

This isn’t really a screw up, just a stupid recipe. Yes, 7-Up, sherbet, and whipped cream flavored vodka makes a fun party drink. Sure, dry ice is cool.

But who, outside of a 13-year-old, is going to spend the time and money to get dry ice and whipped cream flavored vodka? And who besides a type 2 diabetic wouldn’t find it sickeningly sweet and chemically tasting?

Low culinary point in my life.

Catastrophe #3: Baked Scotch Eggs

This recipe was one of my most frustrating endeavors. It seemed so simple – take a recipe for something fried and turn it into something baked. I have done it with chicken. Why couldn’t I do it with eggs? I had envisioned a soft-boiled egg covered in crisp chorizo and crunchy breadcrumbs. A beautiful brown orb, totally enclosed until the fork punctured it, releasing a stream of golden yolk.

It’s nice to have dreams.

Problem #1: If you boil eggs for 15 minutes, they will be hard-boiled. Obviously.

Problem #2: As things bake, they expand. Think of a cake rising or an unpoked baked potato exploding. So, if you pack the chorizo too tightly, it will break as it bakes.

Problem #3: If you cover the whole thing in olive oil, it will end up sitting in its own grease, becoming a soggy mess.

Problem #4: They look disgusting.

They tasted good…ish.  I should have just fried them. Now I know.

And now you know – the blog is definitely a filtered view, and everyone has kitchen mess ups. Especially me.

I’m also not good at calculus. Shocker, I know.