Showing posts with label no-bake cheesecake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label no-bake cheesecake. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My 5 Kitchen Disasters -- and Recoveries (with recipes) by Cleo Coyle



"Only God gets things right 
the first time." 

~ Stephen King*


* Tweeted by "Advice to Writers," 
a fun twitter follow at this address: 




This quote leads my post today for
good reason. I'm talking about
Kitchen Disasters
(More on that below.)

But first...


------------------------



A shout-out to my fellow bloggers Lucy Burdette and Meg London (aka Peg Cochran), both of whom have new releases today: Death in Four Courses, the 2nd entry in Lucy's Key West Food Critic Mysteries; and Murder Unmentionable, the first in a new series, from Meg. To learn more, visit Lucy's home page here or Meg's page here, and be sure to come back for their blog days this week to learn more from the authors themselves. 

Congrats Lucy and Meg/Peg, 
have a great release week!


------------------------------




Cleo Coyle, who hasn't burned
down her kitchen (yet), is
author of
The Coffeehouse
Mysteries
.
My 5 Kitchen Disasters...
and Recoveries


Anyone who's spent serious time in the kitchen has had their share of gloppy rice, sunken cakes, and, (with apologies to Chef Paul Prudhomme) unintentionally blackened fish. On the other hand, if you click this link, you'll see that Chef Paul actually warns you: 

"If you don't have a commercial hood vent over your stove, this dish will set off every smoke alarm in your neighborhood!"

Which brings to mind my post from last Thanksgiving. That's where my Captain Kirk on fire photo came from, a public service message for those attempting to fry a whole turkey without, oh, say defrosting the bird...or putting the fryer a sufficient distance from flammable objects. 


You can view my post here along with "Eat, Fry, Love," the entertaining little video from Mr. Shatner and State Farm Insurance.

What's my point? Good cooking (like good writing) takes a bit of time: Writers write and re-write. Cooks cook and re-cook. 

A common piece of advice given to culinary students is to go home and practice, calling to mind an adorable scene from the equally adorable movie Julie & Julia. Do you remember it? Julia is determined to get her knife skills up to par in her French cooking class, so she goes home and chops a huge pile of onions in one afternoon. The resulting stench in the house (and sting to the eyes!) sends her husband out of the building for lunch. 


Julia's afternoon of "practice" was far from appealing, but in her cooking class the next day, she triumphed. (A classic set-up/pay-off of dramatic structure, too, thanks to the late, great writer/director Nora Ephron.)

Below are a few of my own stories of Fails that led to...well, better results. To children, we say, "try, try again," and that's the take-away today, I guess, in cooking, in writing, and in life.


~ Cleo


MY FAIL #1 
"Leftover Salsa" Pasta Primavera 


Spying a plastic container of leftover salsa one morning, I thought, "Why not give this a go?" Bad idea. Chef Gordon Ramsay would have spat this experiment of mine into his napkin. My lesson: never use leftover chopped tomatoes for anything but sauce!




RECOVERY 
A Healthier Shrimp Scampi Pasta


This is my my version of Shrimp Scampi, which swaps out the typical 1/2 cup of butter for olive oil with a touch of butter and places it over pasta. I'd like to think Gordon would ask for seconds...

To download my recipe PDF, click here.





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MY FAIL #2 
Zero Fat Muffins 



Behold my "zero fat" muffin. No butter, no oil--even the milk was skim. Pretty to look at, but this thing was low fat to the point of inedible. Hey, willpower's one thing, but ten minutes after eating this muffin, you'd be tearing into a pan of brownies, just to get the flavor and texture out of your mouth! Major fail.




RECOVERY 
Oatmeal Cookie Muffins


A tasty little muffin laced with the flavors of an oatmeal cookie. It has the goodness of oats in it and is also low in fat, using canola oil and low fat buttermilk instead of butter. It does have sugar and I wouldn't recommend eating six in one sitting, but it's a useful alternative to a lot of high-fat recipes or fast food muffins.

For my Oatmeal Cookie Muffin recipe, click here.





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MY FAIL #3 
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars



Oh, geez, don't ask. I have the photo because I was hoping it would work out. But it was such a major fail, I threw it out! (Never firmed up for cutting and the flavor was awful.)





RECOVERY 
Microwave Fudge






Yes, you really can make fudge using just your microwave. It's smooth and tasty and (IMO) nice enough to serve to guests or give as a gift.

For my Microwave Fudge
recipe, click here.












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My FAIL #4 
Key Lime Pie 



Distracted one day, I had miscounted the number of eggs in this pie. Woops. The homemade graham cracker crust was delicious and so was the pie, after I froze it.  But serving it thawed was a total disaster. My lesson: pay attention while cooking!





RECOVERY 
No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake Pie

Another crack at the Key Lime Pie, while actually counting the number of eggs, led to success. But the fail led me to trying the recipe Marc's mom made for him as a kid, most likely from a recipe clipped from a newspaper or cream cheese package. (I tweaked her ratios until I was happy with it, and made it an even easier recipe by using a pre-made crust.)

To download a recipe PDF for the No-Bake Lime Cheesecake Pie, click here.



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#5 Not Quite a Fail, more like a... 
Not yet good enough!





Behold my latest try for my
Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Yes, I am still experimenting, trying to get that perfect balance with cake layers as chocolaty as they can be while still being strong enough to hold up to the pudding filling and frosting of the classic Blackout structure.


The experiments continue
into this week! 



When I get it just right, I'll start uploading it on my Web site. Check later in the week at www.CoffeehouseMystery.com for updates. And I'll be sure to share it with you right here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, too, so no worries. Until next week...

Try, try again... 
(with joy!)



~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries