Turning Mistakes Into Marvels
Cooking is not an exact science and sometimes things go wrong. I was just watching Iron Chef the other night when the challenger had two pretty big mishaps. So if it can happen to a professional chef, it can certainly happen to the rest of us.
What do we do when a mishap occurs? Obviously it depends on the mishap. For example, years ago I was melting chocolate chips, apparently for the first time and with no knowledge of how it was done. I melted them on the stove and they turned into a hard, ugly mass of blackness. Then I tried the microwave. The same thing happened. I finally realized I had cooked them too long. Unfortunately, those chocolate chips were not salvageable. That’s the way it goes sometimes.
But here are a few mishaps that were salvageable and actually ended up being marvelous:
- Tiramisu Cake. I had trouble slicing the layers and messed the layers up beyond repair. Rather than throw the cake away and start over (which I couldn’t do since I didn’t have enough supplies), I decided to turn it into a trifle. So I tore the cake into pieces, put it in a trifle dish, blobbed the frosting on top of the cake, added some cool whip, and repeated the layers. There you go – a brand new creation! It looked pretty and tasted great.
- Italian Bread. My daughter-in-law, Ashley, had trouble with this recipe one time when she made it. She thinks she added too much flour, didn’t have a sharp enough knife and didn’t let it cool long enough. When she tried to cut it, it fell apart! But she didn’t give up and toss it, she served it as is, and she and my son tore off chunks and dipped them in oil.
- Cheese Ball. My mom has been making this awesome cheese ball for years but lately she’s had trouble with it not setting up. Apparently I forgot that little detail when I put it on the menu for my daughter’s bridal shower (or maybe I thought it wouldn’t happen to me!). But it did. I decided I wasn’t wasting all that good cheese so I served it anyway – as cheese dip. After the shower, two of the ladies asked for the recipe for the awesome cheese dip. I laughed as I told them the story. And by the way, here is that recipe:
(formerly known as Cheese Ball)
- 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
- 2 5-oz. jars Old English Sharp
- 1 5-oz. jar Old English Blue (if you can’t find Old English Blue, just use another jar of Sharp)
- 3 tablespoons vinegar
- garlic salt, to taste
Mix together cheeses. Add vinegar and garlic salt. Refrigerate until serving time. Serve with pretzels and wheat thins. (This recipe has been modified so that
it is cheese dip instead of a cheese ball. If you would like the original instructions, let me know in the comments section below although I don’t know why you would since they don’t work anymore!)
So the next time you have a cooking mishap, don’t automatically toss your mistake into the trash and start over. Try to figure out how you can salvage your recipe and make a mistake into something marvelous!