Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lessons from the Kitchen

Over the years I've learned a few lessons in the kitchen.  And I mean I've learned them the Hard Way.  The kind of lessons that turn into fun little stories to tell.  Yesterday was another of those lessons.  

But before I get into yesterday's adventures I want to share with you some others...

Lesson #1:  Just because it's not in the instructions doesn't mean it's not an important step.
aka: the tale of the Double Boiler

When I was younger I was ready to be cool.  I read Seventeen & CosmoGirl.  I was, like, totally ready to be hip and stylish.  So what did I do?  I decided I was going to wax my legs.  That's what all those cool older girls do right?  

Off to the store I went to buy some wax.  I read through the directions and got started.
Step one was to set up a double boiler and fill the top pan with 3/4" water then place the wax cup in the water so that the wax gets soft. 

Anyone know where this is going yet?

So I put a big pan on the bottom, filled the top pan as directed, put the wax cup in it and turned on the heat.  After a while I heard a drippy-sizzly sound....Hummm, I wonder what that could be?

borrowed photo. :)
It was the bottom pan literally melting!!  I didn't put any water in the bottom pan.  The directions were very clear about how much water went in the top pan so I figured if water was required in the bottom pan it would have been specific about that too.  Umm, no.  That's not how it works.  The term Double Boiler IMPLIES that there is water in the bottom pan.  Fortunately my  mom found it funny and I was not in trouble for stripping the metal off one of her pots. :)

Lesson learned...Even if it's not in the instructions you should put water in the bottom pan.  :)

Lesson # 2: Use common sense.
Lesson #3: Taste what you make.
aka: the tale of the in-law's dessert

That's right.  This one get's TWO lessons attached to it!

The first time I cooked for my boyfriend's parents (eventually known as the in-laws) I made a terrific dessert.  I followed the instructions to a T (I was very different then, lol!).  When it called for 4 T Salt (capital "T") I added 4 TABLESPOONS of salt.  That's what the directions said to do!

Now that I'm older and wiser (much, much wiser) I know that that was most likely a HUGE typo.  But at the time I had no clue.  

I cooked everything up (some sort of an apple pie I believe) and served it.  Everyone smiled and ate the filling and told me how good it was. 

If we were all deer we'd absolutely LOVE it!
After they all left and I noticed that NO ONE had eaten the crust I thought, "that's odd".  I wasn't much of a dessert eater (oh how the times have changed) so I hadn't tried any.  The Boyfriend (aka Hubs) tasted it and immediately dehydrated.  Yep, definitely salty.

But you have to admire the fact that they all choked down what they did, while smiling, so I wouldn't know what an awful cook I was!  Now that I think about it, between the Salt-Pie and the Brownies they've had a rocky road with my desserts. lol!!

So Lessons Learned:  Use common sense when cooking - you will NEVER need 4T of salt in your pie crust AND Taste what you make.  They actually say that on Top Chef all the time.  I'm surprised that I've learned that lesson and all those incredible chefs are still struggling with it.  I guess I'm just better than them...  Ok, probably not.

Lesson #4: Watch your cooking time
aka.  The tale of the burnt pizza zucchini boats

And now we're on to yesterday's tale.  I had a zucchini in the fridge that I planned to just slice up and roast as usual.  And then I was on-line and saw zucchini pizza boats.  They looked so good I decided I could make them!

I peeled my zucchini and cut it lengthwise then smeared it with a wedge of Light Mozzarella Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Laughing Cow Cheese.

Then I topped it with some stolen dehydrated tomatoes from my mom's house and some dried basil. :)

And I topped that with a piece of strung-out string cheese (it's mozzarella, right?)

And then I put it in the oven to bake.

And then I completely forgot about it.  Oops!!

Now I like burnt cheese but this was a whole new level! Fortunately the cheese actually protected the rest of the food and it tasted REALLY good.  Like REALLY REALLY good. :)

But a lesson was learned (hopefully) - Always set a timer!!!  You would think I'd have learned this by now.  This is not even close to the first thing I've burnt because I've thrown it in the oven and forgotten about it.  Maybe that's one reason why I like soups so much.  It would take a VERY LONG time to over cook soup. :)

Hopefully this post has been enlightening for you.  Now do you have any kitchen disasters that's resulted in you becoming a wiser person??  I just KNOW I'm not the only one who's melted a I?  :)


  1. I have a great 'learned it the hard way' story courtesy of my sister (although I was a witness). I totally swear it was her and not me.

    She wanted to make a frozen pizza for dinner one night. She carefully read the directions on the back of the box: preheated the oven, placed the pizza in the center of the oven, set the timer, everything.

    Imagine our surprise when the smoke alarm went off because smoke was pouring out of the oven!

    Guess who didn't remove the pizza from the cardboard box before sticking it in the oven? Darn thing caught on fire.

    Her defense? It didn't say 'Remove frozen pizza from box before baking' on the instructions.

    Lesson learned: sometimes common sense overrules any omitted steps in the directions. Oh, and don't let your sister make frozen pizzas anymore. :)

  2. lol!! We used to get frozen pizzas that had, in bold, "REMOVE PLASTIC BEFORE PUTTING IN OVEN". I guess your "sister" is the reason why. :P