Culinary Rescue

Last weekend’s discussion about the contents of our freezers prompted me to make  spinach quiche on  Saturday. I had pie dough in the freezer along with the correct amount of frozen spinach from the garden. What could go wrong?

Those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it,  and I certainly repeated it with the quiche.  I like to use Julia Child’s quiche recipe from Mastering The Art of French Cooking.  It calls for an 8 inch pan with a removable bottom, or else a flan ring.  A flan ring is an 8 inch in diameter by 1 inch high metal ring with no bottom. You use a cookie sheet as the bottom.  You just line the flan ring/cookie sheet combo with the crust. I don’t have a pan with a removable bottom,  but I have a flan ring and I have used it for years. I almost always have trouble with it, though, but I never replaced it despite all the trouble it caused.  It works beautifully if you have just the right pie dough for your quiche, one with a higher proportion of butter to lard or shortening.  It makes for a sturdier crust.

My current favorite pie dough recipe has equal amounts of butter and lard. It is really flaky. I rolled it  out, lined the flan ring, made a lovely fluted rim,  and set to partially baking it preparatory to pouring in the filling.  A few minutes after I put the crust in the oven, the entire flaky and tender fluted rim fell off onto the cookie sheet. My pastry was too delicate.  That left me with a partially baked crust about three quarters of an inch high and no rim to keep the filling from overflowing.  Not to be daunted, I rolled some leftover dough scraps and remade a serviceable rim that I attached to the partially baked crust after it cooled.  I  filled the quiche shell with the delectable filling, and put it in the oven.

I neglected to consider that if my fluted rim was too delicate, so was the bottom edge of the crust. As usually happens when I don’t use the  sturdier crust recipe, the filling started to leak out of the bottom of the crust and onto the cookie sheet.  I felt like the little Dutch boy plugging the dike as I plastered dough scraps at the junction of the cookie sheet and the flan ring where the leaks seemed to be the biggest.  After a bit the eggs and cream started to thicken with the heat, and I suppose only half a cup or so leaked out. The finished quiche was delicious,  but the drama that went into making it! (There was even more drama during all of this  because before I baked the quiche, husband  finished an 11 lb pork shoulder in the oven after he smoked it, and I didn’t realize that it had leaked fat all over the bottom of the oven,  and billows of smoke poured out of the oven every time I had to open it to attend to the crust. We had to open all the windows to let the smoke out. The pork was delicious, too, but what a mess!)

I threw the flan ring in the garbage and ordered an 8 inch quiche pan with a removable bottom. Then we cleaned the oven.

What are some of your memorable disasters? 

37 thoughts on “Culinary Rescue”

  1. If I’ve told this before, apologies. I never learned to cook from my mother so I’m completely self taught. As a young married, one of my first cookbooks was Enchanted Broccoli Forest. We went to make a pumpkin recipe that called for cooked squash/pumpkin but didn’t specify how to do that cooking. I had no idea how to cook pumpkin so I looked it up in Joy of Cooking and I know you’ll find this hard to believe but Joy says you can cut pumpkin into chunks and boil it. This seemed much easier than how I should’ve done it so away I went. When we put the pumpkin in with the veggies and the beans and the cheese and baked it as a casserole you can imagine it didn’t turn out very well. Wasband was incredibly frugal shall we say and couldn’t bear to waste all of the ingredients after I said I would not eat this casserole. So he put everything into a colander in the sink and squished the offending pumpkin out. Then we added a little spaghetti and a lot more cheese and re-baked it. It was serviceable. Suffice it to say I have never boiled pumpkin since.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Squishy and watery. Terrible thing to do to a squash. In my defense, I didn’t have squash until I was an adult.

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  2. In the past I retrieved the leaked filling with a bulb baster and squirted it back into the quiche until the filling set. That was hot work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When I am following a recipe that is actually written down, if I have issues with it, I always make a note on the recipe, sometimes actually writing in the book and sometimes on a post it note. It helps me remember what I did wrong the last time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of Nonny’s ‘s favorite cookies is called a Starlight Mint surprise. We made this every year for Christmas while I was growing up but they were massive cookies; my mother used a small peppermint patty on the inside. It took me close to 20 years to get the recipe to the point that I liked it with smaller mints. I tried cutting the patties into four, I tried junior mints, I tried shortening instead of butter. They always made a massive mess, melting all over the cookie sheet. About five years ago discovered that if I use half of an Ande’s mint and all butter, I get the result I want!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. It was too smokey to do that this time. I was afraid I would have a grease fire in the oven if I held the door open too long.

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  3. Our 1925 bungalow had a bathroom with a tub. Someone made a sloppy job of converting the tub into a shower.
    1 Bits of wall tile began to fall off because humidity levels in the shower were way beyond what it was built to handle.
    2 More tiles fell, teaching me that if you ignore a water issue, it gets worse. Having just bought a house we could barely afford, we had little money.
    3 We tore out all the plaster and tiles and attempted to replace them with plaster board. That was a botch. And now we couldn’t take a bath or a shower.
    4 We tried to buy tile at a store. Our flagrant incompetence raised concern with a worker, Ken, who came to our house to assess the problem. Ken, at 6’3″, filled our bathroom. He’d put up tile walls for $200.
    5 Ken said we had water damage in the floor, so now we needed new walls and a new floor. Ken, promising to keep expenses low, agreed to do the labor.
    6 Ken discovered that the bathtub fixtures were shot and needed to be replaced. Each new problem he uncovered cost another $200.
    7 Ken got an electrical shock from our bathroom light fixture. He called his electrician buddy, Doug, to inspect. Doug towered over Ken (and us). Doug found criminally bad writing in our home, but offered to fix it for $200. He said the bathroom fixture could have killed us.
    8 We ended up with new walls, new flooring, new fixtures and new house wiring. And a towering debt to work off.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Doug found criminally bad writing in our home, but offered to fix it for $200.” Considering that you were the professional writer in your home, I’m wondering who was found responsible for that?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Then there was the recipe that called for me to parboil a cabbage, carefully remove the leaves, prepare a filling, and reassmble the cabbage leaves around the filling. That didn’t go too well.

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        1. Nothing ever turns out it’s prettiest pictures in the magazines. But that’s because they have staffs of 20 that make 16 of each thing so that they can take a pretty picture pretty picture

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        2. Not to mention that so many photos of food don’t actually show a picture of the recipe you’ve tried to recreate. Oftentimes the vegetables will be different than the ones called for in the recipe. Stylists take a lot of liberties with such photos.

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  5. I designed and created a set once, that, upon further reflection, may have had the worst paint job ever. Seeing pictures makes me wince.
    What as I thinking!??

    Liked by 3 people

  6. my disasters all reflect not thinking properly when it made a difference
    the guy at the doctors office asked “did you know when you were doing it that it was a very risky deal with serious consequences?” i said yeah and he said “yeah most people who come in here know it but go it anyhow

    i simply do what needs to be done and the fact that it’s not a good idea is an inconvenient issue that needs to be ignored to get the job done

    foot broken in 8 or 9 places in order to avoid having my head shishkabobbed as i was plummeting from 20’ escape from being crushed

    broken shoulder after next 20’ plummet

    lost my house due to believing a slimeball real estate guy and getting sucked into w’s financial nightmare

    i can go on but my burnt chili doesn’t make the top 100

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The smoke (and cleaning the oven) sounds like a nightmare, Renee.

    Some time PC (Pre-Covid) I had bought what I thought was regular chili powder at the co-op, carefully scooping it into my little jar. Made cornbread and chili that night for us and two friends, and at first taste you could see everyone’s eyes practically pop out of their head… I must have gotten the very hot powder… We tried adding another can of tomatoes, more beans, all manner of stuff to tone it down, but it was still way too spicy. We ate a lot of cornbread!

    Some of this stuff is still in the basement freezer with a hazard label on it, but I have a feeling I should have frozen it in very tiny jars, to be added to things in small amounts. Does anyone know – can I thaw it and re-freeze?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Of course, Covid has been a disaster none of us will forget. November 8, 2016 was horrible. Grilling with Teflon, killed my birds. After my Covid trial blood draw this afternoon, I can think of much more pleasant “disasters”.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Sort of a timely question…
    Robin has been rearranging her workspace upstairs and determined that she wanted a bookshelf that would make the most of one of the few unoccupied stretches of wall. After looking at what was available at Ikea and online and not finding anything suitable and reasonable (the local unpainted furniture stores only had one or two options and showed the examples laden with knick-knacks plus a small pile of picture books. Bookcases have gone out of fashion, apparently), I told Robin I would build her one. The optimal size was 66 inches high, because the ceiling slopes down at that location, by 48 inches wide. So last week I built her a bookshelf and she painted it on the weekend.

    We were all set to move it from the basement up to the second floor. To do that we had to carry it out the side door and outside to the front door because the turn at the top of the basement stairs was too tight to navigate. When we got it to the foot of the upstairs stairs and started moving it up, we discovered that, by about a half inch, it was too wide to fit up the stairs. Who would have expected that something four feet wide wouldn’t fit up a passage that a six foot person can negotiate? It has to do with the geometry of the angle of that particular piece of furniture between the floor and the doorway. If it had been a little shorter or a little narrower it would have gone. The fact that it was so close made it especially aggravating.
    So we ended up putting the new shelf in the bedroom and the old bedroom shelf in the basement and moving a shelf from the basement up as a temporary shelf upstairs.
    Meanwhile I am building a new, narrower shelf.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can relate to this problem in an odd way. When I first purchased our house, I inherited an upstairs renter. Gladys live there for years, before and after I owned the house. When she finally had to be moved to a nursing home because of various health issues, we discovered that there was no way of getting her perfectly fine couch (perfectly fine, except for the fact that it was saturated with cigarette smoke) downstairs. It couldn’t be navigated around the bottom 90º corner in the stairwell. We tried and tried, but finally ended up taking it back upstairs and cutting it in half. There simply didn’t appear to be another solution, though obviously they had gotten it up there. We still don’t know how.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Okay. Disasters. My favorite college basketball team, Duke. In 1995, Duke coach K hurt his back. We didn’t make the NCAA’s. 2020-21. A disastrous season. After 25 years, we need 4 more wins in a row in the ACC tournament to make the Big Dance.

    Liked by 2 people

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