Good morning, Kitchen Klutzes! Yes, you: all of you. I’ve never met anyone who cooks, who hasn’t had a kitchen disaster of some sort or another. My hands and arms bear a myriad of scars, each of which is its own story of a kitchen disaster, large or small. My current favourite is on the underside of my forearm, about an inch long, where I neatly sliced off all of the layers of my skin with a smashed oil dispenser. * sigh *

About 6 years ago, I was making a package of Ichiban noodles (we all go there sometimes). In the process of slicing open the top of the flavour packet, I also managed to slice open the top of my finger. There just happens to be a hospital about 2 blocks away from our condo, so I wrapped my injured finger in a towel and trotted off to get a stitch.  “What happened?” asked the emergency-room doctor (naturally). “Do I have to tell you?” I responded. Well, that rat bastard wouldn’t stitch me up until I admitted it was an Ichiban injury. I can still hear him laughing.

coffee cake disaster

It’s not just the burns and cuts, though. It seems like every time I venture into new cooking territory, try out a new recipe or technique, I manage to produce something completely inedible. Remember my yucky, gooey, undercooked coffee cake?

I think my problem is overconfidence. I think I know how to cook. So really, if I just followed the G-D recipe, things would probably turn out just fine. Then a little thought will insert itself into my head: “it would be better if I added this.  I don’t like that, so I’m going to change it.” Alack, often disaster. Or just disappointing, which is often worse because you don’t feel justified in just chucking the lot; if it’s edible you feel like you should probably eat it. I’d still rather have myself to blame, though, than follow a recipe (almost) to a “T” and have a disappointing result.

Take last night. I grilled up a perfect, perfect chunk of tuna.  Following a suggestion from the Fast Easy Fresh section of Bon Appétit, I elected to top it with a “tapenade vinegrette”. Their recipe called for stor-bought tapenade (are you kidding?) so I did a quick search on Epicurious and settled on this recipe for tapenade.  Oh, but I added a clove of garlic.  The tapenade was delicious.

Then, following Bon Appétit’s recipe, I mixed some of the tapenade with onion, vinegar (didn’t have white balsamic so I used red), olive oil and basil.  The resulting mix was also delicious, but I thought it was far too strongly flavoured for tuna.  So I went back to the original tapenade.  My mistake. It really was overwhelming for the tuna.  I usually just make a wasabi-lime butter that goes perfectly with grilled tuna, by mixing up butter, wasabi (to taste) and lime juice, and then rolling it into a log and refrigerating it. When the tuna’s cooked, just cut off a couple of rounds. Perfection.

Because I was disappointed with the tuna, I have no pictures of it. So I leave you with a picture taken in a cenote near Chichen Itza in Mexico. It’s one of those “happy places” I go to whenever a kitchen disaster occurs.

Happy Place

xx Eva