Cooking Fails

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Is there a dish you keep trying to cook but never get quite right?

For me that’s mac n’ cheese. I can never get it right and I’ve tried for years.
 
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koukouvagia ... You're a member of a long and distinguished list.


My own personal bane is brisket.
 
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phatch

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Hot and sour soup, while not a true failure never comes out quite right yet.

The best homemade macaroni and cheese I've made uses eggs to bind the sauce. And this way you can skip the flour of roux. I've seen this same recipe in the Joy of Cooking and Cook's illustrated. This is copied from JoC:

Cook in a large pot of boiling salted water:
• 2 cups elbow macaroni (8 ounces)
Drain and return to the pot. Add:
• 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, softened
Stir until well blended. Add and stir well:
• One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
• 3 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar (12 ounces)
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
• (¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper)
Set the pot over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth and the pasta is steaming, about 10 minutes. The sauce should thicken noticeably. Increase the heat slightly if the sauce is still soupy after 5 minutes, but watch it very carefully. Do not overheat, or the sauce will curdle.


I rarely make it this way because I rarely have evaporated milk around.
 
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Stuffed omelette
Either they get stuck to the pan or the break....
Generally I end up with scrambled eggs.
Maybe I have to invest in a teflon pan?
 

phatch

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I struggled with biscuits for a long time. The breakthrough that worked for me was that working the dough as little as possible is wrong. It takes a little kneading for them to have enough structure. It's not much working of the dough, but you have to learn what the dough looks and feels like for your climate. I suspect if i moved I'd have to relearn to make them.
 
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Popovers. For some reason they just won’t pop like they did years ago.

No problem with pate choux, though.
 
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I HATE admitting this... Pullman Loaves. I;m not sure if I'm leaving out a step, or if I'm rushing it, or that pan wiht a lid is messing me up. What I end up with is a very, VERY dense loaf (so much so I could probably hit someone with it and knock them out) - I AM getting some crumb development, but nothing like a "regular" loaf. Anyway, that's my "confession"...
 
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I bought some self rising flower and some more butter. I'll have another go at it and let all y'all know how they turn out.
 
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I struggled with biscuits for a long time. The breakthrough that worked for me was that working the dough as little as possible is wrong. It takes a little kneading for them to have enough structure. It's not much working of the dough, but you have to learn what the dough looks and feels like for your climate. I suspect if i moved I'd have to relearn to make them.
You should look up the mock sorta laminating technique for biscuits...I switched years and years ago and have never looked back.

Essentially you stack and roll the biscuit dough like you might a laminated dough, and it gives the flakiest biscuits ever. There must be dozens of youtube videos.
 
7,659
836
Joined Apr 3, 2008
Hot and sour soup, while not a true failure never comes out quite right yet.

The best homemade macaroni and cheese I've made uses eggs to bind the sauce. And this way you can skip the flour of roux. I've seen this same recipe in the Joy of Cooking and Cook's illustrated. This is copied from JoC:

Cook in a large pot of boiling salted water:
• 2 cups elbow macaroni (8 ounces)
Drain and return to the pot. Add:
• 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, softened
Stir until well blended. Add and stir well:
• One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
• 3 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar (12 ounces)
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
• (¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper)
Set the pot over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth and the pasta is steaming, about 10 minutes. The sauce should thicken noticeably. Increase the heat slightly if the sauce is still soupy after 5 minutes, but watch it very carefully. Do not overheat, or the sauce will curdle.


I rarely make it this way because I rarely have evaporated milk around.
I would try it but a) I already know I will fail and b) I have an irrational disdain for evaporated milk
 
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The "evaporated milk" addition is a great move. I love that idea.
Best stove top Mac and cheese is from serious eats:
Equal parts in weight macaroni, evaporated milk and cheese.
Put macaroni in a skillet, add water to cover, stir like a risotto until almost completely absorbed. Add milk and cheese. I add nutmeg, ground mustard, etc...
The idea is that the starch that usually comes out in the pasta water sticks around and makes it creamy. It is absolutely wonderful and easy.
 
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Fried rice. It usually comes out a bit gummy and the flavor is never as good as restaurants.

I think it improves with every try. I learned to cook the eggs separately and I don't use soy sauce. It's kind of all about the sesame oil and Maggi seasoning. Still needs work.
 
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The mac and cheese problem reminds me of train cook on how to thicken a gravy with a Roux. Trying to tell them if you want a perfect gravy you need to stop thickening at a consistency less than what the final consistency will produce. Many many years ago I made a 5 cheese Mac & Cheese for a Seafood buffet I was doing at a private club. I made a loose cheddar cheese sauce and put all the cooked mac in to sauce. I would then layer the mac mixture in a 2" hotel pan like lasagna. On every layer I would sprinkle some shredded mozzarella, Jack, Parm and provolone. I then topped with panko bread crumbs. I think I put the bread crumb mixture on when finishing. You don't really need a recipe for these things. You do need to have an understanding of how the starch of the macaroni will thickened the mixture and when the cheese cools a bit it will also thicken.
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
Fried rice. It usually comes out a bit gummy and the flavor is never as good as restaurants.

I think it improves with every try. I learned to cook the eggs separately and I don't use soy sauce. It's kind of all about the sesame oil and Maggi seasoning. Still needs work.
Do you start with cold separated rice ??????
 
7,659
836
Joined Apr 3, 2008
Fried rice. It usually comes out a bit gummy and the flavor is never as good as restaurants.

I think it improves with every try. I learned to cook the eggs separately and I don't use soy sauce. It's kind of all about the sesame oil and Maggi seasoning. Still needs work.
Rice has to be rinsed before it’s cooked, and cooked completely before you use it for fried rice. It cools quickly if you lay it on a sheet pan.

I don’t have a good wok, but I find that my big cast iron skillet does a fine job. First I sautee the meat and remove. Then I quickly sautee all the veggies (onion peppers carrots, ginger) and then remove those too. Quickly scramble the egg and remove, don’t overcook. Then plenty of oil and in goes the rice making sure every grain gets coated and starts crisping before stirring everything back in, adding some sesame oil, soy sauce, and sirhacha. If everything is chopped up and ready it goes quick.
 
763
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Joined May 4, 2005
Rice has to be rinsed before it’s cooked, and cooked completely before you use it for fried rice. It cools quickly if you lay it on a sheet pan.

I don’t have a good wok, but I find that my big cast iron skillet does a fine job. First I sautee the meat and remove. Then I quickly sautee all the veggies (onion peppers carrots, ginger) and then remove those too. Quickly scramble the egg and remove, don’t overcook. Then plenty of oil and in goes the rice making sure every grain gets coated and starts crisping before stirring everything back in, adding some sesame oil, soy sauce, and sirhacha. If everything is chopped up and ready it goes quick.
Thanks! Yes, I always rinse my rice before cooking, and I always use day old, cold rice.
 

phatch

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There's a food court chain in Singapore called Wok Hey. The make fried rice and noodles. Youtube channel dancingbacon posts videos from there frequently. It's an interesting setup. The boxes have premeasured rice or noodles. The customer picks out addins. These get measured by sized spoons. The add ins go in the box or a separate bowl if they need separate cooking.

The cooking station has pots of oil, seasoning, green onion and so on with measuring ladles.

Then it's cooked to order. The chefs seem to have good training for a food court experience. The toss into the ladle atte end to load the box is a cool skill.

 
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