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Candy is dandy

If I were Ogden Nash, I would have something very clever to say today. I’m sure of it. Maybe something like, candy is dandy, but this biscotti is not(-y). Yes?

Or candy is dandy, but Im going to flush this biscotti down the potty? I think that might be it.

Or, ooh ooh, I’ve got one: Molly isn’t jolly, because this salad was pallid. ZING!

What a week it was. After the quiet glory of cabbage with hot sauce, it all went downhill.

I can’t remember what we ate on Monday night, which is not a good sign. And then on Wednesday, I made the most spectacularly tasteless soup to ever sit atop my stove. It was so bad that we wound up going out for pho instead, leaving the soup to sit in its pot and reflect on its wrongdoings until we threw it away the next morning. On Saturday, we ate the leftovers of the pho we bought on Wednesday and then tried to go buy cupcakes for dessert, only to find that Cupcake Royale was completely sold out. And yesterday, I spent the afternoon happily padding around the kitchen, making granola, trying a new biscotti recipe, and washing gai lan to sauté in olive oil and garlic and serve with sausage and polenta, only to find that the biscotti was bland, the gai lan was even more bland, and I was tempted to burst into tears in the middle of dinner, except that our friend Ben was with us. I’ve been trying to limit my crying fits to audiences of family, and sometimes strangers on the bus.

And then, this morning, I tried to make oat cakes from Home Baking. Judging by the photograph in the book, these oat cakes were supposed to resemble digestive biscuits, or something akin to Carr’s Wheatolos. (Does anyone else remember those?) I will never know for sure, however. The recipe said that the dough would come together to form a mass in the food processor, but instead, mine turned into oat-and-brown-sugar hummus. Pita chip, anyone?

I think this would be the part when I say, candy is dandy, but hummus is among us. (Sorry?)

Even the bag of recycling that sits in the corner wanted to scream.

All of which is to say that I have nothing for you today. I know, I know, and I’m sorry. But I can offer you a suggestion, and it is this: that you make this dish as soon as you possibly can. We made it for dinner the week before last, and it was so perfect that I’m still thinking about it. It was so perfect, in fact, that I won’t even try to make up a rhyme about it, and today, that is the highest praise I can give.


Blogger Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

The dough does look like hummus. But, Molly, you make us happy, and this is why we are here at your blog.
I sometimes feel like blah when I see glorious photos of magnificent food on other blogs, but this is life and most people don’t even have that – a simple, sometimes bland, home-made food they share at the table with their loved one. So, we are doing pretty well, aren’t we? ;-)

8:57 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Leah said...

Oh Molly. I love you. You are wonderful.

You know what this week was? A two-in-one bagger. xo

8:58 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Marisa said...

Maybe last week just wasn't a good week? All I can say is - I wish I'd thought to snap some pictures of how very, very wrong my flapjacks went.

I'd never made flapjacks before, and the book I used was originally published in the UK... and apparently v. poorly converted to US measurements for the American edition. I thought things looked wrong, but I forged ahead anyway. Things were clearly not working by halfway through the cooking time, but by then (when I checked the errata and saw that the 1 C. called for in the recipe should have been 3 C.) it was far too late.

Which is a long way of agreeing Nurit - that *does* look like hummus.

9:02 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Kristin said...

I love that you made the soup sit and thing about how bad it had been in not creating a delicious creation out of itself... LMAO!

9:08 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Hannah said...

hey molly
sorry about your week. on the bright side, it can only get better, right?

9:08 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Renee said...

Molly, you crack me up. I know the feeling...

9:10 PM, February 02, 2009  
Anonymous Adana said...

Poor Molly!

There is nothing quite so disappointing as a meal that doesn't turn out the way you'd like. I'm so sorry.

I had a similar experience this weekend, until I made this cake, adapted from Mark Bittman. We Seattleites have to look out for each other in these times of crisis. So, I offer this recipe t you with my condolences. It made me feel much better. Maybe it will do the same for you.

Recipe: Bourbon Apple Cake Time: About 1 hour, plus one hour's resting

Time: About 1 hour, plus one hour's resting

2 sticks butter, softened, more for greasing pan

Flour (if using bundt pan)

2 medium apples (about 8 ounces), peeled, cored and quartered

2 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup milk

1 cup bourbon, Calvados, Cognac or brandy.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan with butter, or butter and flour a 9-inch bundt pan. Put apples in a blender or food processor and purée; remove and set aside.

2. In food processor, combine 1 1/2 cups butter (12 tablespoons) with 1 1/2 cups sugar and pulse until combined. With motor running, add eggs one at a time. Add apple purée and process until just combined.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Add about a third of flour mixture to apple mixture in food processor. Then, with motor running, add about half of milk; add another third of flour, followed by rest of milk, then finally last of the flour. Process until batter just evens out.

4. Turn batter into prepared pan and bake until middle is set (your fingers should leave only a small indentation when you gently press cake), 45 to 50 minutes. When done, cool in pan for about 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup liquor in a small pot with remaining butter and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and liquid is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then pour over cake; let it sit for at least an hour before serving. (For bundt, let it sit for an hour, then unmold). Store at room temperature, covered with waxed paper, for up to 2 days.

Yield: About 12 servings.

9:22 PM, February 02, 2009  
Anonymous elenagold said...

i loved this post as much as all the others. please don't say sorry, ever! besides, you gave me your recipe for those flour tortillas, so you are golden pretty much forever in my book! :)

9:24 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Cate said...

Some days are like that. Heck, some weeks are like that. I've now made Cranberry Bread twice in two nights, and both times I'm rewarded with a hard loaf of inedibleness. But in the middle? Divinely delicious chili and the next night, the simplest of crepes with just a sprinkling of sugar. Totally makes those brick hard loaves sitting, mocking me, on the stovetop worth it. And that roasted broccoli and shrimp recipe? You had me at roast. Printing...

9:31 PM, February 02, 2009  
Anonymous Jessica @ Bring Your Appetite said...

Oh, don't you hate those weeks? Well, be comforted that they happen to all of us, and the rest of us can be comforted that a bad food week can even happen to someone like you who usually churns out scrumptious creations for us to drool over. I hope this week goes better for ya!

9:35 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Elle said...

It's okay, I just made the world's least successful cookies. The dough completely, entirely fell apart before I could even roll it out. C'est la vie, I suppose.

9:38 PM, February 02, 2009  
Anonymous charlemagne said...

my solution for weeks like that? Eat some cheese. A little later, eat some chocolate. repeat.
and, i made those new york times cookies for some friends, which you kindly cajoled us all to make en vitesse this summer, and now there are about 15 people in this world who think i am a baking goddess. thank you for that.

9:45 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Lisa said...

Nurit's comment just kills me, grabs me right in the middle of my heart and squeezes really hard. That's just so exactly right.

Renee may be on to something, which is that bourbon might be the answer.

Thanks for this one.

9:47 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger La Traductora said...

Molly, mi chiquita, when all else fails, eat Mexican (food that is. Not a Mexican). Works for me!

10:34 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Anna said...

Thanks for being honest. At least you tried, right?

10:37 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger angesinclair said...

Awww, sorry Molly! On the bright side, that broccoli with shrimp was so totally irresistible. I'd never roasted shrimp before and whodathunkit? We're writing sonnets about it over here.

10:38 PM, February 02, 2009  
Anonymous Amber said...

You are so funny! I hope you have a wonderful food week for the rest of the week and yes, I'll definitely try the shrimp and broccoli!

10:53 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Caroline said...

Molly, you are so funny! Don't worry about not having a recipe. I have to tell you though that I have made the cabbage with hot sauce THREE times already. In one week. With a fried egg and whole grain brown rice on the side. Amazing! Actually, we just had it for dinner today. We had a friend over, and he loved it, too. I made sure to save half a cabbage so that I can have it for lunch again later this week. It is so delicious. Thank you again for sharing this one with us.

11:20 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Just ordered your book and can't wait for it to come out!
Thank you for being yourself and for being willing to admit it when things go wrong.
The other night I wanted some Harosset Hamentashen. I know, I need to go back to Sunday School, but that was my craving. Anyway, my first round of Hamentashen was fine. The second batch literally melted onto the (thank goodness) lined baking tray into little puddles that proceeded to burn! Why?! I don't know, maybe there are food Gods out there... ;)
No idea, but it does happen to us all! As you say, it's a Homemade Life, not a photoshopped one. Keep smiling!

11:28 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Samarahuel said...

You did at least refer us to a recipe, but unfortunately shrimp and broccoli are the two foods my husband hates the most. I steamed some broccoli and served it with a Maple-Dijon sauce last night, which he said was bearable, but he had a suggestion to make it better: change out the broccoli for something else. :)

No worries, though. You've directed me to a new favorite poet, which is almost as good as a new favorite dish.

(I was going to attempt to write an Ogden Nash-style verse to convey this all to you, but who can follow "Candy is dandy, but I’m going to flush this biscotti down the potty?")

1:39 AM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous Gadia said...

I came to this blog quite late in the game but as soon as I read it I heard a voice that struck me as individual and lovely. I went back and read some of your early entries and loved how you seem to treasure the quirky and the particular and the simple. You're on the cusp of starting an exciting round of book events which may also be scary and puts you way out in the public eye. Maybe your ambivalent cooking week has something to do with that or maybe its just the ups and downs we all go through. Dont be hard on yourself. Anyway we treasure you in all your good days and your bad. Thank you for letting us visit such a poetic personal nourishing space....

3:28 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Mama JJ said...

It is hard to find a good biscotti recipe. I've been plodding through, experimenting with all different kinds. After all that experimentation, I have two, maybe three, that have passed my taste tests. So I know not to try it, what kind of biscotti was your failure?


4:11 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger maggie said...

Sorry you're having one of those weeks. My soup last night was crunchy. I hear ya.

4:48 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Koren said...

How sad. Though it is somewhat comforting to hear that such a talented cook has off weeks like we all (ok, I) do. I hate it when a recipe I make turns out blah.

My go-to biscotti recipe is the one from the Tartine cookbook - it's wonderful.

4:57 AM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous amy said...

Oat and brown sugar hummus sounds kind of amazing. Did you try dipping the biscotti in it?

5:24 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Amy said...

Ha! I have so been there. My favorites are when I made a pizza dough TWO nights in a row that wouldn't even begin to roll out. The second time, I hurled it at the wall in frustration, where it left a small dent.
The very next day I attempted to make indian food, which ended up smelling so evil I had to put the whole pot on the front porch and leave it there until I got the courage to throw it out (I breathed through my mouth.) That smell still haunts me.

5:33 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Alina said...

Regarding the screaming bag: I understand about inanimate objects in the kitchen having feelings...a few days ago I was in a particularly bad mood. I had taken off my gloves from doing the dishes and returned to find the glove with all the fingers down except the middle one. I think this could qualify as flicking myself off.

5:35 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger shari said...

well, your photos are very pretty. my kitchen experiences have been much of the same. not much to talk about. i am yearning for spring produce!! sending hugs. xo

5:51 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Oh dear, I know EXACTLY what you mean- I had a similar experience last week. Persevere we shall, eh?

6:12 AM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous Heather said...

I always feel like such a loser when things don't work out in the kitchen I'm glad to know that even the "cool kids" in the kitchen have off days :)

6:36 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger hannah said...

:( but damn that shrimp is good isn't it?

6:43 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger melanie said...

I totally appreciate a bummer of a week in the kitchen. But you did pass along a hankering for pho - so there you go - instant inspiration. :)

6:49 AM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous vici said...

You poor thing. I have weeks like that too. But then the following week usually brings miraculous success with the next 3 or 4 new recipes I try. Go figure. Time to fall back on something you love, or you can try this recipe... guaranteed easy, delicious, successful. I promise.

6:55 AM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous Claire said...

Try adding half a star or more of ground star anise to biscotti, depending on the size of the batch. It will keep them from being bland and the taste goes great with coffee.

7:06 AM, February 03, 2009  
OpenID bevw said...

No apologies! You, my dear, just made lemonade.

7:54 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Emily said...

No need for apologies, Molly my dear. You're very much allowed to have those weeks, just like all of the rest of us.
The roasted shrimp/broccoli suggestion is, of course, a great one, as I know from experience.

Oh, and I made the spicy cabbage last night with a piece of toast and a fried egg on top. Mine was delicious, I ate it immediately, but after sitting for about 10-15 minutes, the bottom of Jimmy's egg had turned blue. Ummm....any ideas? Generally in my house, blue food is not really acceptable.
So you see? This is life, these crazy things happen.
Chin up ;)

8:07 AM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry things didn't go well last week. On the bright side, please know that your less than successful weeks give comfort to us fledgling occasional cooks for whom things often don't go well - sometimes in front of company even. My solution: pour another glass of wine and order a pizza.

8:28 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Amanda Nicole said...

Oh, one of THOSE weeks. I know how you feel when you labour over something in the kitchen and get all excited and then it's all just disappointing.

I tried that last recipe you linked to (minus the seafood), and threw in some other veggies, and it really was perfect.

There's always next week!

8:41 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Erin said...

I know exactly how you feel. Isn't it frustrating when your taste and instinct take a holiday?

8:57 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Xan said...

I think you just need to go with the original.

Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.

Sounds like you need it.

I've been lurking for years, and I love love love the site!)

9:04 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Raoul Duke said...

This is the time you break out the iPod and select up a couple of days worth of blues. Mississippi delta to Texas style and all parts in between.

9:31 AM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous Tisha said...

Sorry you're feeling frustrated. I would try that gai lan with broccoli rabe instead. Gai Lan = Asian food, strong spices, salty sauce. Broccoli rabe = Italian food, milder spicing, more inherent flavor in the vegetable itself.

10:09 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Laura said...

Honestly, that cabbage was so good that will hold me for quite some time. No rush on anything new!

10:35 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Jele said...

Oh Molly,

I discovered your blog last week and I can't believe all I was missing. On saturday I tried to make the hot sauce cabbage (kitchen is not my forte) and it went so good! so simple and such a delicious meal! Then yesterday I tried the chickpea salad and I couldn't believe it... it tasted almost as good as you described it!!! Now I can't wait for the next recipe and your lovely stories, they really make my day...

Today I laughed so much... the recycling bag was the peak of it! thank you so much for sharing all your experiences and thoughts with us.

Your recently Orangette fan ;)

Jelena Ardila V.
Caracas, Venezuela.

10:45 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger indigo said...

Don't fight it. Artists, writers, creative people of all kinds have down times, so why should cooks be any different? This is the time to go out to eat as much as your budget will allow, to mine the freezer, & to ask friends to cook for you, if you have that kind of friends, which I strongly suspect you do.

Be good to yourself & the food will come back.

11:46 AM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Clear Pink said...

It is nice to know that I was not the only one having a horrid week.

Your post cheered me!

Here's to a better week.

12:10 PM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger nicole said...

This is one the cutest posts ever, though I am sorry for recent kitchen woes. However: great excuse for takeout! :)

12:20 PM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous Cat said...

i know how you feel about the soup. i made a horrible soup this week (did something wrong with a dried to canned bean conversion) and, sadly, my mom was coming over for dinner that night. she's a southerner, so of course she suffered through it politely, but we had to make your chocolate rads after dinner as consolation. and who needs soup anyway when there are chocolate rads?

1:07 PM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger natalia said...

oh kitchen troubles!
they always bum me out, too.
but hey, chin up lady.
it's a new week.

1:28 PM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger michaela said...

i'm feeling you. hello, cupcake! (http://www.hello-cupcake.com/) was closed sunday. and i have a rather questionable soup on the stove right now trying to use all my rutabags from the farm share!!

1:47 PM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Emily said...

My chocolate cake died. The one I've made hundreds of times, with chocolate mousse and raspberry jam, coated in chocolate ganache. It was pretty embarassing, and I do this for a living. My Exec. Chef was like "Uh......" The chocolate cake was too warm, the mousse not precisely set, and we won't even go into the ganache (pools of butter? why? I make ganache every day! why are you cruel to me, ganache?)

Epicfail! Bringing you miserable excuses for food each and every day.

Then, I came in yesterday to find that one of the owners decided to make rice pudding. It was crunchy.

2:11 PM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Karen said...

Oh, but you didn't see my fishcakes that I made the other night from leftover cooked trout. They tasted good, but looked like upchuck on a plate. So I didn't blog that night. Hehe. Oh yeah, then there was the eggplant casserole with tomatoes and goat cheese. Again, delicious, but talk about looking like upchuck. :O

2:49 PM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly, my Irish grandmother made oatcakes for my grandfather, and the batter was only a bit thicker than what I see in your photo. It's not supposed to come together in a ball. My gran's were fried, not baked, and they certainly didn't look like digestive biscuits.. though I'm not sure if the recipe you tried is for a different kind of oatcake.

Chin up and don't sweat the small stuff. Also, life is stressful at present, especially when you're starting a small business.. it's to be expected. Chin up, take a deep breath and take things one day at a time, or five minutes at a time if that's the best you can do. :) You'll get through it.


4:12 PM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Melissa said...

Tonight, exhausted, I sauteed some chick peas with artichoke hearts, topped with black pepper and lots of parm. cheese.

It was delicious, and it is because of you and your blog that I know the best chick peas to use.


4:48 PM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous Laura said...

Okay, this is why I love you! Your sense of humor sets you apart & keeps me coming back for more of whatever you are (or aren't) dishing up.

5:02 PM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous Kimberly said...

Isn't it just the way sometimes? I once battled with Portuguese cornbread ten times before I was happy with it. I definitely prefer when the recipe gods shine the other way resulting in fewer trips to the grocery store. Tomorrow is a new day :) We're looking forward to trying your Coffee Crunch Bars from Bon Appetit.

5:26 PM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger The Mouse said...

I used to feel pretty cocky about my baking skills, until a small disaster this week with a brownie pudding that was more like brownie cement. I'm heartened to hear that even the most charmed (and charming) food bloggers out there have their own minor tragedies in the kitchen. Onward and upward!

6:47 PM, February 03, 2009  
Anonymous dana said...

you crack me up! It was funny because by the time I was almost done reading your post I was thinking..."wait! you need roasted broccoli and shrimp!!.....I made it twice since I read that post and haven't stopped telling everyone how yummy it is. Sorry about all the mishaps....and shame on Cupcake Royale....it's illegal for them to be out of cupcakes!

8:57 PM, February 03, 2009  
OpenID jessbcuz said...

just wanted to 2nd some of the comments made... it was a refreshing post to read! I too have made a few bland soups...in fact last week i made a corn and potato chowder that we kept trying to eat with different toppings in hopes of reviving...but my favorite was the recycle bag.

9:55 PM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger A Day That Is Dessert said...

You are so clever with words. You will always have that, even when you have a bad week in the kitchen. The link looks fabulous. My shrimp and broccoli loving family will be glad to try it - thanks!

10:21 PM, February 03, 2009  
Blogger Bellini Valli said...

I am sure that we have all had weeks like this bgut if we can enjoy even the simplest of meals with family and friends we are truly blessed:D

1:40 AM, February 04, 2009  
Anonymous andrea said...

Hey Molly: Love your blog! I feel the same way about everything I have cooked in the last couple of weeks...totally uninspired. I think it has something to do with the wintry New England weather!

4:11 AM, February 04, 2009  
Blogger wosnes said...

The very first biscotti recipe I used was divine. I lost the recipe almost immediately and have been searching ever since.

I've made the roasted broccoli and shrimp twice since it appeared in the New York Times. It is so simple and so good. It seems I can't make enough of it, often enough. Everyone loves it.


6:37 AM, February 04, 2009  
Anonymous Amanda said...

Nothing compares to the mango pie I tried to bake sans recipe many years ago. It may have been my only failure that week, but it was almost enough to make me put a padlock on my oven door for good! Hope this week is tastier :)

9:41 AM, February 04, 2009  
Anonymous John Mark said...

Molly .... even when things go bad, your blog makes it all better - always cheers me up!

John Mark

12:26 PM, February 04, 2009  
Anonymous amydawnrose said...

so sorry to hear this week in your kitchen was not triumphant, but molly, i made the spicy cabbage the other day and it was transcendant. yes, transcendant. especially considering the few ingredients and its simplicity. does that make you feel any better?!

12:41 PM, February 04, 2009  
Blogger C. Carrington said...

And then there's grabbing the confectioners sugar instead of the flour. What DO you call a Yorkshire Pudding made with sugar? Flat.

Mols, you gave it a go. Thank goodness for Pho!

12:42 PM, February 04, 2009  
Blogger kittymama said...

Molly, If it makes you feel any better, I have had problems with some of the recipes in Home Baking. The photos are gorgeous, but I think they might have needed some more time with the recipe testing. Just my two cents...and hoping you will realize it's not always YOU.

2:54 PM, February 04, 2009  
Blogger Jeff said...

Sounds like a rough week. But thanks for the link over to The Wednesday Chef...I hadn't seen that one before, and the broccoli and shrimp roast looked like something I'd do.

3:33 PM, February 04, 2009  
Blogger Emily said...

Don't feel bad. The beans in my soup this week were "al dente" - but I made so much of it I'm just eating it anyway. So it goes.

Your food may lack luster, but a salad/pallid rhyme is nothing to sneeze at.

8:36 PM, February 04, 2009  
Anonymous molly said...

Does this coincide with opening your restaurant? if so I think it's the food businesses way of welcoming you. I see this as a very good sign as someone in the biz :)

6:22 AM, February 05, 2009  
Blogger lynda said...


So sorry you had a rough week. Thanks for sharing it with us anyhow. We all have them. I made a Meyer Lemon tart from very renowned American chef and was totally disapointed (And where I'm from meyer Lemons don't grown on trees) IT was such a let down to invest in the ingredients, spend the time and have it be so flat tasting. Bummed me out big time! But alas, it's time to go in search of the next recipe callimg my name. YOu have a beautiful writing voice and even the failures are a pleasure to read. Until next time...

6:40 AM, February 05, 2009  
Anonymous Karen said...

Molly, sorry for all the disappointments, but at least we know the granola was good! I don't think I've told you what I've been doing with that chocolate granola recipe of yours, so perhaps now is the time.

First, skip the coconut (mostly because I never have any in the house) and up the volume of oats and sliced almonds to compensate. Omit the sugar (we like it a bit less sweet) and throw in a little flax seed to boost the nutritional value. Then, instead of chocolate, I've been using an equal amount of those tart dried cherries from Trader Joe's. Voila. Not chocolate granola anymore, but YUM anyway!!

7:09 AM, February 05, 2009  
Blogger Carrie said...

I hear you. I burst into tears in my kitchen the other night after my constant klutziness completely ruined dinner. We'd already roasted potatoes and sauteed mushrooms for some lovely, perfectly-broiled steaks, only to have them rendered useless when I shattered the Pyrex dish the steaks were on while taking it out of the oven. The steaks landed on the floor in a mess of glass shards, meat juice all over the floor and cabinets. But all wasn't lost--I had potatoes and mushrooms to throw into a quick quiche.

I recommend whipping up another batch of Chewy Cocoa Cookies. They always put me (and everyone who knows I'm making them) in a good mood! :-)

7:35 AM, February 05, 2009  
Blogger ames said...

I too have subjected total strangers to unexpected crying fits. If only the tears from a recipe disaster magically made it taste good!

Biscotti is Naughty!

9:44 AM, February 05, 2009  
Anonymous aaron said...


10:20 AM, February 05, 2009  
Blogger Jennifer said...

some itsy bitsy chocolate chip cookies might make you feel better. i haven't tried this recipe yet; maybe you can and let the rest of us know how it goes ;-)


2:09 PM, February 05, 2009  
Blogger Chelsea said...

This week may have been a bust, but (on a happier note) I've made cabbage with hot sauce twice and enjoyed every perfect morsel. Even my husband - a self-proclaimed cabbage detractor - loved it. So you made my week much more delicious, and I'm very grateful for that.

8:29 PM, February 05, 2009  
Blogger Paula said...

Uggh - I hate it when weeks go like this. Its so frustrating/disappointing. At least we know we're not alone now! And there's no shame in such company.

5:56 AM, February 06, 2009  
Blogger Fielding Crestwood said...

You could make a separate blog for your failed recipes, and market it to Central Europeans.

I live in Prague, Czech Republic. It is a beautiful town with the worst food I've ever had in my life. Everything is bland or heavy. Or both. The would love your biscotti and salad.

6:01 AM, February 06, 2009  
Blogger Steph said...

Oh, I've had days like that!

10:48 AM, February 06, 2009  
Blogger Hungry Oyster said...

Molly--I know exactly how you feel! Maybe it's in the weather this week? I tried to make an upside pear cake (the one from last year's nytimes with honey and thyme) and the cake stuck like glue to the cast-iron pan. I tried to salvage it by turning it into a sort of parfait--but I was still a little deflated by it. i ended up assuaging myself with a big bowl of khao soi kai.

sometimes we all need a week off.

12:01 PM, February 06, 2009  
Blogger ROACH, Great taste in food and friends said...

The brocoli shrimp dish really is BEYOND delicious and easy!! Just make that again this week and it will wipe away the worries of last weeek.

1:33 PM, February 06, 2009  
Blogger Jessica said...

Oh my goodness, thank you for recommending that broccoli & shrimp dish! It was so easy, tasty and even calorie-friendly. I served it with some yukon gold potatoes and it was sooo tasty!!

Better luck on your next post :( !

2:14 PM, February 07, 2009  
Blogger Karen D said...

Love your site Molly – I started reading when you posted the banana cake recipe with the chocolate sauce – I LOVE that cake and have made it many times.
Thanks for your hilarious honesty – it’s good to know that these things happen to all of us. I had a dinner party on Friday night – decided to try “Fueilletée of Caramelized Bananas with Chocolate Fudge Sauce”. I had a bit or a caramel disaster (unless you like rock-candy chunks mixed into your lovely sauce). Fortunately all was not ruined and I was able to spoon the bananas and enough sauce onto the puff pastry top with the small scoops of rum raisin ice cream, cover with the remaining puff pastry and drizzle with warm dark chocolate fudge sauce. The end result was fabulous (I have a wonderful picture of my friend licking his plate) and no one was aware of the sugar crystals remaining in the pan. Had to get up first thing Saturday morning and make a pan of caramel to prove to myself that I could do it. I feel better now – every time I walk through the kitchen I dip my finger into the smooth amber colored caramel sauce and smile.

8:40 AM, February 08, 2009  
Blogger Curly Glamour Girlie said...

Molly. You are like my long-lost twin. My dad even used to call me Molly when I'd dye my hair red.

I've had many a kitchen blunder. My husband even asks, "Are we going to have dinner tonight, or are you going to experiment in the kitchen for 2 hours and come up with a tiny bowl of something that will leave me hungry 30 minutes later?"

But I've come up with some great dishes, some not so great dishes and some stinkers. It happens. But I know what you means when you feel like the culinary universe is conspiring against you.

I'll even share an abysmally bad kitchen experience my cousin and I had:

We baked a cake. A cake that broke as it came out of the pan. No worries, we decided to make a dragon with a loooong tail. Then we HAD to make icing. We didn't have powdered sugar. So we took granulated sugar and me being the younger of us was put to task manually granulating it with a decorative mortar and pestle my aunt had. Needless to say, that was less than successful. So we flavored it. With Jello. And set it out in the backyard. To freeze into candy. The saddest part? We were about 15 or so.

Thanks for revealing that success is not always guaranteed in the kitchen!

(On a side note, I'm going to try like heck to make your book signing in NYC!)

10:38 AM, February 09, 2009  
Blogger Cheesecake Maven said...

You and I were living in a parallel universe last week! I, too, made a new biscotti and I, too, made a really horrid soup. The biscotti recipe said it would make 48 cookies, I was lucky to get 12 crumbly biscotti out of it. The soup was supposed to be a sort of minestrone using beef from the pot-roast. It was so horrible no one could eat it and we ended up flushing it down the toilet! I'm usually the soup queen, but not this time! Hang in there, tomorrow IS another day Miss Scarlet. (Even your bag-o-recycling matched my own! We keep ours hanging on the back door in the kitchen and fill it until bursting at the seams before we take it out.)

10:53 AM, February 09, 2009  
Blogger Shelley said...

I wouldn't wish it on you, but it is comforting knowing I am not the only one who can spend hours on something only to be wildly disappointed! And sometimes I assume it's me, not the recipe, but there are recipes out there that need modification and do not work the way they should. Or the seasoning is too mild or whatever. Sorry you had such a week, but thanks for sharing all the same!

10:55 AM, February 09, 2009  
Blogger Megan said...

If you want to try oat cakes again, I have a wonderful recipe that was handed down to me from a lady who should have been my grandmother: http://thegoodfoodmuse.net/2008/10/culturing-dairy-and-local-oat-cakes.html They're delicious, and I promise the recipe will work for you!

6:15 PM, February 11, 2009  
Anonymous Jessica W. said...

Don't worry about those oatcakes. Many of the Alfords' recipes are....thinking of a polite term...impressionistic. I've had both delicious success and offtrack failures with stuff from Home Baking and Flatbreads and Flavors.

When I tried the oatcakes they were a bit more coherent than yours, but not really edible in any Earthly sense of the term.

3:13 AM, February 15, 2009  
OpenID thedailyreason said...

Another recommendation for an oatcake recipe: from recipesource.com. A friend recommends it, and his results look super pretty. In fact, I'm going to make them this afternoon....

12:51 PM, February 19, 2009  
Blogger foodiechickie said...

You are correct. A good cook is nothing without a good recipe. Sorry about the bad luck:(

10:01 AM, February 26, 2009  
Anonymous BadHomeCook said...

You were aiming for biscuits but ended up with hummus...
welcome to my world. It's why I read your blog, in the attempt to pick up something, anything, about cooking better.
Congrats on the book! But no L.A. reading? Porque no?

8:49 AM, March 03, 2009  
Anonymous ondine said...

Having spent some time in Nova Scotia(Baddeck!) I had the opportunity to become addicted to oat cakes...lines would form outside the town bakery..anyway thanks to the dailyreason for her recipe..I could hunt one up in one of the local church cookbooks. A note to say how much I am loving your book..I have a running shopping list as I finish each chapter. I think I will take a few weeks and make everything..rats I missed you in DC!!

7:59 AM, March 25, 2009  
Blogger Tessa said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



8:36 PM, March 25, 2009  
Anonymous JQX said...

Love your blog. I made the sweet potato pound cake and it was to die for!!!!

7:52 PM, March 26, 2009  
Anonymous Kimberly nut said...

Molly! you are so funny. The very first biscotti recipe. your recipe photos are very pretty. Yes i really appreciate a bummer of a week in the kitchen. I would try that gai lan with broccoli rabe instead. I can try this recipe. This sure looks yummy! I'm sure it'll be a big hit with the kids. I am very happy to visit your site.

4:04 AM, October 08, 2009  

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