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Recipes that Suck: 2008


sadie4232
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This thread is the evil twin to “Recipes that Rock” started by maggiethecat. Let’s face it, we’ve all made recipes that looked good on paper, but when made, ummm…you realize a perfectly good tree gave it’s life for something totally vile. Sometimes it was because the combination of ingredients, other times it was a major/minor mistake by the cook, sometimes it was just bad karma.

So let’s hear the horror stories! Recipes don’t need to be from 2008, just made this year.

To get things rolling, Onion Crusted Whitefish with Tomato Water Sauce (Happy in the Kitchen), was the worst meal I’ve ever made. In fact, it sucked to a degree that can’t even be adequately described. Admittedly part of the problem was not using high-grade whitefish but who would have thought being covered in onions that it would turn into a slimy mess? To make things worse, I decided to serve the fish with broccoli, but because of lack of foresight on my part, I used frozen instead of fresh. Never again will I use any veggie from Green Giant that comes in one of those steamer pouches. Even nuked for the lowest time (I think it was 4 minutes), they came out being way over done. It was definitely a meal where all the cooking gods were against me.

The Wright Table

Becoming a better home cook, one meal at a time.

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Let me first say that I like the idea of this thread, and I will likely contribute. However, I think it's a bit unfair to say that the recipe sucked when you admit to varying the recipe in ways that led to its suckiness. Maybe the thread should be more of a 'recipes that I sucked at' type?

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Let me first say that I like the idea of this thread, and I will likely contribute.  However, I think it's a bit unfair to say that the recipe sucked when you admit to varying the recipe in ways that led to its suckiness.  Maybe the thread should be more of a 'recipes that I sucked at' type?

I agree and that is exactly what I was thinking ..there were lots of things I have made where my actions lead to the sucking of the recipe ...although that recipe was sounding sucky so that is why I made the variations before I even tried it

I will have to think on this

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Prawns Nacional

had everything johnnybird likes but ....  no.

I was okay until the stout, for me, it took the whole thing sideways. I would probably substutute a glass of wine and give it try.

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Let me first say that I like the idea of this thread, and I will likely contribute.  However, I think it's a bit unfair to say that the recipe sucked when you admit to varying the recipe in ways that led to its suckiness.  Maybe the thread should be more of a 'recipes that I sucked at' type?

I agree that sometimes meal failures are due to performing some stupid cook trick , which the recipe can't be blamed for. But surely there must be some recipes that, even when followed exactly, just weren't worth it. So why limit ourselves? Let's hear all the stories and share the pain. :wink:

The Wright Table

Becoming a better home cook, one meal at a time.

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In the spirit of trying to figure out why a recipe didn't work, and in support of a cookbook that I have found very solid indeed, I want to reply to the initial post:

To get things rolling, Onion Crusted Whitefish with Tomato Water Sauce (Happy in the Kitchen), was the worst meal I’ve ever made. In fact, it sucked to a degree that can’t even be adequately described. Admittedly part of the problem was not using high-grade whitefish but who would have thought being covered in onions that it would turn into a slimy mess? 

I sure would have! Using mediocre quality fish that's been frozen (and likely handled poorly) is a recipe for a slimy mess, if by that you mean flesh that doesn't hold its texture and gives off a lot of icky moisture.

To make things worse, I decided to serve the fish with broccoli, but because of lack of foresight on my part, I used frozen instead of fresh.

Richard's recipes are deceptively simple, but they all require high quality ingredients. This is a dish to prepare when you have fresh peas and tomatoes at their peak; without them (and fresh, excellent fish), this dish will suck. But it seems unfair to criticize a recipe that's largely been ignored!

If we're going to take recipes to task for sucking, I suggest we only judge those to which we've given our best shot in terms of quality ingredients, technique, and any other relevant (cookware, time, temperature, etc.) factors. Fair?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Nope.

Unless the recipe specified a grade of fish, and indicated never to use frozen, not fair.

I have to look up the name of the cookbook I'm thinking of, but it called for a nice bechamel based sauce, over a decent seafood mixture, on toast.

Fortunately, I'd learned about pre-reading and editting recipes (the hard way) long ago. Because as written, one is to make the toast & set it aside before beginning sauce preparation. That is an excellent way to produce shoe soles, but its (sic) tough on toast.

In fact, although every recipe I've made from the book has been tasty, its been due to their ingredients, and my rearranging the step order for most of them. As written, they are doomed.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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In the spirit of trying to figure out why a recipe didn't work, and in support of a cookbook that I have found very solid indeed, I want to reply to the initial post:
To get things rolling, Onion Crusted Whitefish with Tomato Water Sauce (Happy in the Kitchen), was the worst meal I’ve ever made. In fact, it sucked to a degree that can’t even be adequately described. Admittedly part of the problem was not using high-grade whitefish but who would have thought being covered in onions that it would turn into a slimy mess? 

I sure would have! Using mediocre quality fish that's been frozen (and likely handled poorly) is a recipe for a slimy mess, if by that you mean flesh that doesn't hold its texture and gives off a lot of icky moisture.

To make things worse, I decided to serve the fish with broccoli, but because of lack of foresight on my part, I used frozen instead of fresh.

Richard's recipes are deceptively simple, but they all require high quality ingredients. This is a dish to prepare when you have fresh peas and tomatoes at their peak; without them (and fresh, excellent fish), this dish will suck. But it seems unfair to criticize a recipe that's largely been ignored!

If we're going to take recipes to task for sucking, I suggest we only judge those to which we've given our best shot in terms of quality ingredients, technique, and any other relevant (cookware, time, temperature, etc.) factors. Fair?

First, let me say that this was probably not the best example to start with. Next, I will be the first to admit & agree that if one is going to tackle recipes from a top-notch chef, it's always best to work with the finest ingredients. Otherwise, you set yourself for disappointment.

However, not being a trained chef, but a passionate home cook, the urge to try and replicate a recipe is sometimes just too tempting to ignore. It's not always possible to find (or at times afford) top-shelf ingredients or the finest cookware. So, you work with what you can find and hope for the best. Having learned my lesson from the fish fiasco, I have made it a point of being patient until I can find/afford great ingredients and have had pretty spectacular results with other of Richard's recipes, along with many from French Laundry and others.

So in the words of a previous poster on this thread, this wasn't a case where the recipe sucked but where I did. Mia Culpa, me bad. Let's move on, shall we?

The Wright Table

Becoming a better home cook, one meal at a time.

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Unless the recipe specified a grade of fish, and indicated never to use frozen, not fair.

I couldn't disagree more. I'll have to flip through my Richard at home, where I'm sure he says "Use good, fresh ingredients for success" or something like it. But if he doesn't, it seems unfair to judge his recipe based on the elements of obviously poor quality ingredients.

However, not being a trained chef, but a passionate home cook, the urge to try and replicate a recipe is sometimes just too tempting to ignore. It's not always possible to find (or at times afford) top-shelf ingredients or the finest cookware. So, you work with what you can find and hope for the best. Having learned my lesson from the fish fiasco, I have made it a point of being patient until I can find/afford great ingredients and have had pretty spectacular results with other of Richard's recipes, along with many from French Laundry and others.

I think that's just the attitude, sadie4232! There's nothing wrong with substituting and seeing what you can get away with; as a home cook myself, I certainly have my share of disasters doing so. But the fault lies with me, dear Sadie, and not poor Richard. :wink:

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Sometimes the problem is between the knife and the cutting board. I know it is here. I also know that I afford the ingredients I can and work with what I can. I think that a recipe should be able to be replicated by the better than average home cook to be a great recipe. Can it be pro only and be a very good recipe, bordering on great? Absolutely. However, the ability to use good ingredients and make the recipe somehow above the sum of its parts, is what, to me, elevates it to greatness.

Does that make sense?

Blog.liedel.org

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Ina Garten's Sun-dried Tomato Dip.

It was just so...bland. I was very disappointed. I guess I expected more from one of her recipes. It was a nice color. It did have a little sweet note from the sun dried tomatoes but there was no other flavor to it. I think I posted about its supreme blandness on another thread. It needed a lot doctoring up.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Ina Garten's Sun-dried Tomato Dip.

It was just so...bland. I was very disappointed. I guess I expected more from one of her recipes. It was a nice color. It did have a little sweet note from the sun dried tomatoes but there was no other flavor to it. I think I posted about its supreme blandness on another thread. It needed a lot doctoring up.

I was thinking of making this next weekend. I just changed my mind. Bland is not something that would work this time.

Blog.liedel.org

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Ina Garten's Sun-dried Tomato Dip.

It was just so...bland. I was very disappointed. I guess I expected more from one of her recipes. It was a nice color. It did have a little sweet note from the sun dried tomatoes but there was no other flavor to it. I think I posted about its supreme blandness on another thread. It needed a lot doctoring up.

Toliver, are you sure you used only the highest grade sundried tomatoes? ;)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Sadie, its still a great topic. :wub:

Now I just need to go find a recipe and actually follow it.

I start with a recipe and hey look at that shiny object over there.........................................................................................................................What was I doing

:unsure:

I am doomed from the start!

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Two salads, both of which sounded great, but.... "Edamame, Black Eyed Pea Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette" from Gourmet absolutely sucked, and "Fresh Greens with Roasted Beets, Haricots Verts, and Goat Cheese Croutons" from Fine Cooking was just so-so.

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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Ina Garten's Sun-dried Tomato Dip.

It was just so...bland. I was very disappointed. I guess I expected more from one of her recipes. It was a nice color. It did have a little sweet note from the sun dried tomatoes but there was no other flavor to it. I think I posted about its supreme blandness on another thread. It needed a lot doctoring up.

Toliver, are you sure you used only the highest grade sundried tomatoes? ;)

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Trader Joe's Sun Dried Tomatoes. Kraft Cream cheese. Best Foods mayo. Knudsen Sour Cream. Tabasco. Fresh ground pepper from my Magnum Pepper Mill. Diamond Kosher Salt. Perhaps the weak link in all this was the ordinary supermarket scallions.

Now, looking back at the ingredient list, I'm wondering why I was so surprised it didn't taste like much of anything. There's not really any ingredient listed to give it any kind of flavor. Live and learn.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I made two recipes from Chow.com last month -- they both sounded totally fabulous to me, so I made them exactly as specified.. and they were terrible. First was for a sumac chicken with bread salad, where sumac-rubbed chicken gets roasted over cubes of bread which is then mixed with cukes and tomatoes and lemon juice to make bread salad. Sounded fabulous. What i got was flavorless chicken (sumac just didn't have enough flavor), half crispy/half soggy bread that was weird with the cukes in my opinion. Then made "crumbly oat and apricot bars" from their site... They came out of the oven looking just like the picture, lovely brown and... Tasting strongly of raw flour. We actually threw the whole thing out! Sigh.

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Ina Garten's Sun-dried Tomato Dip.

It was just so...bland. I was very disappointed. I guess I expected more from one of her recipes. It was a nice color. It did have a little sweet note from the sun dried tomatoes but there was no other flavor to it. I think I posted about its supreme blandness on another thread. It needed a lot doctoring up.

I was thinking of making this next weekend. I just changed my mind. Bland is not something that would work this time.

See, without picking on anyone because this is not my intention, but I do think you should make this but increase the amount of sun-dried tomatoes! I have a hard time believing that anything that calls for sun-dried tomatoes can be bland. But when I read the recipe and see the amount of tomatoes as a ratio to the other ingredients, it just seem wrong! I would double the tomatoes and I bet it sings. But that's just an opinion. I think this is where "taste, taste, taste" becomes imperative. Ina probably has access to sun-dried tomatoes that most of us can only dream of! Damn I will have to make this soon to test my theory. :biggrin:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Ina Garten's Sun-dried Tomato Dip.

It was just so...bland. I was very disappointed. I guess I expected more from one of her recipes. It was a nice color. It did have a little sweet note from the sun dried tomatoes but there was no other flavor to it. I think I posted about its supreme blandness on another thread. It needed a lot doctoring up.

I was thinking of making this next weekend. I just changed my mind. Bland is not something that would work this time.

See, without picking on anyone because this is not my intention, but I do think you should make this but increase the amount of sun-dried tomatoes! I have a hard time believing that anything that calls for sun-dried tomatoes can be bland. But when I read the recipe and see the amount of tomatoes as a ratio to the other ingredients, it just seem wrong! I would double the tomatoes and I bet it sings. But that's just an opinion. I think this is where "taste, taste, taste" becomes imperative. Ina probably has access to sun-dried tomatoes that most of us can only dream of! Damn I will have to make this soon to test my theory. :biggrin:

I would add bacon to it, then it would really sing....but that's not what this thread is about, is it? :raz:

Jan

Seattle, WA

"But there's tacos, Randy. You know how I feel about tacos. It's the only food shaped like a smile....A beef smile."

--Earl (Jason Lee), from "My Name is Earl", Episode: South of the Border Part Uno, Season 2

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Well, I told ya'll that I had plenty of candidates for this as well, and here we go. Since I would guess maybe 90% of the things I make are new recipes, that gives me the gamut from the sublime, to these, the wretched.....

"Indian Ground Beef with Cauliflower, Potato and Curry Spices" from the Feb/Mar '08 edition of "Cooking Pleasures" (the magazine published by Cooking Club of America). The recipe was written by Bruce Aidells, and I love the sausages sold under his name, but this recipe was strangely, just.....blah. Bland. Oddly bland from a recipe that had cumin, corriander, tumeric, garlic, onions, cinnamon and cayenne pepper in it, plus a ton of cilantro, onions and tomatoes and some other spices I think I'm forgetting. It *looked* great, but just was, blah. I had hoped it would improve as leftovers, but I had some for lunch a couple of days later, and it was still........blah. Very.

A meat loaf recipe from some "Big Name Chef" (don't remember who, but it was a name we'd all know.....) printed in the LA Times late last year. A LOT of work. A whole lot of work, for very little taste. Again, just...blah. I actually tried it twice, since I was sure it was me the first time. It wasn't, the clipping has been recycled.

A Mexican chicken "lasagna" (mental note, don't mix cultures....lasagna isn't, and will never be, Mexican). From another one of those embarassing little cookbooks at the supermarket check-out. You know my dirty little secret now, I buy these. Frequently. Sometimes I hit gems, most times I hit, well, not gems.

A beef stew recipe from Alice Waters printed in the LA Times early this year. It *sounded* fabulous......nicoise olives, orange zest, good, fresh herbs, I don't remember all the details. All I remember is it was a LOT of work, and expensive ingredients, and it was.......not good. Not really bad, just........not good. I have so many other, better, less labor-intensive (cheaper) recipes for beef stew that the clipping went straight to the recycling bin.

This one I will admit to screwing up, a home-made ravioli , filled with ricotta and Grana Padano cheese, topped with sauteed prosciutto. I tried to make it with egg roll wrappers instead of pasta dough. Not a good idea, especially if you crowd the faux raviolis during the cooking. A gummy mess.

And, drum roll please......my winner for the Suckiest Recipe of Q1 2008 is.....

The "Crunchy Baked Pork Chops" from Cook's Illustrated Jan/Feb 2008 !!!!

I was really surprised by this. Usually their recipes are, while maybe not cutting edge, good, solid home-cooking comfort food. This was AWFUL. At least in my hands. Maybe my cooking karma and Kitchen Gods and Goddesses were off duty that day. I followed the recipe to a "T". Used good pork. Made the bread crumbs from home-baked bread. The chops were dry, overcooked, chewy and flavorless. The breading fell off the chops in complete sheets as soon as I moved them when they were done. The breaded chops stuck to the baking rack. I tossed about 10 bucks worth of loin pork chops because these were so awful. Luckily the sides I made were good (and even more luckily I hadn't served these to guests.....oy !) because I couldn't finish even one. Yes, the breading *was* crunchy, but it didn't really do much for me when it wasn't attached to the chops.

The dogs were happy, though. :wink::wink:

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Ina Garten's Sun-dried Tomato Dip.

It was just so...bland. I was very disappointed. I guess I expected more from one of her recipes. It was a nice color. It did have a little sweet note from the sun dried tomatoes but there was no other flavor to it. I think I posted about its supreme blandness on another thread. It needed a lot doctoring up.

I was thinking of making this next weekend. I just changed my mind. Bland is not something that would work this time.

See, without picking on anyone because this is not my intention, but I do think you should make this but increase the amount of sun-dried tomatoes! I have a hard time believing that anything that calls for sun-dried tomatoes can be bland. But when I read the recipe and see the amount of tomatoes as a ratio to the other ingredients, it just seem wrong! I would double the tomatoes and I bet it sings. But that's just an opinion. I think this is where "taste, taste, taste" becomes imperative. Ina probably has access to sun-dried tomatoes that most of us can only dream of! Damn I will have to make this soon to test my theory. :biggrin:

Well I made this yesterday and I can see where anyone could run into trouble!

The first obstacle was the 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes! According to the wording these are measured BEFORE being chopped - almost an impossibility! Just try jamming 8 tomatoes into a 1/4 cup measure! Then I found the tomatoes in my jar ranged from tiny to huge so that 8 small ones would hardly flavour it at all but 8 large ones just might do it.

Then I pulled out the scallions I had just bought. Each one was at least 2 1/2 times as large as the usual ones I get! Again the recipe calls for 2 scallions so two of these large ones would definitely add more flavour than my usual ones!

It was very interesting to me as I test recipes for a cook book author and pre-edit her recipes and issues like this often arise. Just another reason to use weights in a recipe.

The dip was flavourful and worth repeating but only with the above caveats in mind.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Ina Garten's Sun-dried Tomato Dip.

It was just so...bland. I was very disappointed. I guess I expected more from one of her recipes. It was a nice color. It did have a little sweet note from the sun dried tomatoes but there was no other flavor to it. I think I posted about its supreme blandness on another thread. It needed a lot doctoring up.

I was thinking of making this next weekend. I just changed my mind. Bland is not something that would work this time.

See, without picking on anyone because this is not my intention, but I do think you should make this but increase the amount of sun-dried tomatoes! I have a hard time believing that anything that calls for sun-dried tomatoes can be bland. But when I read the recipe and see the amount of tomatoes as a ratio to the other ingredients, it just seem wrong! I would double the tomatoes and I bet it sings. But that's just an opinion. I think this is where "taste, taste, taste" becomes imperative. Ina probably has access to sun-dried tomatoes that most of us can only dream of! Damn I will have to make this soon to test my theory. :biggrin:

Well I made this yesterday and I can see where anyone could run into trouble!

The first obstacle was the 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes! According to the wording these are measured BEFORE being chopped - almost an impossibility! Just try jamming 8 tomatoes into a 1/4 cup measure! Then I found the tomatoes in my jar ranged from tiny to huge so that 8 small ones would hardly flavour it at all but 8 large ones just might do it.

Then I pulled out the scallions I had just bought. Each one was at least 2 1/2 times as large as the usual ones I get! Again the recipe calls for 2 scallions so two of these large ones would definitely add more flavour than my usual ones!

It was very interesting to me as I test recipes for a cook book author and pre-edit her recipes and issues like this often arise. Just another reason to use weights in a recipe.

The dip was flavourful and worth repeating but only with the above caveats in mind.

Anna,

Thanks for taking one for the team and having a go at the recipe. I stand by my original statements, though, since IMHO the recipe, as it is written, isn't very good.

Upping the tomatoes & scallions (and adding bacon...thanks, Seagal!) would definitely be an improvement though I'm not sure I'll ever make it again.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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