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Recipes that were high expectation disappointments


JAZ
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Over here, we've been talking about cookbooks that we were dying to get but that ended up to be duds.

Sometimes, though, it's a single recipe that turns out to be a huge disappointment. For me the most recent disappointment was a recipe for roasted broccoli and shrimp that's been the darling of cooking blogs everywhere. A Melissa Clark recipe first published by the New York Times (click here), it was picked up, altered slightly and popularized by the blog The Wednesday Chef (click here for the revised version). It was highly recommended here in eG Forums as well.

I like broccoli and I love shrimp, so I was looking forward to trying this. Lo and behold, it just wasn't that great. As written the recipe would have resulted in crunchy, underdone broccoli; fortunately for me, I anticipated that problem and cooked the broccoli longer than called for. But still, the dish was disappointing -- dry and boring. Do other people love it because it's the first time they've had properly cooked shrimp and fresh broccoli? Do they not already know the joys of coriander and cumin seeds? I don't know, but for me, it was pedestrian.

So, what recipes have you tried that fell flat -- those from books, websites or magazines that sounded fabulous on paper (or the screen) but ended up blah?

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Thomas Keller's Boeuf Bourguignon. The insane level of refinement took something out of the dish and the final product wasn't as hearty & robust as more Boeuf Bourguignon's I've had in the past that didn't take 3 days to make.

Cassoulet in all incarnations.

PS: I am a guy.

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All versions of lasagna. It's just way too much work, and I am always disappointed. The only version I liked was one I made up, with shrimp, scallops and alfredo sauce, no tomato.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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A curry I made from '50 great curries of India' a few months back fell into this category. i think it was called something like 'Lamb with herbs and black Pepper'.

Sounded just my sort of thing, and everything else I have cooked from that book has been great.

It wasn't bad - fairly tasty, but not as good as the other dishes I have made from the book, and it was about 10 times the effort - grinding fresh coconut, liquidising onions and herbs (Partially my own fault, I only have a tiny little liquidiser, and the recipe produced a huge bowlful of herbs, coconut and spices to process so i had to do it in batches).

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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All versions of lasagna. It's just way too much work, and I am always disappointed. The only version I liked was one I made up, with shrimp, scallops and alfredo sauce, no tomato.

Do you enjoy lasagna when it's made by others?

I think the key to lasagna is to treat it as a downmarket dish. I once took all day to make a super authentic lasagna: Hand made noodles, 6 hour ragu, the works. I made it once and only once. It was a damn good lasagna but I was almost too exhausted to eat it at the end.

Nowadays, I can whip out a lasagna in less than 40 minutes. Saute some ground beef, onions, garlic. Dump in a jarred sauce & cook for 10 mins. Make a quick bechamel sauce and dump in whatever cheese is lying around the house. Assemble some no boil noodles, throw the entire thing in the oven and you have just enough time to make some garlic bread & a green salad while it's baking.

It's not the greatest lasagna in the world but it's rich & tasty & fast.

PS: I am a guy.

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Many years ago - Fine Cooking's Make-Ahead Beef Wellingtons -- I don't remember if I gave them away or threw them away.

Cooks Illustrated's Eggplant Parmesan. It wasn't that bad, but it was VERY bad when you compared the so-so taste to the amount of time involved to make it. My notation on the cookbook page to anyone in the future who inherits my cookbooks was, "What a complete waste of time."

Rhonda

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Julia Child's broccoli with a white sauce - I think it was sauce meuniere, but darned if I remember. WOW that broccoli was cooked. I think people just don't braise broccoli and then bake it for 40 minutes any more. My mom used to cook broccoli until it was very well done, God rest her beautiful soul, but I always thought that was accidental -- now I'm not so sure. My making of the dish was for a Julia Child themed dinner party, and thank the powers that be, I also made some of her other recipes. Julia's pastry appetizer, which I stuffed with her cheese filling, was much appreciated by all. But don't make the broccoli. You have been warned. ;-)

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So, what recipes have you tried that fell flat -- those from books, websites or magazines that sounded fabulous on paper (or the screen) but ended up blah?

Christmas Pudding. I spent roughly 20 hours over a four month period to make it. I plowed through recipes and chose the one that was the most complicated and had the most elaborate ingredient list -- candied fruits were shipped in from England for this dish.

We ate it Christmas day after a roast goose and yorkshire pudding dinner. My reaction was "You have to be kidding me. All that work, for this???" It's not that it was bad, but it was basically a very expensive fruitcake. With the amount of work, it should have tasted "orgasmic."

At least I had plenty of Pussers rum left over. Anyone want to buy a pudding mold?

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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it was picked up, altered slightly and popularized by the blog The Wednesday Chef (click here for the revised version). It was highly recommended here in eG Forums as well.

Same here, it was a big disappointment.

I made a bone in picnic ham, a biggie about 9 pounds. Can't remember which recipe I followed but cooked it long and low, basting......the directions said to not trim any of the fat,. YUK. I froze it in portions and when defrosting had to press the meat between many paper towels to get the sludge/fat off to make it edible and it was just stringy meant fibers.

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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  • 9 months later...

I recently made a recipe by Hubert Keller I found in an old Fine Cooking magazine for cabbage salad with sherry vinegar and cumin. I had lots of cabbage, an apple, and some walnuts; I love cumin; and I love Keller's food. I thought it would be great.

Wrong! What a pain for such a mediocre dish -- the separate blanching, shocking and marinating took way too long and way too many bowls. Also, it just wasn't very good: the red cabbage lost almost all its color, and the texture was rubbery -- halfway between cooked and raw. I have plenty of better cabbage recipes, so this one will not be making a reappearance.

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An oxtail daube from Paula Wolfert. Two days of my life. It involved making a meat paste from pig's foot, salt pork, and ham, and spreading it over the oxtails. There was blanching, defatting, straining, skimming, reducing, and braising. It was going so well, but in the end it was a dry mess. I'm not sure where all the liquid went. It was a test run for New Year's Eve dinner. I was sooo glad I didn't wait to the actual dinner party. I recently made a daube from Julia Child. Best daube/stew/braised dish I've had a long time. A top 5 dish.

Edited by santo_grace (log)

I like cows, too. I hold buns against them. -- Bucky Cat.

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I should know better than to do any of Martha Stewart's recipes - I usually avoid them, as they're pretty much bland and disappointing, but.... I tried this one, and yes, it was bland and disappointing:

Pasta With Three Kinds Of Garlic

http://www.marthastewart.com/portal/site/mslo/menuitem.fc77a0dbc44dd1611e3bf410b5900aa0/?vgnextoid=86c007749a387110VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default

Another disappointment:

Vermont Cheddar Potato Soup

http://www.virtualcities.com/dining/vt/d/vtd96r18.htm

And yet another - This was really lousy, plus I decided I hate edamame. But, even if I had left it out, it wouldn't have saved this dish:

Edamame, Black Bean and Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette:(From Gourmet Magazine):

http://wellfed.typepad.com/well_fed/2007/05/edamame_black_b.html

Wow - here's another - I have more than I thought: This was bland, bland, bland, not to mention the ridiculous instructions, which of course, I didn't follow:

Sesame Crusted Trout with Ginger Scallion Salad:

http://www.recipezaar.com/Sesame-Crusted-Trout-With-Ginger-Scallion-Salad-173457

And last but not least - This was very so-so:

Thai Ginger Coconut Vegetable Toss:

from food.com

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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Sous-vide beaver tail. The Cooking Issues blog said it was one of the best meats they'd ever tried...not so much.

Wow. Sous-vide beaver tail. Never in my wildest imagination (and it's pretty wild) could I have conceived those words being side-by-side.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Sous-vide beaver tail. The Cooking Issues blog said it was one of the best meats they'd ever tried...not so much.

Wow. Sous-vide beaver tail. Never in my wildest imagination (and it's pretty wild) could I have conceived those words being side-by-side.

http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/08/13/new-zoo-review-cooking-odd-meats/

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