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What are you blessed with?


Shalmanese
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I think we've had a couple of threads before about things that otherwise talented cooks just. couldn't. get. right! But, in this thread, I want to discuss things that by all rights, should end up as a disaster but somehow, leave you with a dish so stunningly spectacular, all you can do is look at your hands and wonder "I made these?"

For me, it's:

Souffles, by most accounts, souffles are notorious for being almost impossible to make for an amateur. The first time I made it, I got a golden, beautiful souffle that was meltingly airy inside.

Baked goods, I am not a cake person so I rarely ever eat cakes/muffins etc. and even more rarely make them. When I do, it's almost always a completely spontaneous, spur of the moment type thing where I make substitutions willy nilly depending on what I have in the pantry at the time. However, all my baked goods that have come out of the oven leave me completely floored as to how good they are. It's as if the batter could read my mind to find out what I thought the perfect cake should taste like and re-adjust it's makeup to please me.

For the record, I am completely incompetant at: Fish, Pate a choux, pancakes and marinades.

PS: I am a guy.

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My talents: anything mexican, getting everything done at the same time, fixing bad recipes on the fly. I can't make biscuits to save my life. Luckily, Cam's got the "biscuit hand" -- he's good with any short doughs. Potatoes sense his fear and turn into a grey, pasty mess... even if I am standing over his shoulder and coaching. He also has a knack of over- or under-cooking meat, even when he's being diligent.

Both of us suck at rice, so we have a rice cooker. :)

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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Roast beef. Every time. Pancakes. You aren't supposed to use an egg beater to mix the batter, but I do, and every time they are light and fluffy.

I suck at biscuts and pastry dough.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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My fortune that I am the meat cooker, the cake and bisquit maker, in addition to being a fair hand at butcherwork. I am proud of my tamales and frybread, as well. I am blessed, because folks like my food. I will try any cuisine, if the directions make sense. :smile:

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Rice. It took a little while and every now and then something goes inexplicably and horribly wrong, but I blame those rare occassions more on the crappy range that I have to use than on my inabilities.

Steamed vegetables. There's a fine line between raw and mushy. I have found that line :biggrin:

Calzones. can't make biscuits to save my life and bread is often hit-or-miss, but for some reason if the bread is turned into a pizza dough, I'm golden.

Oh and I can make excellent ice. Water, freezer, you're done :cool:

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No matter how crazy things get in the kitchen - I am the complete master of basmati rice. It always turns out perfectly fluffy the grains are separate.

Now - I could not bake a cake (any cake from scratch) if you pointed a gun at my head. And I cannot get anything to the table on time - dinner for friends usually does not hit the table for an hour after I have planned. Even when I prep everthing and have it ready to go.

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:smile: Baked chicken. Fried chicken. Rice. Candy. Cake. Cheesecake. Steamed or stir-fried vegetables. FUUUUUDDDDGE. Salads. Salad dressings, vinaigrette or creamy. Baked potatoes. Chou pastry, puff pastry. Sauces. Pickles. Pretty food.

:sad: Pie crust. Italian anything. Curry. (It's never worth one-boy)

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I'm with Jensen on the pie pastry.

Smoked pork butt.

And I also have a daughter, Diana (age 14) who can look in the fridge, look at what's there (including leftovers) and envision a meal. She can also cook the meal.

Edited by snowangel (log)
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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:biggrin: Let's see; deviled eggs, pot roast, creamy sauces (so far so good- I've never had lumps yet!) roast pork shoulder, cheese omlettes. FUDGE! And about half the things I cook when I've been drinking.

:wacko: Biscuits, pie, some cookies (which I blame on Florida humidity) and about half of the things that I cook when I've been drinking. :raz:

Allow me to add that I'm blessed with what I call a "taste memory"; I can taste a pot of food and tell what herbs or spices or flavoring agents will make it taste better. I think I inherited this from my mom, but it might be a learned behavior.

Edited by judiu (log)

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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pasta and accompanying sauces/fillings

poultry

salmon, which is ironic since the stuff makes me gag

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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:biggrin: Comfort foods and desserts seem to turn out great for me (except for my blueberry slump and the purple doorstop-dumplings last year :sad: ).

:sad: My milk/cream gravy. It sucks.

...And I also have a daughter, Diana (age 14) who can look in the fridge, look at what's there (including leftovers) and envision a meal.  She can also cook the meal.

My oldest brother (also known in our family as "The Black Sheep Gourmet") has the uncanny knack of opening the cupboard or refrigerator and whipping up a gourmet meal with whatever is on hand. We were eating chi-chi pizzas at our house long before Wolfgang Puck ever came on the scene.

It's an extraordinary talent.

 

“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 seem to do excellently with omelettes, sauteed mushrooms in various forms, spanakopita, curries, avgolemono soup, lentil stews, roasted lemony potatoes.

I'm repeatedly ashamed of my pie crust, rice, roasted meats, scones, pumpkin soup.

Oh, I also seem to be great at coffee flan and bread pudding. With the bread pudding I just decide I'm going to make it and throw whatever I have together, mix different breads and it always comes out meltingly good.

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Blessed with: fiddly things. Things that require endless chopping cutting stirring rolling and pinching.

Chicken in any form. Dough in any form. Any vegetable.

Cursed with: Rice.

Asian food (I'm working on that).

Roasts (exept chicken).

Oh and I can't boil an egg. Well I can boil it but it always comes out too soft or too hard. Boiling the Sunday breakfast eggs is my husband's only kitchen task :biggrin:

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The only blessing I really have is friends and family who seem to be pretty darn easy to impress, from a culinary standpoint. I'm still very much a student, but they can't seem to stop raving about how good my cooking is, no matter how simple a meal may be - even if I'm kinda unhappy with the way it turned out.

Perhaps the reason is because there's just so many folks accustomed to a culture of takeout, chain restaurants and frozen/convenience foods that a little home cooking can knock folks on their ears. Things made from scratch like hot mulled cider (gallon of cider, handful of spices, heat, & a few hours) amaze them: "You MADE this? From scratch?" :biggrin: Recipes that are very simple, but that no one knows CAN be made from scratch without years at the CIA (like strawberry shortcake, it's just a big ol' biscuit with fresh whipped cream & strawberries) seem like sorcery.

But hey, I'm thrilled that they love it... and that they're learning that real home cooking is not a myth, nor is cooking from scratch the exclusive domain of the culinary professional. Some even are trying out recipes on their own that I hand over... if I can just convince a few scared would-be cooks that it's not magic... hey maybe they'll invite me over for dinner someday. :laugh:

In other words, my only blessing is being surrounded by people who are just waiting for genuine food to come into their lives (even if it usually IS burnt on the edges.) :raz:

"Give me 8 hours, 3 people, wine, conversation and natural ingredients and I'll give you one of the best nights in your life. Outside of this forum - there would be no takers."- Wine_Dad, egullet.org

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Blessed:

Scones, roast meats, cakes, cookies (except meringue), baked veggie dishes, anything that seems to require a lot of prep, crepes & pancakes, pasta, hollandaise & similar sauces.

Cursed:

Combining chocolate & liquids other than cream - it always binds; pastry (unless it's about the 4th batch in a row where I suddenly seem to remember the knack); barbecue; gravy for roast chicken (beef, lamb, etc. - no problem - chicken is a disaster every time); anything requiring flambe-ing (eyebrows? we don't need no stinking eyebrows); souffles.

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:sad: My milk/cream gravy.  It sucks.

If the problem is lumps, allow me to divulge a secret: Wondra Flour! It just plain works best. If it's seasoning and not consistancy, PM me & we'll get into that, too. :rolleyes:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Perhaps it's because of the stickers with a smiling, happy little pig on my pork products (hey, he must WANT and LOVE to be eaten) that I seem to do so well with pork, I don't know. But it's awfully hard to mess up an already wonderful meat! I guess coming from from a former vegan and vegetarian this counts as *something.* :biggrin:

So, I seem to have a bit of a knack with pork (lean or lusciously fatty) and, well, simplicity. This was was much easier and effectively done when I had access to very fine vegetables, fruits and meats. I would resist the urge to add a bit o' this and that and rely heavily on the quality of the products.

These days I simply don't have access to the quality stuff. Mail order is fine, but the budget is less so. I now grow most of my own herbs, keep my spices very fresh (often toasting them to maximize the flavor), make all of my own stocks, etc. But it's difficult to do what I do best...simplicity.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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