Kitchen Mishaps of 2015

2014 was the Year of Yes —to getting out of my comfort zone and going out and doing things.

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2015 was the year of figuring out what I wanted out of life and finally realizing and accepting that it was all about food. During my last two quarters of school, I gravitated towards food-based projects which opened my eyes to the niche of design I knew I could thrive on. It was also when I cracked down and finally started this blog with this post

But, that also means, it was a year of exceptional failure. I had grand ideas—some that completely failed, some that slightly failed and some that were great successes. I will report that these are all the result of human error. Making mistakes is the only way I learn anyways.

2015's kitchen mishaps had a late start. The beginning of the year was great. I remember making light and airy monkey bread, fluffy pull-apart lemon bread, and flaky, cheesy crackers

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Then, there was this pie. I'm used to making pies that don't have so much juice. Fresh, in-season strawberries are one of the joys in life but when it comes to putting them in pie, there will be blood. 

This was a nightmare. I had the best of intentions to make homemade ravioli. I had successfully made them last Christmas and they were delicious. But somehow, the second time around, I had more leakage problems. I didn't properly drain the mushroom filling so the raviolis failed to stick together. I did save it in a sort of lasagna thing made out of fresh pasta. Needless to say, I was scarred from making ravioli again until this fall. I still have yet to master it. 

These pressed sugar cookies came next. This is not that bad on the mishap scale but, I couldn't get mine to crisp up like Popo's. They were incredibly chewy and flat unlike the snickerdoodles I made at the same time which were too cake-y and never flattened. 

Qiao loves banana bread but my mom refuses to make it because she is repulsed by bananas. Somehow, this one fell to pieces because I only sprayed the pan and did not line it with any parchment paper. The texture was off, too. It was too dense and too dry. Luckily, the second time around was much better. 

August thru September was a terrible time in the kitchen. I had mishap, after mishap. I really wanted this Chocolate Upside Down Plum Cake to work. It smelled lovely when it came out of the oven but when I flipped it, only one plum showed and it was cloyingly sweet and soggy. My prognosis was that the cake was too spongy and absorbed all of the juice. 

 I cannot get pancakes to look good when I photograph them. No matter how delicious they are, they never cook in circles either. It's always an oval. Plus, I had photo issues with these pancakes. My ISO was set way too high which resulted in overly grainy photos. 

Labor Day weekend was not a good baking time for me. I misread the recipe for this roly poly which said to knead 10 times, not 10 minutes! It sure makes a difference from flaky, tender dough to tough, chewy dough. The peaches were delicious though. Next summer, I'll try it again.

That same day, or perhaps the next, I took advantage of Popo's steamer and tried to make some steamed scallion buns. Pro-Tip when using a steamer—don't listen to your siren song and open the top of the steamer before they are ready. These were incredibly sad and doughy buns that never cooked all the way through. I don't usually throw things out but I couldn't suffer through these. Funnily enough, the baked version is my most popular recipe. 

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Somehow, I thought it would be a good idea to take a stab at upside down cake again. This peach one looks just plain gross. It was also too soggy, again. And, this plate is super retro. 

Around September/October, I decided to make homemade ricotta. The sight of curdled milk is a little stomach turning. It's way too much work and about the same price as buying it from the store. The texture of mine was off, too. Too rubbery and pasty. Only store bought ricotta for me from now on. 

This was the start of Kristen's apple cider which never reduced down to the right consistency. We drained out the pulp as much as we could but there was still some residue in it. The result? A pint of cider that was slimy with an undesirable aftertaste. I eventually threw it in some ham but we did have some rather nice apple butter/applesauce for a while.

And finally, the worst offense of the whole year. I say it's the worst because I had incredibly high expectations with how I wanted these to turn out. With the release of the new Star Wars movie, I wanted to make some Star War-themed breads. My first idea were these green tea Yoda buns with adzuki (red bean) filling. I over-splurged on green tea powder and then proceeded to dump the whole 1 ounce can in the dough when a serving size is only 2 grams. As I was kneading the dough, I noticed that it was rather tough but disregarded that. When it came to rising the dough, it really never rose. At that moment, I realized that was probably due to how much green tea powder I had put in. I started again with a plain dough and kneaded a quarter of the original green tea dough into that one. It rose slightly better the second time around but not as beautifully as it should have.

Then, it came to filling the darned buns which was a challenge because I didn't know how much to fill them. As you can see, Yoda had some exploding brains. I baked the first batch and tasted one fresh out of the oven. I tried to convince myself they were good but when I saw the look on Kristen's face as she took a bite, I knew I couldn't share this with the Internet. The texture was like a really dense bagel; so unlike the fluffy bread I was hoping for. When they baked, the end result was more like the pigs from Angry Birds got a bad tan versus wise old Yoda.

Now, I'm cautious about putting other substances in bread dough besides flour. Although, for Christmas morning, I did make some chocolate cinnamon rolls which were amazing. I'll be staying away from green tea for a while now. At least these Princess Leia Buns turned out better.

And this yule log cake I made for Christmas Day? It's gluten-free because I forgot the flour. 

What are your absolutely terrible kitchen mishaps of 2015? I always find Jessica's particularly amusing.