Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Big Syrup Fiasco & Blogging on a Budget

Okay, I know you won't believe me because you all think I always make fabulous meals that go off without a hitch. But I'm here to tell you that last night I had a bit of an issue while cooking dinner. And it's not the first time that I've had things go awry during meal prep! This is one time that I am happy I didn't decide to film a how to video! :)

So last night I decided to make a meal that Michael has been begging me to make for quite some time. I set out to make Anne Burrell's Maple & Cayenne Glazed Chicken. Everything was going well, I had the sweet potatoes in the oven, and the chickens butterflied and cut in half. I had them rubbed with oil and salted to taste and I was feeling quite sure of myself. Well I guess that I was getting a little big for my britches so the universe decided to bring me back! While the chickens were in the oven I put 1 cup of maple syrup into the saucepan with 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper, it was starting to smell good in the kitchen! Then, while I was peeling, coring, and dicing the apples it happened.

First it was the smell that got my attention, then it was the sound of liquid hitting the hot burner. I looked to my left and saw what was creating the smell and sound. My saucepan with the syrup and cayenne had boiled over and burned! Now I'm not proud of what happened next...I...well....I...ummmm. Okay, I may have panicked a bit. But I did it calmly. Ha! :) I grabbed the whisk and tried to save the mixture, but alas, it was too late. I then, in a moment of pure idiocy, threw in a pat of butter to try and save it. I'm here to tell you, that doesn't work. While it did make the mixture a bit silkier the syrup was beyond rescue! I dipped my finger in it to give it a taste, and it immediately coated my finger and turned into a hard caramel! (It tasted pretty good, but caramel was NOT my intention! ha ha)

Now during all of this the kitchen was filled with a bit of smoke...smoke that had traces of cayenne pepper in it. Yup, you got it...hot pepper smoke! This smoke threw me into a spastic fit of coughing! You know the kind of coughing I'm talking about, where whatever is causing the fit is right at the back of your throat and making you cough so hard you gag! Yea, this would have been good for The REAL Housewife of Snohomish County "blooper reel." I can only imagine what I looked like, and honestly I'm happy Michael wasn't home! After regaining composure, and opening the window and patio door, I felt a bit defeated. Part of me wanted to just scrap the entire dinner and order a pizza. And honestly, I was leaning heavily towards that option! But I did what any good housewife does, I wiped the tears brought on from coughing from my face and opened the cupboard door to see if I had anything to save the dinner. And, much to my delight I had another jar with about 1/2 cup of maple syrup!

I had to keep fanning my face because the back of my throat and eyes were still burning a bit from having just "pepper smoked" my face. But through all of this I somehow managed to pull together a bit of the cayenne syrup mixture to slather onto the waiting chickens. Now during all of this, I wasn't paying attention to my saute pan full of onions, bacon and apples...well that was starting to burn on the bottom. This time I didn't panic, I quickly turned the heat down a bit and tossed everything around before adding in the partially cooked sweet potatoes. Recovery was slow, but dinner was slowly getting back on track.

When Michael got home I met him in the garage and apologized to him for the smell that he was about to walk into. And even though I thought it was horrendous, he said it didn't smell too bad like smoke, and he headed up to change. I wiped the sweat from my brow and pulled the nicely roasted chickens out of the oven and put them on a platter to rest. When it came time to dish up, we each took half a chicken and took a helping of the Sweet Potato, Bacon & Apple Hash. I waited for Michael to take the first bite, and was put at ease when I didn't see him cringe or reach for his napkin. Dinner had been saved!!! As I'm typing this I can't help but laugh at the production that was meal prep. But I'm telling you, last night I wasn't laughing. I was pushed to the edge and almost gave up on the meal...but I took the bull by the horns and finished what I started! **phew**

So, there you have it. Now you all know that I'm not perfect. **hangs head in shame** I am human too, we all make mistakes while cooking. But honestly we can't get better if we don't make mistakes! Next time I make this recipe (yes I will make it again) I will keep my eye on the syrup while its on the stove! Lesson learned, the hard way.

Okay, now that all of that is out of the way let's get on to other things. Blogging has been something that has truly been a creative outlet for me. Over the past couple of months I've really found my passion for cooking again and honestly I look forward to talking about what I've cooked and showing pictures of the process. I also have loved making the videos, even if editing them can be quite the process. But as you know, we are now working under the guidelines of "The Budget." **sigh** So it has proved to be quite interesting when I'm planning for meals! And meal planning isn't the only thing that has become a little difficult. Trying to improve the quality of my blog has also been a bit taxing. I've purchased a few books, and at twenty bucks a pop, that really cuts into my "Petty Cash" fund!

I've been thinking about getting a real camcorder for filming my videos, since now I'm using my Canon point and shoot camera. Now while looking online I had a bit of sticker shock when I was browsing on Amazon! I had no idea that camcorders cost as much as they do! To get a decent camcorder you have to be will to drop at least $250! Looks like I'll have to wait a while and let my petty cash fund grow a bit before heading back to Amazon. So in the meantime you all will have to put up with some of my videos that keep going in and out of focus. This budget has truly put a cramp in my style. ;-)

Well I suppose it's time to clean the kitchen and get ready to head to town for my appointment. I hope you got a good chuckle out of my syrup fiasco because even in my lowest moments, I still go for a laugh! Until next time...Keep Cooking!

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