Sometimes, I fail.

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Yesterday was one of those days. I was super, super excited to try out a recipe for tomato-peach sauce that I'd found a few weeks earlier on Eats Well With Others. The combination of juicy tomatoes, sweet peaches, and smoky chipotle powder sounded just strange enough to be potentially delicious. Forty minutes into roasting, the onions still weren't done enough to be "safe" for my IBS, so I decided to leave everything in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Little did I know that 20 short minutes could bring such widespread disaster. The natural sugars in the peaches and tomatoes had scorched and stuck to the pan. What had been sweet and succulent minutes earlier was now charred, black, and crumbly. And to top it off, the onions were STILL not cooked enough. (I swear I heard them giggling as I pulled the smoking pan out of the oven, the sassy little brats.)

I'm not ready to give up on this one though! I'm wondering if this sauce might turn out better if it were roasted for a longer time at a lower temperature, in the style of roasted tomato-garlic sauce. It might even work well in the Crockpot for a few hours. Any thoughts?

P.S. As the smoke cleared, Bryan snickered, "Take a picture of that for your blog!" Thanks, dear.

Stuffed strawberries

This recipe for stuffed strawberries comes from Southern Living by way of Recipezaar. I was looking for something fresh and simple to make for a picnic this weekend, and this recipe seemed perfect. I ended up changing some of the ingredients to suit my tastes and what I had in the kitchen. Unfortunately, it was a lot more preparation and primping than I was expecting. I didn't even take a photo because the last thing these simpering Southern belles needed was more attention.

You will need:

  • 18-20 medium strawberries
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp julienned mint leaves

Steps:

  1. Cut the stem end of each strawberry crosswise, giving each berry a flat base to stand on. Cut each strawberry into four wedges, starting at the top end and cutting towards but not through the stem end. Each strawberry should end up looking like a blossom.
  2. Curse as the knife inevitably slips through the stem end anyway. Curse more when you find that the strawberries close back up on themselves and look nothing like a damn blossom.
  3. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Stir in sugar and mint leaves. Transfer the mix to a plastic bag and snip one end to use it like a pastry bag.
  4. Realize that there's no possible way to get it all into the bag without a) plopping some of it on the counter and b) getting some of it stuck in the grooves of the zipper bag.
  5. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of the mixture into the middle of each strawberry.
  6. Yeah, good luck with that one. I do realize that using an actual pastry bag would probably yield better results, but hey, I don't have one. Anyway, prepare for the cream cheese mixture to run down the sides of the berries and flop over the top but not stay in the middle. And good luck in getting the berries to keep their little blossoming mouths open while you try to fill them. Stupid rebellious attention-whores.

*Ahem* Perhaps this post is a good reflection of my mood this week. All I can say is that these had better be a hit tomorrow, because I'm never making these again. They're delicious, but man, are they time-consuming. Making this recipe reminded me why I generally loathe baking: I hate precision and I have little patience. It also reminded me of why I never buy Driscoll's strawberries. They're the culinary equivalent of the hot girls on your college campus -- juicy and voluptuous on the outside with bitter, hollow cores.

How's that for food for thought?