Text that says Culinary Disasters Summer 2020 Edition over four pineapples.

Culinary Disasters {Summer 2020}

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My blog’s tagline includes “and occasional disasters,” but I’m not always great about posting the disaster stories. This summer was filled with culinary adventures like smoking pork on my grill for the first time. Being a food blogger involves a lot of experiments, some of which turn out great (like the pork) and some of them, well, not so much. This post highlights some of my experiments that didn’t work out so well this summer. At least I didn’t cut myself slicing limes (did that in March) or catch anything on fire (by accident)!

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How Not To Make Sangria

I decided to try to make a white sangria with some fruit that needed to be used. Sounds pretty easy, right? Wine + Fruit = Sangria! Not so much. It was so, so, so bitter. I added lemon peel, and apparently it should be removed after a short time, or else it’ll make the sangria bitter. Learn from my mistake!

Oyster Sauce, Fish Sauce, & Oyster Brand Fish Sauce

I love Thai drunken noodles. I took my first trip to the international grocery since the pandemic started and stocked up on so many of my favorite ingredients that aren’t available elsewhere. I got fresh rice noodles to make drunken noodles. Recipes call for oyster sauce and fish sauce in different amounts. I had both. My fish sauce was Oyster Brand. I wasn’t paying attention and mixed them up. The result was a really, really fishy smelling sauce. Thankfully I noticed before I actually used my sauce mixture and I was able to start over. I also made the mistake of not using low-sodium soy sauce, and it was pretty salty. Overall very tasty, though!

Recommended recipes: Better Than Takeout Thai Drunken Noodles (Half Baked Harvest) and Drunken Noodles – Pad Kee Mao (Tastes Better From Scratch).

Baked Potato Chips

My boyfriend has perfected his baked potato chip method. His always turn out so much better than mine. Mine are OK, but his are definitely better. Also, I’ve tried to write down instructions for blogging and the timing is never the same. Usually before blogging a recipe, most food bloggers try the recipe, perfect it, and make it again (sometimes again, again, and again) to ensure it can be replicated. Some of us even have other people make it and provide feedback before finalizing the recipe for posting.

The same set of instructions never work for me on the potato chips. I think part of the reason is you have to watch them and flip based on what they look like. Small differences in the thickness of the chips affect the timing. So it’s really hard to write a recipe based on “bake for X minutes, then flip and cook for X more minutes.” If you want to make homemade chips, check out this post from The Spruce Eats.

Tastes Great, Not Photogenic

I made a southwestern chicken pot pie earlier this summer. It was delicious, but the photos… oh the photos! It doesn’t look very appetizing. I promise it was good. I used my regular chicken pot pie recipe, except used 1 cup diced bell pepper and onion, a half cup of corn, and 1 tbsp of taco seasoning. It’ll make it onto the blog eventually.

Another “tastes great, not photogenic” recipe is a chicken and rice casserole. I think this one will be a “winner, winner chicken dinner” once I make it again and get better photos. It was really tasty and super easy to make. My boyfriend described it as “practical,” which I thought was a good characteristic for a blog recipe.

Oops, Forgot To Take Photos

I made a great bourbon and peach glazed pork tenderloin, but then forgot to take photos. That recipe was similar to the honey sriracha pork tenderloin. I’ll have to make it again this fall to get photos! I also made some taquitos that I forgot to photograph.

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