Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rescuing Food Disasters

Meatball Sandwiches
Unfortunately you can’t just call the Fire Department when you have a food disaster.  Instead you need to call on your ingenuity.  Hunger is a great motivator.  Just ask my brother, who filed this report.

“I was preparing my dinner, having gotten out the three left-over meatballs (from the previous night's ‘spaghetti and meatballs’ dinner), the spaghetti sauce, the mozzarella cheese and the last bun that was in the house.  I had just finished toasting the bun and was in the process of moving it from the toaster-oven to a pan.  There I intended to add the meatballs, sauce and cheese before reinserting the whole concoction into the toaster-oven for a few minutes, at the "top brown" setting, so as to melt the cheese and warm everything up. 

“But, rather than taking the pan to the toasted roll, I hastily tried to move the roll to the pan on the other side of the sink.  That's when "the disaster" occurred.  The burning-hot roll fell out of my hand and into the sink, landing in a container full of water.  I was, not surprisingly, very upset.  This was the only roll available for making my all-day-long-looked-forward-to meatball sandwich. 

“My first emergency plan, namely, to dry out the soaked roll by baking it for a while, had to be scrapped when I noticed that the container soaking in the sink was filled with very soapy water.  Thus, if I waited an hour for the roll to dry out I would have removed the water from it but, alas, not the soap, and that was not a flavor which would have complemented my savory collation in the slightest.  Hence, I needed to get inventive.  So I mashed up the meatballs, pretty much returning them to their original ground-beef consistency, liberally spread the tomato sauce over the meat, placed several slices of mozzarella cheese on top and broiled everything for several minutes.  The result: a very enjoyable meal which I called ‘Pasta-less Lasagna!’"  

That’s a lot better than my disaster yesterday with black beans.  I filled up a pot with water, added 1 cup dried black beans, put the gas flame on low and set the timer for 2 hours.  I left the kitchen, didn’t hear the timer ring and returned 3 hours later to a pot of charred black beans.  That was a 10 out of 10 disaster, maybe even an 11 out of 10 because I had to throw the beans and the pot away.  I must remember to take the timer with me next time I leave something cooking.

Sometimes cooking disasters can have a positive result in the future.  I discovered the value of lining a layer cake pan with wax paper or parchment paper when I couldn’t extract a layer from the pan without breaking it. Now I know better. 

I learned from experience that baby octopus takes less than 5 minutes to cook, unless you like eating rubber bands.

Grilled Baby Octopus
The good thing about disasters is that you discover something new.  The bad thing is that the possibilities for disasters are never-ending.

                    For more recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"