Saturday, August 24, 2013

Recent Recipe Flops

We've been trying a lot of new recipes lately, and while most have been good, they did not 'wow' me enough to want to make them again. I thought I'd share them here in case you had any of them bookmarked too!

Cheesy Potato Gratin

Cheesy Potato Gratin (from Williams Sonoma) ~
I might be partially to blame for this one. I made some small changes (using onion instead of shallot and cutting the potato into smaller pieces, which the comments actually recommend) but one change might have been too big ~ using mozzarella cheese instead of Gruyère. Later I realized I had accidentally bought 'Mozzarella Style' cheese, a sad imitation with no flavor!

The cheese and sauce did not cover the potatoes well, the potatoes were undercooked (even though I cut them smaller), and the whole thing came out very dry and beige. Nothing like the bubbling, browned, cheesy goodness pictured in the recipe! I kind of don't think the change of cheese could have made that much of a difference, but the reviews for this one were so glowing I'm willing to say I might have messed it up.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels Sprout Salad ~
I guess I was thinking along the lines of caramelized onions when I read this title, not Maple Syrup! I do like sweet sauces though, so I gave it a go. I was not a fan of the flavor myself, mostly the cinnamon, but my husband liked it. I did love the idea of shredding up the sprouts and adding in the pop of color from the red onion though, so I used an extra bag of sprouts to make a savory version with crumbled bacon & liked it a lot more.

And a few I didn't bother taking pics of...

Brown Sugar & Garlic Chicken ~
It sounds simple: sautee a little garlic in olive oil, mix with brown sugar, then spread on chicken breasts & bake. But the oil did little more than slightly dampen the sugar and I was expecting more of a sauce. Many of the comments said it was a little dry & recommended adding some broth or soy sauce, so I stirred in 2 tsp. of soy sauce, which looked much better.

That might have been a mistake though, because the sauce ran straight off the chicken and burned *badly* on the pan. Thank goodness I had used some aluminum foil, which I never do! While fanning smoke out of the house I removed the chicken onto a new pan & finished cooking. The flavor from the sauce was good but much too subtle, and the chicken looked pretty boring.

Octo Wings ~
The name of this recipe intrigued me, as well as the simple method of cooking the wings without sauce and then tossing them with the dressing afterward (Momofuku’s 'Octo Vinaigrette'). Once again the sauce was just a little too thin and added little flavor, and the vinegar was a bit overpowering. I only tossed half of the wings with the dressing, so for the leftover sauce I added in a little honey to cut the vinegar taste and some cornstarch to thicken it, and the wings sat in that sauce for a day or two. The results were much better, and I think basting the sauce on the cooking chicken (like we normally do with wings) would have been even more flavorful. We already have a nice Asian wing recipe though (teriyaki), so I'll pass on this one.

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