Today on the August Break Challenge on Instagram, the prompt is “favorite recipe.” So a couple of weeks ago, when I made cavatini, I took this picture in anticipation of this prompt:
Doesn’t that look delicious? Don’t you like the quirky angle from which I took this picture, as if all it took was a little point-and-shoot rather than retaking it eleventy dozen times to get a less fuzzy picture that still looked spontaneous and fun? Aren’t you impressed with how clean my counter looks or that I actually planned ahead to show you something?
Well, go ahead and be impressed for a little while. Because 1) it was delicious, 2) while it’s not the best picture I’ve ever taken, I can definitely see a marked improvement in what I’ve learned about photo-taking in the last year or so, and 3) I am impressed with my own self that there was a clean counter and that I planned ahead, so you might as well be, too.
But honestly – this is a picture of what my kitchen usually looks like when I’m cooking:
There are dirty bowls and spatulas all over the place. If you look closely, there’s even a wine cork there, even though there’s absolutely no wine in monkey bread (although dark buttered rum might be nice…hmm… *plots*), so who knows how long that has even been there. That was the picture from Tuesday night, or as I will remember it in my nightmares, Disaster Night.
It started with a pretty straightforward plan. I was going to make a sausage/broccoli stir fry to put over rice, with monkey bread for dessert. Simple enough.
Monday, before I went to bed, I put the frozen sausage in the refrigerator to let it thaw.
Tuesday at 5:00, it was still not thawed. Not one to be deterred, I forged ahead anyway. I sliced the ground sausage into icy rounds and put them in the skillet. Then, because I am impatient, I used my handy Pampered Chef Mix ‘N Chop to see if I could cut through one of the rounds to speed the process along. On the one hand, it cut through efficiently. On the other, I had forgotten how efficient a tool this is and applied much more force than necessary, causing half of the sausage puck to fling itself up and hit the ceiling and the other half to leap to the floor. I took a moment to completely freak out that there were now raw sausage bits on both my floor and ceiling. I have never cleaned that floor or ceiling so quickly or so thoroughly (or to the soundtrack of so much cursing).
Then the garlic refused to peel and I also dropped half the onion on the floor when my old spice rack finally gave up the ghost and plummeted right into the middle of them. I burned my hand, narrowly escaped chopping the tip of my finger off, and accidentally doubled the ginger.
At the end of this, however, I still had a delicious (albeit intensely gingery) meal. What a happy accident.
Being optimistic of thought and short of memory, I set out after my meal to make monkey bread. Monkey bread, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the easiest things to make. You pinch off pieces of biscuit dough, dip them in butter, roll them in sugar (and cinnamon, if you want), pile them in a baking dish, and bake until they’re done (usually about two or three minutes longer than what it would take to bake the same recipe as regular biscuits). What emerges from your oven is a glorious, caramel-y treat.
I usually like to make my own biscuit dough, because it’s not hard, but it is so much better than biscuits from the can. For some reason, though, I had some canned biscuits, so I used them instead (because even with canned, it’s hard to mess this up). What I had forgotten was the loud popping noise that the canned biscuits make when they are opened. Has it always been that loud? I’m pretty sure I got a super loud batch. I yelped so loudly that my new neighbor knocked on our shared wall and yelled, “Are you okay?!” So hey – now I know that if I ever get mauled (or more likely – fall and injure myself on something embarrassing, like a wayward sock), they will notice and perhaps call someone to come to my aid. That’s nice to know.
I pinched, I dipped, and I rolled the biscuits in brown sugar. Many recipes call for the initial roll to be in white sugar with brown sugar for the final sprinkling, but of course I was out of white sugar. It is not as easy to roll biscuit nuggets in brown sugar, but the extra effort and mess are worth it. From this point on, I will always make it without white sugar, because IT WAS AMAZING. I actually purred.
Now it’s your turn. Share your happy accident stories. I know you have them!