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off my game

April 09 2009 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe » 18 comments

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In the kitchen (just like anywhere else), sometimes you’re on and sometimes you’re off.   Ever since I pulled those glorious pizzas out of our oven on Saturday night, I’ve been off.  Oh-eff-eff.  In the five days since those pizzas, nothing I’ve made has come out quite right and much of what I’ve made has involved bodily injury.  I added too much buttermilk to my almond poppy seed bread batter, which produced a cratered, u-shaped (but still entirely delicious) loaf.  I nearly hacked off the top third of my thumb while I was slicing—get this—fingerling potatoes for a salad on Monday night.  (It’s okay, you can laugh at the pun; I did.)  My lentil soup the other day became runny and over-blended, so each day this week, I’ve slurped down what feels like baby food for lunch.

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By Tuesday night, I’d had enough.  Kevin, blissfully, said he’d make dinner: black bean-tomato soup.  The soup turned out beautifully, but not before I couldn’t resist getting involved.  I just had to move the pot to my “favorite” burner (does anyone else have one of those?), sans oven mitts, completely forgetting that the handles of our Dutch oven are not insulated.  Burn.  Ouch.  Finger tips have lost all feeling (and thumb is still band-aided to the hilt; see first paragraph).

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But the kicker of this unlucky streak was the Passover-friendly cheesecake I made on Tuesday night.  It had been a long, stressful day at work and, frankly, I wasn’t all that excited about the project.  You know it’s been a bad day when even a pound of cream cheese cannot manage to excite you.

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Well, my mood was reflected in the cheesecake results.  The cake huffed-and-puffed so tall in the oven that it not only fissured deeply, but it also rose above the edges of my pan, causing portions of the cake to drop off all together.  I cannot describe how ugly it was and there was no way—no way—I could bring myself to take a photo.  I put it on a baking rack and went to bed long before 10 p.m.  I woke up at 4 a.m. and sneaked out to the kitchen  to take a look.  Still bad.  Very bad.  Worse.  Put it in the fridge and tried to sleep until my alarm would sound at 5:45.  Did not succeed.

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At 5:45, I padded back out to the kitchen and peered into the fridge.  Oh, terrible.  Awful.  How is it worse?  Against my better judgment, I unhinge the outer ring of the cake pan and take a serrated knife to the cake, attempting to shave off the blemished top third.  Worst idea ever.  Fail.  Disaster.  Full-blown disaster.

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I brought it to my in-laws’ seder anyway, using a crown of fresh berries (not yet in season, I know, but it was an emergency!) as a half-hearted disguise.  Which brings me to macaroons—the subject of this post, though you rightfully might not have caught onto that quite yet.  You see, I made the macaroons on Saturday, pre-pizza, pre-mojo-losing.  So they came off without a hitch (or an injury).  And they were my saving grace, not just at the seder (Kevin’s dad wins for biggest fan) but all week long, serving as the salve to my kitchen wounds (both literal and figurative).  They were fun to make (basically, you’re making snowballs; the results are just more delicious), lovely to look at (kind of like pristine little haystacks, tidy but still a bit muppet-ish the stray threads of coconut), and wonderful to taste (slightly sweetened, vanilla-scented, draped in chocolate).

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This recipe comes from Molly Wizenberg‘s beautiful memoir A Homemade Life.  She’s got a nearly identical version of the recipe on her blog, which is where I direct you for the recipe.  The only change I made was to use unsweeteened coconut (all I could find at my store) and to compensate by boosting the sugar a bit.  Make them now, for Passover or otherwise, or save them for the next time you’re off your kitchen game.

18 comments so far. »
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  1. Melissa says on April 09 2009 at 7:02 pm:

    Awww. I laughed and sympathetically pouted all the way through. You wrote this beautifully. So sorry about the cheesecake and yes, good thing for the macaroons. They look wonderful. Everyone I know is getting Molly’s book, I think I need to get mine off my Amazon wish list and just order it already.

  2. ingrid says on April 09 2009 at 7:54 pm:

    wooops, it will be okay.
    ~ingrid

  3. Brenda says on April 09 2009 at 7:56 pm:

    Oh, they look delicious. Sorry you’ve had a rough week…here’s hoping the wounds heal quickly. I’m so glad you’re able to still type…I very much enjoy reading your blog. :)

  4. Treehouse Chef says on April 09 2009 at 9:14 pm:

    I thought I was the only one that experienced those days……weeks……months.

    Delicious Macaroons!

  5. Whitney Merritt says on April 09 2009 at 9:24 pm:

    I am sorry that you are off your game but I had to laugh at this post. We have all been here. I managed to burn myself with the lid of my dutch oven a few days away, making baked potato soup, and I totally burned the bottom layer when it was “simmering” and I still haven’t gotten all the burned bits out of my pot.

    (good thing it is a Lodge and not a Le Creuset or I would be truly distraught)

  6. Half Assed Kitchen says on April 09 2009 at 9:43 pm:

    I’ve been a bit off lately too. These look fabulous though.

  7. Nadya says on April 09 2009 at 10:32 pm:

    Oh, haven’t we all had those days/weeks . . . !
    & those macaroons sound heavenly! Very similar to a recipe for ‘coconut kisses’ (Besitos de coco) I found on another blog! I’ve been doing a lot with coconut lately – lovely!! Esp the oil (you can read about it on my blog :)
    Two things that are GREAT for burns – lavender essential oil – one of the few that can be used directly (without diluting with another oil) on the skin – almost imediate relief, & promotes healing. The other – coconut oil!! It’s great for most ‘skin’ things – my grand daughters are using it on hangnails, cuts, . . .
    It’s anti-fungal, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal so can be used (internally & externally) for many ‘ills!’
    Great blog :)

  8. Tabitha (From Single to Married) says on April 10 2009 at 6:35 am:

    You poor thing – I hope this week is better. And don’t worry, we all have bad cheesecake days.

  9. Shannalee says on April 10 2009 at 6:59 am:

    All I have to say is I SO GET IT.

    At least we can laugh about it. And hey, we have things like macaroons and altogether non-disasters to comfort us.

  10. Anticiplate says on April 10 2009 at 7:54 am:

    I made these too! Delicious, right? I used thickly shredded coconut though. I think these are the perfect easter dessert.

  11. Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats says on April 10 2009 at 7:56 am:

    Ugh, I just made the WORST Indian dish last night – so sad! They can’t all be winners though, can they? Your macaroons look so incredible!!

  12. Chocolate and Toast says on April 10 2009 at 4:42 pm:

    It’s something in the (blog) air! I just read a similar refrain on two other blogs, and I’ll admit, after the week I had, I couldn’t even blog about it, I just want it to go away! Thank you for sharing your pain–and better yet, your ability to laugh it away.
    Better things are yet to come . . .

  13. finsmom says on April 10 2009 at 8:07 pm:

    I think these are gorgeous! I cant wait to try them!
    Thanks for sharing!

  14. sue bette says on April 11 2009 at 4:52 am:

    I’m looking forward to picking up A Homemade Life and as a huge coconut fan these are going on my to-do list – I think you are better off with the unsweetened coconut anyway, the other stuff is usually loaded with HFCS.
    Best wishes on a better week in the kitchen!! I’ve certainly had those weeks!!

  15. Jodye says on April 11 2009 at 2:38 pm:

    Your macaroons looks absolutely divine, mm I do love coconut!

  16. Culinary Cory says on April 14 2009 at 6:57 am:

    When I’m off on my game, I call them fabulous failures. Because after a string of failures, it makes the successes so much more fabulous.

  17. PoonMoon says on April 14 2009 at 7:12 am:

    My lovely friend @ work sent me this link after fessing up to few weeks of producing (imho) rubbish tucker.

    Nothing has been going right, nothing satisfies me and I was all a bit down on the cooking thang.

    Thanks for sharing; looking at the results of your macaroons it seems that a run of bad luck doesnt equate to lack of skill as yours (pre lost mojo) looked wonderful.

  18. » Roundup: Easter Goodies. says on September 07 2010 at 3:09 pm:

    [...] DIY Easter Mobile, Naturally Dyed Eggs, Chocolate Covered Macaroons, Homemade Marshmallow [...]

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