You can cook like a celebrity chef, too!

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So we were about “turkey’d out” from Thanksgiving and with three out of four of us having various self-imposed meat restrictions, our Christmas dinner options were in short supply. What to do?  Hmmm…

Food Network to the rescue!  By spending just a few minutes searching the website, I created a dinner using recipes from some of our favorite chefs. Except for a fish substitution, followed the recipes exactly (for once) and everyone was thrilled with the results.

Here’s the WIIFM (what’s in it for me): If you can read a recipe, you, too, can be a celebrity chef in your own home!

The best part: fed a family of 4 for a total cost of… under $58.

Here we go:

Kids, don’t try this at home…

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You know how sometimes you can substitute one ingredient for another, and really, no one can tell the difference once the cooking is done? Well, it doesn’t always work out…

We had a “hankerin'” for pumpkin bread and lo and behold, AB had a nice looking recipe in one of his cookbooks. If you don’t own the Alton Brown series, you are missing out on some fun reading and some “Good Eats.”  But I digress…  I rummaged through the pantry cupboard and found nearly all required items, save one.  The recipe called for pumpkin.  Not the canned stuff you see in late October, early November, stacked to the hinterlands at your grocery store.  No, real grown on the vine pumpkin.

Due to a lawn mower gone amok earlier this summer, our fledgling pumpkin patch never really materialized.  “But that’s okay,” I said, reaching for the can of pumpkin pie filling.  “This will be a good substitute!”  Like it could have said on the can:  Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.   3 cups of pie filling do not equal 3 cups of pumpkin.

I won’t even put the recipe down here.  Do yourself a favor and get his book, but learn from my mistake. If the recipe says fresh pumpkin, get fresh pumpkin.  The canned stuff, which works great in quick-fix pies, did not do the trick.  The only way it might have a chance of it working is if you adjust the other ingredients,  flour perhaps, or tone down the amount of canned pumpkin.

You know it’s a bad sign when your wife says: “Man, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of your dishes end up so badly!”  This effort ended up right in the trash.

Kids, don’t try this at home…