Common cooking mistakes


This past week, the Epicurious newsletter was about the five most common cooking mistakes.  I admit to making all of the mistakes at least once.  Yesterday while making gelato, I had a recipe fail for a reason not on the list.  It cost 10 eggs and a quart of milk, not so expensive, but I had to start over.

Gelato is Italian for ice cream and there probably is a technical difference between them, but that's not the point.  The recipe is from the booklet that came with my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment.  It calls for two cups of 2% milk with strips of orange and lemon zest, 6 whole coffee beans to be scalded.  Separately whisk together five egg yolks and 3/4 cup of sugar.  Temper the eggs, then add them to the milk and stir over low heat until slightly thickened.  This is chilled and then churned in the ice cream maker on lowest speed for 15 to 20 minutes.  I was making a double recipe. 

I planned to make the custard mixture yesterday afternoon so it could be chilled and finished in the evening.  My mistake was that my pan was too hot and the eggs cooked and separated - so down the drain it went.  I had used all my eggs, so starting over would require  a trip to the store to buy more.  We had evening plans and I no longer had time to make the gelato mixture and get ready. 

On our way home at about 9 PM, I bought two dozen eggs and cooked up the mixture taking care not to make the same mistake again, but I was ready with more ingredients if I had.   (Honestly, if it failed again, I don't think we'd be having homemade gelato for dessert tonight.) 

Today my niece is hosting Sunday dinner - an ambitious menu of Tuscan pork roast, garlicky spinach and Duchess sweet potatoes.  Looking forward to it!  We're bringing dessert and wine.  So, it's probably a good thing all that I had to make was gelato.  

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