I guess I'll get back to fictional posts, after I complete final edits to Kitchen Addiction! - this weekend!   But for now; here's something I hope you find useful.

My husband and I are celebrating his milestone birthday this week (hint:  it ends in an "0").  To make things a bit more festive, since his kids live out of state, I decided to give him a special bday dinner party, inviting some friends and their kids.  

Husband’s party menu request is meatballs and spaghetti, and a birthday cake.

Discovered after invite that friends and kids are allergic to dairy, gluten, garlic, eggs and chocolate + others.  I think this explains why they’re skinny. 

Hmmm.  Okay; the upside is they’re meat-eaters, and not allergic to wheat.  After I whipped up a batch of meatballs for the Birthday Boy (which they can’t eat obviously, since meatballs have eggs and breadcrumbs in them) I throw together a vat of meat sauce (ground beef; sans garlic) and another tub of sausage and peppers (also sans garlic). 

Now for the birthday cake.  Umm, I mean un-cake.  I was hoping to just pick up a ready-made ice cream cake but clearly that’s out of the picture.  After several emails back and forth about additional food allergens; I crack open the recipe books.  The recipe below was inspired by a kosher recipe – who knew?

Non-Ice Cream – Ice Cream Cake
- 1 large container strawberries
-  Sugar (to taste)
-  8 oz (1 package) Soy Cream Cheese
-  2 small (individual) containers Vanilla Soy Yogurt (6-8 oz)
-  Faux Snickerdoodles (I bought these in the Vegan section of our grocery store; they do not contain gluten or dairy or eggs; very soft and worked surprisingly well for a crust)
-  2-3 tablespoons water
-  Small springform pan
-  Small food processor (or, a lot of patience and a fork and bowl)
-  Blender
  1. Wash, trim and freeze the strawberries overnight in a plastic bag.  The next day…
  2. Crumble the faux Snickerdoodles using small food processor (or by hand); press into the bottom of the small springform pan.
  3. Place strawberries, soy yogurt, soy cream cheese, sugar (to taste; I used about 3 large tablespoons).  I did this half at a time because my strawberries were large, and this helped blend things better.  You might need to use a tablespoon or 2 of water if the mixture gets too thick.
  4. Making sure strawberry mixture is well mixed, pour into springform pan.
  5. Place filled springform pan into another container, or cookie sheet (in case it leads) and place FLAT inside freezer overnight to completely freeze.
  6. Remove before serving; and let your allergic guests enjoy an allergen free dessert!
"This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it."  - Dorothy Parker

You've done it.  I've done it.  We all have.  Sitting there, mischievously, gracing your coffee table sits that impish tome of a recipe book winking at you.  You know the one.  It's the extra fancy one you got last Christmas.  You've looked lovingly at the wonderful glossy pictures of perfect menus all winter long, bending a page or 2 for when you'd entertain.

Now, the moment has come; the guests are here, and you're standing in the kitchen with lemon curd from end to end.  Your husband lovingly hands you a full martini glass, while your best friend picks dough out of your hair.  Her husband's rummaging through a take-out menu.  You sip your martini, excuse yourself to hose off in the shower, and vow to burn the frickin' book the moment your guests depart.  As best said by another Dorothy Parker quote, "This [recipe book] novel is not to be tossed lightly aside, but to be hurled with great force."

What went wrong? You followed the directions PRECISELY.  You measured everything PRECISELY.  You had the PRECISE oven temperature, etc.

I really don't have an answer for this.

All I know is that these disappointments have an amnesia-like affect on me.  I unwittingly succumb friends and family to an episode or 2 of Recipes Gone Awry each year.  My secret paranoid thought is that there are published chefs who knowingly leave out 1 key ingredient, or instruction.  But that rationale is just too easy.

Of course there's always the advice to make the recipe once BEFORE you host company.  But really, can your grocery budget gloss over 4 lbs. of scallops vs.. 2?  Ours can't.  But that's mostly because our budget consists of pet food.  But I digress...

Chocolate soup in a pie crust was supposed to be a Chocolate Mousse Torte.  A mummified filet complete with wrappings (string) was formerly Beef Wellington.  And what became a very useful door-stop was originally meant to be an Artisanal Herbed Baguette.

At least what our bellies didn't gain from, our funny bones did.  And, sometimes I get some funny material for my novels. So, maybe these experiences are worth the risk?  Or, maybe for our next dinner party, I should invite our guests to attend an Experiment and issue everyone lab coats? And maybe have a frozen pizza for a backup...

So - what's your kitchen catastrophe?

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