Most of y'all know that my regular day job is housewifery. I am incredibly lucky and blessed to have a fabulous husband who encourages me to be my creative if somewhat ditzy self (including doing various things that I know he finds outright wacky) and, honestly, he's pretty freaking awesome.
Since he works crappy hours and I adore him so, one of the usually-not-so-ditzy things I do on a daily basis is cook. I like to cook, it's another one of those creative outlets for me, and while I do occasionally talk him into taking me out for a burger or something, I'm making supper pretty much every single day. Have been for years, so one would think that I was fairly accomplished at it. I also bake regularly, cookies and quick breads and pies and things (for some strange reason I'm not compatible with yeast. Dunno why, it just never works right for me, but I've learned to adapt) and it *is* Christmas season. Christmas means I make lots and lots of cookies and other sweet treaty things, mostly because, well, it's what I *do*, and I hand out packages of treats and nummy goodness to pretty much everyone I can get to. So. Tonight. Supper and Christmas baking, which should have been easy squeasy but, for some reason was just about a total fail.
I'm going to link to three recipes just to show you how simple tonight's tasks were, and to encourage you to try cooking these things yourself, because they are usually awesome. And easy. Just not tonight. ;)
It started with the Saltine Toffee. The main ingredients are 2 sticks of butter, some sugar, and saltines. Seriously. This is like the simplest thing on earth to cook. I usually add chocolate chips or ground pecans when it's heading to the oven. Super duper easy. And I make it a LOT. It gets gobbled up like crazy around here and people request it. But, tonight, I tossed it in the oven for it's 5 min or so cook time to get the toffee into the saltines and...
I got distracted. Not sure with what, exactly (Ooooh! Shiny!!), maybe it was the creaming the butter for the cookies, or starting the rice (both of which are yet to come in tonight's goof-up-o-rama) or maybe the cats, I honestly don't know, but I smelled something burning, said some bad words, and opened my oven to a cloud of smoke and BLACK saltine toffee.
It was smoking so much and was so insanely hot that I had to take it outside and set it on a snow drift. Thank goodness for snow!
I hadn't set the timer for the toffee like I usually do because I needed to use it for the rice since we were having tambo fried rice. I'd made a roast a couple of days ago and it makes great stir fry leftovers. Yum! Me being me - and always looking for any possible way to get more fiber in our diet - I always make brown rice. You have to plan ahead for brown rice and while I sometimes use Alton Brown's oven method, tonight I made it on the stove because I *had* planned on using my oven for cookies and toffee.
Until it filled with smoke, that is.
I was good and not too ditzy, though, and I set the timer for the rice and cooked it just like I always do, but tonight it was a gushy, sticky, undercooked mess. Which NEVER happens (I've been cooking brown rice for pretty much all of my adult life) and the fried rice was sticky and gloppy instead of, well, super yummylicious. But we ate it anyway, it's not like I had time to make anything else before Bill left for work.
I'd mixed up popcorn cookie dough (a huge family favorite I make all. the. time. Like every couple of weeks.) while ruining the toffee-cinders and gloppy-rice, and had set it in the microwave to just, well, sit and be out of the way until after supper. The fridge is pretty much full and the microwave is really cold (because the below-freezing wind blows up the outside vent) and I thought it'd be fine. Nope. It dried out. I have never, ever, anywhere in my memory had cookie dough dry out while chilling. And it's not like it sat there for hours and hours.
So instead of being able to scoop it up with two teaspoons like I usually do, I had to make little cookie-balls by hand - sticky!! - which wasn't so bad, but I BURNT THEM TOO. While in the kitchen doing NOTHING but waiting for the cookies to cook. WITH a TIMER.
I'd set the time, but apparently when I pushed start, the timer was off daydreaming or something because it didn't count down, therefore it didn't go beep-beep-beep like it was supposed to, so there I am, standing there, doing nothing more exciting than wiping up my assorted messes and waiting for my cookies. But they burnt. Black on the bottom.
Laura (our daughter) laughed at me, can you believe it?
The other three sheets of cookies are fine - thank goodness - but I do not like tossing a dozen cookies into the trash. Oh no.
So today I tried to cook three simple things, and failed each time. Three easy, routine recipes, stuff I don't even have to LOOK at the printed recipe to make, I make them so often. But today was not a good day to cook.
It had better be a better one tomorrow, because I have a LOT of Christmas baking to get done.