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Old 06-17-2006, 05:41 AM   #1
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My Cooking Experience - Flops & Successes

Well this has really been a learning experience. I have only had two and a half flops.

One was the cheddar cheese crackers (will post recipe later so somone can help me figure out why).

The second flop is the one that I hate being a flop since I spent hours and hours cutting, dipping and then cooking....the chicken nuggets. The test recipe for the chicken nuggets that I made weeks ago turned out great. They were crunchy, had a great flavor and looked good. After freezing the unbaked chicken (recipe said you could do so if frozen in single layer and then packed after frozen) ebded yo being a flop. They were greasy, soggy, only crunchy on the bottom. I kept trying different things to get them where they would look good EXCEPT defrosting them before cooking. I don't have the time to do that. After sitting in the frig, the test batch still tasted good cold......this batch was so unappealing that I couldn't force one of those greasy bites into my mouth. After the reception and I have a desire to cook again, I will try defrosting some of the nuggets left (still have about 25 pounds sitting in freezer) and baking them for family. If they are like the test recipe then we will have several meals of nuggets.....if not the dump rats get another feast.

The half flop was the deviled eggs. It was totally my fault, but it was a learning experience. Don't get me wrong, the egg filling tastes great, it just doesn't have that beautiful yellow color to them. Each batch I made, I would open one egg to make sure they were done before taking the eggs out of the water and they were a beautiful yellow color. I then dumped them in the ice bath, but I don't think I left them in there long enough. I noticed when I was putting them in the refrigerator that some had some residual heat but ignored it. THAT was my mistake I think. I wanted to get 15 dozen eggs done fast and in the frig. I think if it was just one layer of eggs sitting in frig they may not have turned, BUT I had 15 dozen stacked on top of each other and so maybe the heat spread? But anyways they flavor is great, they are just not the pretty yellow color. I am still taking those because the filling is very good if I do say so myself. :) I like the simple no frills added deviled egg of egg, mayo, mustard, sweet relish, white pepper and salt.

Even though I am not planning on making this much food again, I have learned some good recipes and will probably still try out some of the recipes that I found after surfing forever and also to use up the ingredients I can freeze. I have a ton of jalepino monterey jack cheese which I didn't make the Jalepino Balls because I ran out of time. I have about 25 lbs of sirloin in freezer that I didn't make into bites with a margaritta sauce. 6 lbs of crumbled up bacon and lots of roma tomatoes that I was going to make BLT appetizers out of and 16 boxes of phillo shells. Sigh, I think I still have some cooking to do.

I wanted to thank everybody for their opinions, ideas and help. I really appreciate it and don't think I would have had as many successes if I hadn't had help from you guys.

By the way the menu (my part) ended up being

Deviled Eggs
Cold Veggie Pizza
Taco Cups
Pigs in a Blanket
Surprise Bundles (cheddar, diced ham, onion, cream cheese) stuffed in biscuits and baked
veggie tray with ranch dressing

Flops Not Going

Chicken Nuggets....(sob)
Cheddar Cheese Crackers

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Old 06-17-2006, 06:39 AM   #2
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I am not surprised that your chicken was soggy. I think if you saute them rather than bake you will have crisp and brown nuggets however.
I don't understand what you are saying about your eggs. I don't think the cooling would make the difference. Did you boil them in a stainless steel or enamel pan? If you boiled them in aluminum they get that dark ring, but the yolk should still be yellow.
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Old 06-17-2006, 06:40 AM   #3
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Sorry about the 'flops', Icy; catering for a large crowd is very, very hard! As for what didn't get done - trade secret here - even professional caterers have been known to '88' something at the last minute if it's not looking good or hasn't been done in time!
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:31 AM   #4
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I hope this will help. As soon as the eggs have boiled, immediately pour off the hot water, run cold tap water filled with ice cubes over the eggs. The object is to chill the yolks as quickly as possible, to keep the yolks from turning that ugly gray green. I hope this will work for you. It works for me.
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:36 AM   #5
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Ty Marmalady you made me feel better. As for the eggs, I forgot to dump the hot water out of the pot before adding the ice.....sigh, can tell I was tired.
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Old 06-17-2006, 09:25 AM   #6
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Question huh?-88?

Quote:
Originally Posted by marmalady
...As for what didn't get done - trade secret here - even professional caterers have been known to '88' something at the last minute if it's not looking good or hasn't been done in time!
What does it mean to "88 something"?
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Old 06-17-2006, 10:33 AM   #7
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Whoops - should have been '86'; in restaurant parlay, when there's none left, or it's gone bad. IE, if you're running a 'special' on lobsters, and have run out of them, the chef will tell the wait staff 'the special is 86'd'. Likewise, if those lobs have gone south!
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Old 06-17-2006, 03:06 PM   #8
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Everyone learns from experience. I think part of the problem was that you just didn't have the right equipment and tools needed for this function. Regarding some of the challenges you had:

1. With your eggs, it's hard to say if temperature played a part or not in the resulting color. But if your eggs were still warm when you placed them into the fridge, the amout of heat that was being generated by the amount of eggs would've raised the temperature of the fridge, especially if you were using a home fridge. A commerical fridge has much more powerful cooling properties and would've helped, but not necessarily solved the problem. But, you learned from your initial mistake which was not letting the eggs cool enough in their ice bath.

2. With your nuggets, the one surefire way that you should've done them was to deep fry them. Again, a commerical deep fat fryer (one that holds usually 20+ lbs. of oil) would've been the absolute best tool for the job, but it sounds as if you did not or would not have had access to this. One thing I can recommend is to never, ever do any type of food for a big function that would be better off deep fried, if you don't have the equipment needed. You can never simulate or duplicate the results in an oven. For a small batch it might work, but for doing a test batch and then doing several hundred for the actual meal, it probably won't. Too many uncontrollable factors.
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:49 PM   #9
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Well my mother ended up having to come home early (she is 82) and so I left the party a little late, BUT it was a success. My sister convinced me to take the chicken nuggets and people loved them. Maybe I am my own worst critic. Funny thing is, with all the food I cooked, I didn't eat a thing today. I was not even the slightest bit hungry, so I skipped eating today.

The party was in full swing when I left and everything turned out wonderful. The bride was beautiful, I cried, the groom handsome, I cried, the church service was filled with laughter, I cried. When I left even though there were 1301 people there, we still had way too much food. Sister was telling people when they leave, to take food home with them. She doesn't want to send the food to the charity place this time because the reception hall was extremely hot and was worried about spoiled food.
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:34 PM   #10
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Glad things turned out okay - in spite of! As far as not eating - I would get so tired of what I was making, I didn't even want to look at food!
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