Dinner parties are nothing new for me; I enjoy them and plan them so they are normally stress-free and fun. Yesterday evening I was looking forward to a simple dinner with a dear friend. With a busy agenda, I had all the ingredients in the home and all was looking great. The menu was Hungarian Goulash, egg noodles, a nice salad to start with, and a wine cream for dessert.
I decided to start with the wine cream so it could set well before serving it that evening. You’ll see the recipe on the website and I will not go into details. When buying the Jell-O®, they only had it with sugar (I normally take the sugar free) and I bought the flavor I liked. What I didn’t know was that my substitute with wine didn’t work the same way as with the sugar free Jell-O®. So I couldn’t get it to set properly, but finally it was more or less firm, although when liquefying the mixture became more liquid than I wanted. I tried to mix it with the cool whip to get the right consistency but it didn’t work. I had no time to start over again and had to make a decision. I poured part of the liquid out and mixed the rest. It looked ok although the proportions were not the same any longer.
The berries, which I wanted to put in layers, were very tart. Since one cannot normally taste berries in the super market, I had no idea. They looked great. Oh boy, what will I do with them? I decided to make a Mcompote cooking them in Amaretto, Port and some Agave. They tasted great. I cooled them down, put them in the bottom of the serving dishes since there was no way to put layers without having it drip everywhere, then topped it with the wine cream and before serving, I put a touch of the compote on the top. It looked awesome and mostly -–it was delicious!
Now to the meat. When buying the meat – grass fed beef, the butcher recommended top round chuck. It looked great. I like to cut the meat myself preferring larger pieces. So he gave me three thick slices and all looked the same. When starting to cook the meat, it looked fabulous and I was very happy. I didn’t think, that’s for sure, otherwise I would have realized that the three slices were most likely not from the same cow! How could they? So they didn’t cook the same way. It was kind of touchy to get it all done without having the more tender pieces falling apart. After part of the meat was cooked, I fished it out and put it aside cooking the rest of it. When it looked close to done, I added it all together again and let it cook for a little while. Finally, after double the cooking time I had planned, all seemed cooked and it tasted great!
Why do I tell this story? There is no failure, only challenges, and if you have lemons, make lemonade. When that happens to you, step back and regroup. There are always solutions and I have to tell you, my friend had no idea that it wasn’t exactly what I had planned. That’s why I love to cook. Ingredients change, they are not always perfect, and one has to adjust and adept. That’s what I call creativity in the kitchen and my sense of accomplishment is wonderful.
Have fun, have confidence and be adventurous!