Red Lobster Biscuit Fail

January 25, 2014 by  
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Dear Internet: My Red Lobster copycat biscuits?  Terrible.  

Been a while since I’ve frequented Red Lobster.  Only really remember the biscuits.  I was thinking about those biscuits a few weeks ago, might be nice to knock them out.  Found a copycat recipe and went to work.  Was it a success, I would have linked to the recipe. But things didn’t turn out so well.

The dough looked as expected:


After baking and brushed with garlic butter they looked good:


But?  Dense as asteroids, exerting their own gravitational forces. Sucking you into a black hole of doughy chew.  Booooo!!!!   

Anyone have a decent RL biscuit knockoff recipe?  

Disappointing Donut Debacle

November 23, 2013 by  
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Lard.  Maybe it was the lard I couldn’t find.  Or the recipe from 1971, perhaps mis-transcribed.  The memory isn’t incorrect, of this I’m sure.  Those donuts were so good. Cake donuts, like you get at the orchard. Firm and browned on the outside, tender fall flavor in the middle.  Fried in a cast iron skillet, drained on paper grocery bags.   An autumn treat, circa middle-school years.  

Well, these weren’t those donuts:  


I was optimistic when rolling them out…


And they looked right when frying…


But ultimately — a big fail.  Super dense and hard, not at all like I remembered my dad’s.  There’s a lot of theories on this — not enough baking powder/soda, the peanut oil I used instead of the lard I couldn’t find (! in NYC, no lard!). Maybe cooked too long or rolled too thin.  Whatever the problem, it just didn’t happen for me here. 

It ain’t all gourmet and smiles in my kitchen, and here’s an example of a fail I’ll have to try again.  Or not.  Maybe the memory is better.

p.s. I don’t want to talk about the gingerbread I tried to make last week.   


Garnish Fail Haiku

April 30, 2013 by  
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crunchy sugar crust


spoons poised to tap and crackle  


white top fail butts in


















Not sure what I was thinking here, really.  Just cutting off the tops would have saved the whole thing.     




Dear Splenda: A (Shameful) Love Note

January 27, 2013 by  
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Dear Splenda:

I remember the day we met.  The Starbucks a few blocks north of Wall.  A toiling BigLaw 3rd year.  The days, nights, weekends all running together. Conference room meals, surprise double all-nighters.  The stress and sleep deprivation cocktail, the gym forgotten.  And it was then – in a misguided health initiative – I switched from real sugar to you.  You and your cloying promises.  

Indeed I do have a relationship with Splenda that is not appropriate.  You are not really natural.  You are neither local nor seasonal.  When you say you’re made from real sugar, we both look away from each other.  But agave nectar. Honey.  Simple syrup. Dehydrated cane sugar.  I’ve tried them all, and nothing compares 2 U.  

It’s particularly degrading, what with the whole NYC foodie-blog thing I’ve got going on. For me to be taken by your sweet chemical kiss.  And now, in desperate rationalization, I’ve purchased you ‘With Fiber!’  Oh, the bitter supersweet disgrace. 

So tomorrow morning I will wake up.  And once again I will tear into your little yellow packet of shame.  

And I will enjoy my coffee.  


Week of Fail: Mango Flop-sicle and Fitness Debacle

June 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Desserts, Fails


Well, fail happens.  A double-helping this week at GHT.  Let’s start with the food, then move to the fitness.  A well-intentioned effort at mango popsicles.   Gone wrong.  Nice pic, eh? Well, they didn’t taste good.  

Thanks to the kind folks at the National Mango Board I had a shipment of mangos after Camp Blogaway.  (I’d hot-link to the Mango Board too, but I think they usually prefer shout-outs for things that actually worked.)  So I’ve been playing around with the bounty of mango goodness and thought a nice popsicle would go over well with the family.  

I surfed around for a few recipes — all very simple, and as we discussed last week simple with fruit is usually good.  So just three ingredients – ripe mango flesh, vanilla yogurt and a little squeeze of agave nectar.  Into the Vitamix, into the pop molds, into the freezer.

A few hours later, ready to roll.  And then the big moment – slipped out of the molds, a quick pic for the blog, and rock-and-roll.  And it went great, until that last part.  The big lead-up!!! And then!!!  The sad trombones….

Fail.  The little one nailed this one on the head:  “Daddy, it’s too much of one thing.  It needs something sour.”  Right on, tot.  Right on.  Daddy’s proud.  Lime juice is the answer, my little friend.  Lime juice.  We squirted a cut lime over the pop to see what happened, and it worked.  So next time — citrus to the mix.  

Also — texture.  I obliterated that thing in the Vitamix, and the result was boring in its smoothness.  Next time I’ll reserve some small diced chunks to fold into the puree before freezing.  That would add a little bite.  And for Daddy’s pop?  Maybe a shot of Patron too ….  Now we are talking.  

The Mango Flop Takeaway:  Yes, I really got these pop molds to do boozy ones like bloody mary pops that you’d invert into a good bloody in place of ice.  This is what happens when your parents don’t let you get the ice cream man when you’re little. Deviant frozen treats.  



Trying to mix up the workout routine, and on the advice of another attorney (can you tell this is not going well already?) I decided to try out a jump rope class with Michael Olajide, Jr. at Aerospace – a boxing gym on West 13th in the MePa.  I’ve been known to skip a rope, and was looking forward to the class.  Here’s Michael – he was very pleasant and welcoming when I got there: 

But then he tried to kill me.  Or rather tried to make me kill myself.  I knew I was in trouble about a minute into the half-hour AeroJump class.  (Internal dialogue: “Hmm – this is odd.  Why am I out of breath already? Why do my calves hurt already? Oh no – I have 29 minutes to go?!?!?”)  

As in SoulCycle, the front row was killing it.  Fortunately I was smart enough to park myself in the back row.  But there was no low lighting, really nowhere to hide.  I hit some of the doubles and the crosses, but the combos put me in a world of hurt.   The woman beside me full on stopped for a good five minutes.   Her rope at her feet, staring vacantly.  Gasping.  Oddly, even the slow jumps were as difficult (or more) than the fast ones.  Skipping rope, people, is a skill.   And as it turns out, it’s also one of the top calorie-burning exercises.  And man, did I burn a few calories.  Well, awkwardly. With a significant amount of sweat.  It was a pretty shameful spectacle I put on back there.  

The class was sustained – song to song, no break.  At one point, everyone put down their ropes and picked up mats – I followed.  We got on the mats — and the leg lifts started.  It was about then, in my disoriented fatigue, I realized the jump rope class was actually over and I had inadvertently stayed for the next class.  Oh no.  AeroSculpt. Too late to leave now — the punishment would continue.  Lots of core work – with some positions I couldn’t even obtain, much less hold.  Wow.  Nuts. 

The Fitness Takeaway:  This was 60 minutes of ridiculously punishing bad-assitude.  I shall return.  Next week I’m bringing my game — I plan on mostly sucking instead of totally failing.

Flavor Fail: Beef Stroga-not

September 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Fails

It’s not all roses and daisies here at GHT.  We have high expectations and need to bring it.  And once in a while, it happens.  The plan executed, the food lookin’ nice, the family hungry.   But then – the big fizzle.  It’s just not that good.

FreshDirect “President’s Picks” had a good deal on petit filet mignons, so the Mrs. ordered a couple pounds figuring we could get something together.   We’d been away the weekend, so the first whack I got at the filets was Monday night.   On the 4 train home, it came to me — Beef Stroganoff.  Pasta, steak, mushrooms, sauce.   Nice.  Out of the subway on Fulton, Google a recipe on the bberry along the block home.  Stop by Jubilee, pick up mushrooms, pasta, cream, etc.

Now I’m not going to run thru the prep here, because what I did just failed.  There was a significant lack of any flavor.   So what went wrong?   Let’s discuss:

  • Browning the beef chunks- I crowded the pan and they steamed rather than seared, so I didn’t get a nice brown flavorful crust (and there was no fond in the pan to deglaze).
  • Seasoning – filet is pretty bland, and needs some spice.  I didn’t season the chunks well enough before they hit the pan.
  • Fresh pasta – should be blanched quickly and finished in the sauce.  Here, I left it in the boiling water too long and it lost all bite.   Plus, because it was already overcooked, I didn’t finish in the sauce.  So it didn’t pick up any of those flavors.
  • Fresh herbs – this dish needs some (like dill), I didn’t use any.
  • The mushroom cream sauce – flat and muddy.   What it needed was a good hit of acid, like lemon juice or capers or even a splash of vinegar.   The mistake here – I didn’t taste as I was going along.   A good sauce can make up for other shortcomings, but here it just highlighted my otherwise poor technique.
  • Because the pasta was over and the beef didn’t get a crust, the whole dish was mono-textural.   Plain Jane.
  • Lastly, don’t trust the first recipe you hit on Google.  Get a few, then compare/contrast.  Take what looks good from each and combine for your own take.

The Takeaway: Most of this flavor fail falls under the heading: “In a rush and cut corners.”   Had I taken a few more minutes and a little more care, this meal wouldn’t have gone all pear-shaped on me.   But I will try this dish again, if only because this take was so miserable that I have something to prove.   Don’t let the fails get you down, people, get back in the kitchen and do it right!