Japfan - A friend told me a secret about crepes - you need TWO pans going. Then when one is done - instead of trying to turn or flip it, you just loosen an edge a little and hold the skillet upside down and the crepe into the other heated skillet. Both need to be non stick skillets. The whole process goes faster too.
Aunt Jemima - I love the mix too but I use the one where you add the egg and oil - I suspect she uses more of a cake flour because nothing comes close to being as light and delicious while still tasting like a pancake.
omelettes - they don't compare to the guy in the hotel restaurant with the funny hat, expensive pan, and 400 ingredients to chose from. Frankly, if I were wealthy I would hire him and a chaffeur!
Chocolate chip cookies - to keep them from going too flat, put the dough in the fridge for a while before you put it on the cookie sheet; don't put them on a hot cookie sheet from the oven; also I subsitute about a 1/4 cup of sour cream for 1/4 of the butter, which also keeps them fluffier and softer.
Pie crust - I've only done a homemade pie crust a couple of times, but making sure that the water you add to the recipe is really really cold (in fact, I just put water and ice cubes into one bowl, and then take the tablespoons of water out of that) is what is supposed to help. But I also cheat and roll the dough out on a piece of plastic wrap (I guess a silicon cutting board would work too), and then just flip it into the pie pan, and then peel off the plastic.
meringue. i have the worst time with them.
That's the one thing I can't do. My dream is for there to be an omelet station with a chef in my kitchen. But it seems like that would be costly. Particularly since we don't want omelets every day.
My grandma constantly repeated to all of us that while you can toss a dash of this and a bit of that and scoop of something into cooking, the rule of baking is to be exact with every ingredient. Make sure you have measured it carefully, level off the dry ingredients, etc... And if you are having trouble with yeast breads or rolls, be sure you check to see that your yeast is active first.
Fried chicken. I recently bought a deep-fryer and had my best-ever result, but still not totally right.
Not a specific item, but whenever there is whipping cream involved, I have to stop and remind myself several times that 1/2 pint = 1 cup. I have screwed up more recipies by dumping in a pint box. And I used to cook for a living! (btw that's not the reason I don't any more )
fudge. I have tried several recipes and it just won't get hard. I am cursed with fudge.
The secret to a good omelett is to heat the non-stick pan, spray it, lower the heat, add egg mixture, and keep shaking it. I like to use a bit very cold water and no milk.
Lemon cheesecake squares were my worst disaster...couldn't get the lemon to firm up on top of the cheesecake mixture.
I also am not good at pancakes....they stick to the pan or tear apart. My mom tells me to use more oil in the frying pan.
I do make a mean chocolate chip cookie (you have to watch them like a hawk or they will burn) and apricot/raisin cake.
I'm not spoiled...I deserve all my stuff.
Hot pan, cool oil = no stick.
Bread; I just cannot seem to knead it correctly; it's always sticky and gummy and ends up everywhere but the bread pan.
Gravy -- either too thin, too gloppy, too salty or tasteless no matter what I do.
Vinaigrette dressing -- if I pour olive oil and vinegar right on my salad, it is just fine, but if I try to make a jar of vinaigrette, it is either too oily or too vinegary no matter what recipe I follow or what ratio I put in.
Eggs over easy - I always break them.
But I can bake without recipes. I just know how the dough/mix should feel. Go figure.
I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.
My worst are meringues and yorkshire pudding. Sometimes the yorkshire pudding rises and other times they turn out like hockey pucks. It makes me sad because I grew up having yorkshire pudding every Sunday as both my mother and grandmother were such pros at it. My family is happier when I don't even try because I am always so disappointed when they don't turn out and everyone is trying to make me feel better by making a gallant attempt at eating them.
"This, after all, is opera, opera in New York, not some dainty pastime like professional hockey..." -- Chip Brown, NYT Magazine 24 Mar 13