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Repairing Disasters

Every cook has an occasional failure in the kitchen. I average at least one a month. I learned well from my mother, however, how to turn just about any cooking disaster into something good and edible. Unlike my mother, I don’t tell. Here are a few good recipes to help you keep the failure a secret and please those lucky food guests.

BLACK FOREST FUDGE TRIFLE
Ever made brownies that weren’t quite done in the center or too done around the edges? This solution works out great. Be creative with your choice of pie fillings and chips.

1 8×8-inch pan of failed brownies, broken into pieces
1 can cherry pie filling
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used chocolate caramel chips)
1 (12-oz.) carton whipped topping

Crumble cooled brownies into small pieces or chunks and begin a layering process in 6 to 8 glass goblets or a trifle bowl. Spoon a layer of pie filling over brownie pieces. Sprinkle a few chips over filling and add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat layering process and sprinkle a few chips over last layer of whipped topping. Serves 6-8.

ASPARAGUS SOUP
An error I make quite often is overcooking fresh asparagus. When I do, I quickly make soup instead and serve it as a first course.

1 lb. fresh overcooked asparagus
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
3 cans chicken stock or broth
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in heavy saucepan and add flour over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until flour is cooked, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock or broth and cream, and whisk until smooth over medium heat until mixture begins to boil. Add 1 cup of mixture to asparagus and process in a blender or food processor until puréed. Add asparagus back to soup stock and salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

FISH TACOS
My daughter and I had dinner last month at a trendy new restaurant in Louisville. Noelle ordered the fish tacos and loved their version. A week or so later, I was forced to come up with my own after over-sautéing two large cod filets and watching them flake in the pan instead of on the plate. Noelle loved my version!

2 cod filets, cooked and flaked in pan
6 taco shells
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, finely shredded
1 can drained black beans
1/4 cup bottled fruit salsa (I used mango salsa)
Sour cream, optional
Guacamole, optional

Evenly divide flaked cod among taco shells. Repeat with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Top with sour cream and guacamole if desired. Combine salsa with black beans and serve on the side. Serves 3.

9-1-1 AMBROSIA
One of my favorite desserts is Pavlova, named for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. The dessert is made in meringue shells that break easily if you’re not very careful. If this happens, make the following “ambrosia” out of the broken shell pieces.

2-3 broken meringue shells
1/4 cup toasted coconut
1-1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1 large ripe banana
1 cup sliced peaches (canned works fine, but drain well)

Toast coconut in oven until golden brown. Set aside. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Cut banana into thin slices and cut sliced peaches into halves. Combine broken meringue and other ingredients together and place in 4 glass bowls or parfait glasses. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Serves 4.

CREAMED SALMON ON TOAST
I don’t know about you but I have the worst time with hard-boiled eggs. Half the time my peeled eggs are such a mess I end up making something else with them. This is a favorite fix for me.

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
1 can salmon, cleaned and flaked
1 can tiny peas
salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in a medium pan until melted. Add flour and combine well. Cook for 1 minute before slowly adding milk. Stir constantly until white sauce is thickened. Add all ingredients and pour over 4 to 6 slices of toast. Serves 4 to 6.

Coming Next Month: Party Punches

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