Not Quite Epic

fail, cropped

Failure, that is. At least an epic failure would be something to tell the grandkids about one day.


This? Was just a run of the mill failure, although I suppose it is impressive that it failed in so many different ways: conception, execution by two different people, photography, plating. So that’s something. I guess. I was going to not post this at all, what with the mundane failure and all, but Brian convinced me that your well-developed senses of schadenfreude demand it, so here you go: seared scallops in bourbon pan sauce over mushroom risotto.

See? It even sounds kind of failure-y. Would that I were David Lebovitz with the 40-odd posts going at any time and I could pull something different out of my ass. Alack, I am doomed to share my failed dinner with you.

And you know what the worst part is? The worst part is the exceptionally good scallops I’d bought, which were besmirched by the exceptionally shabby treatment they received at my hands.

bubble bubble

Actually, the worst part was probably that I had to eat this for dinner. Mmm mmm, tastes like disappointment. And burniness. Like scorched earth.

Let’s pinpoint all the ways this failed, shall we? I’ll start with the risotto:

  • I had no onion in the house and was too lazy to run out to the store and get one.
  • God only knows how old the white wine I found in the fridge was, or if it was even still wine.
  • I severely over-cheesed, resulting in a risotto that was far too cheesy to be credibly paired with seafood.


Next, the scallops:

  • I completely forgot to salt and pepper them.
  • I completely forgot to take photos of them before, during or after searing.
  • I overcooked them.

And the pan sauce:

  • The heat was turned up too high, burning the fond, which resulted in a dusty, blackened sauce.
  • There wasn’t enough bourbon.
  • Did I mention that the sauce was dusty and blackened? To wit:


See? This is deeply problematic.

Then I plated it up and took a picture anyway, since there was no turning back at this point. Truly, this photo is worth a thousand words, and all of those words are “yuck”:

dinner fail

Let me attempt to convince you that scallops in bourbon sauce, one of Brian’s specialties, have been successfully produced before to great renown; usually the sauce is a beautiful rich amber, sweet but biting. Let me further state that risotto has been successfully produced many, many times in my kitchen, and up until tonight I thought I had a knack for it, a belief which has been severely dinged by tonight’s “meal.”

So there you have it: everyone sucks sometimes, and occasionally, everyone sucks it HARD.

12 thoughts on “Not Quite Epic

  1. We all have those days…er, meals. I have this nightmare of a memory cooking mac’n cheese with taco cheese. Sounds reasonable, right?

    Yeah, I still shudder.

  2. I’m not sure which is more disappointing (to me): the fate of those poor, poor scallops (one of my top three favorite foods), or that you didn’t have a damn ONION in the house.

    Eh, as Scarlett said, ” Tomorrow is another day.”

  3. I completely epic failed a scallop scampi dinner a few weeks ago, so I’m feeling your pain and disappointment. I didn’t even EAT my failure, we threw the whole thing out (waste of $15 in scallops) and went out for hoagies. Sigh.

  4. Listen, I’m a professionally trained and formerly very experienced pastry chef… and I made a hideously ugly and bad tasting pie just the other day. There are just those days regardless of how awesome you usually are! :)

  5. My #1 kitchen hate (OK, besides seitan) is when risotto goes wrong. It just seems to happen once every 8 or 10 times, for no reason.

  6. Some days you eat the bear. Some days the bear eats you.

    It actually reminds me of a recent visit to a foreign country, where we ordered “seared scallop with green pea foam”, and got green pea soup with a shrimp in it.

    I call days like that in the kitchen a “four-burner night” because it happens most often when I’m juggling too much stuff in my head and I lose track of what needs doing when.

  7. *HUGS* It has to suck to ruin something as simple as risotto. It’s one of my favorite things to make and it’s hard to believe one could ever add too much cheese to it. Granted, I don’t often serve seafood with it, so I can see where you’re coming from.

    Sucks to ruin scallops too. Those little buggers are pricey. I’m always antsy when I make them because I fear ruining them. If it makes you feel any better, I now feel that I should try making bourbon scallops for the husband. I think he would love them (I would if I ate scallops).

  8. I don’t think this counts as “disrespecting” the fish, exactly, does it?

    How else will we learn, except to keep trying? Thanks for the post–it helps us to accept our failures without berating ourselves.

  9. anne, am i a bad person if i say no, it doesn’t sound reasonable?

    peggasus, right? that’s why i didn’t bother to check: why the hello would i NOT have an onion? it makes no sense!

    miserichik, we could not bring ourselves to waste the scallops, although i did waste quite a bit of risotto.

    karen, thanks!

    naomi, damn straight i am.

    lasomnanbule, and in such a bizarre way. i mean, too much cheese? who’d a thunk?

    foodgarden, i wish i had that excuse! it was me being careless more than anything.

    rachel, in the risotto’s defense, it still ended up being pretty good as a stand-alone. it was only offensive when paired with the scallops.

    amy, i might have disrespected the fish a little, yes.

    jlhpisces, true, that is something!

  10. Pingback: thursday night smackdown » Smackdown: Mikey Likes It!

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