I thought it would be nice to make marmalade. I had every excuse in the book: hosting a tea party and it was listed in Brent’s book of 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die. Plus Brent loves marmalade and would eat it all. This I was assured of, repeatedly.
Things were off to a rocky start. The book listed a Martha Stewart recipe. I couldn’t find Seville oranges, no matter I thought, Navel will do just fine. Then I also forgot to buy lemons. Not exactly something one things of when ones thinks of marmalade. Odd I thought. Could I get away without lemons? Just add in another orange? Turns out Seville oranges are tart and this was going to a sweet marmalade. I would have to use a different recipe.
After much searching and reading I eventually settled on an easy-enough-but-not-cheating (*cough* orange juice *cough*) recipe. I even had the requisite cheesecloth in my drawer. Finally a chance to use my cheesecloth. The recipe called for removing the zest and chopping it small. The fruit was placed in the pot with the sugar and water. The white skin and seeds were carefully wrapped in cheesecloth and placed in the pot. All seemed to be going well. The house smelled delicious. I was carefully monitoring the boiling pot, measuring the temperature and at the ready to turn it off at any second. The moment it reached that sweet 220F spot.
Soon I smelled a faint burning smell. There was no smoke. I assumed it was the shitty burner on my shitty stove. In moving the cheesecloth bag I realized that the whole bottom of it was burnt. Seared actually. What the actual f-ck had happened. I had a super sweet boiled orange soup of a mess with just the faintest smell of burning. And the pot still had not reached that crucial temperature point. I bailed on it and turned it off. This was an epic failure and beyond saving. In the end I had a piece of cheesecloth seared into the bottom of my only canning pot and I ruined my chopper. The inside was caked with orange rind. I filled both with vinegar and baking soda, diluted it with water and now it’s a matter of time. Can they be rescued? I am still too mad to go back and check.
This just days after I tried to make Smitten Kitchen’s brioche chocolate chip pretzels. The dough was dry and my (new) Kitchenaid mixer was not having it. I turned it off and tossed the dough. What had I done wrong? Did I not know what the paddle attachment was? Had I mismeasured (not that unlikely). Nope. According to the comments it was just a bad recipe. The comments section was filled with horror stories of broken mixers. Just to be sure, a few days later I whipped up a batch of brookies ~just~ to see if my mixer still worked. It did. And now order has been restored in my kitchen, just don’t look over at the sorry marmalade-induced vinegar-soaked mess. Unless you have any ideas?