Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader considers himself a better than average cook. This is not to say a chef, but a cook. A chef is an appellation he gives to professionals. A cook is a person who, well, cooks; but not for money.
This weekend has been full of cooking failures for your Maximum Leader. He is none too happy to report this fact, but it is what it is. In the spirit of humiliating himself, he’ll briefly describe his three cooking failures of the weekend.
The first is a rather minor failure. Your Maximum Leader burned rice. This may not seem like a big deal, but it was to him. He’s not burned rice that he was cooking in a saucepan, on the range, that he “supervised” the entirety of the cook time. Basically, your Maximum Leader was cooking and kept the heat on the rice for too long and it burned. He didn’t leave the kitchen. He just disregarded the rice while he did other things. It was embarrassing. It was also a pain in the arse to clean up.
The second failure is a half-failure. For those of you who follow your Maximum Leader on Twitter (@maximumleader) you will know that he had a craving for Swedish meatballs yesterday. Rather than buying some at the Ikea he was near yesterday, he determined to make his own. He pulled out his trusty Joy of Cooking and looked up the recipe. As it turned out, he had everything he needed to make them, and make them he did.
Now, allow your Maximum Leader to say that his Swedish meatballs had the correct flavor. They did taste exactly as they should. But there was a consistency problem. They were a little stringy. What? A stringy meatball you say? Indeed. You see, to make a Swedish meatball you take your ground pork and ground beef and mix them together with the spices, breadcrumbs and water. According to the recipe, you do this in an electric mixer for approximately 10 minutes. That seemed a bit long to me, and in retrospect it likely was too long. If your Maximum Leader had mixed less he believes he would have avoided the stringiness to the texture. Everyone liked the meatballs - which were dinner. But your Maximum Leader was dissatisfied. He’ll chalk this failure up to trying a recipe for the first time. He’ll reduce the mixing next time to see if it works out better.
The third cooking failure is the one about which he’s most upset. A little over a week ago your Maximum Leader set approximately 16 pounds of pork belly to cure into bacon. He did 5 pounds of regular salt cure. He did 5 pounds of garlic and herb cure. And the remaining was maple syrup and bourbon cure. Today he took 2 pounds of the regular cure and froze it to use more as lardon than as bacon. Then the rest of the bacon went into the grill/smoker.
Well, your Maximum Leader had more flare-ups and problems controlling the temperature in the smoker than he can remember ever having in the past. Basically, much of his bacon had to be trimmed to removed burned areas. The maple syrup/bourbon cure was the worst - as you can imagine due to the sugars in the cure mix.
No, he didn’t completely lose any slab of bacon. But he’s never had to trim his bacon like he did today. It was very sad. Very disappointing. He’ll have to sample a pound to make sure that it doesn’t have a burned taste. If it does then he’ll really be pissed off…
Needless to say, your Maximum Leader has decided to cut his loses and declare that he is not cooking anything else this weekend.