Cooking Fails: King Cake and Enchiladas

Posted: September 1, 2010 in Casserole, Meat Dish, Recipes
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m not sure whether I should post my fails here or not. I decided I may as well. Maybe someone can learn from my mistakes. But let me tell you something, it SUCKS when you spend all day or night making something and then have it turn out to be a disappointment. I’d had a decent run with all of the new stuff I’ve been making recently. I undercooked some cinnamon raisin bread, but other than that everything I’ve made has been pretty dang good. I should have known my cooking demise was on the horizon. It sucks it happened twice in a row.

Spoiler alert: It’s burnt

Alright, so first, I had lofty missions to make Pioneer Woman’s “Simple, Perfect Enchiladas.” And was even going to make my own enchilada sauce to replace the canned sauce on her ingredients list. I also generally make my own corn tortillas.

If you look through her recipe, I think I can tell you the two places I went wrong.

First, I’m not a huge fan of corn tortillas. I should have made the enchiladas more like a layered casserole, and done 1/2 or even 1/3 of the number of tortillas. A single layer in the middle of the casserole would have been more than enough. But that’s my own personal dislike of corn. I guess I could have also gone flour. But, I think next time I’ll actually replace the tortillas. Maybe with rice? Maybe with pasta? Any other suggestions? I’ll take them. I’m generally unsatisfied with corn tortillas. Homemade or store bought. (Or if there’s a recipe other than water + masa harina.) Or maybe I need to be rolling them thinner? My tortilla press doesn’t really give me thin tortillas and rolling them with a pin has proven disastrous. So any advice is welcome!

OK, then onto the REAL issue. One of the steps in the recipe is to fry the tortillas in oil until they’re soft. I wasn’t really sure what this was going to result in other than more calories and less healthy. But I did it thinking maybe the corn tortillas would be more palatable (Less dry maybe? Or maybe more like chips? Yum, chips!). So, I fried them up as recommended. You’re only supposed to fry them until they’re soft, not until they start to crisp. But I think I overdid a few of them. Regardless, I followed instructions best I could. The resulting enchiladas, though? Tasted greasy and oily. Sickening. I had to pick around them to even eat the things.

Other than that, though, the dish turned out delicious. I’d make it again if I could find a good corn tortilla substitute.

My second cooking disaster, a king cake. Lynds had the great idea to have a Fake Mardi Gras party. We figure with the livid success of things like Fake Patty’s Day, there should be more fake holidays. Well, the holidays are real. You just celebrate them sometime other than when they really are.

So, I take on the task of making a king cake. Which sounds overwhelming, but really wasn’t awful. Mostly just time consuming. First you make a pastry dough. Then let it rise (three times). Then roll it out, and fill it with an almost cinnamon roll-like filling. Roll it up and bake it. Then cover it with frosting and colored sugar.

All went well until I baked it. I had it in the oven less than half the total recommended time. I checked on it and it was burnt! WTF!!! And this is right before I have to leave my house. No time to start over. I have over-baked some stuff in my day by baking right up to or a few minutes over the recommended time. But I have NEVER burned anything in less than half the recommended baking time. I’m still not sure what I did wrong! Well, other than over-bake. When it came out of the oven burnt, I cut it open and the inside was still doughy. So I guess lower the temp of the oven? Who knows. Later that night I cut into it again, and the inside seemed sufficiently cooked. But would it have gotten that way if the outside hadn’t burned? The thing sounded freaking amazing. But, alas, I don’t know how to fix my mistakes. In the words of Snooki, “F my life.”

King Cake

Here’s the recipe

Make the dough. Raise it once, punch it down. Raise it again until it’s doubled. By the time I got it out of my bread maker the second time it had risen out of control. Could this be the possible reason it burned?

Roll out dough. Brush with melted butter. Then spread with the filling.

Roll up like a jelly roll, cut off the ends so they match up better. Shape into a circle. Cut slits. And let rise for about 45 minutes. (I kept the ends so I could hopefully taste my delicious concoction. No such luck.)

And food coloring to sugar to make the super-fun sugar that will color the cake. Wasted effort. These will taunt me and my failures.

The waste of time result. Damn.


Here’s the recipe for the enchiladas. And the homeade sauce.

Start by making your own enchilada sauce. Here I’m sauteing onions, garlic and cayenne peppers (for some punch).

Then mix together the tortillas and press. Then bake in a heavy pan.

Resulting tortillas. AKA bane of my existence.

Meanwhile my homemade substitute for canned enchilada sauce is simmering….

Eventually I start making the real enchilada sauce (one of the ingredients in the “real” sauce is canned enchilada sauce). Here I am making a rue. Is that what it’s called? Butter and flour. Who knows.

After adding the “homemade canned enchilada sauce,” chicken stock, and seasonings….

And bringing it to a simmer.

Brown hamburger and onions. Then add green chiles.

And the dish-ruining step: Frying up the tortillas. Do. Not. Do. It! Well, unless you like greasy-tasting enchiladas. Then, by all means!

Shred your own cheese. In dishes that actually turn out, this step is well worth the effort!

Chopped green onions and black olives. These, along with cheese and the meat mixture, make up your enchilada filling.

Coat the bottom of your pan with some sauce, then start assembling the enchiladas. My tortillas were pretty small, so I made more of tacos than wrapping them burrito style. Dip them in sauce before filling them. Like I said, though, next time I’ll make it more like lasagna (with un-fried tortillas, or maybe pasta). A layer of sauce. A layer of meat/olives/onions/cheese, a layer of tortillas. Then repeat, topping with cheese.

After using all of my tortillas, I dumped on the rest of the fillings and sauce. Then topped with cheese. It looked pretty good!

The finished product. Again, it LOOKED good. Ruined by errant tortillas. Rude.

Top with fresh cilantro.

And enjoy! Uh, or not. :(

  1. Kendra says:

    I agree with not liking corn tortillas unless well they’re fried like chips. I have to tear mine up into bite size pieces and just use a few when I make enchiladas. Totally try substituting rice though, that’s an excellent idea, I may try that.

  2. Lyndsey says:

    This makes me even sadder about the cake. I bet it would have been so yum had it turned out! Plus now what will we do with all those plastic babies?!

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