Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Adaptability and Adjustability

Overall, I am not a “roll with the punches” kind of person. I like predictability. I need predictability. I do make an effort to deal with change, however. I’ll bitch and complain about it ad nauseum, but I’ll deal with it.

I feel like I have to be even more adaptable when I’m dealing with anything that has a pattern. My brain just does not comprehend parts of some patterns. I’ll be sewing something and when I can’t figure out how the instructions say to put the pieces together, I get so frustrated! I’ll sit (and cry, bitch and complain) and read the pattern and try to fit the pieces together until something finally clicks or someone finally takes mercy on me and tells me what I’m missing. I end up feeling like the dumbest person on earth when this happens. This is what intimidates me about a lot of things. I am so scared to move on to something new knitting-wise. I don’t have an experienced person that I trust that I can turn to. I have to muddle through or go to a craft store and throw myself on someone’s mercies. And the thought of doing something like that and asking someone else *gasp* for help scares me to death, because then they might really validate my fear that I really am dumber than a box of rocks.

Anyway…not the topic…

Sometimes crafting (and I’m counting cooking as a craft) doesn’t work out like expected and you have to be creative coming up with a solution. I found myself in just this position last week when I was making a cheesecake to take to work for an office lunch we were having.
Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

11 oreo cookies
3 Tbsp chopped pecans
3 Tbsp Butter, melted

Combine all ingredients in food processor and then press into bottom of springform pan.

24 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup dark corn syrup
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sour cream
1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups milk chocolate chips, melted
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Cream cream cheese, brown sugar, corn syrup, corn starch until smooth.
Add eggs one at a time beating well after each.
Stir in vanilla and sour cream.
Stir in melted chocolate and pecans.
Pour over crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and 200 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until cake no longer looks shiny in the center.
Turn over off and leave cake in oven for 1 hour.

Chocolate Caramel topping:
¾ cuo milk chocolate chips
¼ cup sour cream
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp chopped pecans
10 individually wrapped craft caramels
2 Tbsp sour cream

Melt chocolate over low heat, add sour cream and brown sugar.
Spread warm mixture over cheesecake.
Melt caramel over low heat. Stir in sour cream and pecans.
Drizzle over cheesecake.

I checked my cabinets to see what ingredients I needed, bought what I was missing and went to work. My first creative solution was for getting the most servings out of the recipe and the easiest way to get it out of the pan. Most cheesecakes call for a springform pan. When made in a springform pan, the bigger the slice, the easier it is to get out, but I needed it to feed a relatively large number. I doubled the crust and made it in a 9x13 inch pan.

Then I started working on the filling. I was going along great until I discovered that the box that I had only glanced at when I was making my grocery list was not dark brown sugar, but corn starch. After trying to come up with a solution that would work with the ingredients I had, I batted my eyes at my husband and convinced him to go to the store for me. He came back with a box of dark brown and a box of light brown sugar. My hero had saved the day again! The crisis was averted and I watched tv while the cheesecake was in the oven.

I made it through waiting and it was finally time to take it out of the oven. I looked at the cookbook and realized that I had made a booboo. I had used all of my milk chocolate in the cheesecake. I didn’t have any to make the glaze. I knew there was no way in hell I was going to be able to coerce my husband into going back to the store so I decided to forego the chocolate glaze and just make more caramel for the top. I used the whole bag of caramels and 6 Tbsps. of sour cream, melted it together and added about ½-1 cup of chopped pecans.

It was still a great cheesecake even though I messed it up.

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