As you know, I absolutely love cooking with Chef’s Plate. So much so that this was my 13th meal from Chef’s Plate(!), a food program service where you get to select your own meals and have the fresh ingredients delivered to you complete with a recipe put together by a chef for maximum deliciousness and zero thought process on your part. I love it because it is so convenient, the recipes are delicious, and the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced.
Unfortunately, for the first time since starting to cook with Chef’s Plate, I finally had a bad experience (the odds aren’t too bad eh) with this meal. This meal was the Huevos Rancheros with poblano peppers, sour cream, and tomatillo guacamole. It had a difficulty level of Medium and prep time of 25 minutes.
This dinner was a “savory iteration of a Mexican favourite”. The word Huevos Rancheros translates to “rancher’s eggs” which is a popular rural dish comprised of eggs baked on top of tortillas. In this recipe, a quick tomato and black bean salsa acted as the base for the eggs and there was a creamy avocado guacamole on the side.
I was excited to try this recipe as I had not only not eaten it before anywhere, but I also had never made it before. Yay to new experiences!
Everything went well in the beginning. It was simple to prepare the ingredients by washing and drying the produce, pre-heating the oven to 450 F (as instructed), and then cooking the tomato sauce. Mixing the tomatillo, an ingredient that I had not used before, with the mashed avocado was fun and easy.
The two whole wheat flour tortillas were a lot bigger in size than I thought and when we laid out the tomato sauce and scattered the poblano pepper over and around the heuvos on the parchment lined baking sheet, I thought the portion of the sauce was a lot less than I expected — the sauce barely even covered the tortillas. (Oh, I was actually very disappointed to find out that they had only given us one avocado in the package versus the two that was stated in the recipe…). Nevertheless, the oven was prepped at 450 F and ready to go.
The recipe only called for baking for 10 to 12 minutes in order for the egg yolk to soften up. I punched in 10 minutes of baking. …
When the oven beeped to let me know that the 10 minutes was up and I opened up the oven door, I already knew something bad had happened. I saw a bit of smoke coming out from the oven before I even opened the door. When I did open the oven door, I saw it…. both of the tortillas were burnt to a crisp on the edges and blackened. 😦 My heart fell. There are no deeper sorrow and feelings of inadequacy than that of burnt or wasted food.
What was worse was that I had followed the instructions to a tee yet apparently the heat was too much for the thin flour tortillas and it was all burnt. I was so sad.
We cut off the severely burnt and blackened edges and managed to salvage what was left of the Huevo Rancheros. However, the mood was wrecked, the food wasn’t perfect, and thus I didn’t even want to take that many photos. You can clearly see what has happened in the photo anyway. (Actually, I left out sharing the severely burnt food photo.. no need to see that.)
The sour cream and sliced avocado were served alongside the roasted poblano peppers and tomatillo guacamole. The tomatillo guacamole was not as sour or flavoured as I imagined it to be. It was more like plain guacamole mixed with some juicy green tomato.
The part of the Huevo Rancheros that I could eat, I did enjoy. However, there was a burnt smell and taste so the overall feeling was still sorrow for ruining a potentially great meal. Another extended unfortunate part was that the house smelled burnt for the rest of the evening…. it was so bad.
What could I learn from this experience? Never use parchment paper again for anything more than 5 minutes in the oven. I remember the first experience cooking with Chef’s Plate, I also had some burnt parchment paper after using it to lay sweet potatoes to bake some fries. However, in this case, because the main food was whatever was on the tortillas, the entire meal was ruined due to the thin and easily burnt parchment paper.
We also speculated whether the baking sheet that we used was too thick for the purpose of baking these tortillas. We speculated this because the bottom of the tortillas were so burnt that it might have been prevented if it had just laid on top of an oven rack instead of a solid baking sheet. However, the recipe did call for it to be baked on top of parchment paper on a baking sheet…
I learned that if the recipe calls for you to heat something like this up from 10 to 12 minutes, go for 5 minutes first, peek inside the oven to see if everything is okay, before proceeding to the full 10 minutes.
Thus, I had my first bad experience of cooking with Chef’s Plate. In this case, the recipe wasn’t foolproof since the tortillas were the main star of the show and with it burnt, the rest of the meal was soiled too.
If you want to try Chef’s Plate for yourself, you can! Use my referral code “#freeplatesfromstenoodie” to get four free plates on your order. Their website is www.chefsplate.com. (You can also view my other successfully made meals from Chef’s Plate here.)
Hopefully you’ll have a better experience than I did! (12 great meals out of 13 meals is still pretty good!)