The purpose of this blog entry is to prove conclusively that, just because you can read a recipe and follow it to the letter, doesn't mean you can cook.
After serving an Italian chicken dinner late in the afternoon in commemoration of Andrea Bocelli's 49th birthday, I gathered all my cookware, mixing bowls, utensils, and ingredients for my first attempt at building cannoli. Working nicely through my defective eyesight, I let the bread maker do the messy work at mixing the dough, only to read later that the beaten egg is supposed to be brushed on the outside of the pastry before frying, not mixed into the dough. The oil was already hot and I figured it couldn't hurt to at least try to see if it would work anyway. It didn't. No problem; I just rebuilt the dough according to the recipe, minus the egg, and while that was mixing I chopped the chocolate chips and some maraschino cherries to put in with the ricotta cheese mixture. Then I dumped the new dough out of the bread machine onto the counter, wondering what in the world I was going to do with all those crumbs. Hey, the recipe said press them together so that's what I did. I came up with ONE usable pastry so, very carefully, I slipped it into the hot oil. By that time, it was unwise to continue working in dim light so I turned the overheads on; I don't know what was worse, the pain and glare from the lights or the horrible mess I was making with the oil. The pastry came out looking like a shortbread cookie that met up with a steam roller ... pretty pathetic it was. The rest of the dough was deemed hopeless after I tried once more to make another one before the oil started smoking and spilling out onto the burner causing a moment of panic as flames began shooting up from the side of the pan. Even Signor Bocelli would agree it might have been a nice thought but it was time to quit, especially with the smoke alarm drowning out a half a CD of his music. All is quiet now, except the dishwasher graciously cleaning up half the mess I made. When it's finished, I have another load ready for it to start all over again. And what about the greasy mess? Guess that's why God invented Dawn dishwashing liquid. Next year I'll get my cannoli at Carraba's.