Too-crunchy taters and a disgracefully dull knife

On the menu tonight:  honey-balsamic chicken and Parmesan hash brown cups.  I was really excited about these hash brown cups.  While I nearly broke my arm trying to shred the potatoes with my mandolin (we fight more often than we get along), I thought to myself: It will all be worth it when my mouth is full of cheesy, potatoey goodness!  I drooled just thinking about the moment I would pull them out of the oven.

If you’ve learned anything about me, you must know by now that the recipes I most anticipate are the recipes that are the least successful for me.  Here’s what the pan looked like just before it went into the oven:

In almost every muffin tin, shredded potatoes stick up out of the top like snakes on Medusa’s head.  No matter how many times I pushed them down, they popped right back up, desperate to escape the tins that would become their scorching potato graves.  Now is where I admit that I may have shredded the potatoes lengthwise, resulting in long strings of potato (as opposed to the short little matchsticks usually used to make hash browns).

When they’d finished baking and I flipped them upside down onto the plate as the recipe instructed, I didn’t think they looked too bad.

But where the strings of potato kept creeping up out of the muffin tins, they burnt to a crisp so badly that my fiance and his son wouldn’t eat them.  Luckily, the insides were still ooey and gooey, so the boys ate the innards.

While the hash brown cups baked, I worked on a simple honey-balsamic chicken.  I’ve noticed lately that my go-to knife hasn’t been cutting so well.  It’s a really good quality knife and I use it almost every day.  But in the six months I’ve owned it, not once have I “honed” it (a new term I learned today).  I may as well have been using a spatula to do my cutting.  So before I started on the chicken tonight, I allowed Chef Ramsay to show me how to properly hone a knife.  It made a WORLD of a difference!

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