Wednesday, July 10, 2013

In the Kitchen With Chris: Splurge Day

Last week I shared with you the story of my favorite weekend of the year, but what we didn't get into was the icing on the Pride cake...Splurge Day!

I've talked about this glorious day before, but in case you're not obsessively reading and committing every entry to memory (What, don't you love me anymore?), Splurge Day happens the Sunday of Pride when I get home and no longer care about fitting into my clothes. It ranks pretty high on the list of favorite Pride moments (mostly because it's the first time in a month that I'm not feeling just a little hungry). I usually just end up ordering a pizza and buying ice cream, dimming the lights, and pigging out in my underwear while watching Dawson's Creek (it's insane that I'm single, right?), but this year I'm a grown up who makes his own food, and I found a recipe that just screamed, "I've given up."

Grilled Cheese Pull-Apart Rolls
That's cheese, wrapped in bread, and pre-separated into convenient, easy to hold portions. I'd been eyeing it for weeks, but the carbs, the cheese, and the butter scared me off. But not on Splurge Day! I don't give a f#%! on Splurge Day!

I only needed three ingredients, so the shopping went much better than the last time I decided to make something. I ran to the grocery store to pick up 2 containers of biscuit dough, Velveeta, and butter. The recipe called for two different sizes of biscuits (to add variety), and I had a bit of a panic attack at the cooler while I tried to figure out which were the right ones. After five minutes of second guessing and holding different tubes up to the picture on my phone to see if they were right, I threw my hands up and just bought two of the Pillsbury Grands flaky layers.

Upon getting home I remembered that I hadn't cleaned the kitchen in...quite awhile. I believe my exact thoughts as I left for Pride with the counter still littered with the remains of making tacos (also a disaster) were, "Weelllll...this looks like a problem for 'Future Chris'."

"Past Chris" is a dick.

The kitchen was developing a bit of a smell too, and I was pretty sure it had to do with one of the dishes on the counter. I just couldn't pin point which one. The obvious and grown up solution to this problem is just to do the damn dishes, but I had shit to do. So instead, I did just enough of them for the smell to disappear, piled the rest of them neatly next to the sink for "Future Chris" to clean (he's gonna be super grateful that they're so well organized), and then I got on with my cooking.

I melted down 1/4 cup of butter and poured it into the bottom of a cake pan. Then I cut the Velveeta into  one inch cubes to be wrapped in biscuit dough.

I'm not sure that I've ever had to open a tube of biscuits. I enjoy watching other people freak out when it pops open, but I'd never experienced it for myself. I did my best to play it cool while pressing the spoon against the seam and waiting for the explosion, but I don't handle that kind of anticipation and anxiety well. I still have moments of panic when thinking back to playing Perfection as a child (was that game honestly fun for anyone?). It was way harder than I thought (possibly because I have the upper body strength of a kitten), but I managed to get them open without wetting my pants. Win.

After jamming all of the cheese stuffed biscuits into the pan, I poured another 1/4 cup of butter on top. There was so much butter on these bitches that it was literally pooling on top. At this point I've never been more excited to eat anything in my entire life. I mean, just look at these pictures I was being tempted with!

It's these pictures that I'm blaming for missing what I have now come to realize is a key part of the instructions.
Place your pan onto a larger baking sheet to protect your oven from any spill-overs as they puff me...Grr!
Five or ten minutes after putting the pan in the oven, while I was straightening up (Facebooking on my phone), I started to hear sizzling noises. I opened up the oven door and was met with a face full of smoke. All of the delicious butter that was pooled on top had started spilling over as the dough puffed up. There was a lot of butter burning on the bottom of my oven, and it wasn't getting any better.

As I do in most stressful situations, I decided to just ignore the problem and let it correct itself. I figured it would burn through all of the butter at some point, right? After 12 minutes the instructions said to pull them out and cover with aluminum foil and then return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Not only was the bottom of the oven covered in butter at this point, but the sides of the pan also had butter pooling on top of them, and pulling it out caused me to spill all of this excess all over the door.

As I returned it into the oven I reasoned that the aluminum foil would stop any further runoff, but the damage had been done. Smoke was literally pouring out and into my tiny apartment. A reasonable person probably would have given up and called this experiment a failure, but there was cheese filled bread in that oven, you guys, and I didn't have a back up plan. So I decided to soldier on.

My first move was to remove the batteries from the smoke detector (I was going rouge). I wasn't really sure if butter smoke would cause levels of carbon monoxide that would set that detector off (because I don't know how science works), but I remembered taking the batteries out of that months ago when I needed them for the DVD remote. I opened up all of my windows, turned the fans on, and waited.

After the fifteen minute timer went off, I pulled them out in another cloud of smoke. They were nowhere near done. The comments on the recipe said I may need to put them back in to firm up the rolls in the middle. I briefly considered eating cheesy biscuit dough with a fork before putting them back in to cook for another ten minutes. I'd already come this far. I was past the point of no return.

I did this about three more times (an additional 25 minutes of time added) before I decided they were done. They may not have actually been done, but I was getting a little light headed and headache-y so I figured for my own safety it was time to get that oven turned off.

They weren't very good.

I'm not trying to poo poo all over this recipe. I'm sure that it's great! My easy bake oven and mediocre (at best) culinary skills just weren't able to pull it off. The bottom was way too hard (probably because I baked it for what felt like 3 1/2 days), the cheese wasn't nearly as melty as I'd hoped, and it really held onto that smokey flavor. I'm considering this adventure a failure. I encourage everyone else to try and let me know how it goes (and then bring me some). Check out the recipe here.

I ended up ordering a pizza, buying ice cream, watching Dawson's Creek in my underwear, and falling asleep on the couch at six in the evening.

That, or I asphyxiated from the smoke.


  1. "Past Chris" and "Past Missy" must be related. They're both dicks.

  2. Trick for saving cleaning up messes? Aluminum foil on the bottom of the stove. Future Chris will thank you.