When I was 16, I had caught the EMS bug from my father and enrolled in EMT class. I learned many life-changing lessons there. “Ambulate before carry.” “The only stable heart rhythm is asystole.” “If a patient tells you they’re dying, you better believe them.” The list goes on and on, but one thing that particularly stuck in my mind after all these years was “KISS: keep it simple, stupid.”
Sadly, the following is the story of how I failed to adhere to the KISS acronym and managed to turn an otherwise easy and healthy parfait into an hour-long culinary disaster.
Parfaits are not hard to make. In fact, aside from pouring milk on cereal, they’re probably the easiest breakfast you could throw together: yogurt, granola, fruit, repeat. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves. So, with the weather warming up, I wanted to make a dessert that echoed all the bright fruit flavors coming out of the farmer’s market. A parfait popped into my head, but since I’m not one to leave well enough alone (hence, this blog entry), I kept trying to think of how I could jazz up the yogurt, jazz up the granola, jazz up the fruit.
We begin with the “granola,” which actually turned out to be my crisp topping from my baked apple crisp recipe.
As you may or may not be able to tell, I burned the topping. And it’s a very finicky topping with lots of easily burned ingredients, so why I thought just sticking it in the oven for 10 minutes at a time without checking on it would be a good idea is beyond me. (As an aside, once you burn sugar [brown sugar, in this case], that smell lingers for a while.)
Then, I had this genius (stupid) idea to jazz up plain yogurt and turn it into some sort of mocha yogurt cream thing. I’ll spare you all the gory details, but have you ever started making a recipe and said to yourself, “This needs something else,” so you keep adding ingredients until the poor dish just gives up and commits suicide while you’re left to clean up the bloody mess? You get the idea. At any case, here’s my bloody mess:
Here’s what I learned about yogurt:
1) It’s sour for a reason. Respect that.
2) It’s dairy, so even though you mixed cocoa powder into it and you want to add coffee flavor to officially make it “mocha,” pouring hot coffee into it will still make the bloody stuff curdle.
3) You have to add an insane amount of sugar to make it taste like anything other than plain yogurt. Again, respect the sour.
4) Egg whites, when added in any capacity at all, eventually need to be cooked. Adding folded egg whites just to create “body” will achieve that goal, yes, but absolutely ruin any semblance of half decent flavor you had somehow managed to drum up.
In the end, my parfait turned into a parfailure. But, that’s OK. The best things oftentimes are the simplest and if I wanted to futz with flavoring, I probably would have had more success with whipped cream than yogurt.