I am trying to be better about organizing my day, my activities, and even my meals. I have been really challenging myself to use up a good portion of what I have in my freezers. One reason is that I am about to start baking and freezing Amish friendship bread for a friend who is getting married in October. My second reason is that I get nervous when it is hurricane season and I have one deep freeze and a second refrigerator freezer full in the garage. I have also been trying to eat at home more. It is nice to enjoy a meal out, but a lot of our eating out is tied to poor planning.
In order to use up what is in the freezer I have been trying my hand at menu-planning. It really does make the day a little bit easier when I have an idea of what I want to make for dinner as opposed to the 4 o'clock panic of what's for dinner tonight? I sat down Monday and wrote down some ideas of things that I knew I had available for main dishes and a list of what I had available for side dishes. That wasn't so bad and it didn't take very long. Now comes the hard part, making sure I have everything available and making sure I plan enough time and know what I am doing to make the meals happen.
Tonight was one of those nights. I thought I had it all planned out. I planned a meal of honey-orange marinated salmon, steamed asparagus, and rice. I found the salmon recipe on one of my favorite recipe sites - www.allrecipes.com. I like allrecipes because you can read the reviews from others who made the recipe and get tips and suggestions for the prep or side dishes. The recipe had several positive reviews. The recipe was to make a marinade out of soy sauce, orange juice, honey, olive oil, ginger, green onions, and apple juice and let the salmon sit in the marinade in the refrigerator for at least an hour, then remove the salmon from the marinade and bake it. No problem - my kind of recipe not a lot of mess and an easy clean-up. I had read several reviews from people who took the marinade and reduced it on the stove while the salmon was baking, they said it made a yummy glaze to pour over the fish. I thought it sounded easy enough and that it would be a nice addition to the recipe.
I thought I was on top of everything - I prepared the baking dish, got the piece of salmon into the dish and had it in the oven. I poured the marinade into a small saucepan and turned it on high to make sure it got to a boil. My plan was to let it boil for a minute then reduce the heat to low so it would sit and thicken. That was my plan. I made one crucial mistake. I started washing the few things I had in the sink while I was waiting for it to boil. When it started to boil I thought I turned the burner down to low, except for some reason I turned the burner in the front on low. (The sauce was on the back burner.) I didn't even have a pan on the front burner. I didn't realize it until after I finished washing up the dishes and noticed that the back burner was still red. I tried adding a little bit of orange juice to the sauce, but I knew I was in trouble when it splattered and steamed as soon as I added it. I grabbed the handle and ran the water in the sink as hot as I could and tried to rinse the pan out. It was not coming off. After rinsing it out a few times I got the top layer off, but it was still burnt and sticky on the bottom. I added hot water and some dish soap to the pan and just let it sit. I tried washing it out after dinner and it was still stuck on there. I did make a little bit of progress when I tried some soft scrub. It is a Calphalon pan so I don't want to use steel wool. So, the pan is sitting again on the stove filled with water and dish detergent. I hope I get it off the bottom of the pan. The mess was one thing, the other bad part was the smell. It was horrible. We ended up eating dinner with a window open to try to get rid of smell. I have had a candle burning all night and still feel like it smells like burnt soy sauce. Yuck!
On a positive note, the salmon itself turned out really good and I would make it again. I thankfully didn't burn the rice, and the asparagus was good with some butter and fresh Parmesan cheese shredded on the top. I think I will try the recipe again and even try to make the glaze again. I do think it would add to the dish, but for tonight it just wasn't meant to be.
Any suggestions on removing a sticky, burnt mess from my sauce pan will be appreciated!