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{How to Handle an Epic Fail} Basil and Brie Flatbread

(post, Martine Holston)

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{For full blog post, pictures, and recipe,  click here}

When you have an epic fail, you have three options:

Give up
Try doing it the same way again and hope for a different result (Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity).
Try something different
I had this concept for a blog post in my head.  Store or Scratch – a recipe that could either be made completely from scratch or with store-bought ingredients.  Brilliant, right?

I came up with the idea for a flatbread appetizer while I was picking up supplies for a family BBQ at Trader Joe’s.   Since I knew I wasn’t dealing with any food allergies, I was able to buy all the pre-made ingredients there: pizza dough, white bean basil hummus, and brie cheese. I already had these pickled onions on hand and was cooking multiple dishes for a crowd, so I was all about cutting corners.

It was a huge success at the family BBQ.  Since I needed to bring an appetizer to an engagement party the following weekend, I thought I would try making everything from scratch.  I was also dealing with food allergies and wanted to make a gluten-free version of the pizza dough.  This recipe for pizza dough on Shutterbean looked easy and amazing (seriously, click over and you’ll start drooling), so I thought I would try to make it with gluten-free baking mix.

I thought I had my content for the Store or Scratch post in the bag.

At this point, I should mention that bread and dough are my baking Achilles’s heel.  For some reason, I always buy dead yeast and my breads don’t rise.  Sometimes I can make it seem unintentional (unleavened bread has its place, right?), but for the most part it’s disappointing.  In the case of pizza dough, it’s just ruined.

I had two balls of crumbly flour and water that broke apart in clumps instead of stretching out.  I would have taken a picture if I wasn’t so pissed.  I’d already thrown out two batches of cupcakes (one burnt, one a weird gummy texture), and this third disaster may have resulted in a few tears and swear words.

So, after this epic fail, which option did I choose?

I thought about giving up.  I’d already spent half of one of the most beautiful days of the year in San Francisco inside.  Hardly Strictly Bluegrass was happening in the park, which is practically a holiday in the city.  My friends had been drinking beer in the sunshine, and I wanted to join them.  My friend I was cooking for would be disappointed but understand if I didn’t bring what I had promised.

But somehow I couldn’t completely give up.  I wanted to make these things for her and for this blog.  I wanted to redeem myself… to myself.  I know no one else would care, but for me cooking is a source of pride.  I felt wounded.

I thought about starting the three-hour dough-making process over again, and hoping it would work the second time around.  And then I realized that would be insane.  I wanted to be outside, I wanted to hear music, and I wanted to be with my friends.  Given my track record, it wouldn’t work the second time either.  Albert Einstein would be calling me loony toons.

Martine, you’ve gone cray cray
So I did something different.  I met up with my friends in the park.  I am the first to admit I was in a horrible mood, but it was still nice to be outside on a beautiful day, listening to music.  I stayed for a few hours and then went back to finish what I’d started.

I went to the store and bought pre-made pizza dough, which was sadly not gluten-free but I had to make sacrifices if I was going to try this again.  I warned my GF friend that she couldn’t eat the appetizer and brought a dip for her to eat.  I finished making the flat bread in under 30 minutes, watched some guilty pleasure television, and got a good night’s sleep.  I woke up feeling a million times better.

Choosing to try something again and change your approach requires both perseverance and surrender.  You have to let go of your expectation of how something is going to go or turn out, and have the courage to feel OK with something different.

I still got a blog post out of it, just not the one I expected.  The flat bread was a hit, and no one but me and my GF friend knew the difference.  It all turns out fine in the end.

One day I’ll perfect the art of gluten-free pizza crusts.  But I’ve accepted the fact that  maybe I won’t, and there is great store-bought pizza dough waiting for me when I need it.

Note: You can buy gluten-free pizza crusts at Whole Foods and Bob’s Red Mill makes a GF pizza dough mix, but I’ve tried neither.  Let me know if you have any good resources for GF pizza dough or recipes that are completely foolproof (I can’t guarantee that it will survive my curse).

So here is an awesome appetizer that comes together in minutes and will totally impress.

Click here for recipe.