Have you ever made a croissant from scratch? I'm not talking about simply nabbing one from a bakery and toasting it up in the morning. Nope, I mean actually conjuring a croissant from scratch. High fives to those of you who nodded your head yes! To the rest, I'm right there with you. Leave it to the pros, right?
Often when I'm eating a croissant, I think of that movie, It's Complicated. Meryl Streep plays a chef, and for some deranged reason, she needs to remodel her absolutely gorgeous kitchen, so Steve Martin plays her architect and love interest. Let's just say antics ensue and the two end up at her café making pain au chocolat in the middle of the night. When I watched that scene, my jaw dropped. I want to make croissants with Meryl Streep! What is that fancy machine that makes the dough just right and how can I get one? Can making croissants really be so easy that you can do it while totally impaired at 2 a.m.?
In my mind, there are several things I'm perfectly okay with never making. I toss up my hands in defeat and say, "Let's just leave it to the pros." Croissants, French macarons, baguettes. It's probably no coincidence that these are all in the realm of baking, as that's not my strong suit. While I find it gratifying to make a pie or shortbread, I tend to lose interest precisely measuring out more than a handful of ingredients or waiting for this or that to chill.
There is some merit to the process of making labor-intensive foods, though. It can be gratifying (and thus maybe more delicious?) to make fresh pasta, even though I know I could pop into an Italian market and sample a batch made by somebody's nonna.
Beyond recipes that require a little bit of skill or persistence, there are those that friends or family simply make better. Just this week I tried to replicate a friend's lentil, beet, and arugula salad to no avail. I followed her directions, but ended up with mushy lentils and far too many beets. Part of me is inclined to get it right, but mostly I'm happy to just leave it to the pro.
What recipes are you happy to leave to the pros?