Dear Ted Allen:

You are my favorite Iron Chef judge, and you were my favorite Queer Eye guy. I want to love your cookbook, but I’m still having some growing pains with it. It’s not that I don’t think the recipes are good; I just need more trial runs, or I need better glasses. Over the weekend I made the Sesame-Peanut Noodles and the Shrimp with a Sesame Dipping Sauce to go with them. See how nice and fancy my presentation was? You inspired me to get crafty.

The problem was the sesame-peanut sauce for the noodles. I misread your directions and used regular soy sauce, and it was so salty that I added more peanut butter to cut down on the strong flavor. This made the texture of the noodles rather chewy and very peanut buttery. Next time maybe I’ll actually read the recipe correctly and buy low-sodium soy sauce.

The shrimp were tasty, but cold by the time we ate them. And I literally put them on the plate last and we sat right down to eat. I am still learning kitchen tricks like warming the plates before serving, and I’ve decided that nothing gets cold faster than shrimp on a skewer. This might be worth a note in your next book for us novices, but I don’t blame you for this glitch. Nobody else thinks to tell me to do things in their cookbooks like warm the plates, either.

So I haven’t given up yet. I will try the short ribs again someday, and I will just work on changing whatever made that dish so greasy. I’m committed to making this relationship work if you are.

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