Well, Chaka, I hope my family feels for me after the cooking disasters I have whipped up in my kitchen lately just to have something to write about. Ok, I admit it, they just failed and I didn't try to fail to have something funny to say. I tried to get creative a few times and it didn't work and a few times I got distracted and things went awry. I hate to throw away food and even when something fails I try to save it or come up with another way to use it, like when my penuche failed and I used it as frosting for chocolate cookies. But most of these have been so bad they needed to be tossed.
Baking Mix: I found a recipe for Homemade Baking Mix (i.e. Bisquick) in Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars (10 cups flour, ⅓ cup baking powder, 2 cups shortening, 1 tablespoon salt - mix together and store in airtight container in fridge) to break out when I want to make pancakes or biscuits quickly. The last time I made only a half recipe. At least I intended to, but I think I ended up adding the full ⅓ cup of baking powder. Everything I tried to make with it tasted funny and seemed dry. So I tried to "save" it by adding more flour and shortening. After another failed pancake episode I stopped throwing good money after bad and just tossed it. It was so hard for me to just let go.
Grape Jelly: The Thompson and Red Table grapes in my backyard are just getting ripe and I have a pretty good crop this year so I thought I'd try raisins with the Thompsons, but the others have seeds so I figured I'd make some jelly again. But I didn't want to do straight grapes I wanted to add something to it. Laura Groch, a food writer for The North County Times/Californian mentioned fig jelly with mustard she had in Italy in a recent post on Facebook. I thought I'd give it a try with a small batch. The addition of mustard seeds when boiling the grapes was not the problem. Getting distracted by a certain preschooler during the actual jelly making part was. I overshot the jelling point by a country mile. I should have just kept boiling it and made hard candy out of it, ha ha! Instead, I threw it out.
Juice Pulp Uses: I recently started juicing again, and as I have mentioned repeatedly I hate to see food go to waste, so I tried to come up with uses for the pulp. Mostly I got generic responses to my searches and requests - throw it in soups, bread, muffins, etc. I am still experimenting but I can tell you what didn't work.
- Emeril's Cheesy Crackers - I was hoping to create a Vegetable Thins type cracker with a little cheesiness to it. Maybe I overworked the dough too much or there was too much moisture or I didn't roll the dough thin enough, but I ended up having to almost overcook them to get them crispy and they just didn't have that nice cracker texture I was hoping for. I ate some of them and tossed the rest.
- Justin's Favorite Carrot Bread - This one I really did make knowing it was going to fail, and surprizingly it didn't fail too horribly. I followed the recipe EXACTLY except I traded ¾ cup of carrot/pineapple juice pulp for the cooked pureed carrots. As you can see from the picture at the top it was a bit dry and refused to come cleanly out of the pan. And it wasn't very carrot-y, but luckily I used good fresh spices so it wasn't bland, you just couldn't tell it was carrot like the original. Well, duh! I took out a lot of the flavor and moisture when I extracted the juice to drink. Next time I will increase the amount of pulp and see what happens. With a little schmear of cream cheese on top, J is still enjoying this for snack.
Hopefully, some of you can use my failures as a lesson for what not to try in order to save yourself a bit of angst. Next time, I will share some of my successes with the grapes, jam/jelly making, and uses for the juice pulp. I am still looking for suggestions on the latter, so let me know if you have any ideas or recipes.
Until next time, happy eating!
Hi Audrey! You are very brave to bare your cooking flops -- but sister, you have plenty of company. Thanks for the mention re the fig jam. I wonder whether it's worth experimenting first by just whisking a small quantity of hot mustard into a good jam (of any variety, really, I bet it works with others besides fig)? Also ... re the juicing pulp -- I'm not familiar with the pulp, or with food dryers, but I wonder what would happen if you spread that stuff out and dried it? (I'm thinking of the newly popular kale chips here.) Would it make a chip of some kind that might go well with something else? Like maybe a crouton-type thing for salads, or even a dipping chip? As I said, I have no experience with food dryers, so take this idea with a grain of salt. Or something. :<)