Has it happened to you? You line up the recipe, you buy the ingredients, if you’re a food blogger you scrub every counter and surface within an inch of its life (unfortunately, I’m a messy cook – clouds of flour follow me though my kitchen; smudges of batter mar my counters the moment I’m in action – it’s a battle against the odds to get photos of food that look appetizing and not as though they were prepared in a place the health department was on the verge of shutting down, but I digress), you follow the instructions to a T photo journaling each step, sigh, bite into your lovely creation and gasp “what were they thinking!” (if you’re polite) as you head to the trash with your dish. I’ve had 2 such occurrences over the past few months and will share them with you as a warning – do not ever try these recipes.
The first disaster was this past week. I wanted fruit – berries to be precise and pulled out a packet of frozen ones. Had been planning to make a crisp – you know, berries, nice crunchy topping from oatmeal, brown sugar, nuts and butter. But I saw a recipe on the packet (this wasn’t a national brand, more regional). Generally food producers have good recipes – it’s in their interest for you to like what you make and want to make more. I promise you, I will NEVER make a recipe offered by this particular company again. They called it an easy cobbler. It was easy, I’ll give them that.
You melt butter in your pan. Then basically mix milk and flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder (mine was new and fresh having just picked it up for Christmas baking) and sugar. They said use a hand mixer – I had the thought – isn’t this more like a biscuit? But, hey, cake mixes grab the mixer so I did, just a quick minute to thoroughly blend the ingredients (they didn’t specify). You pour the mix into the pan where you have your melted butter, then drop the still frozen blackberries all over the top. They tell you they’ll sink during baking. Oven as specified. Bake, the berries sank as promised. Looked deceptively lovely out of the oven. Cooled about 15 minutes. Cut into it – tad thick on the bottom (and purplish grey, not visually attractive). Added a dollop of ice cream and took a nice big, much awaited as I really wanted dessert and berries, bite and GAH! Library paste gummy, the sputum of a grandfatherly goblin (saw this phrase of word artist Chuck Wendig on Terrible Minds and had to borrow it – so perfect for how this turned out), icky in the 9th degree. Please don’t waste your time and luscious berries trying this. Stick to traditional cobbler; make a crisp or a pie – anything but this!
The second disaster was part of my healthy more grains kick. I recalled a recipe for 100% whole wheat no-knead bread in a bread cookbook of mine. I’d made it once and only vaguely remembered that it hadn’t blown me away. Thought I’d give it another go, perhaps build on the recipe. First, I tried it exactly as documented. BLECH! Indubitably, I am not a fan of 100% whole wheat bread. Now I know why I’d only ever made that recipe once years ago. I can safely break my OCD habit of not writing in my cookbook collection and scribble skull and crossbones on this recipe. There may be a small handful of you out there that can enjoy 100% whole wheat, but I know I cannot number myself within your ranks. I need a bit of white flour to offset the density, I bit of sweetener to offset a slightly bitter taste (nope, my whole wheat flour wasn’t rancid). If you want to go to more whole grains, don’t jump headfirst into the deep end of the pool. I can do items with 50% all purpose and 50% whole wheat flours and enjoy them – for many that’s even a bit strong and you might want to start with recipe percentages of 1/3 whole wheat to 2/3 all purpose, or even less. Whatever you do – don’t just jump in to 100% if you truly want to enjoy the labors of your home baked bread effort. Mine was tossed off the back porch to be enjoyed by the local bird population (well, I hope not the skunks or mice, which is why I only feed in the mornings – no bread crumbs for night eaters).
You now stand truly forewarned – there are so many delectable recipes and food combinations out there – avoid the above at all costs and you won’t be scooping spoonfuls of hot salsa in your mouth to rid it of a horrid lingering taste.
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