Tag Archive | fail

Cranberry Pecan Muffins: The Baker’s Equivalent of Erectile Dysfunction

Remember how I was telling ya’ll how it was hard to find a good jar mix recipe? Well, here’s another one I tried. It’s called Cranberry Pecan Muffins. It sounded really promising. Dried cranberries, pecans, brown sugar. What’s not to love?

It was one of those recipes in my organizer I’d never tried, and I’m always up for finding jar mixes cause they are so damn easy to keep in the cabinet and grab and make at a moment’s notice, so I figured, why the hell not! Plus, muffins are so easy to freeze. Instant lunch snacks.

So I grabbed and lined my muffin tins.

I had greased them prior and then decided against that and went with muffin cups. God I hate how my tins always get so stained. Anyway! Then I added the sugars and flour.

Add in the yummy cranberries and pecans, with some baking powder.

Then I added the wet stuff

Mixed it up

Plopped them into the muffin cups

Put them in the oven. Baked them. And took them out.

I was slightly disturbed at this point because they didn’t really “rise.” They kind of kept the same shape as the batter when I plopped them in. Oh well, I figured, there’s a lot of food that doesn’t look good but tastes dreamy.

Since my blood sugar can’t handle a whole muffin, and I was about to eat dinner and couldn’t afford the carbs, I called the Texan down to try one.

“Try one of these muffins!” I exclaimed

“They look weird.” he muttered

“Yeah, yeah, just eat them!” I demanded

He picked one up, took a bite. And then he got that look on this face. Not a look of “ew” but a look of “what the hell.” And he cracked a little smile.

“Try one.” he said

“I can’t, too many carbs. How are they?”

“No, really, I insist, try one.”

This couldn’t be good.

I broke off a quarter of one of the muffins and popped it in my mouth.

It was warm cardboard with a sort of cranberry after taste. F*#king great.

I picked up the tin and dumped them in the trash. SONOFABITCH. WHO in their RIGHT MIND actually came up with this recipe but then decided it was good enough to actually put in a recipe book? Are you freakin’ serious?

Ok, was it gross? No. It wasn’t puke gross. But it was nothing. It was like dry brittle pecan cranberry crap. I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS! It’s gotta be the baker’s equivalent of erectile dysfunction: You get so excited at the prospect only to find out the damn recipe is completely flaccid no matter how much you are attempting to will it into deliciousness. And even if it’s NOT your fault because it’s not your recipe you still FEEL like it’s your fault and you start apologizing and turning red faced to the other party:

“I’m sorry, honey, I really tried, I don’t know what’s wrong with my muffins. Why does this keep happening to me?”

And if the party is worth anything as a human being they will respond “It’s ok, dear, it happens to every baker.”

UGH! Martha Stewart I am not.

Onion Sausage Toothpick Things

When I took my trip to Ireland, I ate a lot. Like. A lot. 15 pounds and near diabetic coma a lot.

Quite a few things stuck out to me that I loved: black pudding, Lucky’s mom’s mashed potatoes and gravy (drooollllllll, sooooo good), the guiness, the TEA (Oh GOD it’s good!). Even the battered fish was so excellent. Fish in Ireland has no smell. I walked right up to the fish counter at the grocery store and stuck my nose in it, so did the Texan who HATES fish, and nope, not a scent. If you’ve ever been near a fish counter here in the US, you KNOW you can smell that briney, fishy scent about a mile away.

But I came back with a simple obsession. Perhaps it’s because all the ingredients are available here or because it was something I could actually eat without rocketing my blood sugar. Either way, I’m an addict.

One night when Lucky was having a party at his place, Lucky’s mother made these little snack things. They were a piece of ham (though it was more like sausage), with a single cocktail onion and a single cube of cheese on each toothpick. I.ate.the.hell.out.of.those.

They are surprisingly good. Lucky gave me guff because he says his mother has been making those simple things all his life and why I would choose something so simple to bring back with me with such fervor is somehow funny. But I can’t stop eating them. And  everyone here that tries them is really surprised how good they are. How simple and how damn tasty.

So, first thing I did is I went to the store. In Ireland they are jars of pickled onions. Here, the closest ones I’ve found are called sour cocktail onions. And the jars are freaking TINY! Think like maybe a dozen little onions in each jar for like $4. Ugh. The things we will do for an addiction.

I’d put those on a toothpick with some colby jack, cheddar, or pepper jack, and a chunk of venison sausage and it was heavenly wonder. I ate that every single day, if not more than once a day. And then I ran out of onions. I’d gone through probably a dozen jars before I decided I’d try to make my own.

I went to a local market here and bought a bag of fresh mini onions. That was the first mistake. Those things are a PAIN IN THE ASS to peel. It was only later I learned you could use frozen. Duh.

I tend to like the onions really crisp, so I opted to do a fridge-type cure instead of canning because I didn’t want them going soggy. I figured how hard can it really be? A pickled onion, or a sour onion? Vinegar and salt, big whoop. I added spices for good measure because I wanted a spicy onion. Now THAT sounded good! So I added some red pepper flakes. And a whole jalapeno to add some spice to it.

Then I poured vinegar over it and let it sit in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Then I tried one, so excited! YAY! A seemingly endless supply of cocktail onions.

Epic. Fail.

It had flavor alright. It was spicy and the onions were firm and it tasted like biting into a huge crispy ball of vinegar. No. This wouldn’t work. I was pissed. I was heartbroken. I was back at the store buying more $4 a jar cocktail onions.

I’ve since seen several recipes to can cocktail onions, but I fear it. Mostly because they call for frozen onions. And the problem there is the between being frozen and cooking them, there’s going to be a soggy factor. And I’m NOT about to sit there and peel a million tiny little onions.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to TRY to make my own. Even if those fail I can always use them in cooking. But still. It sucks. I really wanted this to work. And it didn’t. It was actually AWFUL!

I won’t give up my onion sausage cheese toothpick things. No way and you can’t make it, but I’ll admit a fail when there’s a fail. And this was a HUGE one. See, Martha Stewart never tells you THIS sh*t!

Southern Fried DAMNIT

I’ve known among my circle of friends for my awesome fried chicken. I’ve been making it the same way my whole life. It was the way my mother made it. It was the way my grandmother made it. And I’m assuming it stops there because I don’t think they had fried chicken in Poland, so I’m assuming my grandma just started making it when she came to the US. But who knows! Maybe Poland is the fried chicken capital of the world and we just don’t know it.

I also live with a southern man. Which introduced me to the world of southern cooking. I’ve tried recipes from his mother, recipes from her favorite cooks (including getting a signed copy of Pioneer Woman’s cookbook from here which I cherish!), and basically tried to get into the southern cooking thing. I’ve all but mastered the country fried steak.

So when I ran across this recipe on allrecipes.com, I thought why not. Sounded delicious and I’m forever looking for new fried chicken recipes. I love fried chicken. I’ll never give up my multi-generation-there-is-no-real-recipe-mom-gramma-fried chicken, but I like to experiment.

This recipe called for a batter that was really interesting. It had BBQ sauce built right in and damn that sounded tasty. So I set off to do it, trusty cast iron in tow.

First, I put some flour in a container. Big enough of course to dredge chicken in. Which I admit I hate doing because your fingers end up with more coating than the damn chicken. But anyway…

Then I added the seasonings, which called for seasoned salt (which is in every southern recipe ever), onion and garlic powder, pepper, salt.

So I mixed that up really good to distribute that into the flour and got out a separate bowl for the liquid.

So you place the eggs in and beat them up

Then you add your buttermilk, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce and steak sauce. I know, sounds DAMN good, doesn’t it?

Whisk that all up really good. And start the oil going so it’s nice and hot. Mind you, the recipe calls for the oil to be 375 degrees.  I don’t normally actually check the temperature of my frying oil, I just do it. But I thought for the sake of following the recipe, I’d do it. So you can see my temperature probe right there. I got it to 375 and held it steady.

Then I cut up the chicken. I had chicken quarters, which I just used a huge cleaver to turn into thighs and legs. Oh yes! How I love to use the cleaver. Gives me a reason to bang really loud on the counter and lunge back way further than I need to and scare everyone in the house :)

Now you dredge the chicken in the milk mix, then flour

Then you do it again. You’ve got to do the flour/batter thing at least twice, or so the recipe says

Then place the big, messy slop of battered chicken in the pan and fry 10 minutes each side.

This is where I tell you that the chicken was actually REALLY good, fabulous even, the ingredients really busted out flavor…BUT

There’s always a but…

Maybe it was me, and it very likely was, the batter started to somewhat fall off the chicken. Mind you, that happens from time to time, no problem. Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do.

My biggest issue was that, this temperature, it effectively nearly BURNT the outside and left the inside raw. Remember, 375. I can see how you’d want it hot enough so that the batter doesn’t go soggy, but this was just a semi failure. It was eaten of course (once I cooked it ACTUALLY through), it was very good, but the batter to me was just too tough, too hard, too overcooked. I was pissed to say the least, especially when I bust it open and there’s raw chicken in the center. It was one of those things that would be UNBELIEVABLY good had it cooked the right way.

This is what I get for freakin’ actually using a thermometer.

So I did what any woman worth her wait in salt would do: I asked The Texan’s mama.

I told her the whole story. Now, as a preface, this woman is awesome. Wise like you wouldn’t believe. She comes out with these one liners that, somehow, someway, just make sense to me. She’s like a wisdom ninja.

I tell her I got the recipe. I told her the whole story. Every minute detail. She says:

“Oh believe me I know. It happens. Sometimes, it just happens.”

That, somehow, gave me a serene sense of comfort. It just happens. This is a woman who’s fried more chicken that I can imagine. And it’s happened to her too. Yay! I’m not a failure. She saves the day yet again! She rules!

So, I went about my night contented that, well, hell, it just didn’t come out. Try next time and tweak things a little. No biggy.

I’m going to post this recipe in hopes that A) You’ll try it and B)It’ll come out better for you. Because it really is worth the shot, it’s REALLY good.

———————————–

From allrecipes.com

A Southern Fried Chicken

3 C all purpose flour

1 TB seasoned salt

1 TB garlic powder

1 TB onion powder

1 TB coarsely ground black pepper

2 eggs

4 C buttermilk

1 C BBQ sauce

2 TB worcestershire sauce

1 TB steak sauce

1 whole chicken, cut up, 3 pounds

2 cups of oil for frying

In a large shallow dish, mix together flour, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. In a seperate bowl, beat eggs, then whisk in buttermilk, BBQ sauce, worcestershire sauce, and steak sauce.

Dredge chicken in milk mixture, then in seasoned flour, alternating in each at least twice. Heat oil in a large deep sided skillet to 375.

Cook chicken in hot oil until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes per side.