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Category Archives: I Will One Day Attempt To Make This

Well That Wasn’t Worth It…

I thought it would be nice to make marmalade. I had every excuse in the book: hosting a tea party and it was listed in Brent’s book of 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die. Plus Brent loves marmalade and would eat it all. This I was assured of, repeatedly.

Things were off to a rocky start. The book listed a Martha Stewart recipe. I couldn’t find Seville oranges, no matter I thought, Navel will do just fine. Then I also forgot to buy lemons. Not exactly something one things of when ones thinks of marmalade. Odd I thought. Could I get away without lemons? Just add in another orange? Turns out Seville oranges are tart and this was going to a sweet marmalade. I would have to use a different recipe.

After much searching and reading I eventually settled on an easy-enough-but-not-cheating (*cough* orange juice *cough*) recipe. I even had the requisite cheesecloth in my drawer. Finally a chance to use my cheesecloth. The recipe called for removing the zest and chopping it small. The fruit was placed in the pot with the sugar and water. The white skin and seeds were carefully wrapped in cheesecloth and placed in the pot. All seemed to be going well. The house smelled delicious. I was carefully monitoring the boiling pot, measuring the temperature and at the ready to turn it off at any second. The moment it reached that sweet 220F spot.

Soon I smelled a faint burning smell. There was no smoke. I assumed it was the shitty burner on my shitty stove. In moving the cheesecloth  bag I realized that the whole bottom of it was burnt. Seared actually. What the actual f-ck had happened. I had a super sweet boiled orange soup of a mess with just the faintest smell of burning. And the pot still had not reached that crucial temperature point. I bailed on it and turned it off. This was an epic failure and beyond saving. In the end I had a piece of cheesecloth seared into the bottom of my only canning pot and I ruined my chopper. The inside was caked with orange rind. I filled both with vinegar and baking soda, diluted it with water and now  it’s a matter of time. Can they be rescued? I am still too mad to go back and check.

This just days after I tried to make Smitten Kitchen’s brioche chocolate chip pretzels. The dough was dry and my (new) Kitchenaid mixer was not having it. I turned it off and tossed the dough. What had I done wrong? Did I not know what the paddle attachment was? Had I mismeasured (not that unlikely). Nope. According to the comments it was just a bad recipe. The comments section was filled with horror stories of broken mixers. Just to be sure, a few days later I whipped up a batch of brookies ~just~ to see if my mixer still worked. It did. And now order has been restored in my kitchen, just don’t look over at the sorry marmalade-induced vinegar-soaked mess. Unless you have any ideas?

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Jammin’

I ran out of jam again. That is what precipitates my jam-making sessions, not the availability of fresh/seasonal food. Rather than make the same old variation on a berry jam I am so used to making that I no longer need the recipe, I decided to actually try another (yes, I actually have pinned more than one) of my jam recipes. The blueberry lemon sounded delicious and different. I followed the recipe almost exactly, save for my modified cooking. I cook it at a lower heat for longer, it just works for me. The recipe called for a slightly different ratio of sugar to berries. It called for 3.5 cups to 6 cups of berries. I thought maybe this was to counter the sourness of the lemon juice. Nope, the recipe writer just has a real sweet tooth. The flavour combination is awesome, even if it takes a bit of getting used to with peanut butter. For next time I will stick with the usual that I have found works for me, 1 sugar to 2 fruits. (I have no math background, I have no idea how to write ratios.)

 
 

Homemade BBQ Sauce

In my home-made DIY phase I decided to spend a Saturday evening in the kitchen making, of all things, barbecue sauce. Bourbon Barbecue Sauce to be exact. This was about as far removed from anything I had ever done in the kitchen. From the start we had troubles. I had only about 2 shot glasses worth of bourbon left, Canadian Club whisky would have to do (I need a full cup). Then I ran out of ketchup, 1 1/2 cup quickly became 1/2 cup and the rest was what was leftover after 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.

I figured out the most brilliant way to chop onions, no tears, no grunt work. Freeze them. Then do not thaw them, just hack them into manageable chunks and toss them in an electric chopper. Voila, chopped onions. I do not recommend leaning over the pot as the whisky and onions boil. I also learned the hard way to put a lid on it when it simmers. I heard popping noises and when I came over I saw it was exploding and leaving little spots of sauce all over the stove.

How did the modified sauce come out? A little but on the tomato-ey side flavour wise, but still good. Will I be making it regularly? No. It is too much work.

 
 

Lemon Chia Muffins

At first I was wary of cooking with ricotta cheese. I even had trouble finding it in the grocery store. At my No Frills it shared fridge space with sushi. I was also hesitant about chia seeds. From childhood I associated them with grass growing out the top of a head as a novelty. Now I was supposed to eat these seeds? Food or toy?

Regardless, I put my faith in the recipe (and comments section) and made the muffins. Other than having to grate two lemons, the recipe is easy and straightforward. And the muffins? Delicious! It is worth it to grate the lemons and use real lemon juice, the flavour really does come through. These lemon chia seed muffins are now a staple and go-to when I want to make muffins!

 
 

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I had the brilliant idea in my head one day to make my own spaghetti sauce, it would be so much better than store bought I thought! Plus now that I was making it at home I could control the amount of tomato chunks in it. With my fresh Ontario tomatoes I set to work. Step one, peel the tomatoes. This would prove to almost be my undoing. Tomatoes are about the worst thing on the planet to peel. To get the skin off “easily” you pour boiling water over the tomato. Only if you wait for it to cool the skin doesn’t come off and you have to repeat this all over again. I had to boil an inordinate amount of water. I haven’t burnt my fingers so many times since I worked as a barista years ago, turns out I’m not as immune to it as I had thought. Towards the end I stopped caring and hacked at them. Going into this I already hated tomatoes*, but now, now I had some new reasons to hate them. I hate how they feel and I hate how they smell.

I had just gotten over the “frozen green things in my freezer frustration.” The recipe called for basil and parsley. I had dill and cilantro. How many green cooking herbs are there?! My anger soon dissipated as a delicious smell filled the house, it smelled like an Italian restaurant and made me super hungry. After an hour or so of cooking on a low heat my sauce was done, so said the recipe. I took one look in the pot and thought NO WAY. I fished out the tomato chunks and tossed them in my blender (as opposed to when I usually encounter them in the store bought and I leave them on the side of the plate awaiting a toss into the garbage). My sauce went from a deep red to an orange-y colour that reminded me of tomato sauce. OK, so my spaghetti sauce is more of a thick tomato soup, even though it lacks any soup base. I ended up with two jars of it! Unfortunately the store bought sauce was on sale, and it comes in good mason jars. I had to make room in the freezer for my spaghetti sauce, I will eventually eat it. I promise.

 

* this hate does not extend to tomato products like spaghetti sauce and ketchup, actually even bruschetta is tasty

 
 

Cake Batter x2

You might be thinking I’ve given up my baking/cooking Pinterest project, as I have not posted in forever. I’ve been busy, and avoiding baking as it is starting to have its toll on my poor, poor waistline. No worries, I recently had some more baking excuses! And they happened to be themed: birthday cake! I hate admitting that another year has passed, but I used my birthday and a recent long weekend spent at the cottage as excuses for more baking.

For our weekend at the cottage I made birthday cake blondies from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I was hesitant at first, as the recipe calls for boxed cake mix and I prefer making stuff from scratch. In the end however, I was pressed for time so it worked out well. The recipe is very simple and straight-forward, it takes no time at all. The only trouble is the baking time, it was off for me. My first batch came out a little over-baked and so I reduced the time for the second half. This might be because I was using a toaster oven, but for future bake it for 5 minutes less and check on it. They were delicious and did indeed taste like cake batter. Next time however I will try using yellow cake mix, as I had used vanilla and the flavour of that overpowered the cake batter flavour at times.

Continuing in the birthday cake excuses for birthday vein, I chose to be more adventurous with my second recipe. I decided to attempt to make cake batter truffles. It seemed easy enough plus I had some extra cake mix laying around from a previous recipe and I had just bought sprinkles for the cake batter blondies. The truffle part was easy to make. What they neglect to mention is that the sprinkles will bleed colour into the truffle and onto your hands as you shape them. Then came the hard part: the chocolate coating. Things really fell apart here. It became a terrible mess and I started having flashbacks to that time I tried to make cakepops. It was a kitchen disaster all over again. Really, unless you having awesome kitchen skills, this recipe is not that great and not worth the trouble.

 
 

Crepes for All!

My mixed berry jam was a success, it turned out amazing. Even if I had to fudge the recipe a little and cook for longer on a lower heat. What’s homemade jam without something to put it on though? I had just run out of my homemade bread. As audience members to CityLine, my sister and I each received a $50 giftcard to the Shopping Channel. As soon as I set eyes on the electric crepe maker I knew what I was getting. The next few days after ordering it were spent in agony, awaiting the day it would finally arrive. Only I had to wait an extra day because “no one was home”, because you know it never occurred to them to check the side door??

A #sneakpeek at my #jam as the berries boil. #diy #jammin #homemade #smellssogood

A photo posted by PS Photo (@pinkargh) on Apr 21, 2015 at 4:39pm PDT

Finally! I had my crepe maker!! I learned a few lessons right off the bat. First off, you want to use cooking spray. I almost burnt my fingers trying to pry it off. Secondly, as soon as the batter is poured start spreading it with the spreader!! Immediately! My poor crepe was thick in some parts and paper thin in others. It was not pretty. But it was tasty and that is what matters.

 

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