Sunday, November 23, 2014

You Need A System

If you were expecting something spectacular for Eat A Cranberry Day, as Joey on Friends is famous for saying, Forget About It!!!

It has been quite chilly here in central Pennsylvania but fortunately we haven’t seen any of the white stuff, yet. That doesn’t mean it’s a suitable day for “playing” in the garden though. Actually, today, Saturday, was more of a baking kinda day and since I was planning on actually baking something for Eat A Cranberry Day, I didn’t really mind the knife of a chill outside.

My plan was to pretty up that Ugly Apple Cake of mine by adding some fresh cranberries and baking it in a bundt. Yesterday while I was over at Catherine’s Living The Gourmet, ooogling her enticing Lemon Rum Bundt the thought occurred to me that I should try “bundting” my new go to Ugly Apple Cake, which by the way was a huge hit in both Pittsburg and Little Rock! (My son stashed a frozen one in his luggage on route to Arkansas last week:)

I should have known it wasn’t going to be a good day for baking when Marion decided she wanted blueberry pancakes for lunch. She insisted on making them herself knowing that I wouldn’t be joining her because I don’t make pancakes using a mix. Not only does Marion “swear” by the boxed stuff, she pretty much won’t eat any other kind unless I dress them up or tell her I’m making them a certain way for this blog, lol…(you wouldn’t believe how many supposed pancake recipes I’ve shared with you “guys.”)

Anyway, Marion was happily going about her business in the kitchen when I heard a loud clanging bang! Somehow the new non-stick flip pan that she bought from one of those mail order magazines landed on the kitchen floor with the pancake still stuck on the bottom of the green “enamel”. There was no mess and Marion decided on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead. Whew!

Next it was my turn in the kitchen. I started with the Cranberry Bounce. What fun!!! Cranberries bounce you know. If you didn’t, let me assure you, they do. I was bouncing cranberries all over the kitchen counter. Hey, I couldn’t play outside so…

I’m not blaming it on the bouncing cranberries but after the last bounce it was down hill from there. You see, I was trying to document the recipe because I keep changing it every time I bake it. I’ve been altering a lot of recipes lately due to my changed eating habits and one day I would like to share them with you in future posts. I’ve even been taking pictures. However, I’m finding I can’t remember what pictures go with which recipes. For instance, did I show you these muffins I made? I know they were yummy but for the life of me I can’t remember where the original recipe came from or how I made them. Does that happen to anyone else out there?

I knew for sure I wanted to include cranberries in today’s version so I chopped some up and soaked them in warm apple cider.

I’ve made this recipe so many times now that I know it’s necessary to get all the other ingredients ready before preparing the apples. Four cups of diced apples takes a while to prepare and although I’ve gotten into the Sprite habit, I can’t stand when they start to get brown. (I was using lemon juice to keep the apples nice and bright the first few times but I found soaking them in the soda works almost as well with less of the lemony taste which not everyone likes as much as me, and a few of you out there, you know who you are:)

I’ve also gotten into the habit of mixing up flax “eggs” before gathering the dry ingredients. I’ve recently decided I am going to start using the word “mock” when referring to dishes or ingredients that are not represented in the traditional sense of the word or dish. For instance, I am seeing more and more classic and traditional dishes getting some out of this world twists and turns that they no longer represent the dish they were founded on. An egg is an egg is an egg, 2 tablespoons of flax meal and 6 tablespoons of water do not represent an egg. They may represent a mock egg, a faux egg, but not an egg!!! We’ll be seeing more of that word around here and an explanation of mock recipes in the future:) BTW, I scanned this tip from the back of the Bobs Red Mill Flaxseed Meal Bag for your enjoyment:)

As I was gathering all the ingredients on the counter, I also dug out this vintage recipe book that I thought would work quite nicely for recording future recipes.

This is where something went wrong. Lined up on the counter small bowl #1 with the mock egg mixture, bowl #2 medium size bowl for the “wet” ingredients oil and applesauce and a large bowl #3 for the dry ingredients, sugar, spices and leavening, notice I didn’t say flour, 3 cups of it to be exact. Next came the recipe book. I wrote the original recipe down first and my changes on the back side of it. Yes, I was flipping back and forth while writing and measuring. I can’t even show you what it looks like because it’s such a mess and illegible even to me! Here it is ready for the oven. The pitcher of liquid on top of the bundt was going to be the cranberried apple cider for the glaze. Bundts always look so much prettier with a glaze don’t you think?

So, to make a long story short, that’s already pretty long, I forgot to add the flour. And to make things even worse, I checked the cake 20 minutes after it was in the oven and didn’t even notice the mistake.

In a last ditch effort to save the cake and all my peeling and dicing efforts, I actually tried to add the flour in the middle of the baking cycle. I knew it wouldn’t work and I knew there was no way it was going back in that bundt so I put the three cups of flour in a very large bowl, dumped the partially cooked apples and cranberries in, mixed it up really quick and threw it back in the oven! I reset the timer for 20 minutes in order to give it a quick check and crossed my fingers. However, what I should have been doing is turning the oven back on! That’s right dear readers in the midst of all the confusion and huge disappointment, I had shut off the oven and didn’t even know it until the timer went off and the Ugly Apple Cake looked like ugly glue! Here’s what the cake finally looked like after it completed the full baking cycle with the oven on…

For those of you who may have never met the Ugly Apple Cake, this is what it should have looked like. Just imagine it with crimson cranberries all prettied up in a Bundt!

I feel like this is the part where I am suppose to digress on the moral of the story. As of yet, I have not figured it out. When I asked Marion what she thought about our calamity and collision sort of a day. She simply replied, ”You Need a System.” How or why she would even think such a thing is beyond me. Perhaps, she has overheard my challenging out bursts more than I even imagined. Maybe, she’s right:)

I just can’t bring myself to leave you high and dry without any type of cranberry recipe especially at this time of year. I know, it isn’t as if I haven’t shared more than a few cranberry recipes with you for either Cranberry Month or Eat A Cranberry Day before. But, I’ve been wanting to make Cranberry Mustard for longest time anyway so if I post here today, maybe I’ll get around to it one day or maybe one of you will and then you’ll remind me. (I keep reading walnuts are not only good for regulating cholesterol, but for improving one’s memory too, so far it seems “they” are half right:) Here’s a recipe for Cranberry Mustard from the folks at Ocean Spray. Enjoy:)

Ocean Spray has a slew of cranberry recipes. I was just about to close the page when I spied this recipe for Wild West Wedges With Cranberry Catsup.