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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.

45 Nibbles:

Marjie said...

I was making 3 loaves of banana bread (in one batch) last night. The batter was too thick; I just couldn't figure it out. Added some water, it got to an OK consistency, and I started shoveling it into the pans. All 3 loaves were dealt out when I remembered: I forgot eggs. Really? Eggs? How do you forget that? So I shoveled the batter back into the mixing bowl, added eggs, crisis averted. I can't tell you how many messes like yours I've made; I just don't document them. Thanks for making me laugh, and remember that into every life a few cooking messes must fall. I am glad that your Apple Ugly Cake made the safe trek to Little Rock, and was appreciated there! Have a great (warmer) Sunday, Louise and Marion!

Poppy Crocker said...

Here's hoping your luck at cooking improves soon! Your story made me think of my experience a few years ago when my oven died on Christmas Eve. I opened the oven and thought it didn't feel very hot even though I'd preheated it, but I put the cookies in anyway and didn't give it much thought. When the timer went off, they were slightly melty-looking. I couldn't get the oven to go above about 90 degrees! Had to transfer all the dough to tiny sheets and make a lot of tiny batches in my toaster oven. Of course, there was no getting anyone to look at the oven until the following week, so it was an interesting holiday.

SissySees said...

Been there, done that... the only thing that was missing was an exploding cranberry tale. I'm pretty sure I've shared that my mother was no cook, and definitely not a baker either. I still think of the sunny yellow kitchen of my childhood with the dark red stains popping cranberries make when they meet the wall.

As Marjie sorta' implied, I think if you cook enough, this stuff happens. Thanks for giving us a smile!

~ Nee ~ said...

(giggling) Louise , you made my day love the post .
I bet Marion had a few choice words for hte new green flipping pan . I think I would do the same , a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a cold glass of milk . I an see Mairon in my minds eye with her hands on her hips muttering .
I agree , I have made a few messes in the kitchen and I am sure there will be lots more .
Marion is a darling , I agree , I think we all need a system , we just soon forget ( laughing my butt off) , but ain't it's fun when we can laugh at ourselves .
I think your ugly apple cake is so yummy looking and I can't wait to try it . I haven't started back cooking yet , just taking it slow , I am so thankful for Eloise .

Louise , what a smart son you have to stash a cake away to carry to Little Rock with him to share ... good for him and I bet they asked him to bring another one on his next return . Little Rock is just over the next hill as the crow flies as we say down here. (I am so bad ) thanks for the laughs and (((HUGS))) to you and Marion ~~Nee~~ ;-D

Mae Travels said...

I'm flummoxed just trying to follow your story. I can totally see how it was going. As the late great Gilda Radner said, if it's not one thing, it's another!

I Wilkerson said...

You should give up peeling those apples. Dramatically faster, there is so much nutrition in the peels and when cooked you hardly notice the difference. Now hopefully I get to my cranberry recipe that I promised you last year!

Brandi said...

Your story made me crack up! I think we've all had those moments. I remember when my husband and I first starting dating, I was being extra sweet and decided to make him cut out sugar cookies. I ran out of flour, but had plenty of baking soda, so I just substituted baking soda for flour. They were so gross, but perfectly shaped!!! My husband still laughs about that to this day.

Dottie said...

Hi Louise,
You are the funniest blogger yet! Love this post. It was like a mystery following your journey of the cake...We have all had days like that, some more than others. But you didn't quit, which is good. You made something out of this post and it is perfect! I remember once making Lasagna, had it all in the pan, added the sauce and then realized that I didn't put the mozzarella in between the layers. So I just put it over the top, added more tomato sauce and no one was the wiser. Marion seems to have a plan for all of us, "we need a system"...Great story and hope that your Cranberry Day was a good one. Thanks for sharing, you made my night...Have a blessed week, safe travels....
Dottie :)

Katerina said...

Thank God Marion didn't have any serious accident in the kitchen!! Well, as far as the bundt is concerned we all have our dark moments in the kitchen. When I first started making chicken in the oven I put the garlic loves unpeeled!!! Have a beautiful week ahead of you my friend!

Johanna GGG said...

Oh what a day louise - I have had plenty of these (found my vegie peeler in the freezer a few days back) - I have made so many cakes when they come out and I remember something should have gone in. Sometimes I can rescue and something it is a losing battle. I love your idea of baking with cranberries (and am a little jealous you have fun bouncing fresh cranberries - I want some!) and hope you will get back in the kitchen and conquer that ugly cake

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Such things happen to us, LOL! You made me smile...

That cake looks so good! Moist and delightfully fruity.

Cheers,

Rosa

Luv Sweet and Savory said...

Hi Louise, glad that you had some fun time bouncing cranberries all over the kitchen counter ... hee hee I haven't done that ...
Oh dear ...your Bundt cake baking ... I too have had few of such 'mis-adventures' in my kitchen ... hee .. hee.. and I mistakenly added cream of tartar instead of baking powder :( Thanks for sharing the Cranberry Mustard Dipping Sauce recipe.
Hope you'll have a great week ahead ! ^-^

Kitchen Riffs said...

Poor you! I've had days like that in the kitchen, too. But you turned it into a really funny post. Sorry to chuckle at your expense, but this is really well written and very entertaining. And after all that, the cake actually looks OK! Definitely something I'd eat, and I'll bet it was tasty. Fun post -- thanks.

Linda A. Thompson-Ditch said...

LOL! What a wonderful story! I like when food writers share their missteps along with their successes. Hope you will try again and let us see the successful result.

Pam said...

What a day- we all have them! Thanks for the smile.

Pam said...

Louise, your cake looks great and with all those good things in it, it has to be delicious! Pretty too. I can imagine how moist it is.
Too funny! I've done the same and just hope I don't do again this Thanksgiving like I did last, forgetting to put half and half in the oyster dish, they were dried crisp, an expensive mistake. 2 years in a row, I'll be looking for a new home. :-)

Alida said...

I found flaxseed meal quite amusing. Something they would use in the 70s over here. That was the time when convenience came well before taste.. but that was in the UK. In Italy I have never heard of it at all. Just industries would use it (and I am sure they still do!). Oh there is no substitute for fresh eggs!
Your cranberry cake looks interesting, good recipe. I love the way you write Louise!

kitchen flavours said...

Oh Louise! You make me laugh! Haha! I was looking for cranberries to bake a tart for Tuesdays with Dorie group, could not find any, and here you go, bouncing them off your kitchen counter! Marion is just too cute, I should call her "Marion, The Wise One", "you need a system" sounds just about right! LOL!
The muffins looks really moist and delicious, well, you only get to enjoy it once, until you can remember the source of the recipe! See, you made me grin again!
I made blunders in the kitchen too!
What a fun post! Have a great "systematic" week, Louise! :)

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Oh my! I have had many a similar kitchen disaster. I just don't share them! I guess instead of adding the flour, I might have tried to pass the whole thing off as a warm apple cranberry compote. Yes, that sounds delightful! It's all about the spin, isn't it? :-) Happy Thanksgiving, Louise!

Debra Eliotseats said...

I think we all can relate. I love the idea of your cake! :) (My sis loves the premade pancake mixes too. So much so, that I am going to make her a batch of homemade mix for Christmas.) When you figure out "the system," please share.

Elisabeth Foodandthrift said...

Hi Louise, thanks for sharing...you certainly put a smile on my face, as well! I was making an upside-down cranberry cake today; by Martha Stewart...was a little skeptical that she didn't advise to melt brown sugar and butter, instead; white sugar... then pour the fresh cranberries over it. I even used my cast iron skillet which works great for upside-down cakes. Anyway, the entire cranberries stuck to the bottom when I flipped it...yikes, still good, just very messy and probably will not take photo, or share story...Love the muffins you made, moist and yummy, and the cake is good as well, just like mine is...won't be serving mine for Thanksgiving, that's for sure!
Happy Thanksgiving! xo

~~louise~~ said...

I'm glad you saved those breads Marjie. I can't even imagine how many lost bananas there would have been, lol...So glad this post gave you a chuckle:)

~~louise~~ said...

Oh my Poppy, that is quite a story. Hopefully there were some yummy cold leftovers. The cookies actually sound pretty good too:)

~~louise~~ said...

Oh there were cranberries exploding Channon but that was the really fun part!!! A sunny yellow kitchen with blotches of popped cranberries sounds so retro Channon, lol...

~~louise~~ said...

Oh yes, Nee, Marion is most definitely a hip hugger, lol...I came {{{this close}}} to going with my son to Arkansas Nee. Instead I got to dogsit Iggy but if I hadn't, I would have been one crow to a bit of flying your way!!!

~~louise~~ said...

Tis true, Mae, tis true...

~~louise~~ said...

You know Inger. As I've peeled those apples so many times, I often think I shouldn't be. I do manage to leave a bit of the skin on but maybe one day I should really dry not peeling them at all. Thanks for that! For now though I justify my peelings by tossing them in the composte! Bring on that recipe!!!

~~louise~~ said...

Talk about cracking up Brandi. That's the third time I read you comment and ech time I find myself shaking my head and giggling. GREAT memeories, that's what comes out of a "messy" kitchen, lol...

~~louise~~ said...

So glad it made you chuckle, Dottie:) Oh I've done that forgetting of the mozzarella trick more than one myself Dottie. Now I mix it in right with the ricotta before I start my layering, lol...

~~louise~~ said...

You're telling me Katerina! I've also done that before too Katerina...Live and learn I suppose:) Thank you so much for visiting...

~~louise~~ said...

I guess it happens to us all at one time or another, Johanna. I can just imagine you searching the entire kitchen for that veggie peeler only to find it in the freezer:) You must rry bouncing a few cranberries one of these days. Such fun!!!

~~louise~~ said...

So glad this post birghtened your day, Rosa. Now that I look back on it, it is kinda funny:)

~~louise~~ said...

I really need to check and see if anyone has a cooking blunders blog. Sounds like we all have had our mishaps, Karen. Thanks for visiting...

~~louise~~ said...

Awe gee, John, thanks. Now I don't feel so bad knowing it brought a smile to some faces and few chuckles too!

~~louise~~ said...

Thanks Linda...I will one day:)

~~louise~~ said...

Thank you Pam...It's gotten better since then:)

~~louise~~ said...

Lol, Pam, I'm sure you will be forgiven:) It's such a surprise to hear everyone's mishaps. I'm not alone:) Thanks for popping by...

~~louise~~ said...

Thank you, Alida. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. The flaxseed meal tip is a new one to me, Alida. It seems to work most times:)

~~louise~~ said...


I'm so glad you enjoyed this post, Joyce. "The Wise One" for Marion works for me. When I told her she just laughed, lol...I read you post that needed cranberries. I would have been happy to send you some. We now have three bags! I don't know what it is with Marion and so many cranberries this time of year. Last year we were well stocked with cranberry sauce. Your tart looks yummy wuith the dried cranberries. I'm not sure how systmatic this week will be. I'll let you know:)

I'll be sharing the muffin recipe in the future. Thanks fo stopping Joyce...

~~louise~~ said...

I thought of that T.W. believe me! I think it would have worked too. Hoepfully it won't happen again but if it does...

~~louise~~ said...

What a nice sister you are Debra. She may never go back! I know I won't:) I will certainly share when I figure it out. It may take a while though.

~~louise~~ said...

So glad this post put a smile on your face Elisabeth:) I usually use my cast iron pan for upside down cakes too. I guess you should have gone with your instinct. Cranberry upside Down Cake is sounding mighty good about now. I think you should have shared anyway, lol...

Ivy Sew said...

My goodness, Louise, you have cranberries bouncing everywhere in the kitchen, whereas over here where I stay, fresh cranberries are very pricey. Can't afford to let it bounce happily as it like..... too precious to let the cranberries get bruises all over its bodies, hahaha... Eh, your muffins do look very delectable and moist!!! See, you can bake, Louise!!!... and your apple cake is BEAUTIFUL.......... Thumbs up to you and cheers :)

Haffa Bexi said...

Lovelyyy post!!!

MonuTeena RecipesPassion said...

O my goodness.. this slice is looking extra yumm :) lovely share dear