Because Blueberries

IMG_3111It will always be a mystery to me why I have such an abundance of misplaced confidence in myself when it comes to any kind of food preparation.  Such optimism!  I wonder if this is how gamblers feel.  Play and play and play until finally you hit a jackpot and the amount of money you blew getting to that point is a forgotten and tiresome little detail.

I’m not going to dwell on food wastage because regret is stupid, right?  I admit I’ve had my share of culinary disappointments.  The experience is what’s important.  I’m just going to go with that.

Reasons why I decided to make this:

  1. I have liked a lot of recipe pages on Facebook so my news feed includes quite an annoying number of pictures of things people have cooked or baked or fed to their dogs, who really knows the truth behind these things, and looking at them always makes me hungry.
  2. Blueberries are good for you.
  3. I am really tired of eggs for breakfast.
  4. This recipe looked like an easy one in which to make healthier ingredient substitutions so that a diabetic person could eat some practically guilt free.

The original recipe is here.  I will also mention that I am more often than not sucked in by the claim “best ever”.

Here are the things I changed (yep, without testing the original):

  1. I used frozen blueberries.
  2. Truvia instead of sugar.
  3. All purpose gluten free flour with 1/4 tsp xanthum gum.
  4. Butter flavoured margarine instead of real butter.  Because if it flops, what a waste of butter.

It was in the oven at least 45 minutes to get to the bubbling stage, likely because the blueberries started out so cold.

The filling was a little watery, probably real sugar would have thickened it up more.  Maybe a little bit of cornstarch mixed in with the orange juice would help.  The orange juice gave the berries a wonderful tart taste.  I wonder how lemon juice would work?  And maybe some lemon zest in the batter?  This is why I end up never making the same thing twice.  The cobbler topping was slightly dry, but still good.  A possible remedy for that problem of course would be the ice cream the recipe so helpfully suggests.  But I don’t have any, and come on, it’s already a stretch to call this breakfast.

Artistic bonus – that pretty round swirly pattern on the edges of the pan, I assume from exploding fruit.

I’m going to call this a success.   It satisfied my craving for something sweet and got rid of a partial bag of frozen blueberries that were giving me a headache trying to decide how long they’d been in the freezer.  I guess you could say I don’t have extremely high standards.

And that’s probably a good thing. Happy Friday!

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Recipe for a Good Saturday

In amongst my conglomeration of strange notes on a messy desk I came across this funny little list.  Looks like a recipe, right?  But what the hell is it for?  I wrote it down thinking I would remember why without also jotting down a bunch of details, I guess.

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I have a feeling there’s some major ingredient missing here, along with instructions.  It looks like things one should add to something else or pour over some kind of meat maybe?? Throw in a crock pot?  I don’t know.  But since there’s no quantities for the first five ingredients, I think it would be safe to just skip them.

So go ahead and measure out those two cups of red wine.  And serve immediately.  Double this recipe if sharing with a friend.  Who says doing stuff in the kitchen can’t be simple, easy and fun?  I would definitely add this one to my recipe book if I had one.

Unidentified glass of dark red wine.

Unidentified glass of dark red wine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recipe For A Good Day

Ingredients: (Mix together any old way you want)

Latte wine color

Latte wine color (Photo credit: Majiscup – The Papercup & Sleeve Log)

1 pot coffee brewed from fresh ground beans

1 hot shower including apricot almond (or other) aroma therapy

1 head of hair so short you couldn’t do anything with it if you tried, so don’t even try

1 lazy little dog who is going to sulk and not eat today because he’s been left with you, but that’s okay because he’ll perk up and like you just fine tomorrow

6 or more unread or half-read books and the joy of being able to choose which one you’ll read today

unlimited ice-cold crystal clear water (for yourself and your moody dog)

unlimited brilliant people and things to fire up your imagination right there on your computer screen

12 or more hours of sunny warm weather

1 quiet neighborhood in which to walk a sulking dog

Test_only.jpg

Test_only.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1 opened bottle of red wine you forgot you had which needs to be used up right away because OMG, what were you thinking, you can’t waste red wine

2 or 3 leftover things in your fridge to go with the wine, no cooking required

Stir in the delicious fact that there’s

– nowhere you have to go

– nothing you have to do

– an entire day ahead of you and all the time you need to get there and to do it.

Enjoy.

Cookery Advice for the Cooking Impaired

Timer

Timer (Photo credit: bargainmoose)

All the delightful cooking/baking/recipe-laden posts out there which should have an uplifting and inspirational effect on me are just not doing that.  Instead they’re making me feel mildly despondent and vaguely depressed.  Similar feelings of inadequacy wash over me when I flip through a cookbook full of glossy pictures of perfect end results, supposedly attainable by someone like me.  Of course that ‘someone like me’ would have to be able to follow directions and use the proper ingredients and not take short cuts.  Or suffer from delusions.

There are a few recipe books in my house which I rarely open.  And yet, there are many things I make that are nutritious and edible.  Some of them are even delicious.  People have asked me for my recipes.  Perhaps they were just being kind.  It doesn’t matter.  My point is, you’d think that after over 50 years of doing stuff in a kitchen I’d be a great source of information and have collected a lot of family heirloom type recipes and have a few priceless and wise cooking tips to share.

Well, I’ve let my sister be the keeper of the recipes since I never follow them anyway.  But I do have tips.  All gleaned from my culinary experiences of learning things the hard way.  And not being an expert on something has certainly never stopped me from sharing advice.  So here it is.

1.  Do not change your mind about what you’re making halfway through the process.  Once I was putting together a lazy cabbage rolls concoction in the crock pot and suddenly didn’t feel like eating rice so I left it out and threw in some beans and things instead, hoping to change the whole thing into chili.  The results were interesting.  But hard to describe.

2.  Set the kitchen timer.  Stay within hearing distance of the timer.  Do not second guess the timer.  The timer was invented so that you would be less likely to end up with results which are black – never a good cooking color.

3.  Keep the oven clean.  If you paid for the self-cleaning feature, you really should learn how to use it.  The next thing you bake does not have to smell like a smoky version of the last thing you roasted to death.

4.  Never skimp on wine, regardless of what you’re making.  Be sure to consume a sufficient amount of it.  I’ve found a good ratio to be 1 part recipe to 3 parts self.  An empty bottle should be your ultimate goal.

5.  Serve your guests copious amounts of alcohol before the main course.  And during, and after.  This ups the odds that they will thoroughly enjoy whatever you serve them and have no idea later what it was.

6.  If you are following a recipe, right to the end, good for you!  Just keep in mind that substitution of ingredients should not be based solely on color.  All orange things are not created equal.

7.  Give yourself a break and stop trying to make Aunt Edna’s mustard pickle relish exactly the way she did it.  Try to accept the fact that it is never going to be the same, and you are doomed to failure.  Unless you have some kind of obsessive compulsive glutton for punishment personality disorder, in which case I suppose no one can stop you, so carry on.

8.  If you don’t know how to skin a hazelnut, there is no shame in googling it to find out.  Although perhaps your basic problem has less to do with HOW,  and more to do with WHY you need to know that.

9.  Clean as you go.  This cannot be stressed enough, especially if something monumental like A Big Holiday Dinner is in the works.  The worst cooking experience I ever had was when my kids were small and we invited some other families over for a big meal and it took me all day to prepare everything,  less than half an hour for them to eat it all, and all bloody night to clean up the mess.  So wash things as you use them and put them away.  Especially those sharp knives.

Mongolian Beef with rice and noodles

Mongolian Beef with rice and noodles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

10.  Have fun.  Be creative.  Try new things.  Keep that recycle compost bin ever at the ready.  It can swallow up a lot of failed attempts even when you can’t.  Toss things in a slow cooker and hope for the best.  When all else fails, take-out chinese is just around the corner waiting to soothe your battle weary culinary soul.