Monday, August 25, 2008

Food for Thought

At what point to you give up on a dish? To what lengths do you go to rescue a recipe-gone-bad?

Today I tried a recipe for a 3-ingredient beer bread (self-rising flour, sugar and beer). It sounded easy and tasty, but when it baked according to the instructions, the inside stayed gooey. So I reduced the heat and baked it longer. When the exterior was as dark as I felt it could safely go, I took it out of the oven. Surely it would be done.

Still too wet on the inside. So I split the loaf and put it back in the oven, figuring it could be rescued. But the taste was too flat--the recipe lacked salt. I should have thought of it when I mixed up the batter, but perhaps some melted butter and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella atop the halved and toasted bread would work?

After investing so much time and ingredients, including the melted butter and mozzarella, the bread was still disgusting. Flat. Too dense. Gluey. Gross.

I feel that I should have just pitched it before halving and putting it back in the oven. I certainly wasted the butter & cheese. And I really, REALLY hate wasting food. It goes against every fiber of my being. And that's what drove me to try to rescue the bread--but ended in my wasting even more.

I'd love to hear some of your disaster stories, or stories of how something didn't turn out but you used ingenuity to rescue it for a usable meal.


Mary said...

My mom used to make us eat her "experiments" no matter how bad they tasted. I have a firm policy of not making anyone eat food that's yucky (including me). And I'm not confident enough to try and fix something screwed up.
I'm wastefull. :(

Amanda said...

I agree with you on the yucky part, Mary. If, after all attempts to rescue a dish, it's still not edible, it's just not edible. I won't ask someone else to eat something I won't. In that case, I'll waste it.

Though I DO make Mr.W eat things HE finds yucky, because he finds MOST things yucky that are perfectly good--in his case, I do require at least 3 healthy bites of the dish in question.

Sam said...

That's a coincidence, I was just planning on making beer bread, I thought this recipe looked good:

As for disasters, I've made loaves of bread that have refused to rise at all, when they're cooked they are so heavy they would be more use as bricks for building houses than eating! I'm the same with throwing food away though, I hate doing it.

sues2u2 said...

Stumbled on you from PW's blog. My sister just made her first wedding cake & the day before the big day the bottom layer cracked & fell apart. Turns out you need to bang the pan a little on the counter to get the air bubbles out. She ended up throwing the cake away: too many practice cakes before hand! lol

Great site!

Amanda said...

Hi, Sam--that recipe from farmgirl is FANTASTIC. I should just have made that one--I've made it many times before with great success. Very adaptable to variation. I shouldn't have strayed from the sure thing recipe!

Welcome, sues2u2! How awful that your sister had to toss a wedding cake! What a heartbreak that must have been--I hope she was able to get one elsewhere!

Johanna said...

hi Amanda (MrsW) - I made beer bread recently and it was great - but it did have salt in it and a little sugar which I hear is necessary in yeasted bread and I wondered if this is needed to feed the yeast in the beer? Sounds like yours was v frustrating - I would try to save a recipe to avoid waste just like you did!

I made an eggless chocolate cake with condensed milk earlier in the year and when it came out of the oven looked fine but was all gooey inside - that depresses me that it is sometimes impossible to tell (even with a skewer) - but I was able to put it back in the tin and cook it at a low temp and it was quite edible - albeit not very presentable - in the end

Robin said...

My husband attempted a 2000 year old recipe for what was basically "hummus pizza". 'Nuff said.


Amanda said...

Hi, Johanna! Oh, those eggless chocolate cakes can be quite gooey! But I KNOW that you came up with the best recipe, because I've been enjoying that torte recipe ever since you posted it!

Robin--hummus pizza? I suppose the idea sounds good: flatbread, hummus, maybe topped with some lettuce-tomato-olives-lemony vinaigrette... I take it the execution wasn't really all that. Poor hubby!

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