Way back when I first started this blog I promised to post successes as well as failures. Although not purposefully, I’ve been falling down on the fail confessions lately. It’s just so much more exciting to write and share about something that actually WORKS vs. something that definitely doesn’t. =P
I haven’t had too many horrible fails in the realm of cooking traditional foods with no limitations on available ingredients. Meaning, I’ve had the luxury of using the “ideal” or “best recommended” ingredient without having to seriously modify things in deference to food allergies. The new realm of Gluten free cooking however seems to have brought out the “fail” big time. Part of it is I’m just rebel enough not to follow the tried and true paths carefully carved out before me by gluten-free kitcheonistas that have gone on before. Just seems too…easy? So, I’ve been trying to plow my own way and experiencing quite a few fails along the way.
So to spare any of you that feel the urge to experiment with this or that let me share some of the not-so-great things that have happened in my kitchen the past few weeks.
Just last night ~ Fried Okra. Normally I season some wheat flour, toss the freshly diced okra in it, allow it to “sit” for a while so the slimy juice stuff binds with the flour to form a nice light crust when fried. So last night I tried the same routine with gluten free sorghum flour. It did *not* stick to the okra very well and fell of in it’s entirety when frying was attempted. Next time will try it with a binder like a light egg coating, or a light batter made with the flour before frying and hope that sticks better. Or maybe I’ll just find a tried and true gluten free recipe somewhere for fried Okra and play it safe. But only as a last resort, of course.
Sorghum flour Fail 1 was shortly followed by Sorghum flour Fail 2 ~ I took the seasoned leftover Sorghum flour after the okra had used what it needed. Added some raw cream and patted it out into a little dough patty. The rest of the family was having grilled cheese crisps on whole wheat tortillas and I was feeling a bit left out. The little dough patty was set upon the cast iron skillet with some butter to cook. It promptly began to fall apart. With some skillful persuasion with my spatula while cooking it managed to semi stay intact enough to make it to my plate. With melted cheese on top it was Ok. Not a miserable fail but certainly not what I was going for either. Again, gotta work on figuring out effective binders for gluten free flours.
~Over-zealous-Culturing~ I made a batch of whole, raw milk yogurt the other evening. It’s been a habit of mine to add extra good bacteria in addition to the yogurt starter and the great bacteria that is already in high quality raw milk. A couple of capsules of Colostrum assures that the end yogurt is thicker and not as runny as it would be otherwise and a Capsule of the Pro-biotic blend Tummy Tune Up for good measure. Over-kill if you will. This has not backfired on me until recently and I ended up with thick, custardy, bubbly yogurt/cream cheese-ish globs coming through the top of the cloth I had rubber banded to the gallon jug. The flavor was rich and since it was already halfway there I went ahead and made yogurt cheese out of it. Still. Totally qualifies as a yogurt making “fail”
~Baked Squash~ There are a few success recipes/formulations of this that came out of my experiments for another blog-post. But, the “fail” deserves to be mentioned here. For several weeks our CSA baskets have had a delicious, mild summer squash unlike anything I’ve ever used before. The first week I thin sliced it, layered it in a glass pyrex baking dish. Each layer was given a drizzle of Organic Olive Oil, or a few pats of butter, and generously sprinkled with seasonings. Put into the oven and baked the end result was delicious. Never one to leave a good thing alone I decided that although it was really good that way, Cheese would take it to a whole new level. The next week’s squash experiment included a handful of shredded pepper-jack cheese on top. That DID take it to a whole new level of decadence so I went truly wild next time. Dolluped among the layers of seasonings was some Salsa, just a little…And to top the whole heavenly thing off, fresh, whole mozzarella cheese. The kind that comes still floating like a creamy bubble of pleasure in a protective blanket of whey. Thick slices of this stuff were carefully arranged on top and then baked. Excitedly anticipating the crowning achievement of my previous squash dishes it was very sad when I poked the fork in for the first bite. The mozzarella had become very rubbery/over-baked and seemed to have had a bad reaction with the Salsa/juices from the squash. My one consolation was that at least it was flavorful, if a total fail on the texture side of things.
Now you are all caught up on my most recent not-so-great kitchen projects. Next post shall feature something fail proof and yummy! =D