Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Today's Kitchen Disasters (yes, there were multiple)

There were a few things I wanted to get done today. A friend of mine is going through a tough time and I thought it would be nice to drop some muffins off at her place (she's got three young kids). That trip never happened, and well, the muffins were to blame.

I've made muffins from scratch before, and they've turned out great. Recently I've been trying out recipes (not just muffins, but pancakes, breads, etc) using whole wheat flour instead of or in addition to white flour. So, I find this great recipe on a blog (that shall remain unnamed) for muffins using ww flour, no sugar and fresh fruit. I though, hey, you can't go wrong - especially since she posted such wonderful "after" pictures of her muffins.

I followed her recipe exactly - and well, the muffins were inedible. The tops were done, but the bottoms never got there. And if I had let them go any longer in the oven (because they were already in for the recommended time) the tops would have burnt and that is just not fabulous food!

So, instead of preparing a lovely basket of homemade goodies for my friend, I cut off the tops (the only parts of the muffin that were actually edible) and gave them to my kids who then turned their noses up at it. Except for my one year old, who basically shoves in his mouth anything I put on his plate. They tasted good (the tops), but I couldn't bring myself to give them as a gift. If you have any recipes for whole wheat muffins or bread please link to it in your comments - I would appreciate it! I'm still searching for a recipe for my friend's gift basket.

On to kitchen disaster number 2. Had to run out with the kids for the whole afternoon and I knew we wouldn't be back until right before dinner. So at 2:30 I busted out the crockpot and threw ground turkey, a bunch of spices, and 2 cans of tomato sauce and 1 can of chopped tomatoes. I gave it a stir to break up the turkey, turned the cooker onto high heat (4 hours) and left. My plan was to come home to tasty, slow cooked meat sauce and quickly cook up some pasta when we got home.

Got home around 5, and the house smelled great! I took a peak, and the sauce looked excellent, and I was just about to put a pot of water onto boil when plan B jumped in my head. Ah, plan B. Anyway, the sauce was a bit thin, since crockpots tend to add moisture to whatever you're cooking. My first thought was to add a can of tomato paste to thicken it up while the pasta cooked. Then I thought - hey, why not add the pasta to the sauce to cook and absorb some of the moisture? I have read about others cooking pasta or rice in the last few minutes of a crockpot cycle, so I didn't think anything bad would happen. Well, it did.

After 20 minutes it was apparent that the beautiful meat sauce had turned into a thick paste of tomato sauce and pasta. The pasta wasn't even done yet, so I added about a cup and a half of stock to thin it out and give the pasta some much needed liquid to finish cooking. Fast forward 10 more minutes and the pasta was done. But, it was a bit mushy. The kids ate it reluctantly (probably thinking the whole time, "man! mom is off her game today!") and left about half of it uneaten. All except my one year old, who as I revealed earlier will eat anything since apparently I starve him the rest of the day. Anyway, what was barely edible at 6pm became a big pile of extremely inedible MUSH as the pasta continued to cook even after I removed it from the heat source.

I told my husband we were eating it because I wasn't about to let 1.5 pounds of organic turkey meat and almost 1 pound of pasta go to waste. In defense of myself, outside of the texture, it really wasn't all too bad. My husband even had seconds. Although he asked that I never attempt to cook pasta in the crockpot again. Lesson learned!

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