Taking the Good with the Bad, Part 1

July 31st

this weeks healthy eating

This weekend had its highs and lows of domestic engineering. In some ways, I felt like Martha herself — twirling about in an apron, cooking, knitting, cleaning, sewing, singing along to the radio. I crave weekends like this — when they are simply all about me. I eat what I want, when I want. I laze around the house watching foreign films, with subtitles in full effect. I listen to ridiculous amounts of NPR. And I can do all of this naked if I want to an no one is the wiser. Ha!

New cookbooks

Last week I received a surprise gift from Jessica — a new cupcake cookbook. (Love it!) I spent much of Saturday morning watching “The Motorcycle Diaries” while reading it and picking out my Sunday baking selection. Carrot orange raisin cupcakes it was. Perfect! Then I picked up other new cookbook — vegetarian wonder — The Moosewood Cookbook. I selected sweet potato pancakes to serve for brunch the following day. They would be a lot of effort, but they sounded wonderful. Paired with a nice fruit salad and the wonder cucpakes, my neighbor’s would be pleased with the invitation to an afternoon meal.

don't be fooled

At first, all was well in the world. I made the cupcakes, minus the frosting, and they are delicious. I substituted apple sauce for half the oil and was pleased with the choice. They are dense, and the golden raisins give them a touch of sweetness that is just right. I will make these again. While baking, I enjoyed, “The Girl from Paris.” It is a sweet story.

Cupcakes gone right

Alas, it was three hours into my Sunday morning cooking when my guests arrived and I realized something had gone very, very wrong. While I followed the sweet potato recipe somewhat, I apparently do not have the knack for pan frying. I first tried margarine — big mistake. My small kitchen filled with angry, stinky smoke. When I switched to canola oil, I thought I was doing well. Yes, they were a bit burned on the edges, but they were golden and seemed crispy, per the recipe’s instructions.

Burnt on the outside, raw in the middle. Yum

Wrong again. They were burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. Gah! The looked gross. The smelled gross. They tasted notsogood. With two guests standing in my kitchen ready to be fed, I wondered, “What would Martha do?” I loaded up a plate of fruit and cupcakes for my neighbors and asked them to take it home and return in five minutes — giving me a second to pull myself together. I was so disappointed that all this effort was in vain. The sweet potato concoction when straight in the trash. I threw the rest of the food in the fridge and grabbed my pocketbook. Mexican food at a local burrito joint it was. I brought the rest of the food into the office today for my coworkers.

What went right

It wasn’t a complete loss, but nonetheless, it was a lot of work only to end up eating chips and salsa. Next time, smaller pancakes and plan on recipes well tested when inviting over guests.


Posted in
Domestic Art, Recipes
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15 Responses

  1. I would come over to your house ANYTIME, even to eat burnt/raw sweet potato pancakes!!


  2. that stinks!!! i am having company for dinner tomorrow night and i hope i my food turns out alright (still haven’t decided what it will be … better stick with something previously tested.

    sounds like you had a lovely weekend, though, besides not-so-good sweet potato pancakes.

  3. I made a roasted pepper fritatta for breakfast for the Klinkers and us last week in Maui. New electric stove (ktichen in rented Maui condo), new pot (cool stainless steel big skillet), old reliable recipe (trebled because we had lots of eggs to get rid of). Mixed everything, put it into the skillet and began cooking on the stove. 45 minutes later, it was finished in the oven with a beautiful golden brown top.

    Completely inedible. Stainless steel pot conducted electric stove hot-spots directly to egg & potato mixture in skillet, producing charcoal on the inside bottom, whose smoke percolated through the entire fritatta. Threw the whole thing out, after taking a picture of its beauty prior to cutting and attempting to eat.

    Served pop-tarts and beer instead.


  4. the cupcakes sound delicious. you can put the rest down to experimentation gone awry. what’s life without a little experimentation?

    thanks for the tip about the french movie. that does look sweet–I’m gonna check it out!

  5. oh kelli- what a sweet hostess you are! I think the neighbours were very lucky- those cupcakes look yum and the potato cakes were definitely a good idea…

  6. everything looks so yummy! i have missed out on your posts because for some reason they aren’t coming through on my bloglines. 🙁 good thing i came by your actual site, otherwise i would have missed all the domestic goodness!

  7. You are too funny…Im laughing and my kids are wondering what’s so funny! Your idea of a perfect “me” day and mine are one and the same. And we loved, loved Motorcycle Diaries!

  8. I’ve made a few things from the Moosewood Cookbook and either they took HOURS or turned out like crap. I gave up on that book long ago.

    The cupcakes are making me hungry.

  9. Why no frosting, Frosting is just the best. Why do american receipes always use oil, british ones never, just butter, sugar, flour, eggs, drop of water for basic cake. Also what is npr? This trans atlantic blogging is so weird sometimes, we do so many things differently!!

  10. I try to have most of my company food be made from tried & true recipes and only maybe try one new one.

    Better luck next time.

  11. I spent hours making a banana cake yesterday, and was determined to try lemon buttercream. Every time I bake I like to try a new recipe. The buttercream recipe called for making a sugar syrup on the stove and adding it to beaten egg yolks. Without a candy thermometer, I had to guess at soft ball stage. Uh, I was way off. It was hard candy and cooked eggs. I was so pissed I threw the whole cake away.

  12. Can I come spend the weekend with you? I’ll even eat your burnt/raw pancakes!!!

  13. All of that looks good to me! The pancakes may work next time – just make them slightly thinner and use olive oil to fry with instead. Never cook with margerine. Actually – I advise that people stay away from margarine completely – stick to sweet cream butter or olive oil. With the ingredients listed in the pancake recipe it looks like it should have worked out – I say give it another shot! 🙂

    Your cupcakes look so yummy and I like your idea of using apple sauce – good thinking!

  14. Kelli, I’m soo hungry! Everything looks fantastic, even the not-so-perfect ones! 🙂

  15. While I typically don’t invite people over to be guinea pigs on new recipes, I always break that rule when I’m bringing something somewhere. Sometimes I have a hard time justifying the effort of trying a new recipe if I’m the only one who will be enjoying, but if a group is expecting something, why not let them try my new recipe too? And if it goes horribly wrong, there’s always someplace to stop on the way, right? 🙂