Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bleg: How to use some of my kitchen experiments gone awry?

Some of my recent kitchen experiments have gone awry, leaving me with shelf-stable (or freezer-stable) products that I don't want to throw away. The experiments in question are these three:

  • Rice-spice bread - This loaf was part of my quest to increase the quantity of farmers market products in my home-baked bread (brown rice, in this experiment). The fateful loaf was a recipe from Narsai David in Beth Hensperger's "Baking Bread: Old and New Traditions," with a dough that contains cooked brown rice, cumin seeds and fennel seeds. The flavor was quite interesting, but the dough had far too much moisture for normal use. In the photo above, the bread is wrapped in plastic in the background.
  • Overcooked apricot jam - My first attempt at making apricot jam--and only my second solo attempt at making any kind of jam--didn't turn out so well. After undercooking my first batch of jam (strawberry), I overcompensated and cooked this one too long, resulting in a nearly unspreadable, almost membrillo-like paste.
  • Rock-hard "soft" caramel - I am trying to find the right recipe (and right skills) to make a soft caramel like those made by Fran's of Seattle to be coated in dark chocolate and topped with fleur de sel. My first attempt, using the recipe in Recchiuti and Gage's Chocolate Obsession is too hard to eat. (if you have a recipe for the kind of caramel I'm talking about, please let me know)

I know that there is some good in these flawed experiments. I have some ideas, but before I reveal them, I'd like to hear your ideas about how I can use these mistakes. Please leave them in the comments. If the idea is so off-the-wall that you don't want it connected with your name, e-mail it to me (my address I on my profile page) and I'll include it in an update without revealing the identity of the submitter.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Random link from the archive: Eggplant Curry

Technorati tags: Baking : vegetarian : Food


Michael Recchiuti said...

Hello MM,
I would be happy to review our salted caramel with you, to determine the problem you're experiencing with the caramel too hard to eat. We normally have people state the opposite, that the caramel is a touch too soft to cut and dip in chocolate. I'm sure e can make this recipe work for you. Cheers, Michael Recchiuti

Sean said...

OMG, is Fran's the best or what?

Anyway, if your preserves have gone to a membrillo-like texture, why not use it in the same way, alongside a lovely cheese plate? I'm sure that would be delightful. And as for the rock-hard caramel, I'd probably take a hammer to it and bake the chips into cookies or mix it into ice cream.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. I'd use the apricot jam as a base for some ice cream and might even throw in some caramel bits into the ice-cream.

Diane said...

I think you could turn the apricot paste into a really nice chutney - some sugar, vinegar, chilis etc...It should act like dried fruit and can probably sub for that in any sweet chutney recipe.

shelly said...

You can use the apricot jam as a glaze for baked goods. You might be able to melt down the caramel and add some cream to it, turning it into a sauce, or a softer caramel. But you'll probably run the risk of overcooking the caramel. On the other hand, this could result in "burnt caramel sauce."

shuna fish lydon said...

Zow, this is a great thread.

And how can I follow MR? I can't, as he's the master. (Me personally I like MR's better than Fran's.)

also it's true that it will melt in ice cream or even whipped cream if it's pulverized.

You can melt down the apricot stuff with water to create a glaze, but I would just serve it with cheese, like membrillo, or put it in a roasting pan with a chicken and some stock for a pan sauce touched with apricot.

The bread can be sliced thin and baked to be turned into little crunchy toasts? or dried and turned into breadcrumbs for eggplant parmesan...

I think this would be a great MEME, btw... just in case you have a bunch of free time on your hands. or, it could be a contest.

Maybe the prize would be the four legged creature from your worm bin.