Recipe Blunders

Sometimes recipes fail. Lately, I feel like I’ve been having a lot more fails. I’m not sure if I’m in a rut or just on a roll, but it’s always a bummer when it happens. I don’t mind so much when things fail (appearance/texture-wise) and still taste delicious, but when both appearance and taste fail, it kinda sucks. If it’s tolerable, I’ll eat it anyway, but sometimes it goes in the compost. Thankfully, I haven’t had to completely pitch many recipes though … maybe only a few.

Even though recipe fails are not my favorite, they’re valuable in teaching me what doesn’t work. It gives me the chance to try and try again. Really though, cooking involves so much experimentation, that failing is bound to happen. It’s just part of the ebb and flow of cooking. I accept it, even if I am bummed initially when it happens. Live, cook and learn, right?

Here are some of my recent recipe blunders. Surprisingly, they all look pretty good, but something went wrong in each. Feel free to share some of your most memorable or recent recipe blunders!

This beef stew looks great, I know, but the flavors didn't meld well. It tasted off and was not very satisfying as a result.
This beef stew looks great, I know, but the flavors didn’t meld well. It tasted off and was not very satisfying because of the funky taste. All the ingredients were fresh, but the spices and liquids I added did not work.
Bacon chocolate chip cookies made with unsweetened baking chocolate. The honey in the recipe did not accommodate the bitter chocolate enough. I can't eat sweetened chocolate, which is why I tried the baking bar. Cacao nibs would have been a better choice. Surprisingly though, these cookies tasted really good the next day because the honey melded with the chocolate more. Still, I wouldn't make them with baking chocolate again. Who wants to wait 24 hours before eating a fresh cookie?
Bacon chocolate chip cookies made with unsweetened baking chocolate. The honey in the recipe did not accommodate the bitter chocolate enough. I can’t eat sweetened chocolate, which is why I tried the baking bar. Cacao nibs would have been a better choice. Surprisingly though, these cookies tasted really good the next day. I think the honey melded with the chocolate and settled into the cookie overnight. Still, I wouldn’t make them with baking chocolate again. Who wants to wait 24 hours before eating a fresh cookie anyway? That’s torture!
A cranberry cobbler that set up really well, but tasted awful! I should have added vinegar to accommodate the baking soda, but forgot. The result? An extremely bitter and expensive fail. I was really bummed with this one because I wasted a bunch of delicious hazelnuts too. That was another thing, the hazelnut meal I made did not work with the cranberries. This was not edible by any means and all went in the compost.
A cranberry cobbler that set up really well, but tasted awful! I should have added vinegar to accommodate the baking soda, but forgot. The result? An extremely bitter and expensive fail. I was really bummed with this one because I wasted a bunch of delicious hazelnuts too. That was another thing, the hazelnut meal I made did not work with the cranberries. This was not edible by any means and all went in the compost.
This actually tasted really good, but the spaghetti squash got a little overcooked, and was mushy as a result. It was a delicious combo of Italian-spiced beef and veggies mixed in with the squash. The presentation was less than pretty because of the soggy squash, but luckily, it still tasted delicious.
This actually tasted really good, but the spaghetti squash got a little overcooked, and was mushy as a result. It was a delicious combo of Italian-spiced beef and veggies mixed in with the squash. The presentation was less than pretty because of the soggy, mushy squash, but luckily, it was still palatable and tasty.
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24 thoughts on “Recipe Blunders

  1. Megan December 11, 2012 / 11:14 am

    I have noticed that all my cooking fails are baking fails. It is such a pain and waste of food and money when a recipe fails, that sucks with the hazelnuts!!

  2. Cinnamoneats December 11, 2012 / 11:41 am

    Don’t worry we’ve all been there! I think it’s great to be able to say hey I stuffed this thing up and move on… I’m pretty sure even the best chefs out there have their moments!

  3. paleoinpdx December 11, 2012 / 11:44 am

    Yep, I’m learning to take these plunders with a grain of salt. I took a risk, spent money on good ingredients and it didn’t work out. I can’t change it and definitely learn from my mistakes!

  4. Julie December 11, 2012 / 3:22 pm

    *blunders.

    Sorry, it’s killing me. Unless you really are forcibly stealing recipes from the hands of chefs.

    But yeah, wasting food is one of my least favorite things in the world. I like to compare lots of different recipes for particular ingredients to see how other people cook with them. Good way to learn.

    • paleoinpdx December 11, 2012 / 3:47 pm

      Wow, thank you for the correction! That’s embarrassing. These kind of things drive me crazy too, but apparently I got my definitions mixed up. I’m fixing this right away!

  5. Alissa December 12, 2012 / 4:20 am

    Ugh! Putting all that effort and mula into meal that doesn’t satisfy is pretty disappointing. My worst food fail was when I subbed leftover shredded chicken in a coq a vin recipe that I was making for 10 people. Tasted like wine soaked chicken. It was horrid. Purple chicken shreds everywhere.

    • paleoinpdx December 12, 2012 / 8:52 am

      It sure is disappointing! That’s quite the memorable food fail 😉

  6. Primal Smoke December 12, 2012 / 11:30 am

    I made morrocan ground beef skewers that fell apart on the grill and I lost 1/2 a pound of beef. I am not really sure what I was thinking trying to cook ground beef on a stick.

    • paleoinpdx December 12, 2012 / 12:36 pm

      Oh no! That one is a major bummer. Good meat is too valuable to lose!

      • Primal Smoke December 12, 2012 / 12:58 pm

        I scraped what I could off of the grates, and felt like an idiot afterwards

      • paleoinpdx December 12, 2012 / 1:23 pm

        Haha, I know the feeling all too well!

  7. SCD Griddle December 12, 2012 / 12:40 pm

    How great is this topic?! Very relate-able!
    Theresa ~SCD Griddle

  8. Corrie Anne December 12, 2012 / 10:17 pm

    I’ve had a LOT of missteps with kale. Lol. Maybe I just don’t like it very much. Haha. I had a really bad week cooking last week, but things are looking up!

    • paleoinpdx December 12, 2012 / 10:56 pm

      I’ve been fortunate with kale, though have had my moments when I’ve overcooked (too wilted) or over-salted it. I love it though, so eat it often. I’m glad to hear things are looking up for you. Hopefully, for me too, although I had another mishap yesterday! Ha!

  9. Just another reader December 13, 2012 / 5:36 am

    Hey, thanks for the email. I still need to email you back sometime. Haven’t been feeling positive enough to do so yet…but thanks so far….unfortunately I went “home” and WORse mistake EVER 😦

    …still eating too many nuts, hummus, rice cakes, and yogurt….oh my.

    I did have moose last night though. A friend of the family’s caught it , so I guess it was pure (?). Just roasted in the oven. Had it with a sweet potato and veggies and oil. But the sweet potato kind of got rubbery (i put it on “potato” in microwave…but it was a fairly small sweet potato so….)

    I’m struggling….just moved to a new place and am kinda underweight and am ONLY walking (and its slow etc)…Gaining weight + only tiny slow walks …its mentally hard 😦
    AND where I live there is nothing nothing in the way of chicken, etc. Chicken is “country ribbon – grain fed – skin on” 😦 Just those big processing plants. The only eggs are “free run” (occassionally if I can afford). There are “Maple leaf” chicken strips sold that are “natural” and made with minimal ingredients ( chicken, water, potato starch, flavor, sea salt, honey, cane sugar, spice, garlic powder, onlion powder)…but that can’t be good can it? I don’t know…know what I mean?

    The ground turkey and beef look horrendous. A lot of fish, ugh. And too many eggs. I cant OVERDO the fat cause that gives me major floppy stomach ….and too much heavy protein just sits there…makes me think I need to eat more beans and grains cause I doubt they could ever give me tummy issues like dairy or eating same.things.every.day. does.

    The worse is doing nothing….I want to move. I worry I’ll gain it all “wrong”. Sorry. Pity party 🙂 Vent over.

    • paleoinpdx December 13, 2012 / 9:33 am

      Sorry, but eating beans and grains will indefinitely make your tummy issues worse 😦 Those foods wreck havoc on your digestive tract and beans are very bloat inducing. I could go on and on about this, but I’m not going to. Instead, I highly recommend reading The Paleo Solution, It Starts With Food and/or Practical Paleo. These books won’t break the bank and will provide you with a great background about the ins and outs of eating paleo and what foods like grains, legumes, etc. do to your body. Additionally, they all include recipes, especially Practical Paleo. Less venting, more doing! I mean that in a positive, encouraging way 😉 I hope you understand that!

      • Just another reader December 13, 2012 / 3:27 pm

        You are an encouraging, awesome person. Really. i still find it all hard to process….i still can’t give up the hummus or greek yogurt yet…and I’m only sparingly eaing grains…so maybe if I make little steps to eat them less often …a process? I do have cheese too 😦 I never eat cheese…but I heard the Dubliner kerrygold cheddar chesse and the soft goat cheese are good, so I picked them up (I long for variety). NOTHING is organic though. Like eggs and stuff, you buy the GOOD kind…I don’t have that…it’s just generic or the kind that says “free run, raised without antibiotics”.
        I did make a butternut squash for the FIRST time today though…I kept thinking it would be boring so avoided + I thought it would be hard + I worried about all the carbs in it (I am carb phobic since I do no cardio 😦 ).
        BUT, it was yum…with coconut oil of course 🙂 How do you prepare your squashes? Do you microwave first to make it easier to cut? Peel? Exact ways of baking or roasting?
        I also made coconut flour muffins from here : http://empoweredsustenance.com/coconut-flour-pumpkin-muffins/
        But I used butternut squash baby food puree cause there is no pumpkin where I live now (Because i made a BIG mistake and moved and am now MORE depressed 😦 ).
        How often do you think I can eat those muffins or breads? Like if Im’ low weight and have funky digestion, etc…can they be “okay”? I wonder cause I thought I could substitue them in slowly vs. having the hummus or grains…BUT i don’t want to be silly and eat that if its not “appropriate”.
        Also, I have wild moose now. I GUESS that is okay. Just caught here in the woods, hung to dry and roasted in oven with water. But how MUCH is one serving? I don’t have a weight scale and have no idea (in terms of cups?). And ReALLY how much is okay to eat per week? Like I need variety and I don’t want to be stupid and eat it EVery day if that’s technically “red meat” isn’t it? Just wondering you rthoughts? Or who I could ask who really knows?
        And how often would eating potatoes (only sweet, or others?) and squashes, etc be okay? Like can that be overdone?
        And lastly 🙂 just for your opinion/perspective , (sorry to pester u) your thoughts on how much dark chocolate appropriate for weekly? Like before I moved (7 days ago, BIG mistake) I binged all the time including on dark chocolate…haven’t had it so far but now that I am not exercsiing (though underweight) I feel I don’t deserve. That is why I’m having a TOUGH time eating more or outside the box….cause NOW that i live here I can’t exercise, etc…I WISH I could show my mom expert/research articles or blogs or have someone tell her how important exercise is to mind and body for gaining health and weight and climbing out of anxiety/depression? Want to talk to her, ha 🙂 Seriously, I’d love to walk/jog on a treadmill or get on a bike + do ST + yoga….but I’m in the disaster of this life and sad…
        just saw your latest “typical day” post and I so ADMIRE you…can I come be your roomie? Seriously…I live in Canada But would love to be in states and change MY LIFE….but no money to do so…any thoughts on how I can just go to New Zealand or somewhere U.S or even canada with no money and live 🙂
        Oh my….sorry for the novel…just started rambling/journalling. Oops.

      • paleoinpdx December 13, 2012 / 3:59 pm

        Thanks, I do what I can! First off, yes it is definitely a process and I recommend taking baby steps to get there. It will make it less overwhelming and easier on yourself. Don’t worry so much about the organic label, but instead, try and buy local when you can. Often times, small local farms have similar practices as organic ones.

        Winter squashes are great and do provide more carbs than other veggies (except potatoes, of course), so don’t worry about the carb content. I can’t eat potatoes, so winter squash, pumpkin and moderate fruit is where I get my carbs. Even so, I eat very little carbs. My best advice, don’t stress over it or count calories! You make it worse for yourself! Plus, why worry when you’re underweight … just eat! I generally cook my squash in the oven, but occasionally do it in the microwave if I want it with breakfast or something. You can eat such things every day, yes, but the amount will depend on you and your activity level. Granted, if you’re underweight, I would not even worry about that right now.

        I would only eat grain-free muffins on occasion and not all the time — they are a treat. Being coconut flour or nut flour based, they can be harder to digest. Plus, they’re generally sweetened at least a little bit with something (for me, it’s raw honey) and it’s best to limit sugars. Keep them in your diet if they work for you, but just don’t overdo it, that’s all.

        The moose sounds great and take advantage of it while you can! Yes, you can eat it every day or nearly every day because it’s high-quality! Portion-wise is very individual, like carbs. I can’t give you a specific amount because it totally varies person-to-person. I’d say at least 4 oz as a serving though, but again, you have to figure out what’s right for you.

        Don’t worry about pleasing other people like your family right now and feeling like you need to explain yourself. The most important thing is for you to take care of YOU! Do what makes you happy and feel good. Also, you can exercise anywhere with little to no equipment, like I’ve said before. Sprint occasionally (awesome for building hamstrings and glutes), lift heavy things, squat, pushups, planks, etc. Just make sure you eat enough to accommodate your activities. Don’t obsess about cardio either. I used to obsess over it many years ago, and was miserable. Now, I don’t really do anything completely cardio-specific, except during circuits and high-intensity training at my gym, but it’s for a short period of time and intense. Short bursts of intensity are more beneficial and better for you anyway.

        If you want to move somewhere else, you need to find a way to make it happen. Wanting it isn’t enough. The power is in doing.

        Sorry, I don’t need a roommate. Jesse and our kitties is enough and we only have one bedroom 😉

  10. Just another reader December 14, 2012 / 5:13 am

    Thanks….the thing is I live in a very RURAL place…there is no such thing as local farms, etc…the nearest city is 2 hours away 😦
    So, no chicken 😦
    Like that maple leaf ingredients I described to you above…that’s it and I don’t know if its worth eating.
    Some people like this girl at a blog called “clean food creative fitness” say that if you can’t get organic or local, then better to go with eggs, beans and quinoa since you KNOW they are not pumped with hormones….and that’s what I’ve always thought ….
    I can’t do sprints around here…people watch…and if they see a skinny girl jogging they will LITERALLY call the cops/mental hospital (literally) 😦
    What are your thoughts on the Institute of Integrative Nutrition?
    I hate it cause last week, when I was free and in a better province with a car I could jog 40 mins and feel decent. NOW, here…if I try 5 mins I’m stiff and tired. I’m just sitting around and useless. I occasionally do thesse “circuits’ (no weights 😦 ) here but its like it only makes me more tired vs. anything else.
    I’m very petite and about 5 feet 2 (slightly under), very tiny framed…thoughts on ACCEPTABLE minimum weight?
    My poop has been green and runny lately… sorry TMI…but I’m actually pooping vs. constipated (though the poop still looks majorly sick…like from a sick person)….I added psyllium husk now and then and it seems to make me a tiny bit more “unplugged” sorry TMI 😦

    • paleoinpdx December 16, 2012 / 11:08 am

      Let other people think what they want to think and take care of YOU! You don’t have to be doing these exercises on the roadside … find a park, trails, somewhere a little more private. I highly doubt anyone would call the police or a mental hospital on you, and if they do, who cares! You can’t be charged or submitted for exercising! I say just worry about yourself and your own sanity and health.

  11. The Professional Stress Baker December 23, 2012 / 1:43 pm

    So sad about the bacon chocolate chip cookies; those sound amazing! My big recipe blunder was adapting the family oatmeal bread recipe to be gluten and dairy free. It was a brick. A somewhat tasty brick, but a brick all the same. I’ve since made it gluten-free but not dairy free, and it was a little better, but bread and I still have considerable work to do together to hit that GF-stride!

    Do you ever find that when you mess something up slightly, you actually end up making it better? My pie crust recipe changed because I forgot an ingredient until the very end, added it at the last minute, and it was actually better that way!

    • paleoinpdx December 24, 2012 / 8:16 am

      I know, right? Luckily, they did taste better the next day after the flavors settled and combined a bit more, but still. Funny about your bread … I’ve had experiences similar to those, specifically when I first went gluten-free a few years ago.

      I can’t think of any recipes offhand that turned into pleasant mistakes, but I know I’ve had those too. It’s nice when you get lucky like that!

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