Monday, October 31, 2011

Warning: long cooking post ahead

So, it's been way too long since I last blasted my cooking exploits up here! I've made apple sauce, apple butter, meatloaf, and oat cakes. As always, I learn a lot when I was in the kitchen.

The apple sauce was very fun and easy. I grated six apples. (Next time I'll just chop them!) I put these in the slow cooker with some ginger, ground cloves, and cinnamon. I also threw in some frozen strawberries and dried apricots, because I had them on hand.

Low heat for four hours made the house smell like autumnal heaven, but there had been little cooking going on. I should've vented the lid so that the whole batch would go to apple butter in that time (which was my original intent).

I put half the mixture in an old pickle jar (clean!!) as applesauce. Then I kept the pot on low overnight, venting the lid by raising it off the pot with two spoons. I didn't mean to, but I woke up in the middle of the night and checked on it. In the morning: scrumptious apple butter.
I also made the meatloaf in the crock pot. Ground beef, an onion, beef bouillon, eggs, a little milk.... I cooked it on high for a little over three hours. The internal temp was good and the outside developed a nice cooked-sausauge color. It was very moist and soft, and it was not easy to take out. Luckily, I'd made a few foil slings underneath it; next time I'll line the whole base of the loaf. I squished it into a large tupperware and it'll last all week. I didn't realize the recipe proportions were probably meant for a larger cooker.
Oat cakes! I've had this recipe on my sidebar for months but haven't tried it yet. It calls for three cups of dry ingredients (half oats, half wheat flour), four cups of wet (half milk, half water), plus a tablespoon each of yeast and salt. First reaction: how weird to put yeast in a batter (it's going to be flat anyway!); second reaction: that's really salty!

Being a good Catholic, I know how to obey things that don't make sense at first. So, I mixed everything together and poured it into a well-greased frying pan.
UTTER FAILURE. I made two fail-cakes (this is when I discovered how salty they were). I decided that, since the recipe wasn't speaking ex cathedra, I needed a different plan.

Experiment: I oiled and floured a baking pan.
Result: better, but not perfect. They were a little underdone on the bottom. Also, it was time-consuming to cut the sheet into slice-of-bread-sized pieces.
Solution: tent with foil. 
Solution: separate with foil during baking.

Second batch: better, but still imperfect. The sheets were easier to separate, though I forgot to tent and therefore bottoms were still a little soft.

I froze the oat cakes for the upcoming weeks' sandwich bread. Time will tell if this is a better method than bread. Things I already like: 
  1. I won't have to slice these in the morning when you're in a hurry.
  2. They're thinner than bread slices.
  3. They cook faster.
  4. They're all the same size.
  5. They won't mold in the freezer.
  6. I won't need an icepack to keep my cheese cool.


  1. I'm a great cook in the kitchen. No one agrees with me except the family dog.

    God bless.

  2. Your dog must have excellent taste.