I Didn’t Have Any of That So… (Sweet Nothing but Something; Desperation Dessert.)

I giggled because… yes.

You may have never heard about this COVID Cuisine adventure, but a friend FB posited: what is one of the weirdest food combinations that you’ve eaten during sheltering?? (be honest. lol)

I’ll tell you what I told her. It’d be completely dishonest for me to claim my COVID cuisine concoctions differ from my regular, um, creative cooking.

Honestly, though. About a week ago, I stared longingly into my cabinets of mostly health. My general rule is – if I don’t have it, I can’t eat it.

In any case, my jumble of left-over baking bits was mostly from Christmas. 2019.

I had to bring up the stool to reach the high shelf where I put all the should-be-inaccesible temptations. I found partials of: graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows, semi-sweet chocolate chips, vanilla, brown sugar, self-rising flour, regular flour, a box of vanilla pudding, a1/2 bar of Bakers white baking chocolate, two different types of cocoa powder and three different types of sprinkles. 

Among the rediscovered hidden treasures were Tastefully Simple brown sugar salt and blueberry vanilla salt. I was also in possession of an overripe banana, cream cheese, almond milk, butter, two baby apples, honey roasted peanuts and sour cream.

Considered seemingly viable choices lead me to a dismal Google exploration conclusion.

I had almost all the ingredients to make something. Unfortunately, these particular ingredients made nothing. (Nothing normal, anyway.)

Banana Pudding? No wafers

Banana Bread? Not enough bananas.

Cheesecake? No eggs or heavy cream or any type of cream.

Chocolate chip cookies? Sigh, no eggs.

Apple cobbler? No white sugar. Besides the pitiful apples might not even make a cup, leaving more cobbler than apple.

S’mores? No graham crackers, but I did have a couple cups of pre-crushed crumbs.

Where my mind went after about an hour of recipe search:

I can almost make a cheese cake. I don’t have eggs, but I do have an overripe banana. Didn’t I read somewhere once that bananas could replace eggs? Hmm. Suppose I mashed the fruit to replace the eggs? Mashed banana has a tighter consistency than eggs, so it seemed logical to me. Plus, banana cheesecake didn’t sound too bad.

Suppose, I added some chocolate chips? Ooo, banana chocolate chip cheesecake! “Now, we’re getting somewhere,” I announced to Blu. I received a yawn and a “why-did-you-disturb-me?” slow blink of indifference. “Maybe not,” I thought.

“Well, how about a S’mores pie?” If I used the vanilla pudding and powdered cocoa, made a graham cracker crust and plopped some chips and mallows on top? Maybe. Then, I had second thoughts about making a pie because I’d have to eat it. All. By myself.

Aha! I can make mini cakes in my 6-cup pan. There’s some portion control, right there. So, that’s what I did, sort of.

I made graham cracker crust cupcake shells. While those were baking, I slid back to the cheesecake idea. Yeah. That was it. The perfect tasty experiment. I mean, you know, all the pieces were yummy, so…. Banana Chocolate Chip Almost No Bake Cheesecake.

On my quest, I’d come across a tip that indicated using marshmallow fluff in a cheesecake batter helps it firm. I didn’t have any of that. I did have some humidity-melded marshmallows and the forethought to halve the closest recipe I could locate.

Crust (from the box): 1.25 cups graham cracker crumbs, 4 tbs butter

Filling (adapted): 4 oz cream cheese, 1 mashed overripe banana, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla.

Topping: 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. (Because that’s all I had.)

I placed each graham cup in one of 5 Pampered Chef small prep bowls. Remember, portion control. I planned on eating the 6th.

Flopped some filling in each, sprinkled chips and considered. Seemed to be lacking something. I still had a hankering for s’mores. So, a glob of mushy marshmallow landed on top.

When I was done assembling, a 15-second microwave run heated the taste-test. For some ridiculous reason, I saw the bowl of gooey goodness and decided to  mix it all up. It wasn’t baaaaaddd. There just weren’t any clear-cut flavors, and the brownish, lumpy presentation was lacking. I ate it.

I tried being a bit more reasonable on Sunday. Heated for same 15 seconds, let cool for a minute and spoon scooped through the layers. There’s no logical reason why it tasted so much better. In fact, I ended up eating two on Sunday. Not back-to-back, though. Portion control.

I’ve got this one on the counter waiting for me to nuke after I finish blogging tonight.

Quote for the Week:

I didn’t have any of that, so… Tzimmes

I made a beautiful tzimmes on Saturday.

Not traditional; although, traditional depends on personal experience.

This is important because the recipe I sort of followed garnered an obnoxious commentary on the blogger’s use of the word ‘traditional.’ “This isn’t a traditional recipe,” the troll wrote, before remarking it wasn’t worth trying.

Consider mine a non-traditional, necessity-adaptive Corona Virus edition influenced by market avoidance.

A generation or two from now, we’ll be able to pass down 20/20 2020 wisdom in the form of a common-sense key: use whatcha got.

Honestly, my love for tzimmes is wholesome. As far as I can remember, my mother only  made it once – for tradition. Somewhere around 45 years ago, I was enamored by this sweet stew of root vegetables, dried fruit and beef.

Used to be a read-the-recipe then throw all in a crock pot gal, but Jeff & Alton Brown.

Since I was using my stock pot to caramelize onions, I decided to meat sear in the same.

Stock pot because my larger non-stick enamel saute pan has taken to consistently sticking. 

Since I was using my stock pot to sear, I decided stovetop instead of oven.

Step-by-Step, soon. This is not that.

It’s just a little ‘Use Whatcha Got’ somethin’ to think about, while you’re staying at home.

2020 04 21 2 tzimmes i didn't have any jakorte

Quote for the Week:2020 04 21 every recipe starts with science and grows with jakorte

 

 

Silver Lining Plating

A few months ago, before pandemic hadn’t been a possibility or pondered, I finally decided to try one of those meal-delivery options.

My buy-in took a bit because I don’t particularly mind eating the same lunch/dinner every day for a week. In the dark months of winter, the program became more appealing than spending every Saturday morning grocery shopping – if the weather allowed.

I endured the targeted pop-up ads  (after I curiously clicked) at least once every other day for a few months. Occasionally, I’d re-click and peruse. I made it as far as commitment a few times, but unsurely closed the browser.

The tipping point was an amazing special offer in the absolutely late hours after midnight: a tempting $2.99 a meal.

It was a good deal. It made sense. I did it. I love it.

The plan I signed up for features 3 entrees per week, each designed to feed 2. The variety is super-exploratory and exacting  portions beat my tendency to overcook into submission.

It’s plenty for at least 6 great dinners or lunches. Most times, I stretch 3 meals from  the presented double serving. Just depends on the cuisine and my stash of supplements.

I’m a somewhat avoider of starchy-stuff like rice and potatoes. So, for those recipes, splitting 2 servings into 3 is a good way to lower the carbs. Add a side salad or a piece of fresh fruit and I’m good.

Trying new recipes has been fun. It’s superbly budget friendly to not have to buy a bottle of Hoisin when a recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons.

Thus, eliminating the annoyance of a half bottle of Hoisin hanging out in the back of your fridge, taunting you to find another valid use for the remainder. That’ll go on for a month or so before it becomes suspect; and maybe even another month after that.

Having fresh herbs and spices in exactly the right amount entirely avoids vegetable-drawer bottom disintegration; see-through storage slime, too.

Like anything else in life, you might run into an interesting issue. You may receive the smallest zucchini you’ve ever seen in your life.  Or, one portion might be slightly smaller than the other. On the lucky-side of single, I don’t have to argue with anyone over who’s gonna get the bigger portion.

The good news is that they are super customer-service friendly and always willing to make it right. Even better news, they’re still delivering. Once in 10 weeks, my box was delayed by one day due to business adjustments for Michigan’s COVID-19 stay-home order.  *

I’ve made 33 different recipes, so far. And, have only really messed up one. Well, actually I really messed up two, because…

Quote for the Week;2020 04 14 in Cooking or in Life jakorte

* I’m now at week 11. Every Plate has regretfully stopped accepting new subscribers, in order to continue to serve existing customers. As disappointing as that seems, it was a rather logical decision. Overpromising/under-delivering is not good business practice.  I do appreciate that I continue to receive my subscription.

I’ve not been in a grocery store since March 7th. I’ve not seen the ravaging first hand, nor do I want to. As soon as notice is given, they will reinstate the free boxes of 6 meals I will be able to gift. But, just in case, my referral code is: vuodlbm 

 

Pantry Raid, 04/02/2020

Last week’s Pantry Raid was pretty darn good, if I say so myself. And, I do.

(Brought to you by: Ibotta, Imperfect Foods, Knorr & Kraft)

As luck would have it, Saturday morning, March 14th, I made a long thought-out decision to try Imperfect Foods home delivery service. 10 days later Michigan debuted its Stay at Home order.

Aiming to supplement my current meal delivery service, I signed on for the small box plan, every-other-week. My main goals were fruit and salad, which would allow me to stretch a 6-meal plan into a 9-meal plan.

Delivery was scheduled for Friday, March 27th.  Despite the pandemic decree, my order was only delayed one day, and only shorted one item – both with great customer service and advanced notice.

Each week a standard but varied box is pre-filled for you. If there is something you’d rather not have on the list, it’s easy to switch out choices. If you want more that week, you can order more.

Shopping day is Monday. Unsure of how it worked, I logged in at the exact time ‘the store’ opened. I immediately swapped out carrots. I love carrots, but I’d overdone carrots in the preceding weeks. Cantaloupe, was a more appealing option.

Blood oranges were the first item listed. The notation indicated 4 ct in a box. 4 oranges sounded like too many, so I reduced that to 2 on the counter and moved on. Working down the list, broccoli (1 ct) was a keeper, as were the container of grape tomatoes (1 ct). I reduced pears (2 ct) to 1 and increased sweet potatoes (1 ct) to 2.

Then, I changed my mind. 4 blood oranges would be nice. Oranges keep for a while. Unfortunately, when I tried to change my 2 back to 4, a pop-up message informed me that there was a limit of 3. That was a bit of disappointment, but understandable.

I figured it was like online clearance shopping at Kohl’s; just because it’s in your cart doesn’t mean it’s yours. You have to check out first, and sometimes someone else bought that thing you wanted before you did.

Total box including shipping came to $15.43. Not a huge savings, but it was going to show up at my door, so I was happy.

I was honestly over-whelmed when the bright pink box arrived containing way more than I thought it would. 3 huge stalks of broccoli, 1 cantaloupe, grape tomatoes, 10 sweet potatoes and…. 14 blood oranges.

The little counter clicker wasn’t a “Do you want 1, 2, 3, or 4 blood oranges?” question. It was a “How many sets of 4 blood oranges do you want?” question. That should have equaled 12. There were 2 bonus. There were no pears, but I knew about that, and was immediately credited the $0.85. Adjusted cost: $14.53.

I had a good chuckle after I pulled it all out and assessed the situation. I also paid closer attention to the (ct) counts while ‘shopping’ yesterday.

My next box comes Friday. I still have 2 blood oranges, 5 sweet potatoes and ½ container of tomatoes to go this week. I’d say that’s pretty perfect timing.

***

Interested? Use my link to sign-up and get $10 to shop and create your own perfect imperfect box. You can thank me later 🙂 http://imprfct.us/v/jodi_995

Quote for the week: 2020 04 07 nows as good at time as any imperfect foods jakorte

An Ibotta rebate made the Knorr rice free. I got back $139 back from Ibotta in 2019. You should try that, too.

My Referral Link: https://ibotta.onelink.me/iUfE/8cc13c64

 My Referral Code: vuodlbm

 

 

Syrup vs. Social Distance

 

Thud.

Not a sound I usually expect on Saturdays. Most of my front step thuds occur Thursday or Friday based on anti-social internet shopping. Tongue in cheek, of course.

Mostly for the sake of limited nighttime long winter lack of light, I signed up for conveniences. Groceries, cat needs, and art supplies are my top three delivery staples.

The unexpected arrival succeeded in shrinking a mileage gap of real social distance.

Ranked in order of cousin-closeness, distances in hours:

8.5 hours to PA.

10.25 hours to MN.

11 hours, 7 minutes to GA.

11 hours, 15 minutes to CT.

“Refrigerate after opening! Hope you enjoy the syrup. Made on my property.”

Adorned with an adorable dog, the enclosed card noted charitable support of Guiding Eyes for the Blind guide dog schools.

This sweetness came from Canadensis, Pennsylvania, courtesy of the closest of my all far-away cousins.

Bubble-wrapped and sealed to perfection, it took me less than a minute to excitedly break that bottle open.

Didn’t see the point of wasting time retrieving a spoon; sampled the first dollop from right from my left pointer finger.

My right pointer light-bulb searched Johnny Cakes. Hm.

Never had much luck with pancakes – always suspected the cause might be lack of a proper griddle. Probably more my impatient and usually irreverent cooking technique.

Considered time consuming, high effort waffles. I’d need to drag up the step-ladder from the basement to reach that high cabinet over the fridge where I keep this treasure hidden.

I followed a few of those endless links within links deep enough to discover fried corn meal mush, eventually arriving at old-school. Old-fashioned cornbread. Fell asleep that night anticipating the morning.

My night-before flagged recipe called for pre-heating the cast iron pan in the oven. The closest I could come without running out to World Market (where I habitually eye the irons) was my non-stick bundt pan.

Don’t laugh, y’all. It worked.

The syrup crawled into cuddling crevices, pooled and was pretty as well as being mighty tasty.

The gift smoothed over miles of distance with warm fuzzies and a fine example of turning the tables on social distance and social distancing.

(PS with MI on “Stay home, Stay safe” 3-week executive order, I’m not going to be driving out to the post office anytime soon. March birthday and monthly greetings cards for April are going to be late.)

Quote for the Week:2020 03 25 sweet surprises can so easily lessen true jakorte