Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fake Pound Cakes, Cous Cous, and Not-So-Deep-Dish Cookies

When I rate a recipe Down the Drain I have a painstakingly difficult time mustering the wherewithal to write about it.  Sometimes this is because I think, "Who am I to decide if a recipe is rotten or not?  One man's trash is another man's treasure.  That counts for recipes, right?"  Then other times it is because I think, "Who wants to read a post about a recipe that failed?"

So today, despite myself and my hesitations, I'm going to jam three Down the Drain recipes into this post.  

Here is why I'm pressing past my urges to not write about these Down the Drainers:

1. These recipes actually were rotten.  
2. I like to save others from making the same mistakes I've made.  

Recipe: Mini Pineapple Pound Cakes
Source: Eating Well Magazine, January/February 2014*
Time: 50 minutes, plus cooling time
Ease: 2
Taste: 1
Leftover Value: 5
Down the Drain or Keep in the Strainer: Down the Drain!

*Does anyone else find it crazy that we pay for magazines and cookbooks, but all the recipes in them can be easily found online?

I was so bothered by this pineapple pound cake that after tasting my first bite, I refused to take any more pictures of it.  I'm getting ahead of myself though.  Let me start with the process.

The making of this pound cake was simplistic, following the ordinary process of: 1. Mix dry ingredients, 2. Mix wet ingredients, 3. Mix dry and wet ingredients together.

I made no substitutions, as I normally make every effort to do.  I used white whole-wheat flour and coconut oil.  These are two items that, if you know me, I tend to shy away from.  White whole-wheat flour isn't quite as horrible as whole-wheat flour alone, and I just happened to have coconut oil left over from another recipe I had recently made.


However, in the end this "pound cake" was pound cake in name alone.  A pound cake is meant to be dense and ridiculously buttery.  I should have known better when I was leafing through a magazine titled, "Eating Well", but somehow I thought there was a magic pound cake fairy out there who would make this recipe better for me to eat, but with the taste and flavor of a regular bad-for-you pound cake.

Foolish, foolish girl.

The sweetest part of this "pound cake" were the pieces of pineapple throughout the center.  That couldn't mask the airy texture, overpowering dryness, and bland flavor.  The worst part?  I brought it with me to Bible study to share with friends.  Boy, was I glad I brought two other desserts that didn't come from anywhere making an attempt to 'eat well' where dessert is concerned. 


Recipe: Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Vegetables
Time: 1 hour
Ease: 3
Taste: 4
Leftover Value: 0 --This sadness went into the trashcan.
Down the Drain or Keep in the Strainer: Down the Drain

It looks beautiful, doesn't it?  This recipe comes from my days spent doing the Daniel Fast earlier this year.  I have a new found interest in vegetarians after that whole madness, and especially after eating this recipe.

I should have known that a recipe that was essentially vegetables and couscous couldn't be filling nor satisfying to me, but I tried.  Good Lord, I tried.  You'll notice my picture and the picture from the blog's posting of the recipe are quite different.  My mistake was pouring too much of the dressing over my couscous salad, even though I made the correct amount according to the recipe.


All the elements of this recipe were things I like so I had no grievance there.  It just was a strange combination that didn't work for dinner.  Something about the dressing didn't mesh quite right with the couscous.  It could always be that my taste buds aren't used to balsamic soaked grains.  

For the effort it took to make this recipe, I would much rather make Pioneer Woman's Corn Roasted Salad and serve it with a side of couscous.


Recipe: Deep Dish Cookie Pie
Time: 1 hour
Ease: 2
Taste: 5
Leftover Value: 5
Down the Drain or Keep in the Strainer: Down the Drain

Let me start by telling you what persuaded me to make this recipe: Garbanzo beans.  This recipe uses Garbanzo beans instead of butter.  Brilliant.  I love it.  It's fantastic.

A while ago I made brownies using part butter and part black beans.  You couldn't taste the difference.  When I asked my family member guinea pigs that I served it to, they had no idea the mystery ingredient.  Naturally, I had high hopes with this recipe.


It looks exactly like a deep dish cookie you might order out at a restaurant.  But really, it is no equal.  I was easily persuaded by the recipe's author.  She made it sound divine, delightful, and decadent.  


The one winning factor was how little effort I had to put in to make it.  The ingredients are blended together in a food processor (clearly mine was maxed to its full capacity), then dumped into a prepared pan.


If only all desserts were that simple.


The chocolate chips and comforting warmth of the dessert were what pushed me to eat the entire piece I served myself.  The oats, though the recipe promised could not be recognized, were an obvious consistency in each bite.  I'd rather skip dessert if this is what was served, or eat the bad stuff and suffer the consequences of the extra calories.