Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Life without the Harpy: The Baking Attempt

Since my personal gravity has begun to affect the tides on the Eastern Shore, I have been for the past few weeks enduring the South Beach Diet. The first phase is 2-4 weeks long and involves removing all carbs and sugar completely from your diet. It is hell, though I forget which circle exactly:



The second phase (South Beach Phase Two=SBP2) is when you begin to add the "good" carbs (whole grains) and sugars (fruit) back into your diet. I like to think of this as the donut phase, since I've found a recipe for baked, whole grain donuts on the internet (here, if you're interested). The domestic harpy keeps a running blog of her cooking adventures (sorry, it's not available to the general public, though she has some nice stuff on books and movies that you can read here and here), so I thought I'd give that a whirl too. Well, that and cooking- that's also a bit out of my wheelhouse.

Okay, so, here we go.

Step One:

"Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease doughnut pan well (I use spray oil with flour in it i.e. Baking by Pam)."

Oven = preheating. Boom! Half the step out of the way! This cooking crap is easy, I don't know what women are always complaining about.

Use oil with flour in it? I'm not sure what that means, but hopefully Pam alone will be a close enough substitute.

Hmm, a "donut pan", I'm not sure what that is... Google to the rescue!


Fortunately, I know where she keeps the pans and such.




It appears we do NOT have a donut pan. Clearly, the wife has failed here.

Okay, new plan. I will now be making SBP2 friendly muffins. Because that's the pan we have.
Granted, the wife already made muffins before she left and there are still a few in the fridge, but at this point I'm committed to the project and not going to let something like lack of supplies stand in my way.

Still on step one, I need to wash off the muffin pan first, since it's been down near the mice. Which means I need to clean out the sink.


Somehow, I've ended up doing dishes before I've even started cooking. Is this normal? I feel as if something is amiss...

Okay, pan is washed and greased, the stove is preheated, and step 1 is in the bag!

Step Two:

"Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and pecans (if using) together in a medium mixing bowl."

The recipe apparently calls for either "white whole wheat flour" or "unbleached all-purpose flour," and sugar. But! I don't want these to just be kind of SBP2 friendly, I want the full endorsement what's-his-name (Atkins? I think it's Atkins) who created the diet. Consequently I will be using Splenda and Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour. I fully expect to receive a call from Dr. Atkins thanking me for my bold new initiative in dietary healthiness.



I've added the flour and Splenda.
For future reference, the Splenda box has something called a "pour spout" and DOES NOT NEED TO BE OPENED FROM THE TOP.



If any Splenda company representatives are reading this, you should consider noting on the front that there is a spout on the side. Making the important things prominent is important for a business...

Okay, flour Splenda, baking powder, baking soda (disaster narrowly averted there-- you'd be amazing how alike baking powder and baking soda look), and salt all added. As for the 1/8 tsp nutmeg... is that even a measurable quantity? Shouldn't it be like a "pinch" or something? [Sigh]
Okay, eyeballing a 1/8 tsp nutmeg:


Close enough.

Dry ingredients mixed, step 2 is DONE. But... 1 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1/4 tsp... All my measuring spoons are used. Which means doing dishes again. Just a few utensils, but still. Grr...

Dishes are done. And just as I was drying them, I remembered the extra measuring spoons stuck on the side of the fridge. [Sigh]


Step Three:

"Whisk yogurt, milk, egg, oil and flavorings together in a separate small bowl. Combine all at once with dry ingredients and stir only until everything is moistened."

Have been "cooking" for an hour. It is now 6pm, and thanks to the South Beach diet, I am hungry. Yet, I feel that should I stop at this point entropy will kick in and the world will collapse. Or at the very least, I will never finish making this. And even though I don't particularly care for cooking, stopping now would not only waste the ingredients already used, but I'm pretty sure it would be the equivalent of starting a book and then not finishing. I FINISH THE BOOKS I START.

This experience is reinforcing my hatred of cooking and my generally dim view of the universe.
But agreeing with Solomon is no reason to be a quitter, so I power on.

On opening the yogurt, it... doesn't look good. Like, kind of lumpy and gross. Does yogurt go bad? Should it be lumpy? Does it get moldy? Isn't it already some sort of mold?


You can't see in the picture, but there are definitely little white lumps in it.
I consider microwaving it to kill any bacteria that might have grown in it while on the shelf in the store, but since that might ruin the recipe (microwaving ingredients can do that, right? didn't I pick that up from my grandmother at some point?), I decide just to add it anyway and trust to Providence.

Finally, all wet ingredients mixed together and added to the dry.
Step three-- check!


Step Four:

"Spoon batter into pastry bag or quart-size zippered plastic bag. Seal. Snip small corner of plastic bag and force dough out of hole in a fat rope that encircles each doughnut cup. Fill only ½ to ¾ full or you will lose the hole in the middle of your doughnut. Makes 12 donuts and possibly 3-4 “donut holes” in a mini cupcake pan. Bake for 9-10 minutes."

Spoon batter into... wait, what? What is a "pastry bag"? Something that apparently a Ziploc bag is a legitimate substitute for? What kind of witchcraft is this? [Sigh] Once more to Google.

Apparently, according to whatever lunatic wrote this recipe, this


equals this



You know what? To heck with it- I'm sick of cooking and ready for dinner in any case. I'll just do what they say and when I'm standing there with a plastic baggie full of dough looking like a moron, I'll have good cause to write an angry comment afterwards.



Done! The result?



Actually... the Ziploc bag worked pretty well, once I checked the instructions again and remembered to snip the corner off.
And in retrospect, since I do NOT have a donut pan, I probably could have skipped the ziploc bag stage completely and spooned the dough directly into the muffin tin. [Sigh]
Well played, recipe maker, well played indeed.

I'm not entirely sure why there were only eleven instead of twelve, but I'm willing to concede that it may have been user error in this case.
Or possibly, the pan was wrong.

Okay, just ten short minutes from now and I will have South Beach approved donuts/muffins... doffins? munuts?



Scones. I have made South Beach Phase Two friendly scones.

Total time elapsed: Two Hours.

And now... more dishes.


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