the art of sploosh

I'm not a baker. I'm barely a cook [er?], but I have managed to keep both of us alive with my concoctions these past 4 years. With baking though, I have just enough following-a-recipe-is-boring-and-predictable-and-tedious syndrome to make most of my baking experiences result in the classic "So, baking is a lot like chemistry class... " lecture.

I'm not a baker. Give me flour and a recipe, and the promised "moist and fluffy" will most likely end up dry, dense, and "Did I just break my tooth?" I think flour is my nemesis. It's such an exciting ingredient that I might just get caught up in the moment of "creating" [the things you can make with flour are practically limitless!] and "splooshing" [that's when the flour dust goes all "ploosh" in the air] to remember the specific recipe instructions.

I'm not a baker, but I do have one redeeming factor in my baking equation: Jason, the "if it has flour and at all resembles a bread-like food, I will eat it, no questions asked" variable. He's quite the morale-saver when it comes to my kitchen experiments. As long as we're not talking about some kind of leafy vegetable or mushrooms, he will eat anything that I put in front of him. Mushy beyond recognition? No problem. So hard it needs to be soaked in a soup before you can ingest it? Again, no problem. And he'll eat it all, complete with the sounds of enjoyment [possibly for my benefit?] and requests for seconds that all meal-preparers want to hear.

Anyway, as of late, I've had urges to sploosh things up in the baking arena. Perhaps it was the purchase of some new flour a few weeks ago. Or maybe it was my craving for pizza. Or maybe it was just the fact that I knew Jason has been studying/stressing hard about his candidacy exams coming up and I just wanted to make something I knew he'd really like [I'm pretty sure his love of pizza just stems from the idea that pizza, at its simplest, is just bread and cheese]. Whichever the case, I decided to make a pizza, and not only was the splooshing a success but, for the first time ever, the doughiness was a success. It actually turned out crust-like and not super dense or purely hard and crunchy as my flour products have a tendency to do.

With this smashing success, I had the immediate desire to do it all over again. More yeasty smells. More splooshing. More rolling pin action. With Jason's first day of school being a stupid long day [he leaves in the morning and doesn't get back until 7 or so], I knew that he would completely appreciate coming home to a fresh pizza and... pie.

The last time a pie was baked in my kitchen was when Colleen was here and she was doing the baking and I was doing the pretending-to-be-baking. Best pie ever. Sadly, this time around there was no Colleen in my kitchen. And no fresh fruit [except for grapefruits... as odd as I am, I couldn't quite convince myself that grapefruit pie would be a good plan]. The only fruit available for a filling was the bag of frozen fruit that we use to make smoothies [apple juice, frozen fruit, blender: delicious]. Now, being a very inexperienced pie filling maker and a very experienced just-throw-things together maker, I put some honey, water, and flour in a pot and dumped in as much of the frozen fruit as I could fit, gave it a stir, and waited for something magical to happen.

Lessons learned from this pie filling experiment:

  • Honey is quite sweet. You do not need a cupful of honey to sweeten a pie.
  • If you heat up honey in a pot without stirring it, it will start to burn onto the bottom of your pot. Making a candy-like substance. Tasty, but not really desirable (for your pie or your scrub brush).
  • Frozen fruit totally works. Peaches? Good. Strawberries? Good. Pineapple and honeydew? Goood. 
we may have already started to eat the pie crust by the time i took this picture...

Anyway, on a scale of failure to success, I would give the fruit pie conglomerate a 7.0 with point deductions for the honey overload and the sketchy crust consistency [still haven't quite mastered non-pizza flour products, I suppose] but bonus fractions for the artistic nature of the crustwork [duh] and the fact that I didn't burn myself the entire time.

As for the second go at the pizza making, it was ridiculously delicious. Jason would take a bite and then convulse [in a good way] for 30 seconds. I was quite excited. This time I wanted to season the crust and so, part of the way through the baking, I sprayed some olive oil on it and sprinkled some garlic powder, salt, and pepper on it. It toasted perfectly and tasted like 20 bucks [i.e. it's going to be hard to convince me to buy from pizza chains anymore].

Well, I was going to write about a couple of other things, but I think they'll save until next time since this went on longer than expected.

To yumminess!

i promise i don't have to do this to jason...anymore.


  1. BAHA a CUP of honey? oh rizz. hooray! You pied!

  2. Ohhh, this post made me sooo happy! I miss our cooking endeavors together, but I am glad you are having success with your baking. I still haven't been able to accomplish a good pizza, perhaps you could send me your recipe. Pie crusts are definitely hard, I normally buy them, but Alton Brown has a quick and easy recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/pie-crust-recipe/index.html. It even comes with a video. Congratulations on your successes!