Thursday, November 10, 2011


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but let’s face it, sometimes food just doesn’t turn out pretty.

Bland colors on a bland plate? Sick. [Why don’t hospitals get this?]

Pasta with a white cream sauce served with white cauliflower as the vegetable? Ick.

White soup with white saltine crackers? Blech.
[And yet vanilla ice cream in a white bowl? Yum!  Beholder, remember? Beholder!]

Let’s face it, sometimes we simply have to close our eyes to eat. 

Today’s post is about inner beauty. [How I love to rationalize.]

I’ll admit I’m no cupcake maker. I think I’m starting to realize that cupcake batter should only fill half the cup (see my post for Halloween).

But it’s taken me years to get this basic point. And it only took me a couple of weeks to forget it. Perhaps I’ll write in on a Post-it note and put it on my baking cabinet…or better yet, stow it in the cupcake tin itself!  {Lightbulb!!}

Anyway, I made some gluten-free muffins and I forgot the tenet above and over-poured the batter. Minutes later, out came these muffins. They’re flat-out ugly with elephantine bumps. Frosting can cover a lot of ugliness, but I wasn’t adding frosting this time. {Though a cream cheese frosting might be tasty.}

Given time constraints of travel and not having time to make a whole new batch, I closed my eyes and took a bite. It turns out they’re yummy, moist, and full of flavor.

Just don’t look at them.

What do you like to eat that’s flat-out ugly?



(makes 8)

1 ¼ cup gluten-free baking mix (I used Pamela's see note below)
¼ cup water
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup chopped cheese (Dry Jack & Cheddar)
½ cup parboiled apple slices (recipe below)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium bowl, mix all ingredients. [Note, you can use any GF baking mix. Pamela’s, GF Bisquick, Bob’s Red Mill…] 

Using a ladle, spoon mixture into 8 greased muffin pans or paper muffin cups (to ½ to 2/3 full).  Bake approximately 18-20 minutes.

Parboiled Apples
*To make parboiled apples: Peel 2 apples, your choice. Dice into small bites. Heat ½ cup water to boil. Add apple slices. Boil 10 minutes. Drain.

** When adding apple slices to the recipe above, do not include the “sweet apple” water left over.

Extra recipe:

Parboiled "Applesauce"
Make as above. DO NOT DRAIN. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Eat just like it is or... * I added the "applesauce" to my latest banana bread in place of one of the bananas. PERFECT.  [Forgot to take pictures of this. Think chunky applesauce.]

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And watch for CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT, coming out February 2012.

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  1. Excellent advice about parboiling the apples! I think a lot of us just go through the peeling and slicing part, add the apples to whatever we're making, and then wonder why they aren't cooked when the baking is done. Giving them that nudge up front really helps (but don't overdo it or you'll get mush!).

    Re the "eye of the beholder," in a French restaurant once I was served a side-dish of something green and mashed. It tasted fine, but I couldn't quite place it, so I asked the server what it was. Turns out it was pureed green beans. I never would have guessed, because they didn't look like green beans.

  2. Sheila, thanks. I did that so often, putting in things that weren't soft enough. But after years of making my banana bread it was like a lightbulb on that point, too. Bananas are soft. They blend well. And carrots are shredded so they break down easily. And apple pie, well, it just cooks for such a long time and all the juices essentially parboil the apples while the pie cooks. But in something like this with batter...

    And pureed green beans, interesting. Baby food for adults. LOL


  3. I am looking forward to trying the muffins. I like apples & cheese together. The ugliest dish I make is called Hamburger Oriental. It's hamburger with chowmein vegetables, cream of celery soup, onion, celery. This is served over a bed of rice topped with soy sauce & crunchy noodles. I had it at a friends house in jr high school & have been making it ever since.

  4. My mom used to bake her mac and cheese until the top burned and looked overdone but the crispy layer was yummy!

  5. Diane, my husband loves when I burn the cheese on top of a number of casseroles. Chicken tortilla is the first that comes to mind. BTW, that is a dish that is bland going together. White soups, white tortillas, white chicken. The only thing that adds color (finally) are the salsa and cheddar cheese. It's not a pretty dish, but it is scrumptious.


  6. Avery, I don't think these muffins are ugly. They have a lovely golden color! A lot of stews and casseroles don't photograph well but they're so good. And I love that slightly crunchy bit of cheese on top, too!

    ~ Krista

  7. Krista, look at the upper left picture again. These muffins had huge elephantine humps . LOL maybe I'm a better "photographer" than I realized.

  8. I think they're pretty! And they have personality. But the best part is that they sound so tasty! Thanks for the recipe. :)

  9. I really like the flavor combo here, and I agree, they look golden, delicious, and ready to be eaten! ~ Cleo

  10. Cleo, okay, after your post, I'm convinced it's time my pals get glasses. They were golden and delicious, but they were NOT pretty. I repeat...

    Aw, heck, it's the end of the day. I'm going to eat a muffin.

    Hugs to all and thanks for chiming in.