First things first: for those of you in the Baltimore area, there’s a pretty awesome event happening on Saturday, February 20th in downtown B*more – a vegan mac n’ cheese smackdown. More info and registration is available here, but basically you can enter as either a contestant or just a mac n’ cheese eater, and sample the array of 100% vegan dishes on offer. The proceeds are going to a great cause, so I hope you can make it out! And now on to a different kind of smackdown…
When there’s a lull in recipes on the blog, it’s not for a lack of cooking! I don’t much like to spend money on eating out or prepared foods, so most of what I eat is home-cooked. Which means I’m usually in the kitchen cooking multiple times per week regardless of what else is going on. So why don’t I post all of those recipes here? There’s so many reasons, but here are just a few…
- Some of the food I make is meant to be economical and healthy, and nothing more! If I’m not in the mood to be creative my meal might just be vegetables, a grain, and/or a pulse, seasoned with salt and pepper. Last week I cooked down a pound of lima beans with vegetable broth, a pound of collard greens, and two sweet potatoes, and ate it for lunch the whole week. It looked absolutely hideous!
- Sometimes I’m just following other bloggers’ recipes. Or recipes from my many vegan cookbooks. Or my own recipes that are already on my blog. (I made General Tso’s Chickpeas just the other day!)
- Sometimes I’m cooking with a friend or loved one and don’t want to interrupt that to write down or photograph the recipe. (Though, my mom did help me style these kale spanakopita photos!)
- Sometimes a recipe is intended for the blog, but doesn’t come out well, whether on the initial trial or the re-test.
- Sometimes I enjoy and photograph a recipe, but later I don’t think the photographs are appealing.
- Sometimes I write down a recipe and then I can’t find it. I was moving things in my basement yesterday and found a piece of scrap paper with a recipe written on it that I lost in 2014. I’m gonna blame the cat for that one.
2015 saw me sharing a lot of awesome recipes, but behind the scenes there were many, many duds. I pored through my trove of uploaded pictures from 2015 and collected a photo of each dish that appeared there but didn’t make it onto the blog. Keep in mind that there are even more rejected recipes that didn’t even make it to the point of getting photographed. I’m not a perfect chef and my ‘creativity’ is highly fallible. However, the recipes that do make it here are tested and loved, and hopefully my high rejection rate will give credence to that 🙂 So without further ado…
Black bean sliders. Rejected because this is absurd. Nobody would be able to eat that. And I have no idea why the slider immediately next to this one looks much more normal in shape. These must have been homemade buns, but it was so long ago that I can’t remember. The patties were lovely. I still have that recipe saved and will share it.
Carrot soup. Actually, this one will be coming to the blog! I just need to test the recipe one more time and I haven’t gotten my hands on some carrots for that yet.
Scones. Rejected because they were overall great but my decision to make them partially whole wheat detracted from both the appearance and the texture.
Quinoa of a vaguely Asian flavor profile. I put too much soy sauce in it and ruined the delicate flavor before I could finalize the seasonings. And I must have had too much coffee that day, because all of the pictures seemed to come out slightly blurry.
Delicata squash stir-fry. Rejected because the frozen pineapple I used in the sauce tasted like freezer burn, and then I got frustrated with this recipe and didn’t feel like making it again, and then squash season ended.
Pumpkin mochi bars. Rejected because I didn’t *love* the photos and I didn’t have the chance to test them again before pumpkin season was over.
White bean stew. Rejected because I regretted my decision to serve it inside a squash and the soup didn’t really wow me in general.
Sweet potato queso. Rejected because the color is extremely unappetizing.
Sweet corn stew with cabbage dumplings. Okay y’all, this was actually one of the tastiest things I made all year, but before I could test it again, suddenly sweet corn was over for the summer. I will definitely be making it again in 2016!
Creamy cauliflower pasta. Rejected because I don’t like how gloopy it looks and wasn’t totally satisfied with the flavor. (But stay tuned, because a killer creamy pasta recipe is coming next week!!)
Fajitas, rejected because they were frankly just not interesting.
Cinnamon rolls which were supposed to be flavored a certain way, but you couldn’t really taste that flavor in the final product. Rejected because of that and being too sweet.
Roasted red pepper soup. Was meant to go in my eBook that never happened, so I’m going to try to share the recipe this year!
Whole wheat sandwich bread. Rejected because I felt the instructions were too complicated.
Celery soup. Rejected because the flavor was blah.
Spring rolls. Rejected because the tahini dipping sauce I had with them sent shivers down my spine in the worst way. I have learned that I’m just not much of a tahini person, which might make me an outcast among vegan bloggers. Also, the filling was nice but not hearty enough. Each spring roll was probably around 40 calories or something ridiculous like that. So, I added sunflower seeds to make them more filling, but they didn’t fit with the other flavors. Finally, I was trying a new brand of spring roll wrapper and it stuck to everything and almost all of them broke open. Fail fail fail.
Spiced lentils… meant to be a soy-free version of another popular recipe of mine. Rejected because somehow there was too much of every spice and it was overpowering on the palate – even though I basically borrowed the spices from the other, good-tasting recipe. I just wasn’t jazzed about this and haven’t felt motivated to rework the recipe just yet, but I intend to eventually.
Why hello! Monkey bread muffins, made with that same failed ingredient that doomed the cinnamon rolls above, because insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results. Rejected because they had the same result.
BBQ wontons. Rejected because… well it’s funny, I had friends over and they loved these and urged me to post the recipe on my blog. But I didn’t love them as much as my friends did, and so many people have had trouble finding vegan wonton wrappers for my avocado potstickers that I wasn’t sure this recipe would be of much benefit to y’all. Still, I might make it again and post my homemade wrapper recipe.
A Valentine’s Day themed cinnamon roll. I dunno, at this point I think I was just tired of cinnamon rolls and determined not to like them. Rejected because the final nail in the coffin was that the glaze looked pretty but tasted like nothing, and I take issue with recipes that have refined sugar for no reason.
This tofu recipe is pretty fantastic but I decided it’s not actually a good idea to cut them into triangles in this particular recipe, as they end up falling apart. I’ll be remaking this one in 2016, in cube form. Rejected because I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet..
Peanut butter bars. Rejected because brown on brown on brown. I really don’t know what I was thinking taking a dish that is made of two brown things and putting it on a brown background as well. It’s a shame because they were actually quite nice tasting.
Ah, yes. The infamous flatbread recipe that I have stingily held back from readers for a year now. I thought I had this recipe nailed down, but I made it one more time juuuust to be sure and suddenly it didn’t work anymore. Please believe me when I say that I want to post this recipe. But I can’t. It’s not good enough.
Sweet potato dip. Rejected because despite how great it looks this dip was only *pretty good* and not worth the several different steps required to prepare it. I plan to revisit and streamline it.
Vegan chili. Rejected because I had grand ambitions of making this the vegan chili to defeat all vegan chilis, and neither the flavor nor the photos lived up to that. My chili-making method is very “a little of this, a little of that”, standing over the stove for a while until the flavor is perfect, and so far I have had trouble translating that to a recipe.
Another potsticker flavor that I can’t even remember now. Rejected because I don’t like the pictures.
A nice broccoli and parsley salad. Rejected because for some reason after only 1 day in the fridge it tasted odd and I lost my confidence in it.
So there you have it – a big catalogue of my recipe FAILS from last year. I hope you enjoyed browsing them as much as I did!