Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sloppy Joes, and a Tasty Failure

DC and I have had a craving for Sloppy Joes lately. Don't ask me why--- I go for years without thinking about them, and then suddenly I MUST HAVE ONE!! My quest for a Sloppy Joe has been somewhat complicated as they are one of the few foods DS hates. Too many bad ones in daycare I think!

I have been so frustrated over the years trying to create something that tastes the way I think a Sloppy Joe should taste. I was on the road again this week, but my last evening at home (Tuesday), I finally got the chance to try making my SJs, as DS was at his dad's for dinner.

The closest I've come to the flavor I've been looking for (sweet, hot, and savory) is a Rachael Ray recipe, called Super Sloppy Joes. I gave her recipe my own special twist and was really pleased with the results. I ended up tossing some corn in for texture, and it was really delicious. DC LOVED the Sloppy Joes and even had seconds, so I would call them a success. We had them with some yummy poppyseed Kaiser rolls from the 9th St. Bakery in Durham (courtesy of WF) , braised fingerling potatoes, and a green salad.

Here's what I did:

Sloppy Joes
by DomesticMuse


1 1/4 lb. ground sirloin
1-2 T extra-virgin olive oil
5 T dark brown sugar
4 t. Montreal Steak seasoning
1 onion, chopped
1/2 lg. sweet bell pepper (I used orange; any color will do)
2 T ketchup
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T sriracha
2 c. tomato sauce or puree
1 1/4 c. baby white corn kernels

Kaiser rolls, split, toasted, and buttered

1. Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray. Add olive oil and heat over medium heat.
2. Add the ground sirloin and cook, stirring, until well-browned.
3. Add the brown sugar and Montreal Steak Seasoning to the pan. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes to blend the flavors.
4. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire, red wine vinegar, sriracha, and tomato sauce. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
6. Add the corn, raise the temperature slightly, and cook for 5-10 more minutes, or until sauce is thickened to your liking and the corn is tender.

7. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, brown sugar and Montreal steak seasoning to your taste.
8. Serve over split, toasted, and buttered rolls.

My plate, up close and personal!

A couple of weeks ago Elyse of Elyse's Confectionary Creations posted some delightful looking strawberry bread with walnuts and white chocolate chips. Strawberry and white chocolate is one of DS's favorite flavor combinations (often requested for his birthday cake), so I knew I would have to try her irresistible bread. Here is Elyse's wonderful recipe.

Strawberry Walnut Quick Bread with White Chocolate Chips

See Strawberry Walnut Quick Bread with White Chocolate Chips on Key Ingredient.

Ah, well, stupid fool that I am, I thought it would be fun to experiment with Elyse's recipe. DS and I are crazy about the strawberry-limeade at Sonic. So I had a vision of white-chocolate strawberry muffins with the tops dipped in butter and then in lime sugar.

My first clue that this might not be such a great idea should have been the fact that I had no walnuts. I decided to subsitiute toasted pecans for the walnuts. Which wasn't bad, I love pecans, I just think walnut probably would have tasted better. I also substituted orange zest for the lime zest since I only had one lime and I wanted to use the zest for the lime zest for the sugar for the top. I zested up the lime and blitzed it in the food processor with 2/3 c. sugar. The lime sugar smelled sooooooo good.

Here's my lime sugar:

Here are my dry ingredients:

I've combined flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Wanting to enhance the richness of the white chocolate flavor, I added a couple of teaspoons of vanilla powder also.
I decided to add the white chocolate chips to the dry ingredients.

Here are my wet ingredients, eggs, cream, orange zest,

Adding the macerated strawberries to the wet ingredients:

My batter:

Things went fine, until I had a thought. My thought was that Elyse's bread looked sooooo dense, moist and delicious, that perhaps for the muffin form I should add some additional leavening. So at the last minute, I added 2 t. baking powder. What do I know about the science of baking? Clearly, nothing. Because my muffins rose so much they completely covered the entire top of the muffin tin. When I turned out the "muffins," one moist, fluffy large baked cakey thingie fell out of the pan. (I was too discouraged to take a photo of this monstrosity!)

Refusing to admit defeat, I separated it into pieces, brushed the pieces with butter and sprinkled the tops with my lime sugar. I ended up with a lot of irregular shaped things that vaguely resembled muffin tops. My first thought was that they were way too sweet. But after trying them again the next day, I decided they were actually pretty good. Ugly, but good. The guys have been enjoying them quite a bit. DS and his band members gave them the thumbs up. So I guess the Franken-muffins weren't a total failure.... even if they were notthing like Elyse's brilliant and gorgeous bread!


  1. This cake looks great. And you give all intructions how to prepare it which helps a lot.

  2. The sloppy joes sound wonderful - that's definitely a blast from the past :) I'll have to pick up the pieces for that soon. The muffins sounds good (but I've been raised by the strawberry limeade at Sonic :) ) - who care what they look like since they taste good!

  3. Ha! What a debacle...I hate it when I think I'm being brilliant and then it turns out I'm really not. But, that's how we learn...sounds like you'll be able to fix it next time...and hey, that they tasted good was the important thing! And the sloppy joes look great...we love them in my house :)

  4. I haven't eaten a Sloppy Joe in so long-too long! I do the same thing-play around with baking recipes-way too much sometimes. The flavors sound so scrumptious and I love the lime sugar on top!

  5. The sloppy joes look so delicious and the pepper is gorgeous! A lot of my attempts at baked goods result in loss of shapes but still yummy :)

  6. I haven't had Sloppy Joes since forever and now you have me craving them!

  7. Okay--Karen, I think you posted this yesterday, right? The only reason I say this is because, my comment might begin to sound redundant :) Sorry for any repeats! But, I soooo appreciate the shout out. You know I totally love your blog, so it's such a huge honor to have you even mention my name here. And your sloppy joes? Well, they look totally divine (yep, my sloppy joe craving is still going strong), and I just love what you've done with the bread. That lime sugar sounds DIVINE!

  8. Long time no talk but left you an award at my blog :)


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