The Un-Midas Touch….

In hockey when you have bad streaks where you are not scoring(or as I call it…every time I play hockey) people want to get rid of the bad ju-ju. Hockey players are highly superstitious, as are a lot of athletes. So when your stick has been cursed you will find the player touching(usually the blade) another’s player stick. You never do it in front of that player, you would piss him off for he would fear that he now had the bad ju-ju. So you have to do it when they are not looking. The player usually then feels that his curse is gone and he can go play hockey. Weird I know, but psychologically it seems to work for a lot of players.
Well, I need to go find a baker and touch their rolling pin or something when they are not looking. Seriously, I have some bad baking ju-ju going on. The un-Midas touch as I am calling it. I made a pots de crème that stayed liquid. I made a chocolate pudding that turned to paste…I am talking this stuff could be used for glue people. I made carrot muffins that did not rise, they sank. I made my old stand by, apple cobbler in hopes of getting back in the saddle and for the first time(I have made it a ton of times) it spilled over everywhere in the oven causing quite a mess and the smoke alarm to go off for what seemed forever. Then what I did bake that turned out, turned out ugly and was not wanting to photograph for me. AHHHHHH.
But I must go on. I have a blog to bake for and nothing in the archives to rely on. I had won a free jar of Fig ‘N Ginger Chutney over at Blake Makes. You had to write in your post what you were going to do with it. I said I would make a pork panni with blue cheese and the chutney. Nothing too upscale. They liked the idea enough to send me a jar. I made a walnut and wheat loaf. You may be saying, that loaf looks good. It was. The loaf turned out fine…I did slice my thumb in 3 different spots while making it. Don’t ask. Bad ju-ju.
The chutney is very pungent, like good chutney should be. Lots of good chunks of figs in it too. Gigantic raisins(really where did they find these?) and bits of apple. McQuade’s Celtic Chutney offers a variety of flavors from Melon and Peach to Plum and Black Pepper. All of which I am sure I could make a sandwich with. :) They also have seasonal chutney’s that sound wonderful. I am really loving the sound of the Strawberry Cardamom Chutney and and am considering sending my mom some Rhubarb and Tangerine Chutney since she is the rhubarb lover of the family.
The actual making of the sandwich went off without a hitch. Perhaps a good sign of things to come. Still just in case, bakers beware(Helen I’m coming for you!), I might just be sneaking into your kitchen and touching your oven. :P

Gorgonzola, Fig and Ginger Chutney, Shaved Pork Sandwich on Walnut Wheat Bread(say that 5 times fast)

two slices walnut wheat bread(recipe follows)
sliced pork(I used 5 slices…but I like my meat)
a generous spreading of McQuade’s Celtic Fig ‘N Ginger Chutney
Slices(or crumbles as it tends to do) Gorgonzola cheese

Take one slice of bread and spread the chutney on it. Place pork on top of that. Place Gorgonzola on top of that followed by the other slice of bread. Slather the top and bottom pieces of bread with room temperature butter and place in pan, or if you are like me in a panni maker. Grill until cheese is melty and it is browned on the outsied.

Rustic Whole-Wheat Walnut Bread

1-3/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1-2/3 cups cool water
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached bread flour
5 oz. (1 cup plus 2 Tbs.) fine whole-wheat flour
4 oz. (3/4 cup) coarse stone-ground whole-wheat flour
2 tsp. salt
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
how to make
In the mixing bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let it sit until the yeast dissolves and the water looks milky. Add the flours, salt, and walnuts. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until a rough dough forms. Change to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl to form a ball. You may need to add a small amount of flour or water to get the right consistency.

Turn the dough out into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm spot (about 75°F) until doubled in bulk, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

Line a basket or bowl with a kitchen towel or a piece of cotton fabric and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, knead it a few times, and shape it into a round. Put it in the basket, bottom up, and fold the ends of the towel over it. Cover with a large plastic bag (like a kitchen garbage bag). Set in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours.

Set one oven rack in the lowest position; put a large, shallow pan on that rack. Set the second rack just above that and position the baking stone on it. Heat the oven to 425°F for at least 45 minutes. Just before you put the bread in the oven, bring about 2 cups of water to a boil.

Lightly dust a baking peel or a flat baking sheet with flour. Remove the plastic bag and gently invert the dough onto the peel. (The dough may deflate somewhat.) Remove the basket and towel. With a single-edge razor blade or a sharp serrated knife, make a few slashes in the surface of the dough.

With a quick jerk, slide the dough from the peel to the baking stone. Wearing long oven mitts and standing as far away from the oven as you can, immediately pour the boiling water into the pan in the bottom of the oven. Caution: This will cause an instant burst of steam. Close the oven door immediately and don¢â¬â„¢t open it for at least 10 minutes or the steam will escape.

Bake the bread until it is well browned and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before serving

From Fine Cooking 30, pp. 61


  1. I’ve been there too! In fact until today I have a terrible ju-ju in all that respects pasta. I hope you get over your bad baking ju-ju soon!
    And great looking sandwich! Thnaks for sharing

  2. I HAVE noticed that a lot of hockey players are highly superstitious… very interesting!

    Peabody, even your baking “ju-ju’s” turn out to be masterpieces (compared to what I bake, haha) – hang in there, and best of luck in the kitchen!!

    Wow, that fig n’ ginger chutney sounds absolutely scrumptious!

  3. I know how you feel. This happens to me quite often. For a few weeks absolutely nothing will work out. Even old standby favourites are a disaster. I will then decide I am the worst cook in the world and should just quit the whole thing. Then all of a sudden something will turn out beautifully and I am away again. So keep the faith. You are a talented baker, it will all be alright.

  4. Whether it’s sweet or savory you know just how to make my mouth water! I can’t tell you what a fan of you I am! Thank you for such great inspiration…and a hungry tummy!

  5. That sandwich looks amazing! The Fig ‘N Ginger Chutney sounds really interesting.

  6. Oh Peabody, I’ve had those streaks. I never knew that I had to touch someon else’s oven to fix it ;). The sandwich looks fantastic though!

  7. I want that sandwich. Badly. Oh, yum! What a fantastic flavor combination!

    It is almost comforting to know you have issues just like us “normal people”! I feel like I touched your skate with my stick: I went through a bad patch too – half the reason that I haven’t been updating like I used to, because I ran out of “back up” posts – my caramel souffle flopped, my cocoa bars were slop in the middle of the pan, my custard didn’t set correctly.

    I feel your pain, and dearie – knowing you, you’ll be back on the saddle in no time. Feel free to touch my blade back for some good luck :)

  8. Oh I so wish it could work but I’d be sending the bag ju-ju right back at you! Yesterday and today were crap for me too, flans that look like they have leprasy, blueberry pie that exploded in the oven and rhubard I forgot while roasting…We are a pair :)
    The sandwich is absolutely mouth watering!!

  9. Hope you get your good ju-ju back. I hate it when nothing turns out….happens once in a blue moon, but Ughhh.
    The panini is gorgeous and the chutney sounds great!

  10. Well it hasny affected your sandwhich making skills. I wanted that Chutney!

  11. I can relate. I have the “Un-Midas touch” many times myself. That sandwich is “golden”, though!

  12. that looks TRULY scrumptious. who could go wrong when it comes to pork and delicious bread? sorry to hear about your bad ju-ju–i’m sure this will be turning it around!

  13. It still looks good to me, but I hope things go more smoothly for you now :)

  14. Well it seriously looks like the bad ju-ju is gone becuase that sandwhich is nice-looking. I never knew that about hockey, thanks for the info!

  15. The bread and sandwich look amazing! I went through a bad spell in February where I, too, lost my baking mojo. It was not a pretty experience, so I hope that you recover soon.

  16. I love chutneys and relishes in sandwiches, so that’s right down my alley. I’m not really superstitious so you can come and sneakily touch my oven or rolling pin or baking tray or cookie cutters or…..anytime. I’ll deal with the bad baking ju-ju.;)

  17. You’re welcome to come hang out in my kitchen. Touch the oven, the rolling pin, the Kitchen-Aid. Just stay away from the mandoline. That’s an invitation to go to the ER! The sandwich looks amazing.

  18. Sorry about your bad ju-ju. I am happy to see that the bad ju-ju didn’t extend to sandwiches. That pork sandwich looks really, really, really good!

  19. If that’s what you call bad “baking ju ju” then we have to talk! That’s gorgeous and that chutney sounds AMAZING!

    (GO FLAMES!!!)

  20. What a perfect idea for grilled cheese month ;-)

  21. Oh, man…does that look good. That’s a great combination of the sweet chutney, salty & tangy cheese and pork.

    I’m jealous of your press. I wonder if you could use one of those George Foreman grills to press sandwiches. I don’t have one of those either.

  22. Bad baking ju ju? How horrible. Hope your midas touch returns soon :)

    The chutney looks rather good, and I’d say you found a nice way to utilize it. No ju ju there.

  23. holy cow! that’s that look good or what??!! i just got back from a camping trip and i could so sink my teeth into that sandwich right now… so melty love it!

  24. Honestly, I can’t take this…the sandwich is to die for! I really want to try that cutney with all those big chunks of figs and raisins in them!

  25. Peabody, please come touch my oven! In fact I’ll pay for you to come touch my oven!! Then I can tell my landlord I need a new GAS one to replace the cursed electric one with the 25 degree off hot spot in the middle of the bottom rack….

    AND the sandwich with the chutney sounds so good…

  26. That looks absolutely amazing!!! I wish I had this for dinner tonight and I don’t even like gorgonzola…mmm…I may be growing as a cook again! :)

  27. bad ju-ju be gone! **flashing my trusty whisk**


  28. I’ve with Ivonne, I think that sandwich looks totally fantastic. The only thing wrong with it is it’s not in front of me at my table! If that’s bad ju-ju I’ll be touching your oven!!

  29. sorry about the bad ju-ju but i can hardly believe that anything you make is bad, even if it doesn’t turn out to be photogenic!

    i don’t like gorgonzola, but your pictures are making my mouth water! :)

  30. It certainly is a relief to hear you have disaster streaks like all us other mortal bakers. I can only think better of you for admitting to it!
    But you just have to get back into the oven saddle and keep on trying!
    I am loving the look of your sandwich. So seductive with that toasted bread and the slipping melted cheese just showing. Very foodgasmic.

  31. How about I send you some old baking tool in the mail Peabody? You can touch it and then send it off to a fictitious address, so it will be forever stuck in the postal system. And I don’t think the post office as such does a lot of baking :) Or do you think the bad ju-ju is too clever for a trick like that?

  32. Maybe you’re the cause of my bad juju! Have you been sneaking in and touching my oven?

  33. I can totally relate – I’ve had plenty of bad-baking streaks! But this sandwich has my mouth watering at 10am in the morning!

  34. I’ve been on a panini kick for lunch lately. Your bread looks great (hope the thumb recovers fast!), and any chutney/sauce/preserve/compote involving figs makes me happy.

  35. peabody,

    just started reading your blog and I am addicted. i’m afraid i’ve had some bad baking juju myself, also causing my smoke alarm to go off. anyway, hope you get back on track, hope i do too.

    fingers crossed,


  36. That chutney sounds delicious.

  37. That is one mouthwatering looking sammie – I want one!

    Hope your bad juju goes away.

  38. Ooooo this looks delicious. I love chutney on pressed sandwiches.

  39. Ha Ha loved the post! I’ve been there too. It seems to come in waves. Hope you break the bad juju soon:) the sandwich looks awesome! The flavors sound great.

  40. I think we all can relate to your post Pea, bad ju-ju in the kitchen can shake up even the most confident of cooks. I hope that you delicious sandwich cleared the air of any residual bad ju-ju, making way for more of your signature creations!

  41. yum, I just featured a series of panini in my blog! Truth be told, they’re my favorite go-to dish in the kitchen. Also, the somewhat sweet chutney flavor with the salty pork sounds spectacular – great job! I believe it is safe to say that your bad juju is officially gone.

  42. Peabody!

    love you blog – and the sandwich looks absolutely wonderful. thank you!

  43. At first glance, I thought this was a corned beef sandwich. I would’ve been happy with that, considering I am a huge fan of corned beef, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that you used pork for this mouthwatering sandwich! I also love the bread, the “rustic” title definitely serves it quite well; I have yet to try chutney! My palate is oh-so narrow still, I’ve yet to learn :)…I am one step closer to trying it after this post, though :D.

  44. that sandwich looks heavenly, as does the description of the rustic bread. it’s amazing how you can make something as simple as a sandwich look sooo good!

  45. This looks absolutely delicious! I LOVE me some grilled sammy. Mmm Mmm!

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