Tuesday, August 25, 2015

maple marshmallows

Who doesn't love a fluffy, delicious, pillowy marshmallow?  I am partial to them when they are roasted and smushed between graham crackers.  Chocolate is strictly optional in my s'more.  :)

Todd has been on a kick lately where he is begging for marshmallows.  It might have been all the leftover Easter candy that the Switch Witch forgot to take with her when she brought the toys.  Oops.  Anyway, I'm really glad that I'm able to provide a simple, wholesome alternative to store-bought - no refined sugar to be found in this recipe!  And it's got gelatin, which is a lovely addition to the diet that provides joint-nourishing collagen.

We got our annual shipment of maple syrup back in May.  I usually buy two gallons of the good stuff, organic and straight from a farm in Vermont.  We store it in the chest freezer and pull out what we need, pouring it into a smaller jug to store in the fridge.  This will typically get us through the year!

Making marshmallows is sort of like candy-making 101.  You will need a good thermometer - preferably a candy-making thermometer that shows you when you have reached "soft ball stage."  But don't let that deter you!  It's really not that tricky.

Maple-Sweetened Marshmallows
1 C water
2 1/2 T gelatin
1 C maple syrup
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
Arrowroot powder for dusting

Coat an 8x8 pan with butter, sprinkle with a bit of arrowroot powder, and set aside.

Add 1/2 C of the water into your mixer bowl.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and allow it to bloom for at least 5 minutes.

Combine the remaining water, maple syrup, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, watching and stirring continuously as it will try to boil over on you.  When it reaches 235-240 degrees, remove it from heat.  This will typically take 12-15 minutes, but just watch the temperature to know for sure.

Turn your stand mixer on medium.  With the mixer running, slowly drizzle the boiling syrup into the bloomed gelatin and water.  Try not to get syrup on the sides of the bowl.

Once all the syrup is into the bowl, turn the mixer on high.  Allow the mixture to beat until it has tripled in size, and the side of the bowl is cool to the touch.  This could take up to 10 minutes, but again, use your sense of temperature to know for sure.  The finished marshmallow cream will hold soft peaks on the beater.  Add the vanilla and beat for one more minute.

[If you wanted your own marshmallow cream for fluffer nutters or Rice Krispie treats or something like that, you could just stop here!]

Transfer the marshmallow cream into your prepared 8x8 pan.  Dust the top with more arrowroot powder, and use your fingertips to pat down the top surface.

Allow the marshmallows to set for at least 6 hours, covered, at room temperature.

Once they are set, remove the marshmallows from the pan and use a greased knife to cut into squares. Dredge in more arrowroot powder, and store in an airtight container.

These will keep for a few days, maybe a week if refrigerated.  You do need to eat them fairly fast, because they will spoil!  (Like real, good food should.)


[This post submitted to Fat Tuesday 8/25/15.]

Monday, August 24, 2015

menu plan august iv

Where have I been!?  What's going on?  I haven't posted in over three months!  Almost four.  Sorry.  There's been a bunch of stuff, but let's just skip it and get to the food.  That's what I'm here for.

The biggest, most amazing development in my food life has been the arrival of this book:

It's been changing my life.  I decided to cook my way through it, making one or two cheeses each week.  It's really been taking things to the next level.  Anyway, I will do a separate post (or maybe series) on all that.  Suffice it to say:  cheese.

Other than that, it's the same old deal:  local produce, animals whose origin is identifiable, grass-fed dairy, wholesome grains, plenty of good fats.

Breakfast:  I was gloriously alone, as in, my children stayed other places.  So I had some coffee and a zucchini bread muffin.  
Lunch:  I totally binged on fried fish and hush puppies from Captain D's.  What!?  I keeps it real.  And I freaking love that nasty hydrogenated oil-based tartar sauce.
Supper:  It was Julie's birthday choice at Family Dinner.  She made some superb choices.  She requested this appetizer, a florentine lasagna, an arugula-fennel-red onion-Parmesan salad, and a chocolate dessert.  I made the appetizer.  I used my homemade ricotta, herbs from Memaw's backyard, tomatoes from the CSA, and baguettes using this recipe.  The baguettes were quite easy!  Easier than I was expecting, and easier than my standard sandwich loaf.  I'm definitely making more.

Hi baguettes.  I'm going to eat you.
Breakfast:  pancakes with butter and syrup, coffee and milk
Lunch:  leftover baguette with avocado and chopped tomato
Supper:  ham, pepper, and onion quiche with sauteed zucchini

Breakfast:  eggs, toast, jam, butter, coffee and milk
Lunch:  leftover quiche and zucchini
Supper:  cheeseburgers and fixings (buns, mustard, ketchup, pickles, tomato), roasted potato wedges, watermelon-lime water kefir soda

Breakfast:  eggs, toast, jam, butter, coffee and milk
Lunch:  corn and potato chowder, baguette
Supper:  grilled salmon, rice, sauteed peppers and squash

Breakfast:  pancakes, butter and syrup, coffee and milk
Lunch:  out with my clergy friends!  I'm excited.  Sushi!
Supper:  ham and white beans, cornbread, tomato

Breakfast:  toast with peanut butter and honey, grapes, coffee and milk
Lunch:  leftover ham and beans
Supper:  eggplant pizza.  I think I will also add some ricotta dolloped on top of that.

Breakfast:  bread pudding, home-canned peaches, coffee and milk
Lunch:  picnic at the pool!  Bread, cheese, boiled eggs, mango spears, more watermelon-lime soda.
Supper:  roast chicken, potatoes, corn on the cob, sliced tomato

What are you all eating out there?  Any good recipes to share?

[This post submitted to Menu Plan Monday 8/24/15.]