Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Homemade Marshmallows

The other night we had s'mores outside by a campfire. We had a package of peeps and one actual marshmallow. I obviously needed to restock. We were at the market yesterday and once again, I looked at the ingredients and this time I didn't give in and get the bag with the artificial colors and flavors and stuck to my word and made homemade marshmallows. It's the exact same process as the 7 minute frosting I like so much, except marshmallows have the added gelatin. I didn't do as some and get gelatin from grass-fed cows. I had a bunch of Knox from long ago and put that to use.

After looking at several recipes online, I decided to give David Lebovitz's a try. I did see the post by Smitten Kitchen, and was careful not to let my compulsion to scrape overtake the process. I can't do her experience justice and recommend you read it yourself. It's a very funny cautionary tale. I'd like to try the no-egg white version (what she used) next time. I'm not thrilled using so much gelatin, but they look really good and I probably don't have to worry so much about them not drying out, as the humid day kept mine from doing. I also couldn't wait to eat them and didn't let them dry out for as long as recommended - 4 - 24 hours. I thought 8 hours would be enough and on a dry day, probably would be. Regardless, they tasted great, if they did end up being a little foamy after heating. They weren't as hard as they should have been but I from reading more, I found out one pouch of Knox gelatin is 7 grams, and the recipe said to use 17 grams or 2 packets, not specifying a brand. So more gelatine next time.

Still, it was easy and much better than the artificial stuff.

gently spread out on the cornstarch/confectioners sugar, drying

hard to decide which to have - orange, sea salt, or chili chocolate

awaiting the torch

again, Alan happy with any excuse to use the torch

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Sushi Special - made w/ brown rice, from Asia Sushi Grill - a usual fallback when I can't figure out what to have. It was good but the fish was a little dry. Next time I'll take the time to figure out better what to order. But it's good because it also comes with miso soup and salad.
Shara's sushi dinner - caterpiller roll, unagi roll and salmon roll. Her new favorite is eel. There were only three pieces or the unagi roll and 1/2 order of miso soup leftover.
I'd been in the mood for blueberry pancakes since we went picking a few weeks ago and today I made a batch for Alan and myself. Shara didn't want them. She doesn't like cooked fruit. They were very good.
Here's my usual recipe:
1 cup flour (I use 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 white)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
dash salt
1 egg
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. Mexican vanilla
1 cup blueberries

Dessert this evening was another item off our end of summer bucket list - s'mores. Shara wanted to blow up some peeps (the idea came from our neighbor) and that was a terrific idea because we only had one whole marshmallow and a few that were chopped up from some baking experiment. I actually think they were rolled into hearts from Valentines day. So these weren't the freshest either. The peeps are great because the sugar caramelizes in the fire and the bitter flavor dissipates too. They are fragile, so melting the chocolate with your flaming marshmallow doesn't work with peeps. They don't flame much and are quick to start falling off the stick. Not worth sacrificing it to the fire.

This was interesting - Shara whittled a whole in hers to get it in the fire to melt a bit. It actually worked!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Cleveland Conference

Fun conference in Cleveland. Nice that we were able to do some exploring Saturday night. Went to Bar Cento for dinner and the West Market to look at local foods. Brought back jerky and smokies (slim Jim's) for the family from J and J Meats. I liked them a lot more than u thought I would. The jerky was similar to Chinese boneless ribs.

Sunnyside Pizza from Bar Cento

We also ate very well at the conference. Much too well. Breakfast the first two mornings was fruit and pastry. The last day were eggs (a little too runny for me), bacon (skipped), home fries (had some loaded with Frank's), fruit, and cheese blintzes with strawberry sauce (very good, creamy, stuffed crepe. Not fried, but soft. I had two.)
cheese blintzes

Lunches were also above average for a conference. First day was a box lunch. We didn't run to the tables fast enough so ended up with turkey, lettuce, tomato, bacon & cheese on a croissant. I took off the bacon & cheese. An apple, bag of chips(skipped), an amazing Blondie, and a lifesaver mint. I saved the Blondie and earlier tonight, heated it in the microwave and it got a little crispy caramelized on the bottom. With some vanilla frozen yogurt, it was delish.
The second day lunch was a Caesar salad, herb crusted chicken breast, roast vegetables (heavy on the green beans), mashed potatoes, and what sent us over the edge was a slice of key lime pie. Let's just say it was hard to concentrate on the publisher and author who were up next.

Here are some other photos of the West Side Marketplace - the indoor market was heavy on the meats but across the street was another market where they had all the produce vendors - a bit like Haymarket.

fun lights

And I can't forget the party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That was a fantastic party - great band, good food, access to the museum, and for dessert - a sundae bar. Missed the brownies, but believe me, they weren't really missed.