Friday, December 21, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
This month's Sugar High Friday is The Many Shades of White -- so I created a dessert that is quintessentially white: marshmallows. I decided to make this fluffy, pillow-like candy in two flavors, raspberry and champagne. Because I made them from scratch they were all natural and at least the raspberry ones were artificial flavoring and coloring free.
Basic Marshmallow Recipe
2 Packets of Unflavored Gelatin (Very important: must be unflavored)
1/2 cup water
1 & 1/2 tsp flavoring oil or extract (In this case LorAnn Champagne flavor or McCormick Raspberry extract)
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
pinch of salt
1. Put 1/4 cup of water, gelatin, and one flavoring oil into standing mixer. Allow to sit for a few minutes so that the gelatin can "bloom."
2. In a large saucepan put the remaining water, corn syrup, sugar, and salt. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Bring to a boil without stirring. When the mix reaches the soft ball stage (234 - 240 degrees) remove from heat.
3. Pour sugar mixture into standing mixer. Bring mixer up to high. Allow this to mix for about 8 minutes.
4. Pour the now white mixture into an oiled deep pan. Allow to set for about 8 hours.
5. Cut into squares (or other shapes) with an oiled knife. Dip all sides of the marshmallows into corn starch to make them less sticky.
* I've used this recipe with lots of different flavorings, including mint, and orange. I find that flavoring oils seem to work the best. I've seen posted online recipes that call for using crushed candies in place of some of the sugar -- this would probably be a great thing to try.
* The type of pan you use to set the marshmallows will determine how big they are. A deep pan will mean thick marshmallows. A very wide pan could mean very thin ones.
* If you have a standing mixer and candy thermometer, this is one of the easiest recipes in the world. If you don't have those things it can be kind of tricky. I have made them without both pieces of equipment, it just means being really careful at the stove and then standing around for a long time with a hand-mixer. It can definitely be done.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
This winter I spent a lot of time making Granny Squares. They were simple things, easy to make in-between projects when I wanted to crochet *something* but had no clear ideas. Then Pat's mom suggested that they could be sewn together on a diagonal to make a scarf -- and here we are.
I made these squares out of homespun gotten from Michael's. Each is relatively small, crocheted just twice around. I stuck them together using red thread. I figure, even if they come apart they can easily be sewn back together again -- not like a usual crocheted scarf that would just unravel.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
For this year's Pi Day I created two (count 'em two) beautiful pies. Keep in mind, I've never made a pie before in my life, let alone made two different ones.
The first pie is cherry, made with frozen cherries. That's the one with the lattice over top. The second pie is mixed berry, with blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. This second pie I covered with cut-outs of leaves. In both pies I increased the amount of almond extract to be equal to the vanilla. Not entirely sure why I decided to do that -- I think it has to do with the smell of it.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I absolutely couldn’t help myself — when I saw the theme for this month’s Sugar High Friday (food to seduce) I immediately had two great ideas: a Raspberry-Clementine Trifle and Raspberry-Prosecco Gelatin. The first recipe comes from my darling sister-in-law Tessa, who made trifles for our family’s winter solstice dinner. We called them “Get Laid” trifles — because they are so good and so tasty. The second is a recipe I love because it involves my favorite type of wine: prosecco. They’re an adult take on traditional jello and because the fruit is frozen while the gelatin is only cold, it creates a pleasing set of different temperatures in your mouth.
The day before:
2 Pt. Raspberries
1/4 C. Sugar
2 tsp. Lemon juice
1″ Fresh Ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Combine and toss, let sit two hours then refrigerate overnight. Discard ginger and reserve juice.
The day of:
3 Clementines, segmented and peeled
2 sprigs Mint, torn or chopped
2 tsp Honey
½ Vanilla bean, split and scraped [couldn’t find the beans, so I used Vanilla extract, which worked fine]
Combine all ingredients in small bowl and set aside
1/2 C. Water
1/2 C. Sugar
1/4 C. Clementine juice
Combine in small saucepan, bring to boil. Cool. Add optional splash of raspberry syrup
1 1/2 C. Heavy cream
2 Tbl. Sugar
Whip together to soft peaks.
1/2 C. Gingerbread cookies, crushed [or Shortbread cookies - I couldn’t find the gingerbread]
6 Lady-fingers or Italian coffee cookies
6 Gingerbread cookies
Sprigs of mint
To assemble, in six parfait/wine glasses:
Soak one half of lady finger in syrup for a few moments, place in glass
Top with spoonful of raspberries
Top with spoonful of clementines
Spoon in some whipped cream
Top with some crushed cookie
Repeat each layer and garnish with mint and a cookie.
1 (6-ounce) package raspberry-flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
2 cups Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries, not thawed
Whisk the gelatin and boiling water in a medium bowl until the gelatin is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate until lukewarm, about 25 minutes. Stir in the Prosecco. Cover and refrigerate until the gelatin thickens but does not set, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Stir in the raspberries (bubbles will form in the gelatin mixture). Divide the gelatin among 6 Champagne flutes or individual dessert bowls. Cover and refrigerate until the gelatin is set, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Friday, February 2, 2007
Thursday, February 1, 2007
The cat sortof throws the scale off — because he’s a very large cat on a relatively large almost-blanket. I made this blanket by simply making a really large granny square. The yarn is a really soft boucle, and it tends to bind to itself, creating a very flexible, soft fabric. Because it’s binding so well the checkerboard holes from the granny square pattern aren’t as big as they normally are in a granny square — so I think this will be a pretty warm blanket even with all the holes.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Dinner tonight: fake samosas and couscous. By fake samosas I mean pie crust pockets filled with curry-cumin-cayenne flavored potatos, peas, carrots, onions and garlic. Next door to the samosa imposter is a box couscous flavored with mushrooms and herbs.
Pillsbury Just-Unroll Pie Crust (or store brand)
1 Large Yukon Potato
Mix of Frozen Peas and Carrots
Half an Onion
Teaspoon Minced Garlic
Teaspoon of Veg. Oil
Cut potato into small chunks, put in a pot with water to cover, and boil for about 20 minutes. Saute chopped onion and garlic in the oil. Add spices and mix. When the onion is cooked, remove from heat and add peas-and-carrots mix to the pan. When potato is done, add potato chunks to everything else. Possibly add more spices if the mix looks a little lonely. Take the pie crust, roll it out a little thinner than to begin with, and cut out six rounds. Take the scraps, squish them together, roll it out, and then cut another two or so rounds. Fill each round with a small amount of the mixture. Fold the dough over to create half-circle shapes. Use a fork to squish the edges together. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for twenty minutes. Yum.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
For this experiment I used LorAnn flavorings for the first time. Because the bottle said that the product was “super concentrated” I used a lot less than my recipe called for — big mistake. Each candy tasted mostly like corn syrup and only a little like strawberry flavoring. Next time I’ll probably add a whole bottle to one batch of candy.
The actual candy making process wasn’t that difficult.
1 & 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
liquid food coloring
Stir all the ingredients together in a medium pot. Cook over medium heat until temp reaches 300 degrees (or hard crack stage). Immediately remove from heat at 300, allow bubbles to subside, then add flavoring and food coloring. Probably about 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of flavoring (or a whole bottle of LorAnn flavoring) will work. Drop in food coloring until you reach a color that you like.
I used a plastic oriental soup spoon to stir and ladle the candy into the mold. I’ve seen recipes that recommend using a small funnel to make sure all the candy ends up in the mold. Although I had some strings and globs on my mold (since I don’t have a funnel), they weren’t a big issue.
A word about the molds: For this batch I used silicone ice cube molds that I bought at Target (I’ve seen them many other places as well). These babies worked like a dream. I poured the candy in (without oiling the mold), let the candy set, and then twisted the mold to pop the candy out. No mess, perfect candy.
Cleanup: Let me warn you right now: cleaning up hard candy can be difficult. I put my pot (with some candy still in the bottom) in the sink, added some water, and *poof* — pot full of rock hard candy. It turns out that soaking a pot in hot water for about half an hour disolves and loosens the candy enough for it to come out of the pot.