Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Holidays And A Recipe for Homemade Marshmallows

Wishing you the warmest of celebrations this season, perhaps over a cup or two of hot cocoa dressed with homemade marshmallows. This recipe was a successful find from The Clever Carrot; made without corn syrup. 

Peace, health and prosperity throughout the holidays, winter solstice and into the New Year!

  • cooking spray
  • ½ c. water + ¼ c.
  • 3 tablespoons (3 packets) unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 c. sugar
  • ½ c. evaporated milk
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ c. powdered sugar
  • ½ c. cornstarch
Cooking tools:
  • clutter free workspace
  • stand mixer
  • non-stick 8x8 or 9x13 pan*
  • parchment paper
  • candy thermometer*
  • rubber spatula
  • sifter
  • sharp knife, pizza wheel or kitchen scissors
*I recommend using a non-stick pan, but glass or metal will do. For thick marshmallows, use an 8x8 pan. For thinner marshmallows, use a 9x13 pan.
    *In order for your marshmallows to set properly, the milk and sugar must be heated to approximately 250 F. Regular thermometers only go up to 220 F.
      1. Generously coat the bottom and sides of your pan with cooking spray.
      2. Cut the parchment paper to fit the inside of your pan. You should have about 2 inches of overhang on each side. These will be your 'handles' for easy removal.
      3. Pour ½ cup water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the gelatin and allow to soften, about 10 minutes.
      4. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, evaporated milk, and ¼ cup water. Whisk over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
      5. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 247- 250 F, about 10-15 minutes.
      6. Add the hot syrup to the gelatin mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated.*See important note below.
      7. If using a vanilla bean, slice it in half lengthwise with a pairing knife. Scrape out the seeds using the blade of the knife. Add the seeds (or vanilla extract) to the bowl.
      8. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, fluffy, and tripled in volume, about 10-15 minutes. Your marshmallows will be a glossy, creamy white color.
      9. Using a rubber spatula, quickly scrape out the mixture into the prepared pan. Lightly coat your spatula with cooking spray and smooth out the surface. Marshmallows set very quickly, so you will need to work fast. Do not worry about getting every last bit of marshmallow out of the bowl or making the top perfectly smooth!
      10. Allow the mixture to set, uncovered (not refrigerated) for at least 8 hours- overnight.
      11. After the marshmallows have set, combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly.
      12. Spoon some of the mixture into a sifter, and sift over the top of the marshmallows and a cutting board.
      13. Using the parchment handles, remove the marshmallows from the pan and place onto your board.
      14. Dust a large chef's knife, pizza wheel, or kitchen scissors with the powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture so that they do not stick to the marshmallows.
      15. Cut the marshmallows into 1-inch squares.
      16. Toss the marshmallows into the mixture to prevent sticking.
      17. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
      * Because evaporated milk is a tan color, your mixture will initially be brown. Do not fret- after 10-15 minutes of mixing on high speed, your marshmallows will become a soft, creamy white color.   

      Friday, December 5, 2014

      Homemade Chicken Patties

      Though I mostly brown-bagged my way through public school, chicken patty day was one I splurged on. Thank you Uncle Sam for giving us school kids something to show you care.

      I know it's gross. But I liked the super soft white bun, snow white whirl, and leaf of iceberg smothering the crisp, ultra salty excuse for chicken in a perfect round puck. It was like a chicken nugget sandwich. For a $1.95. What's not to like? (Don't answer). 

      Yesterday, with a fair amount of roasted dark meat in the fridge, and getting a little bored of the usual applications, I started thinking about my school days. So I went for it. 

      Warning: placing any amount of meat in a food processor may seem like a terrible, awful idea. And it would be if you just blended it up and dove in with a fork. But if you keep going and mix it with a creamy bechamel, grainy mustard and locally milled corn flour, then roll spoonfuls of the mixture in cracker crumbs then pan fry, you will be glad you followed through. You could even slap these bad boys on a fresh yeast roll and smother with some homemade mayo. Or make them smaller and serve with honey mustard as an appetizer. Sorry Uncle Samuel, these win. 

      Homemade Chicken Patties:
      *about 3 cups pulled roasted chicken meat, preferably dark meat
      *2 tablespoons butter
      *1/2 cup plus 1 heaping tablespoon flour, divided
      *1 1/2 cups whole milk
      *pinch grated nutmeg
      *sea salt
      *fresh ground black pepper
      *3 tablespoons grainy mustard
      *1 egg
      *1 cup quality corn meal
      *1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs or panko bread crumbs
      *olive oil for frying

      Place chicken meat in food processor and blend until uniform. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside. Make bechamel: Place a medium saucepan over medium heat with butter. Once melted add 1 tablespoon flour and whisk until incorporated. Allow to brown, whisking constantly. Slowly pour in milk while whisking. Bring to a simmer, and stir until sauce thickens. Season with nutmeg, sea salt and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches a smooth pancake batter consistancy. Stir in the mustard. Adjust seasonings. 
      Place a large cast iron pan over medium heat and add enough olive oil to pan fry.
      Mix bechamel with chicken and egg. Add enough cornmeal to create a spoonable mixture. Stir together remaining flour and bread crumbs in a small bowl. Season with sea salt. Working in batches, gently form about 3-4 tablespoons of chicken mixture into a loose ball and roll in flour/crumb mixture. Gently flatten and place in pan. Brown each side of patty, flipping once halfway through. Transfer to a cooling rack lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve with some homemade honey mustard sauce.