Fruity Marshmallows

 
If you can boil water, beat egg whites or read a thermometer, you can make marshmallows. Soft, fluffy pillows that melt in your mouth, they taste nothing like their commercial counterparts. Be creative by infusing flavor, or keep it simple with classic vanilla. Once you’ve tasted a homemade marshmallow, they’ll be no going back to the ones on your grocers’ shelf.
 
Recipe for Raspberry and Passionfruit Marshmallows
3 T. unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold fruit purée, strained if there are seeds
1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
pinch salt
confectioners’ sugar
 
Makes about 40 marshmallows
 
Spray a 9″ square pan with Pam. With a paper towel, wipe off excess and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
 
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the fruit purée and gelatin. Set aside for 10 minutes.
 
 
Meanwhile, make the sugar syrup. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 cup water and salt in a saucepan. Stir gently over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then raise the heat to medium high and attach a candy thermometer. Boil until the temperature reaches 240F, then remove from heat.
Attach the whisk to the mixer, and on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin. Increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture becomes very thick, about 8-10 minutes.
 
 
 
Using a rubber spatula, scrape the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. It will be sticky so work quickly. Smooth the top and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Allow to set uncovered overnight at room temperature.
TIP: Marshmallow making is sticky business, but cleanup is easy using hot
water.
 
Next day, release the marshmallow mixture from the pan by running a knife along the edges and then turning it out onto a cutting board dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
 
Using kitchen shears, cut into long strips. I found shears work much better than a knife or pastry cutter.
Cut the strips into squares. Dip the cut ends in confectioners’ sugar to keep them from sticking.
 
Or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes.
 
 
 
Store in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Parmesan

Recipe

2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1 Parmesan cheese rind
2 bay leaves
3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and
chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 T. Parmesan cheese, grated
3 fresh sage leaves, diced
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/8 t. cayenne
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
salt and pepper
Makes 10 cups

 

In a large stockpot, sauté onions and celery in the olive oil until tender.
Add the stock, Parmesan rind and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover partially, and simmer for 15 minutes.

 

Add the squash and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.

Remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaves.
Purée about half the soup in a food processor until smooth.
Return the purée to the pot and add the nutmeg, sage, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and cayenne.
Simmer for 2 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped parsley.

Falafel Burger

While on vacation recently, I had the most delicious and unusual burger. It was a falafel burger (genius!) topped with a yogurt sauce, hummus, lettuce and tomato. Love at first bite! I couldn’t wait to get home and try to make one. As it turns out, it couldn’t be easier. So move over veggie burger and make room for a new favorite!

Recipe adapted from Patricia Wells
1-1/4 cups dried chickpeas
1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup cilantro, minced
1/2 t. ground coriander
1 t. cumin

Makes 6 patties
 
Soak the dried chickpeas in cold water to cover by 2 inches and allow to soak for 12-24 hours at room temperature.

Drain the liquid and discard. Purée the chickpeas, garlic, onion, cilantro, and spices in a food processor until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Form the mixture into patties and set aside to dry slightly, about 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add burgers and cook over medium heat until nicely browned on both sides.

Serve with tahini lemon yogurt sauce, grilled onions, lettuce and tomato.

Delicious! You’ll never miss the beef.

Tahini Lemon Yogurt Sauce
1/4 c. tahini
1/2 c. plain yogurt
2 T. lemon juice
1 garlic clove

Purée all ingredients in a food processor.

Fennel, Celery, and Orange Salad

After 2 months of overindulging during the holidays, I’ve had my fill of butter and cream. What I’m craving now is fresh and light. In this simple yet delicious salad, color, texture, and flavor come together in perfect harmony. Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese adds a salty richness.

Recipe- adapted from Mark Bittman
Serves 4

2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 oranges, peel and pith removed, sliced
Parmesan cheese, shaved
Fennel fronds (the feathery greens on the fennel stalk)
Salt and pepper
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Olive oil

 
Use a mandoline to thinly slice the fennel

Remove the peel and pith (white part) of the orange. Slice into rounds, then in half.Using a vegetable peeler, shave Parmesan cheese.

Mix lemon juice with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with fennel, celery and orange slices. Garnish with Parmesan shavings and fennel fronds.

Serve chilled.

Happy New Year 2012!

For the past nine years it’s been a family tradition to spend the holidays between Christmas and New Years in Aspen, Colorado. Wintry Aspen is a jewel of a town. It’s majestic mountains are frosted in powdery white snow, transforming it into a skiers paradise. But this year has been unseasonably warm and sunny.There is snow in the mountains and a dusting in town, but conditions for skiing are less than stellar. Nevertheless, Aspen’s beauty still abounds.  

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
As 2011 comes to an end, I’d like to thank you for visiting. Your support and encouragement has warmed my heart.  
My sincere wishes to you all for a happy 2012, filled with good health, good friends, peace and joy!