Thursday, April 21, 2011

Life Is Sweet, with a recipe

Such a full day!

With no kids around (except the last one to succumb to the tummy bug, who was tucked into her bunk and never made a peep) I took advantage of feeling soooo much better than yesterday. I am so grateful that simplifying my food, back to soup and eggs, made such a difference so quickly.

Projects! I had things to do: can the stock that had been simmering for a day and a half, make honey candy for the kids' Easter, clean the 30 pounds of geoducks that had shown up miraculously this morning. In addition to things like picking up the Blondie girlie from her friend's house, getting her to ballet, dropping her back for a "double sleepover". And hitting the health food store for the makings of horse clam chowder (Intro friendly!) for tonight's dinner. 

Somehow it all got pulled off gracefully and I never got tired until midway through dinner. The Professional had woken me at 4:30 am with her version of the tummy bug and I never got much more sleep, so it is catching up with me. I am looking forward to a lovely night, as the vertigo is improving. Not gone, but much better--like riding the Cups and Saucers instead of the Loop de Loop.

I only got a portion of the candy done, but it was the important part: the marshmallows, which have to set for a couple of days. Ever since we started the SCD, I have made honey candy for Easter. It's a GAPS compatible splurge, better than the Halloween binge I have no control over (not with two teens and a tween at home).  I won't be eating any--it's definitely not o.k. for Intro--but I may save a couple of pieces for later. I only make it once a year after all.

Blondina with the treat
The marshmallows get cut into chicks, eggs and bunnies with special marshmallow cutters. I tint coconut with turmeric and beet juice for yellow "peeps" and pink eggs. The bunnies get rolled gently in cocoa (I have locally-made raw organic cocoa this year! Thanks Denise!) and are the most adorable "chocolate" bunnies ever. This year I made them with amazing duck egg whites--they turned out so fluffy and white (thank you so much Christopher!)

In addition, I will make almond brittle (just honey, butter and soaked/toasted slivered almonds) and truffles (chocolate with cream or coconut milk, and flavors--we like chili!, rolled in nuts, coconut or cocoa). Yeah, I know cocoa is very advanced, but my family isn't doing GAPS. And all of this is a far sight better than the norm. The kids want me to try lollipops again. The one year I made them, I didn't cook the honey long enough and they stayed gooey--still yummy, but not lollipops. I have ideas to make them work this time.

In Longboat with the loot
In case you think all we do is gorge on sweets, the tradition for years has been to do a scavenger hunt where the clues take the pack of kids  --who have to work together to solve the rhyming riddles--- all over the marina, until they end up where the baskets are hidden. We always seem to have a guest or two--the more, the merrier. The baskets are candy-free, containing things like stuffed animals, stickers, little plants, and tiny toys. It gets harder with teenagers, but believe me, they still look forward to the whole ritual. When they have found the baskets, they come into the galley for the treats. 

Last Easter, Blondina and I took our homemade candy in a basket around the marina. We are the only family here with children, but there are older couples whose kids are gone and single men, none of whom have family around. You should have seen their faces! They were so surprised and thrilled that we had come visiting, bearing our tiny treats...

The Captain's parents live near us, having moved to the area last summer. We will have celebratory salmon dinner with Grandmom and Granddad, share the rest of our treats and watch Downton Abbey, a British serial that has been engrossing us all.  I will be bringing part of the offerings, including some geoduck chowder to share, that I can eat for my meal.

This is the essence of a holiday, no? Watching the kids have a blast together, sharing a meal with extended family, and sharing ourselves and our treats with others. This is pure joy, a necessity for life. The candy is optional.

Homemade Honey Marshmallows
(which I have been making so long I am not sure where I got the recipe--If you know, please tell me)


5 tsp (or 2 envelopes) gelatin--I use Bernard Jensen's
1/2 cup water
1.5 cups honey (lighter is better for a white candy,  each honey gives a different flavor and color)
1/3 cup water
one egg white
coconut flour (or other fine powder for coating the pan--cocoa works, so do almond flour and shredded coconut, it depends on how you want them to look when done)

Parchment or waxed paper
A 9 x 12 or similar pan (smaller= thicker marshmallows)
A candy thermometer
A mixer, stand or hand


~Line the pan with the paper, letting it extend up the sides. Make a fine layer of the flour.
~Put the 1/2 cup water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it, being careful to avoid clumps
~Mix the honey and 1/3 cup water in a large-ish saucepan (the honey will foam) and heat until 240 degrees F (soft ball stage). Add gelatin mixture, stir. Let cool ten minutes.
~Toward the end of the syrup cooling time, beat the egg white just to stiff peaks (still moist, not dry)
~With the beaters on medium, add the syrup to the egg white slowly. Continue beating on high until stiff peaks. The volume will triple or quadruple--at least!
~Spread into prepared pan and set in a safe dry place for 24-48 hours.
~Cut into squares or shapes (use simple cookie cutters, if deep enough, dipped in coconut flour)
~Toss in shredded coconut, cocoa, coconut flour, etc. Your choice. If you want to tint the coconut (the flour doesn't tint well), use natural colorings or things you have around: turmeric for yellow, beet juice for pink, purple cabbage juice for blue (or blueberry juice), any juiced green for green. And so on.
~Don't forget to share these! People have never heard of homemade marshmallows--you will make their day!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe. Can you share the recipe for the almond brittle??

Erica Gott, aka Erratica said...

Oh, thank you for this recipe! I've never made marshmallows, but thought you had to use nasty corn syrup. (I have tried to make my grandmother's divinity recipe once, similar procedure). Can't wait to try this.

Justine Raphael said...

Hi Anonymous--I will try to do that recipe today...

Erica--you are so welcome! Have fun making them--it feels like a bit of magic...

Welcome to both of you!

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