When I was driving home with my mom (or, rather, riding in the car, since I can't use my left leg to drive anyone's standard cars) we saw these cows, and turned around to take a picture. The cows were standing in line, in the middle of an empty field. It was a lot funnier than I was able to portray in this picture. But the fact that there are cows around, sigh, means that there are farms and green fields and gardens in things other than pots... Someday I'll live outside of dirty Philly and maybe not have so much of a hate/love/hate relationship with the place I live in. Did you know that I harbor not-so-secret dreams of living back in New England and growing vegetables and having chickens and having a place for Puff to run around?
Well, now you know. Did you know that I love candy, and marshmallows are easy to make? And magic? Similar to beating egg whites into fluffy, big meringues, making marshmallows takes a syrup of water, corn syrup, and sugar combined with a few packets of gelatin, and makes something delicious and fluffy and sticky and huge. This recipe was in Gourmet in July, I've made it a few times and really, it's awesome. And fairly easy. And impresses people, how many people do you know that make marshmallows?
1/2 c cold water
3 1/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 c water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup potato starch or corn starch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Dissolve the gelatin in the bowl of your mixer (not hand-held! You need a heavy-duty stand mixer! And with a whisk attachment) with the first 1/2 c cold water. Let sit for about 15 minutes, while you make a syrup from the sugar, corn syrup, salt and water. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, and then bring to a boil and cook for about 8 minutes (to 240 degrees, but I've never temp'ed it, just gone with 8 minutes). Turn your mixer onto low (by this point, all your gelatin should have dissolved in the water) and slowly and carefully pour the hot syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin. Slowly (seriously, otherwise hot liquid will splash all over and it will hurt) turn the mixer up to high, and then go do something else, like wash your dishes or eat some pizza. Oh, but first, line a pan (13x9) with foil, and grease the foil. Once your syrupy mix has turned into a lot of fluffy white stuff (about the consistency of Fluff), scrape it into your pan, smoothing the top, or just slamming the pan down onto the counter. Walk away for about 4 hours, maybe go see The Dark Knight, and then come back and mix your corn/potato starch and confectioners sugar in a bowl. Dust a work surface with that mix, then turn the marshmallow rectangle out onto it, and carefully peel off the foil. Dust the bottom (now top) and then cut into strips, dusting each side as you cut, and then into cubes, dusting as you go. These keep for a while.