DIY Real Vanilla Extract

Well we’ve had an eventful year already. The Chef found out that he had a pretty good size hernia late last year, and the hospital couldn’t fit him in until the beginning of the year. The day of the surgery they told us he wouldn’t be up and moving for 3-4 days. Wrong. It was a good week before he was willingly getting up and moving on his own. So that was fun. But it’s taken me about two weeks to get back in the groove of things. Guess I can’t complain. When half of your team is down, it’s then you realize how much you depend on them!

One of the things that The Chef and I have been making ourselves for quite some time is homemade vanilla. It’s so incredibly easy, and your wallet will love it. A small bottle of real vanilla extract at the stores cost anywhere from $7 on up. What many people don’t know is real extract is more than likely just infused alcohol.

I think you see where I’m going with this.

We used a cheap clear 750ml bottle (or somewhere around that size) with a pop-top to hunker it down (or just use the vodka bottle if you’ll be using it all).

Filling the bottle with a vodka of your choice (we used Svedka because you can get a pretty big bottle of it at Costco for $21, good quality while still on the cheap side), cut open 2-4 vanilla beans, length-wise, and scrape the seeds out of the pod and into the bottle. Once the seeds are transferred, drop the pods in as well. Place somewhere safe for 2-3 weeks.

The Everyday Chef and Wife : DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

Over the course of the weeks, you’ll see the alcohol start to turn tan, to a light amber, to brownish amber. This is the color we want! (Depending on how big your bottle is will depend on how many vanilla beans you will need to use. If after two weeks it’s still not dark enough, scrape out and add another bean for another week.) The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla ExtractFilter out all bean pods at the end, when you have achieved the color. The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla ExtractPour the extract back into the bottle and voilá! You now have a huge bottle of vanilla extract that tastes amazing and will lasts you months (if not years. However much you make sweets 🙂 ) I go through mine in about 6 months. I definitely needed a cheaper version than the $7+ sample size bottle from the stores. Ugh. The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

*Tip: The cheapest place the buy vanilla beans, that we’ve found, is World Market. You can find them in a small ziplock bag (not the bottle) for $2.99 for two beans. AMAZING! But if you know of another place that has them even cheaper, let us (and everyone else) know!!The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

Did you know that the imitation vanilla and some vanilla extracts, aren’t even vanilla? They contain or are actually vanillin which is a common vanilla flavoring made out of a component found in wood. It is also easy to make synthetically. Not exactly what we’re looking for when preparing quality made foods, amiright? Read labels!

I hope you all are baking plenty and staying cozy!! Lets hope and pray for no more surgeries in 2015! YES LORD!

-The Everyday Chef and Wife

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Dinner Tonight 10-24-14

I made vegan pasta! Wanna know how?

Flour, salt and water.

The Chef had a personal chef cook day, and he’s always hungry by them time he gets home. And he never wants the leftovers that he might have of the food he just made. It was up to me to scour the fridge.

I found leftover Brussels sprouts from our garden, and an heirloom tomato. That’s not all we have in our fridge, believe me , but it’s what piqued my interest. But what could I make with it to fill our bellies?

Homemade pasta.

I know I posted way earlier about homemade pasta, and it’s a good recipe. But to me it was just a little to much to just whip something up. Call me lazy. I decided to just try flour, salt and water instead of the original recipe. I want things cheap but good. I like to get back to the basic of basics.

I roughly diced the tomatoes and cut the sprouts. Oiled em up and flopped it on a cookie sheet, and popped it in the oven to roast.

For the pasta I took about a cup of flour and around a half a cup of water and a sprinklage of salt. This isn’t exact. I added more water and then more flour to get a smooth textured ball, kneading it a few minutes to really work the gluten. Letting the dough rest for about 10 minutes wrapped in plastic wrap, I prepared for the following steps. Wipe down the counter, lightly sprinkle with flour, get your fav rolling pin, and go to town. To the town of pasta.

I rolled mine as thin as I could pooooossibly roll it. It had such a beautiful, smooth surface. I worked any excess flour into the dough as I was rolling it out because I had to peel it off the counter. But it was really quite perfect; when you eat the cooked pasta, you didn’t get the excess flour/starch left on. Delightfully light and tender.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, salting the water for extra flavor. This isn’t a step to skip. Salt your water.

Using the rolling pin as your cutting guide, and a pizza cutter as your tool, roll the pizza cutter against the side of the rolling pin to cut the pasta into whatever-width-you-desire strips. Toss them into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Strain but don’t rinse.

With the pasta in a personal sized bowl, I put in just a touch of butter to melt over top, but I think some really good EVOO would be just as tasty. Use good stuff. Sprinkle some fresh Parmesan on, a little bit of lemon zest (that really rocked it!) and salt and pepper. Top with the roasted veggies.

*Note: this dish is not vegan with the Parmesan cheese or butter but they are completely optional.

Holy cow it’s like I’m in Italy. Or I could imagine. (Anyone want to put me up??) The flavors were perfect. The slight al dente bite of the pasta mixed perfectly with the roasted veggies. The tomatoes were sweet and flavorful, and the Brussel sprouts gave it a slight earthy flavor, but the Parmesan and lemon zest really hit it out of the park. It was so simple and clean tasting. I could’ve ate 10 bowls. Lemon zest on pasta could be my new favorite thing…

No pictures this time as it was 9 pm when we ate and we scarfed it down so fast that my shutter probably wouldn’t have been able to capture it anyways.

But I would like to make a quick video about it… Hopefully soon. *hint hint on what’s in the works possibly* we’re getting our ducks in a row…

Wow! So 90% of that meal came from the work of my very own hands. I grew the veggies, and I made the pasta. How much more satisfying can you get? And it was really quite easy. I feel like lasagna would be harder.

That reminds me. I haven’t made lasagna in a while.

Try out vegan pasta! It’s so easy and satisfying! You’ll feel accomplished, I promise you that.

Whew with full, happy bellies, I wish you good morning/day/night.
-The Wife
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Garden Veggie Quiche For Anytime of the Day

Garden Veggie Quiche |The Everyday Chef and Wife

When I (The Wife) was growing up my mother made quiches on rotation, but instead of having it in the morning, we had it for dinner. Not until I married The Chef did I realize that quiches are generally served for breakfast/brunch. Blew my mind! But to this day, every time I think of quiche, I think of dinner, even though I will eat quiche for breakfast if that’s what’s served.

Quiche is such a simple yet elegant dish. There are endless possibilities to throw in. As long as you have eggs, pie crust, a bit of cheese (if you so choose), and an imagination, you will more than likely have a fabulous quiche.

I chose to get rid of some of our garden veggies that keep replenishing. I grabbed out our mandolin and shredded half of a yellow squash, a third of a huuuge zucchini, 1 1/2 big heirloom tomatoes, and just a little bit of onion.

Garden Veggie Quiche |The Everyday Chef and Wife

Preheat the oven to 350˚.

I made my go-to pie crust and instead of rolling it out, I pressed it in. I have been seeing this method on various food videos and I wanted to try it out to see if it was something worth continuing. End result: it’s less messy on your counter tops, you don’t have to wash the rolling pin, but it was basically the same. I’ll leave it up to you if you want to try it. Rolling or pressing, just get that crust in there! 🙂

I layered it in a flower pattern, changing veggies on every level. It was really quite gorgeous. I continued until the veggies reached about 3/4 of the way up the pie pan.

I took about 5 eggs and about 1/4 cup of milk, a couple cloves of chopped up garlic , 1/4-1/2 tsp salt, a pinch or two of pepper, and a few shakes of dried thyme. Whisk it all together until well combined. Pour into the pie pan over the veggies. It’ll sink down more and get into all the cracks and crevices by itself, so don’t worry about that. Garden Veggie Quiche |The Everyday Chef and WifeTop with a good layer of some good cheddar cheese. Pop in the oven and bake for 40-45 min until the cheese is melted and the middle isn’t wiggly. Pull it out and let it sit for about 10 minutes before dishing up.

I made this for The Chef, and my two friends who came over, and everyone went back for seconds. The pie made like Houdini and disappeared. I’d say that’s a pretty successful healthy dinner. Or brunch if that’s your kind of thing. Another Chef tested, wife approved meal! Or Wife tested, Chef approved… Basically, I made it and he liked it.

Ok poll, who has quiches at breakfast/brunch and who has it for dinner? I’m kind of interested in seeing if I was just raised weird. (Love you ma! I agree with you; quiches at night 😉 )

What is your favorite quiche filling? Any crazy ones?

-The Wife

A catering event for the books!

Sometimes I wish I could just attend the parties we throw, instead of working them (behind the scenes, babysitting, etc.). This past weekend The Chef threw one heck of a partay. I was able to help with the creation of the dessert small bites (and by that I mean I thought of them and tried them out to see how they would work… I didn’t actually make them for the event. A professional did that :P). I love all the events that The Chef’s done, but since I was able to see photographic proof of this one, I wish I could’ve attended as a guest. I would have ate my whole weights worth.

I’m not going to tell you how much that is though.

I made a call to my photography colleague/friend from college, Marcella, who also graduated in photography, if she wouldn’t mind running down to the event to capture the deliciousness of the party. Let me tell you, it looked AH-mazing! (and I’ve had some of the left overs and those are pretty fantabulous as well.) She did so fantastic. We have booked her for future events when I’m stuck at home with The Little Man… Thank you Marcella!!!

The Chef did pasta stations where you can custom create your own plate with noodle types, sauces and toppings, along with different appetizers and charcuterie boards, cheese platters (cheese from Appertivo at the Downtown Market), and homemade desserts. I think my favorite is the ice bowls that we made with pansies and herbs frozen inside, encompassing Love’s Ice Cream’s Pumpkin and Thyme Sorbet, and also the homemade caramel corn (my recipe :)) in paper cones that they received right as they walked into the venue. “Please beam me right into that party, Scotty.”

Photo Credit to Marcella Jo Photography

*Descriptions of what each item is can be seen when hovering over the photo.*

Pasta Station

Small bites

Homemade Desert – Made by Brigitte Fouch

The Chef even did a cooking demonstration on grilling tips and techniques and how to make the Pots de Créme!

Thank you to everyone who helped out and made it a great event! Thank you to the Downtown Market for being such a great venue to work at! It is gorgeous!! A special thanks to Appertivo, Field and Fire, and Love’s Ice Cream for helping us out! You guys rock! We love doing business with you!

We are ready for more! We can’t wait to show off your dream parties and ideas!

-The Everyday Chef and Wife

 

Easy Homemade Peach Compote and Cream

Homemade Peach Compote with Cream

The summer has almost faded. I’m slightly torn with how I feel about it. On the one hand, the summer gives us yummy fruits, sunny beach days, warm nights for bonfires and stargazing, fresh garden treats and soooo much more.

But the fall gives us pumpkin flavored everything, spices, cozy nights, fuzzy socks and big sweaters, game nights by the fireplace, the ability to actually want to cuddle instead of pushing your significant other away for fear of suffocating heat.

I loooove fall. But more on that later.

Let’s make the most of summer while we can. Wring out the warmth and goodness for as long as we have it.

So confession. I have this problem about not using up the last of things. Especially fruit. It always seems to go bad before I can use it. I have all these great ideas that I want to use them for, and then poof. Fruit fly heaven. But this time, this time I was determined to use the last of these darn peaches for something. Then it hit me. Peach compote.

I have realized the amazingness of making my own jams and jellies. Compotes included. You have any fruit that needs to be used up? Just throw it in a pot with some sugar and water and maybe a bit of lemon juice and you’re golden. It’s pretty soothing.

Anyways, my three peaches needed to be used pronto. I saw the fruit flies circling it like vultures. For this compote I used:

Said three peaches, peeled and cut into chunks
3 Tbsp of sugar (you can choose to do more or less. Sweetness is to taste)
1/2 cup of water
1-2 tsp corn starch (mixed with a tiny bit of cold water to dissolve)
The juice of one small lemon (or half of a large one).

Cook on medium-high heat for 15-20 min. Let cool a bit before serving. Take cold cream (heavy or half & half) and pour over top. Serve and enjoy!

Make sure you taste the compote to be sure it’s to your liking. The lemon gives it a slight tanginess, but it’s more for depth of flavor. I found that it definitely needed it. Without it, it didn’t have enough flavor.

Use up those fruits! Take advantage of summer! But please God, let fall be close by!! My sweaters are calling my name.

-The Wife-

Quinoa Risotto Taco Salad

Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten Free

I feel like quinoa has shot up over the past few years. Growing up I never heard it muttered, and now everywhere you look quinoa is taking center stage. It’s awesome actually because not only is it yummy to the thousandth degree, but the healthy benefits are crazy good for you. That’s a win-win-win in my book.

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The Chef inspired me to not only make quinoa, but to cook it as you would a risotto. I for one have never made risotto, but I’ve seen him make it multiple times. I was inspired! I grabbed my economy sized bag of quinoa and ran! If this was going to taste anything like ground beef, I was for it. Any excuse I have to use a ground beef substitute, I’m for it. I have not taken the role of a vegetarian, but meat is definitely not my favorite food. (Except burgers…. I looove me some burgers!!)

Dice a medium sized onion and place it in a large skillet drizzled slightly with oil. Cook over medium high heat until onion start to caramelize. Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten FreeAdd in 1 cup of uncooked quinoa. Toast slightly. This creates another flavor profile, ever so slightly to the quinoa.

Add in a cup or two of vegetable stock. (You can use any stock you prefer, but if you’re doing quinoa, you might as well keep it legit vegetarian right?) The stock is going to cook into the quinoa, as well as evaporate out, so we will be using about 6-7 cups of stock. (As a cheat, you can use a couple cups of water if need be. But you should use mostly stock. We threw in some plain ‘ol water and it didn’t diminish the flavor.)Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten Free Once the quinoa soaks up the majority of the stock, add in more until fully cooked.Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten Free To test, get a spoon a try it out. It should be al dente. Not too crunchy, but still a touch of firmness. This will take close to 35 minutes or longer.Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten Free

Once the quinoa if cooked, add in your spices. For taco seasoning use:

2 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
A couple shakes of paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

* This is all to taste. You can add more or less if you’d like to fit your taste buds.

The hard part is over! You have quinoa risotto taco “meat”. Sprinkle on some drained and rinsed black beans, avocado, tomatoes, cheese (if you prefer or you can go vegan and omit it completely), and whatever other taco toppings you like! It’s that easy folks. Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten Free

Next we are going to try this in some tortilla shells! I. Can’t. Wait.

Sounds like something you’d try? Test it out and let us know what you think!

-The Wife-

 

Grilled Peaches with Homemade Mascarpone, Honey and Almonds

Grilled Peaches and Mascarpone Cheese

This creation though. Holy smokes.

We first had this up at our friends cabin a couple months ago and we have not been able to stop thinking about it. The flavor of the grilled peaches is out of this world, mixed with the creaminess of the mascarpone just slightly beginning to melt, and the sweetness of the honey and the earthy crunch of the almonds…. Do I sound like a Food Network host yet? It is a perfect summer treat.

Plus, they are an easy ‘wow’ to impress guests (or your stomach) with, that doesn’t take a ton of time or effort. (As long as you have the homemade mascarpone cheese already made.)

Fire up yer grill and lets get cookin’!

No serious, fire up your grill.

Wipe down the grates with an eensie bit of oil to ensure no sticking occurs. Cut the peaches in half, pitting them, and then quarter them (you could technically just half them if you wanted too). The Chef wants to note that when you cut the peach to place them on a cutting board, and with the knife already having punctured it, roll it until a complete circle has been made.

Then taking the peach between your hands, gently twist and pull until the peach comes into two parts. Now you can decide to quarter them or leave them as is.

We decided to quarter them.Peaches

Peaches

Make sure your grill is nice and hot so the grate will leave marks on the peach. Place the peaches on the grill and cook until they have good grill marks. When you go to check them, be careful that they don’t move and you have a weird mosaic of grate marks. Unless you like that kind of thing…

Flip them over, if quartered and repeat. When they are looking awesome, take them off and place them on whatever plate(s) you wish to serve them on. It’s a little tricky to move them after you put the mascarpone on. It turns into a slippery little bugger with the hot peach melting it.

Grilled peaches

If you want to make the mascarpone extra pretty, take two spoons, using one of them to scoop of the cheese. Take the other one and scoop it off of the other spoon, going back and forth, and slowly “rounding out” the cheese. It gives it a cleaner look. It’s up to you. Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

After placing the mascarpone cheese on the peach, drizzle just a little honey over top. Sprinkle with chopped up almonds.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Is that not the most delicious thing ever? I love that it’s versatile to either be a side or a dessert. Completely satisfying!

Share this with your friends! It’s too good to keep to yourself…

-The Everyday Chef and Wife-

Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

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This is The Chef’s baby. He is so stoked about this. I (The Wife) have only had mascarpone cheese maybe twice before he discovered how to make it. That stuff is kind of expensive. Have you ever bought it? It’s like $5-7 for 8 oz. No thanks. The Chef figured out how insanely easy (and cheap) it was and has made about 4 batches in 3 weeks. I’ve had mascarpone cheese coming out of my ears! Someone save me!

But it is delicious and there is so much you can use it for. This post will just be for how you make it, but stayed tuned for some yummy ideas!

I tried it out this time to make sure it was as easy as what he was bragging about. If you know how to read a thermometer, then you’re golden. Grab your whipping cream that I just know you have stock piled in your fridge. Oh you don’t? It’s just our weird family who buys it in multiple half-gallon quantities…

You need:

2 cups of heavy whipping cream. The research that we’ve done has suggested not using ultra-pasteurized, but we used Costco’s organic whipping cream, which I believe is ultra pasteurized, and it worked just fine.
1 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
A candy thermometer

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Pour the heavy cream into a medium to large saucepan over medium high heat. Bring the cream to a simmer, being careful not to burn the bottom, until it reads 190˚ F.

Pour in the freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir for 5 minutes, constantly, maintaining the heat at 190˚.

The cream will have thicken enough to coat the back of the spoon. Take off the heat and set the saucepan in a bowl of cold water/ ice water. Let it come to room temperature.

In another large bowl, drape a clean towel, multiple layers of cheese cloth, or what we used, a clean apron, over the bowl. _MG_8228Once the cream has come to room temp, pour onto the cloth etc. and cover the whole bowl with plastic wrap.

Place in a refrigerator, and allow the cream to strain overnight. _MG_8315Once it’s finished straining, work the cheese off of the material and place in an air tight container. You have mascarpone cheese!!

You’ll see cloudy water in the bowl that was drained from the cream. This is the whey. You can throw this out, unless you have some magical use for it. _MG_8319

Since it’s fresh, with no preservatives, it’s best to use the mascarpone cheese within a week. We don’t want any upset tummies. That’s no fun.

Ok, so how easy was that?? Don’t you seriously feel like an artisan cheese maker? I can totally see why The Chef was so excited. I’m more than a little geeked.

Come back to hear what you can do with it now!

-The Everyday Chef and Wife-

 

Fourth of July Feast Week: The Perfected Grilling Burger. (With tips no one tells you about!)

I’m known around these parts as the Burger Queen. I. Love. Burgers. I have a whole (and very real checklist) of what a great burger should consist of that I run through every time I try out a new burger. If I see a burger on the menu, 9 out of 10 times I will order one. Burgers are my weakness.
The Chef makes fun of my addiction. His favorite story is when he took me to a fancy restaurant in our town, the kind that serves beef tips and risotto cooked perfectly and scrapes the bread crumbs from the tablecloth every time a morsel falls , and I ordered the burger.

I’m a cheap date and proud of it.

A burger, a good burger, should have a soft bun that is slightly chewy, fresh and the right amount of condiments, crisp lettuce chopped thin, melted cheese (so many burgers I’ve had has the cheese just slapped on and not melted in the least. What is this?!), and a burger patty that is juicy, seasoned well, and cooked the way I asked.

So do you guys want to know how to make a killer burger!?

I SAID DO YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW TO MAKE A KILLER BURGER?!?!

I thought so…

Follow this step by step and you will get such succulent, flavorful burgers, you’ll want to go spat at the feet of ‘ol-big-red hair-with-creepy-painted-smile man.

But I’m not naming any names.

The Chef has put together some tips for the burgers your about to grill up. Ok first, get good quality  meat, half 80/20 and half ground sirloin. You want a little fat in there to give it flavor and juice. (I am going to give measurements for a lb. of meat.) Next add either 2-3 Tbsp of butter or oil.– this gives it a little more moisture. Pour in about 2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle in 1/2 tsp garlic salt and 1/2 tsp regular salt and 1/4 tsp of fresh ground pepper. Mix it all together until well incorporated.

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That’s it! But now here comes another trick…

With meat, they have strands of protein that help keep it together. When the meat it ground, it breaks about the protein, making it crumble more easily. (Have you had trouble with this is other burgers and have to find a binder like eggs or breadcrumbs? This will eliminate those.) Break off the desired size burger party and form it into a ball. Holding it in one hand, slap it into the other hand. Repeat this, going back and forth several times. When the meat is manipulated in this way, the protein elongate and form back together and adheres, making it one cohesive party… I’m mean patty.

Now pound and shape how thick or thin you want the burger patty, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside until the grill (or cast iron skillet which also works great) is rip roaring hot. We want it HOT so it forms a sear on the outside of the burger. Do not flip it more than once. Do not squeeze the burger with the flipper. You are just letting all those delicious juices escape.

Timing is a huge factor with burger making. Good burger making. You want everything done so all you have to do is put the patty on the bun, drizzle and place your condiments of choice on top and sink yer teef in. So while we’re waiting for the grill/skillet to get hot, butter you burger buns. The Chef and my favorite bun is Kings Hawaiian Big and Fluffy dinner rolls. They are so soft and chewy and soak up just the right amount of the burger juices. Ummm delish. Use whatever kind you prefer, but just know that these are best. (Insert Ina)

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Kings’s Hawaiian Big and Fluffy Dinner Rolls. They might be a little smaller, but the taste and texture makes up for that, and you don’t feel guilty about having seconds.

Place the buns on the skillet until the have a nice golden color on the buttered side. Set aside.

Prepare all the condiments. Slice up lettuce (like I said, we like it thin) and cut up your homemade pickles you made (elbow nudge elbow nudge), unwrap whatever cheese you desire, if in fact you want cheese. (But why wouldn’t you?) Line up ketchup, mayo, mustard, etc for easy accessorizing.

You’re good to go! Grill it up! Hear the sizzle!Feel the heat! Smell the charcoal and grease mixture!

Now, we at The Everyday Chef and Wife like our burgers mid-rare. We like pink. The great thing about these burgers is how tender they are, that even if you do over cook them, you have a hard time telling. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve over cooked The Chef’s burger (he’s the grill master, not I) and he devoured it and complimented me on how great I did. Yes, he might’ve been being nice, but I asked him about it later and he said that it was so moist that he didn’t even care.

(Insert awwwww)

If you did want to be more technical, here is the link to the Food Network’s guidelines on meat temperatures.

A way to tell if it is ready to flip is if it releases easily. Is it time to flip? Quickly flip it over and lay the cheese on right away. (If you have missed this step and are a bit late at putting the cheese on, you can still achieve a proper melt. Place the cheese on and cover with a pot top. The steam and heat surround the cheese better, allowing it to still get the perfect melty cheesiness that we all love.

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Last tip, when the burger is done, immediately transfer it to the crisp buttered bun. The juices that flow off of it get sucked up immediately by the bun and you waste no flavor. Waste not, want not.

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Excuse me while I wipe my mouth

You are ready for feasting time.

 

Now that, is a good looking burger...

Now that, is a good looking burger…

 

Happy grilling everyone!!

-The Everyday Chef and Wife

Fourth of July Feast Week: Homemade Marshmallows – I Want to Punch Martha Stewart

One thing that you should know about me, if you haven’t already guessed it, is that I have an obsession with Martha Stewart. Not so much her as a person, but her brand. I love “her” style, garden, house, crafts, food ideas, dinner party deco, etc. You name it, I love it. I know that if it has her name on it, it has to be somewhat awesome (unless it’s some of her crafting supplies which I haven’t really gotten into). I want to be her (minus the whole prison thing..). When faced with any sort of domestic situation “W.W.M.D?” (What Would Martha Do?) continuously flashes through my head. So when I went in search of a homemade marshmallow recipe to try out for the Fourth, I figured I’d go straight to my reliable source. I did research with other recipes to see if there were any big differences, or if people had a different method, and it was all pretty much the same. Everyone said it was so “simple and easy! And oh so delicious!” I thought “why not?” and gave it a go.

Readers, I am here to tell you that they are lying.

Yes, putting together the ingredients might’ve been simple enough. But honestly, some recipes need to come with warnings. Like “Do not attempt if by yourself and have a 2 year old child running around throwing diapers in the microwave.” “Do not attempt if you’re already irritated.” “Do not attempt if you are trying to get a family of three packed up and ready to go on a 4 day vacation.” “Do not attempt if you are kinda weak.”

If it had said all these things, I would’ve listened and waited. But I didn’t, readers. Everyone said it was so simple. How was I supposed to know?

I am a very careful recipe follower. I read and reread to make sure I have everything right and am doing everything right. Baking, to me, is like surgery. I study the books. One wrong move and you might ruin the whole thing. So let me tell you that I followed that darn recipe through and through. At the end it says “pour into the prepared greased-parchment paper lined pan and smooth out with an offset spatula”. (Just to let you know I didn’t need to look at the recipe for that line. I had it memorized.)

What it didn’t say was “ok, now this stuff is going to be sticky as crap. It won’t simply just pour, you have to have your left elbow at a slightly obtuse angle and your rotator cuff at a perpendicular obtuse angle while holding a 7 lb bowl filled with marshmallow fluff, and then on top of that pulling the “fluff” (which should be called tar), out of the bowl and into a pan with paper that will slide all to high heaven as you aim the helpless mess into it.”

Are you starting to get a mental image?

To help with the visual let us paint my child, who was supposed to be playing nicely in his room, charging all around the kitchen with his Batmobile, who then started taking the Swiffer mop, that I had just cleaned the floor with, and spread the crumbs from breakfast and dog hair all back to where it originally came from. As said earlier, he then thought it would be a hoot to put his diaper that I had forgotten to throw away, into the microwave. Quickly after he started filling the dog bowl with dog food, and figured it would be extra nice to over fill it and feed the floor as well. All the while howling like the Hounds of Baskerville. Except this time, Sherlock Holmes would not be saving me…

Pan over to where you see me furiously scrapping the “fluff” into the pan and almost every movement brings unwanted “fluff” onto either my arm, the handle of the spatula, or my hand which then makes it more strings of marshmallow to flowing from the bowl. I couldn’t touch anything. I knew if I did, we would be glued together for what would seem like eternity. I especially knew I couldn’t grab my child who was creating the above scene, so I just had to stand there and yell at him (more like a loud, firm talking…ugh or yelling :/ ) to go back to his room. He just stared blankly at me.

I knew he knew what I meant, and he knew that I couldn’t do a darn thing to follow through. AARGH!

I decided to give up on the flimsy spatula and go for a wooden spoon. That wasn’t working as effectively as I wanted. I had the bright idea to use my hands and scoop. With all the chaos going on and not thinking very well, I forgot to put oil on my hands.

I’ll let you sit and stew on that bright idea for a moment.

During that battle, marshtar had dripped on the side of the bowl, which was against my shirt from holding onto the bowl. Now not only did I have to get the cemented bowl detached from my shirt, but without my hands since they were completely incapable of handling anything without inheriting a thousand strands of white goo (that I’m convinced is the same substance they use to glue the tiles onto the space shuttles), that I then had to do a convulsion/dance type movement that would even make Miley Cyrus cringe.

These darn things had better be freaking worth it.

I’m also convinced that Martha does not make these things. Her multiple amount of helpers must do it. If I had as much money as she did, I would make someone make them for me too. She’s no dummy. We all know she’s built her empire up from the bottom. She’s put her time in. My hats off to you Martha, but good Lord, could you at least let us know that we’re not going to look as perfect as you in the end?

I’m sharing Martha’s recipe. Just so you know exactly how she told me to do it.

  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin (3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

 

STEP 1

Brush a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with oil. Line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Brush parchment with oil; set aside.

STEP 2

Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 3/4 cup water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 9 minutes.

The sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water on the stove waiting to boil.

The sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water on the stove waiting to boil.

STEP 3

Meanwhile, put 3/4 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer; sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften 5 minutes.

STEP 4

Attach bowl with gelatin to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With mixer on low speed, beat hot syrup into gelatin mixture. Gradually raise speed to high; beat until mixture is very stiff, about 12 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with an offset spatula. Set aside, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.

 

Gelatin and sugar mixture  together Michael Jackson Style... Beat it. --2 minutes in

Gelatin and sugar mixture together Michael Jackson Style… Beat it. –2 minutes in

Gelatin and sugar mixture  together Michael Jackson Style... Beat it. --8-10 minutes in

Gelatin and sugar mixture together Michael Jackson Style… Beat it. –8-10 minutes in

Gelatin and sugar mixture  together Michael Jackson Style... Beat it. --2 minutes inGelatin and sugar mixture  together Michael Jackson Style... Beat it. -- The full 12 minutes, with the vanilla as well

Gelatin and sugar mixture together Michael Jackson Style… Beat it. –2 minutes inGelatin and sugar mixture together Michael Jackson Style… Beat it. — The full 12 minutes, with the vanilla as well

Wait for the set….

……………………………………….

STEP 5

Sift 1 cup confectioners’ sugar onto a work surface. Unmold marshmallow onto confectioners’ sugar; remove parchment. Lightly brush a sharp knife with oil, then cut marshmallow into 2-inch squares. Sift remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl, and roll each marshmallow in the sugar to coat. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days

 

It came out nice and easy. Whew.

It came out nice and easy. Whew.

After dusting the top with powdered sugar, I used a pizza cutter to cut the marshmallow

After dusting the top with powdered sugar, I used a pizza cutter to cut the marshmallow

_MG_4353

Alright. So I just tried one of these suckers and to tell you the truth. It’s totally heaven. Have you ever taken a marshmallow and made it into taffy with your fingers before devouring it? It tastes like that!!  I mean don’t get me wrong, you should not do it if you fall into any of the warnings above. But I would totally recommend making these before the Fourth so you can cook these bad boys over an open fire and slap ’em on a s’more. OOOOHH LAAWWD! It’s going to make it aaall worth it…

Homemade Marshmallow's. They are so worth it!

They look pretty awesome if I do say so myself…

-The -Not as perfect as Martha- Wife