Tag Archives: alton brown

Homemade Marshmallows

20 Jul

Since I’ve been posting summer-related articles and because it’s summer after all, I’m going to run with the theme… and here’s another summer treat… marshmallows!  Best campfire treat ever and one of the three holy ingredients for S’mores.  Don’t know what s’mores are?  Watch a classic coming-of-age film below. 

I’ve asked my partner to challenge me to make something I wouldn’t ordinarily make and to take advantage of my skills in the kitchen.  About two weeks ago, after we consumed a bag of marshmallows for s’mores, he asked me to make marshmallows.  In my head, I was a bit aghast, “What?!  Really? Marshmallows?  You’re going to waste my time and skills on marshmallows?!”  But then out loud, I said, “Okay, why not.”  Then he said that he wanted to make them.  And then I insistently said, “No, no, I’ll make them.”  

I checked our cookbooks but I found no marshmallow recipes, so with my WP7 beside me, I searched for it and I was saved.   The first recipe I found, which I tried twice, didn’t work for me.  The mixture never set.  So I searched for other recipes and found one from my beloved Mr. Brown.  The third time is the charm.  I followed AB’s marshmallow recipe and the rest is history.  My history that is… or herstory given that I’m an XX (did I go neo-feminist just now?).  I’m not much for candy making but I like working with gelatin.  All thanks to my Mom, a gelatin dessert enthusiast, who always had a supply of gelatin (both powdered and agar-agar) for my sisters and me to experiment with.

Making marshmallow is easy but it’s also a sticky mess.  While whisking the mixture, a few splatters occurred.  The completion of my foray into confection making left me wiping off areas that were splattered and became sticky, which included the floor.  Don’t ask how but it happened, and I nearly slipped while dragging wet papertowels across the floor with my slippered feet.  Who knew making homemade marshmallows can also be dangerous.

The AB recipe calls for a 4 to 24 hour setting time.  One of the batches is doing just that, however, I couldn’t wait so after two hours, I took the smaller batch of the two, and cut and coated the pieces.  As you can see on the photo, the pieces have an unorthodox shape (not the ordinary cuboidal shapes store marshmallows are known for), but that’s okay.  I say, shape your marshmallows in what ever form you want.

Hello Mommy dearest, if you’re reading this, looksie!  I made marshmallows.  Very cool, huh.

I scream for Alton

31 May

The weekend before my scheduled California visit to see my family, I received an early Saturday phone call from Claire and Kat to give me the news that Alton Brown is in Monterey making an appearance and signing books at the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium.  How perfectly untimely!  I mean really, it was one week ahead of my visit.  But it so happens that my luck isn’t so sour since my sisters’ playground is Monterey (and also SF) so they happened to be there at the time and came upon the event.  Hoo-wee, lucky me!  When my sisters told me that they’re getting me a book for him to sign, I could only scream with glee.  Maybe I cracked their eardrums given how long and sustained my screaming was—my excited scream also woke up Ryan (and maybe even our neighbors).

My sisters and I are known for being mischievous, so of course they couldn’t help but trick me into thinking that the line was so long that they weren’t able to make it within his signing time block.  I shrugged it off though I was a bit disappointed. 

During my visit, my sisters surprised me with the book by keeping it in my bookshelf, in the tier where my cookbooks are housed.  Claire asked to borrow one of my cookbooks (tricky, tricky) which she had to ask me several times because I didn’t want to be rouse from my lethargy, when I finally did get it for her I noticed something oddly colorful and misplaced so I pulled it out then screamed my parents’ house down.  Perhaps my reaction was expected since no one told me to keep quiet.  At any rate, check it out.

I heart, heart AB!

But this is the exciting part of all (a message that Kat came up with and asked AB to write).  They didn’t have a camera on hand with them but if I can’t be in the photo too, then it’s for the best.  Besides which, the message rocks enough already.

A message from AB

In case you’re wondering why I would get so elated over Mr. Alton Brown, here’s why… I’ve followed Good Eats since I first saw it which was, if my memory serves me right and it does, 1999.  For those of you who are quick with numbers that was indeed a decade ago.  I was fascinated with food and cooking at an early age, but Mr. Brown was the one who turned my fascination to a near obsession.  I fell for Mr. Brown like a ton of bricks frites. A fact not lost on my family (thank you, thank you, thank you again for the book!).  After I learned cooking techniques and the science behind cooking, I began eschewing recipes and tinkering 99.8% of the time.  Pretty damn empowering. 

In I’m Just Here for the Food, the recipe that made me go “Oooh!  Mmmm!” at first glance was Scampi V1.0.  I followed the recipe almost to a T (I added a couple of other spices and inflated the amount of garlic than what the recipe called for).  Also, the cooking method suggested broiling but I opted for the alternative method of sautéing instead. Nevertheless, the result was finger-lickin’ ‘licious.

Because I was taught to share, here’s a part of the recipe:

“Heat the broiler and position the rack to about 5 inches below the heat source.  Arrange the shrimp (1 pound, peeled and deveined) in the broiler pan so there is no overlapping.  Drizzle the oil (2 tbs) and scatter the garlic (1 tbs minced) over the shrimp and season with salt, pepper, and Old Bay.  Put the pan under the broiler for 2 minutes, until the shrimp begin to turn pink.  Stir in the lemon juice (4 tbs freshly squeezed), add the panko (1/4 c) and parsley (2 tbs chopped), and toss to coat the shrimp evenly.  Return to the broiler and cook until the bread crumbs are evenly brown.  Serve immediately.”   Brown, Alton.  I’m Just Here for the Food. New York: Stewart, Taboori, and Chang, 2006.

Scampi V1.0

Scampi V1.0