Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Marshmallows

Fall is in the air. Pumpkins are out, halloween decorations are going up. I just convinced the hubby to let me put our scarecrow out in the front lawn.
The air is a wee bit cold now (ok, I'm in WI, it's frosting at night so super cold).
What is better than snuggling up to a hot cup of cocoa? Homemade marshmallows.
I'm serious, you don't know what a marshmallow is supposed to taste like until you've tried homemade ones. Throw out that bag of store bought crap that you have at home (okay, those are better for campfires) and chow down on these delicious creations.

Yes the recipe is in 2 parts. The instructions are long, but it really is just words/descriptions and not time.
The de-liquiding of the pumpkin. This is actually a vital step in this recipe. If you don't take out the extra moisture from the pumpkin, you marshmallows will not be as light as airy.
So spread the pumpkin out on some paper towels, put more on top and blot away. Repeat.

Bubble, bubble sugar mixture. Bring to temp to get the marshmallows to set up correctly
(side note, be careful with your candy thermometer. I totally broke mine when I was washing it after this recipe.)

A little before/after shot for you. Look how fluffy and light the mix looks.
You will have some problems getting all the marshmallow off the whisk. It's quite sticky. Don't give up! And I bet when you start mixing in the pumpkin you are thinking, seriously this is never going to mix up. It takes about 5 -10 mins to incorporate it all.

  And spread in the pan. Again, this takes a minute or so to get really flat on top.
Look at the color difference from the fresh mix to the set marshmallows.
Finally, chop into whatever shape you want. You can be creative and use a pumpkin cookie cutter if you want, or cut into really small squares for hot cocoa mugs :)

(Yes there is a missing corner piece in my photo.
I had to try them right away just to be sure)

Mmmmm. Tasty.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

So the classic stuffed Cabbage Rolls
(Side note, what really makes things a classic? I never once had this growing up, but apparently it's a classic meals. Maybe just here in the Midwest?)

I chose to do mine with Turkey. Mainly because we have someone at work that doesn't eat beef and I was taking them to a potluck. But by all means, if you want to use ground beef or chicken. Be sure to get extra lean meat though, as it cooks in the pot and there is no where for the fat to go.

So I know there are a lot of ways to prepare cabbage leaves. The most common is boiling the leaves. That works very well, but if you happen to have a microwave steamer like me, that is just super easy and must faster.
I have to advise against the freezing method, unless you aren't going to actually eat the cabbage leaves. Yes it does make them easy to roll, but it makes the leaves taste kinda rubbery. Who wants to eat rubber cabbage leaves? Not me!

To peel each leave off, I've found it's easiest by cutting out the core. I've heard it said that if you bash the core on the table, it breaks apart, but I personally prepare these the night before and my kids is usually sleeping and the idea of loudly bashing a cabbage on the counter is just not appealing, so I cut the core out :)
 I don't think I mentioned this in the recipe, so you should cut out the hard white bottom part of the leaf. See Photo!
It's hard to roll and really, I dislike the taste of it anyways.
I said to use about 1/4 cup of mix per leaf, but that is really a rough gauge. The outer leaves are bigger and can take more filling, the inner leaves = less filling. I personally stuff as much as I can inside the leaves
And roll. tuck the corners to keep the filling in and make the rolls pretty sturdy and easy to move.
Finally cooking. You can do this in the oven, but like I mentioned, I'm taking these to a potluck at work, so I'm using a crockpot.
I put the extra cabbage in the bottom of the pan. 1: so that the rolls didn't sit in the fat that came out the turkey and 2: so that if there were weird people at work that wanted more cabbage, there would be some.

Mix up the sauce, pour it over the rolls. And turn your crockpot on. Low and slow if you are doing it for dinner and have 8ish hours, or you can crank it to high if it's a lunch potluck at work.