Saturday, June 12, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

A little birthday love for the Pa and Gpa as my daughter says.

I always loved photo booths at the county fair. I still have some strips from back then. One of my mother and myself when I was about 9 or 10. Some of drunken fair nights with my girlfriends. And even one of my first love and myself. They are just sort of classic old memorabilia. I know you can rent the booths now for weddings etc., but they are quite expensive. Since I follow a lot of wedding and entertaining blogs I have found so many great ideas for a DIY affair.

Our Daddy and his offspring.
5 of us.
16 grand children.
And the greats are multiplying.
Yep, we are breeders.
I myself am the youngest.

We had my fathers 75th birthday party in their backyard. It is lovely with gorgeous trees that have a light brown papery bark that peels away and lacy leaves and branches. The natural backdrop was beautiful on its own but being a party we added pretty flower garlands and paper lanterns to up the festive feel. Lots of hats, animal noses, glasses, etc., to make it fun. And wonderful family and friends to make it perfect. I wish I could post more photos but my camera was one of many being used.

Theme song from 'Deliverance' comes to mind.

The 'Real Housewives of Napa Valley' star couple.

The 'Lion King' spin off.
A tiger and a Queen.

My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
From the 'Princess Bride'.
She is a princess, he is a soldier, it's a stretch I know but it works.

In honor of 'Memorial Day', Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty.

I detect a note of sarcasm from my daughter.
Blue eyes? Talk to the mail man.

And for Daddy just because.....

Monday, June 7, 2010

S'mores and Urban Dictionary

Chocolate wafers, sweet strawberry, dark chocolate, toasted marshmallow....

Have you ever looked up normal words on Urban Dictionary?
S'mores Whores.
"People from other campsites who come by your campsite to mooch your campfood from you."
Fluffy and sweet as a sugar cloud, which these marshmallows were.
"Did you know that 'sweet as' is the second most common phrase in New Zealand after 'awesome'. Said when something is rather good instead of just 'good' or 'OK'. Often followed by 'bro'. yeah, my night was sweet as, got on the piss with some mates and sung karaoke... badly"
How fun is that? I want to go to New Zealand and learn how to speak so no one knows what in the hell I am saying.
Marshmallow fluff....
"The answer to life, the universe, and everything that has ever been created."
They should teach this stuff in school. I would have paid a lot more attention.

Anyways, as part of the birthday celebration for my Dads 75th, more on that later, we were having a fire pit in the evening. And fire pits and s'mores just go together. 'Duh'! Which means "No shit sherlock" and/or "Thank you captain obvious", I always did love the saying 'no shit Sherlock'.
But this was a classy crowd, never mind the bottle of missing vodka we found in the bushes the next morning, so classy s'mores were called for.

Triple ginger thins, ghirardelli milk chocolate caramel, toasted marshmallow....

Homemade marshmallows
Chocolate wafer cookies
Triple ginger thins
Butter almond thins
And cinnamon grahams, the last three being from Trader Joes.
Dark chocolate
Milk chocolate
Ghirardelli milk chocolate caramel squares
Sliced sweet strawberries
Sliced ripe bananas
And a container of baby wipes for sticky fingers, faces and whatever else.

Now these are not your normal trailer trash s'mores.
These are party s'mores, glamping s'mores.

I have made marshmallows before but used a different recipe this time from Smitten Kitchen. These seem to melt quicker than store bought ones when roasted over a fire and are more delicate so a 2 pronged roasting stick helps keep them still so you can roast all sides.

Rewritten for simplicity
Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows

1-2 c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 c cold water, divided
2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1/4 t salt
2 large egg whites
1 T vanilla

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In a medium bowl beat egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks, refrigerate. Rinse beaters.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved.
Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring with wooden spoon until gelatin is dissolved.

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer.

Beat vanilla into sugar mixture.
Beat in egg whites until just combined.
Pour mixture into baking pan.
Sift 1/4-1/2 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top.
Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan (dipping the knife into very hot water between cuts) and invert pan onto a large cutting board making sure the confectioners sugar is between the cutting board and the marshmallow so it doesn't stick.
Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board.
With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes.
Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

Do ahead: Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.

Marshmallows, white as snow, set and before cutting.