Steep It!

Lately, I’ve been coming across recipes that call for steeping items over a period of time, so savor the spirit of slow with me!  I started homebrewing recently, and while I don’t know that I’d describe the brewing process with “steeping” at any point, essentially that’s what I did with the last batch to infuse some cherry flavor during the fermentation process.  As long as we’re on the subject of alcohol, let’s start with a primer on extracts.  Those tiny bottles in the stores aren’t the cheapest item on the shelves, so let’s see how to make our own vanilla extract:

I’ve got a batch processing in a small canning jar, and it has gone along nicely.  It is handy to know that it is essentially an endless/bottomless recipe, too!  I was also referred to a similar recipe by a friend and found it again in a vanilla cookbook at a resale store (it also mentioned vanilla sugar!)

For more adult beverages, we can make coffee liqueur or orangecello.

Another intriguing idea was to infuse honey using lemon verbena leaves to impart the lemon flavor (pouring the honey over the leaves in a small canning jar).

Steep it good!

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(Vegan) Marshmallows

Dandies Marshmallows

Dandies (Vegan) Marshmallows (Photo from website)

I found these marshmallows not because I am a vegan, but rather, my wife needed to find an option to bring for a church gathering.  We also brought some of these to a party hosted by some of our friends, one of whom is a vegetarian.  My wife did some research online and looked for what was available, since we didn’t really have many ideas about what options were out there.  She looked into recipes (somewhat time consuming, and we didn’t really have the right materials/equipment) as well as options and this stood out as one of the few vegan-friendly options.  We were able to find some at Whole Foods, but weren’t able to find them at our local co-op.

In comparison to typical store-sold marshmallows, they are a little more firm (but not much), but most importantly, they are quite delicious!  My wife also thought they had a nicer (more vanilla) flavor, and they passed the S’mores test at the campfire.  They browned well, paired well with grahams and chocolate, and got melty, though they didn’t puff up quite as much.  Overall, they greatly exceeded what I thought a vegan marshmallow would be and were a welcome equivalent (my wife, I think, liked them even a bit better than ‘regular’ marshmallows!)   Our friends agreed that they were tasty also.   I would certainly get them again and recommend them to anyone looking for a vegan (or non-vegan) marshmallow!