Monday, January 23, 2012

Marshmallow Fluff

Marshmallow fluff is not that hard to make.  Making it at home also eliminates all the chemicals that you will get if you get a jar of Fluff off the shelf. Making fluff with honey will impart a honey taste, but I find it quite pleasant and actually very addicting. Its actually very easy to make too.

3 egg whites from pastured hens
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cups of mild honey(clover or alfalfa for example)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

The How Tos:
In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, place your three egg whites, sea salt and honey. Mix on a medium speed until the mixture starts to firm up. In the meantime you can be doing other things in the kitchen as the mixing process will take a minimum of 5 minutes. Once you see the mixture starting to show soft peaks, change your speed to high and continue to whip until you have a thick mixture resembling marshmallow cream. Lower the speed and gradually pour in your powdered sugar, sifting it if its not freshly made and is caking up a bit. You can add this to taste if you like. After adding about a cup, you will find that your fluff looks ready to use. The additional sugar only adds more sweetness. Once the powdered sugar is incorporated, you can whip on high again until it is mixed well and light and fluffy.
Gooey, sticky and just like fluff...only better!
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
I used part of this batch as a frosting on a chocolate cake this afternoon. The rest will go to smore bars later this week.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Citrus Carnitas

This recipe is really tasty and another way to use the very versatile pork shoulder or pork butt. For the tortillas I used homemade corn tortillas made with masa flour, but you could also use whole wheat tortillas
While this recipe has several elements, they can be used in multiple ways. For instance, I had made the coleslaw to eat with fried chicken the day before and the left over tortillas could be used in the chicken enchiladas or baked until crisp and used to top tortilla soup. The key to putting this all together is planning. I start my pork butt the night before. Its fall-apart tender by morning and then I just have to cook off the liquid. Assembly is easy so its just a matter of getting all the parts together for the party.

3 to 5lb pork shoulder or butt
1 large orange
2-3 limes
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 T ground cumin
1 jalapeno, cored, seeded and finely chopped(optional)
1 t sea salt, plus more to taste

fresh coleslaw
chopped cilantro
pickled jalapeno slices

tortillas (corn or wheat)

The How To's:
Place your pork, fat side up in a crockpot. Squeeze the orange and limes over the meat. Spread the crushed garlic over the fat, sprinkle with the cumin, optional jalapeno and salt. Pour about a cup of water in, careful not to pour on the meat and wash off all the seasonings. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. I do this the night before. You can also prepare your garnishes and even your tortillas then so its just a matter of assembly at dinner time.

Make your coleslaw and tortillas.

When the pork is tender, remove the remaining slab of fat from the top and slip off the chunks of meat from the bone and into a cast iron pan. Pour the remaining liquid over the meat and place over high heat, allowing the liquid to start to cook off and the remaining fat to render off. When the liquid is almost gone, transfer the skillet to your oven on broil to brown and caramelize the surface of the meat. I use the convection feature on my oven for this part. The liquid will completely disappear leaving a moist meat with an almost crunchy top. Do not stir the meat during the last part so it doesn't dry out.

To serve, place a spoonful of meat on a tortilla and top with your choice of garnishes. We used coleslaw and hot sauce for this meal, but I really like the onion and cilantro flavors as well. Another option would be to serve in taco shells or as tostadas. Its a kid-friendly meal and the leftovers are superb.


1/4 Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Sucanat or Rapadura
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 c mayonaise(homemade if possible)
1 T yellow mustard

2 c shredded organic cabbage

The How Tos:
Heat vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the celery seed and set aside for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, shred(or chop) your cabbage and place in a large bowl and set aside. When vinegar mixture has cooled slightly, add the mayonaise and mustard and combine well. Pour over the cabbage and mix well. Chill for about an hour for best flavor.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Easy-Peasy Caramel Sauce

Caramel Apple Spice at Starbucks has me *needing* to have caramel in the house so we can make our own. Finding a caramel that is made with healthy and safe ingredients  that is under $10 a jar is a challenge all by itself so I really needed to figure out how to make it easily. Caramel is milk and sugar, right? So why not utilize some sweetened condensed milk to make it? Its really that easy...

Take one or two cans of sweetened condensed milk...This brand uses organic milk, sugar and sea salt. 

Place the unopened can in a crockpot. Add water up to the rim of the can. Cover and turn the crockpot on low. Allow to cook for about 18 hours. (I let the batch I photographed go for 24 hours) The label will come off in the water.

After allowing it to cook, remove the can(s) from the hot water and allow to cool slightly. Open it and your "caramel" is ready to use. It can be thinned with milk if it gets too thick but since I am using this to dissolve into cider, I am happy with its peanut butter type consistency. I spoon it into a pint sized mason jar, add a used lid and ring and stick it in the fridge until its time to use. The unopened cans are safe to stick on a shelf.

There you have it. No stirring constantly, no softball stages, no candy thermometers...its hands off for most of the time and easy to do when you don't have time to make the real stuff. Its great in cider or as an apple dip. Put it on ice cream or dip a graham cracker in it.

Now if you have a dairy free person in the house, I have a recipe for you that will work really well as a substitute.  I will post that soon!

Let me know what you think!