Thursday, September 11, 2008
I'll be posting all new blog entries there from now on, so be sure to change the address on your favorites lists and/or blogrolls!
See you there!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
My final installment of culinary experimentation comes courtesy the "Quick Fixin' Dinners" chapter of "Velveeta: Recipes for People Who Eat Food". I think the chapter intro says more than I ever could:
"These recipes are designed for quick and easy preparation. And to reflect that, we decided to name these recipes 'Quick Fixin' Dinners'. Notice how we dropped the 'g' on the word 'fixing' to show how quickly these dinners can be made. By dropping the letter 'g', we have created a visual cue, so the reader will be convinced that these really are quick recipes and that they should try them for that reason alone."
Well, I'm convinced. Shall we?
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
My original idea was sort of a Southwest/Tex-Mex inspired cupcake- a jalapeno-peach cupcake. I even went so far as to actually make them. Sadly, the whole thing really lacked flavor... the cake, the frosting, everything. I had imagined something with the bright, grassy flavor of fresh jalapenos and the sweetness of peaches, but it was very bland and disappointing. So, I went back to the drawing board...
I really love Thai food, and how so many Thai dished combine nutty flavors with spiciness and a hint of sweetness. This is what gave me the inspiration for my second cupcake- a spicy sesame cupcake with chocolate cayenne buttercream.
The cake is a chiffon cake made with toasted sesame oil and studded with red chili flakes. The icing is a chocolate French-style buttercream spiked with just a hint of Cayenne. The cake is light and spongy with a toasty nuttiness that segways into a pretty decent burn in the back of the throat. The buttercream was freaking awesome! French buttercream is made with egg yolks whipped with a hot sugar syrup, combined with butter- It's sweet and rich, but very light in texture. I added cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate, as well as a tiny pinch of Cayenne. (The icing got many compliments!) The nuttiness of the cake was nicely complimented by the sweet chocolate.
The cupcakes were enjoyable, but not omigod!igottahaveone! I think, while I appreciate the spicy/sweet flavor combo, I like it better applied to savory foods rather than desserts. However, for the spice-junkie (especially ones that appreciate Asian cuisine) these would be the perfect cupcakes!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
"Your self control slowly diminishes, your eyes widen and your taste buds begin to pulsate... you have been diagnosed with Mexican Madness. This condition may sound a little scary and intimidating, but once you expose yourself and others to these recipes you will discover that being absolutely mad is a blessing and should be cherished and spread to others." Uhhh... what?
One plus side to the Velveeta recipes is that they've been turning out well. They're easy and so far, have been consistently good. Certainly not five star gourmet cuisine, but it is nice to have a recipe that you know you'd have to do something really awful to screw up.
This go-'round I made Tex Mex Chicken and Rice. It says it serves four, but you wind up with a huge quantity of the rice. I made five chicken breasts, and we still had extra rice. I would go so far as to say you could get six to seven servings of rice, so buy extra chicken. I also seasoned my chicken, because the recipe left them plain (no salt, even). My changes are marked with an asterisk.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Canned frosting counts as canned food, right?
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I think Santa gave it as a joke, because while everyone needs more Velveeta recipes, this is one strange little cookbook. The recipes are exactly what you'd expect, but the actual copy in the book is a little... quirky. I don't know who wrote it (no author is credited), but the chapter intros are so weird that I have to assume they locked the guy in a windowless room and told him he couldn't see his wife or kids until he wrote about "Quick Fixin' Dinners". I'll provide an example in a moment.
Recently, the little book resurfaced, and I realized I never really gave it a chance as a cookbook. I try to avoid overly processed foods, but I decided, in the spirit of fairness, to give this book a shot. Over the next couple weeks, I'll feature three recipes, along with reviews from three different chapters (to give a taste of diversity!) For all my recipes, I bought Velveeta made with 2% milk (I guess they no longer call it Velveeta Light). I was going to be super-faithful to the book and buy Minute rice, Taco Bell salsa (odd that they sell Taco Bell salsa, given that they don't have salsa at Taco Bell...), Breakstone sour cream, but bottom line, those brands all ran about 50-75 cents more expensive than my beloved Publix-brand equivalents. (I did shell out for real Velveeta, though.)
Our first recipe comes from the "Super Duper Soups and Sandwiches" chapter. From the book:
"Since achieving the title 'Super Duper', our soups and sandwiches have not been acting quite the same way as they once did. Unfortunately, the title of 'Super Duper' has gone to their heads. They have alienated all other soups and sandwiches, refusing to associate with lesser forms of nourishment. We do, however, feel somewhat responsible since we were the ones who made these recipes so good."
I can't make this stuff up, people.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
So, needless to say, when I saw Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale at the grocery store, I almost wept for joy! It was like seeing the first golden orange leaf of the season, or having to put on a jacket on the first crisp, cool day... It was beautiful- the closest thing I'll get here in the tropics to a harbinger of the season to come.
Harvest Moon is brewed by Blue Moon Brewing Company in Canada and is imported by Coors. (If you've never had Blue Moon, I highly recommend it- it's quite good.) The website lists the "season" for Harvest Moon as early September-late November, so we must be getting a sneak peak? I'm not complainin'.
I've never had Harvest Moon before, so I was excited to try it. I was also a little leary, as I have had some very... squash-y pumpkin beers in the past. There is definately an art to balancing the perfect amount of pumpkin sweetness and earthiness without making it taste like a fermented can of Libby's pumpkin puree.
The label is very pretty- it's in the same folksy woodcut-style as regular Blue Moon, but with a pumpkin patch and a more autumnal color palate. The label says the ale is infused with pumpkin, cloves, nutmeg and allspice and brewed using traditional crystal malt. When poured, the beer has a rich coppery color, but really no smell of pumpkin or spice- it just smells like an ale. The flavor at first was very like a nice, malty ale, with just a slight sweetness... it wasn't until I'd swallowed that I really got the faintest aftertaste of the spices and pumpkin. It was good- not overpowering, very refreshing and quite enjoyable. I liked it, but I could have dealt with a slightly more pronounced pumpkin spice flavor, however, I'm glad they erred on the side of restraint. I'd rather have a subtle, pleasantly drinkable pumpkin ale than something overwhelming and vile.
I'd definately buy it again, especially as it's a reasonably priced, easy-to-find brand. I'm sure Harvest Moon will find its way into regular rotation in our fridge this fall.
Monday, August 11, 2008
For Kyle and I, The Omelet Station is one of these places. Located in the middle of touristy Cocoa Beach on Highway A1A, it's not in an area we really frequent. It always seemed when we were driving by we were on our way to meet friends for dinner, or we'd just eaten. This weekend, however, we came across an ad, and decided we'd put off trying it for far too long. We headed to charmingly touristy Cocoa Beach to have ourselves a late weekend breakfast.
A1A runs along the ocean, and the Cocoa Beach area is home to hotels, souvenir shops and the world famous surfer mecca, Ron John's Surf Shop. The Omelet Station is tucked between hotels, and is maybe 50 yards from the ocean. There's a hotel behind the restaurant, so you can't see the water from inside, but the windows look out to the street, and passing clusters of beach-bound surfers reminds you of its proximity.
And to prove this point, while I was taking a picture of the sign, a passing surfer (who probably thought I was a weird tourist) stopped and posed next to the sign for me. Thanks, friendly surfer!
As the name suggests, The Omelet Station is mostly a breakfast place, and it's nothing fancy- just a casual local breakfast joint. They do have a lunch menu, but I'm a sucker for breakfast at places like this, and honestly, mostly ignored the non-breakfast menu. They have lots of omelets, including build-your-own and specialities (currently one of the specials is the Barack "Obama-let"- an egg white omelet with spinach and feta.)
I was torn between several options, including the gingerbread waffles, the sweet potato pancakes, the beach-style eggs benedict (crab, sauteed with spinach and garlic, on top of a toasted english muffin with poached eggs and topped with hollandaise sauce.) There was also an intriguing side item called "grilled stickies", which we assume was grilled cinnamon buns. I wanted to get some based on the name alone. (I didn't wind up getting one, but there's always next time!)
I ultimately settled on the Southern Risin', a cornmeal dusted tilapia fillet, served with grits, eggs and toast. I chose rye toast and eggs over easy. I'll admit, it wasn't very photogenic, but it was sure good! I like to cut up my eggs and mix them with the grits, then sprinkle the whole thing with a fair amount of hot sauce. An ideal bite was a bit of fish, a bit of egg and a bit of grits all together.The fish was nicely seasoned and not over-cooked or dry, and the grits were soft, but not mushy and gluey, and still had individual grains. The toast was nice and crisp at the edges, and was very buttery. (I don't often butter my toast at home, but it sure is hard to beat toast with crispy edges and a soft, buttery middle... yum.)
I also got a cup of coffee, which was nice and strong- just like I like it, and tasted freshly brewed. (I worked at a coffee-shop, and have become a bit of a coffee snob, I'll admit.) i was very pleased that it was served with a small carafe of half and half, not a little dish of plastic containers of non-dairy creamer.
Kyle ordered banana and peanut butter stuffed french toast, which took a much prettier picture than my fish 'n' grits. It was a huge serving! He let me taste it, and it was rich- almost like dessert. It looked like they made a peanut butter and banana sandwich on thick Texas toast, dipped the whole thing in french toast custard, then cooked it. Kyle only got part-way through it, but was happy to take home the extra toast and my leftover grits to have for lunch this week.
As for the restaurant itself, it's housed in an old Perkins, and still retains that sort of bland atmosphere. There were paintings on the wall by local artists, as well as some beautiful surfboards, but the interior really just looked like a re-decorated Perkins. The Omelet Station is still young, though (just over a year old), so it may gather character as it ages. It was very clean, and the staff was pleasant.
Kyle and I agreed that the Omelet Station was worth the short drive to Cocoa Beach, and will definitely be back.
If you happen to take a beach vacation, and find yourself needing a post-surf nosh, be sure to hit The Omelet Station. Let me know how you like the grilled stickies!
You can find the Omelet Station at 5590 N Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
As we looked around the market, Kyle caught sight of some pretty soft shell crabs in the case, and suggested them for dinner. I commented that yeah, they looked good, but I had no idea what to do with them once I got them home. One of the guys working overheard me and asked to what I was referring. I pointed to the crabs, and he responded, "Oh, you just clean 'em, bread 'em and fry 'em." He then pulled one out of the case and gave me a quick tutorial on cleaning a soft shell crab. He offered to clean our for us, but added that it was best to clean them right before cooking. I decided that it looked easy enough for me to handle, and we bought two, packed them in our cooler and took them home.
Soft shell crabs are blue crabs that have molted their hard exterior shell. They must be harvested immediately after molting, as they begin to grow a new, hard shell. Molting season is generally May- late July, which means we caught probably some of the last soft shells of the season. Since the shells are so soft, after a quick cleaning the crabs can be eaten whole, shell and all. Soft shell crabs generally arrive to market "fresh", meaning they are no longer alive. They should smell clean and "ocean-y", not like ammonia or stinky rotting fish.
It was a fun experience, stepping a bit out of my comfort zone to try cooking something new. It has definitely made me a bit more confident to venture deeper into the weird world of seafood cookery... although I don't think I'll ever cook a live lobster. I just don't like lobster meat enough for all that work... and guilt.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
The Milwaukee Cupcake Queen organizes an Iron Cupcake: Milwaukee competition in which Wisconsinite (is that what someone from Wisconsin is called?) bakers compete to create the ultimate cupcake using a unique challenge ingredient. Each contest is documented and recorded in her blog, complete with beautiful photos. It's been such a popular feature that she is starting Iron Cupcake: Earth, a monthly challenge allowing bakers across the Internet to compete for cupcake supremacy.
August marks the inaugural month of the challenge. At the end of the month, bloggers across the Internet will post their photos and recipes for their cupcake submission. Cupcake fans will be able to vote for their favorites at the Iron Cupcake site. The winner will get fame, glory, bragging rights and fabulous prizes from talented Etsy artists.
I love baking, cupcakes and a little healthy competition, so of course I signed up. Keep your eyes peeled in a couple weeks for my cupcake submission (and go vote for me, too!)
If you're not content to just be a spectator, and wanna join the Iron Cupcakers it's not too late!
All you have to do is pop an e-mail to IronCupcakeEarth@wi.rr.com with the following info:
City, State, Country
Referral: Pumpkin and Spice
I'll see you guys in Bakeshop Stadium!
Friday, August 1, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Most of the week was spent practicing for our final project. My team planned a sculpture of a Chinese dragon on a mountain with a cherry tree and a Chinese lantern. We ran into a small kink when on our practical exam day, the chef ran out of isomalt, which meant our sculpture had to be smaller and required us to be very creative in our sugar usage. All in all, though, we were happy with our final result. Enjoy...
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Thanks for still checkin' in.
Oh, and on a side note- my oven's also been fixed. Double hooray!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Kyle and I (and our friends) visit Coaster's at least once a month, sometimes more, and the most difficult part of the visit is always selecting your first beer. Do I want a stout? An IPA? A Hefe Weisse? It's a daunting decision, which is why we were so excited when we went for lunch last weekend and our server told us that they'd be hosting a beer tasting! Of course, we were there yesterday (the day of the event), with bells on for the tasting, which did not disappoint.
For $20, you could buy 12 tickets (baseball cards, actually, which we found entertaining). Each card could be redeemed for a 4oz sample pour of your choice of 70 beers. Kyle and I split a 12-pack of tickets, as did the two friends that joined us. However, we all made sure to order different beers, and we'd pass ours around to table, meaning that in actuality, we sampled about 24 different kinds! (We also instituted a scoring system, which sparked some very lively debate!)
The six beers I sampled were- Rogue Chocolate Stout (a stout, obviously), Lukaya Two Tail Ale (a pale ale, brewed in Vero, FL), Chimay Premier (a Belgian dubble), Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre (a Belgian experimental), Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (an Imperial IPA) and Cooper's Sparkling Ale (an English pale ale). I really liked all my choices, but my favorites were the Rogue Chocolate Stout, which was dark and "chewy" with a wonderful bitter chocolate and cocoa aftertaste, and the Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre. Raison d'etre is a French phrase that roughly translates to "a reason for existing"- which I thought seemed like a pretty steep claim for a beer. However, this one came close- it had a beautiful golden brown color and a rich, slightly caramel-y flavor. Both were very good.
You can't drink all that beer without something to munch on, and the menu at Coaster's offers plenty of options. For the most part, it's good old fashioned pub grub, but, damn is it good pub grub! On days when I'm feeling virtuous, I order the broiled Mahi salad, on more indulgent days I get buffalo wings (Kyle loooooves wings and we've eaten our fair share around town, but in my opinion, these are some of the best in Melbourne). Today, though, the "Turben" caught my eye- a Ruben, made with turkey instead of beef. Kyle agreed that it looked good, so we decided to order the "humongous" size (all the sandwiches come in regular or humongous) and split it. It arrived, and more than lived up to it's name- it was huge!!! (The picture over there is half of the humongous sandwich! Half!) It was also super yummy- the rye bread was toasty but not greasy (a common pitfall of toasted/grilled sandwiches), there was just enough sauerkraut and dressing... so good. It might just be my new favorite there.
I want to especially thank the owners, Dave and Wendy Swartz and Joe and Shannon Baun, who were so nice letting me take their pictures (and pictures in the pub). They were so warm and friendly, and you can tell just talking to them that they are really passionate about beer and what they do.
All the beers we sampled (plus more) were available on the regular menu (though the beer menu changes based on seasonal availability).
If you find yourself on Florida's Space Coast, be sure to visit Coaster's Pub, located at 971A E. Eau Gallie Blvd., Melbourne, FL 32937. (The corner of A1A and Eau Gallie.)
Friday, July 18, 2008
I am home for maybe ten minutes, and my oven starts beeping. "Hmm?" I say to myself as I head into the kitchen. The "pre-heated" light is blinking on my oven, and it continues to beep, which is normal for when it is preheated, but is not normal now, as the oven is off. I notice a note on the counter- "Replaced timer. Have to order baking element. Tuesday at the latest. -Maintenance Guy." I think that oh, maybe since Guy replaced the timer, it accidentally got turned on, and it's the timer going off. Upon closer inspection, this is not the case, as the timer light is not on, and the display screen mysteriously says "F2". I press the off button anyway. Of course, nothing happens, but I notice the oven (which is set to "Off") is really hot. I open the door, and the broiler is blazing away. This is not good.
I call the office (with the beeping continuing in the background) and explain the situation. Office Lady tells me as soon as Guy is back, she'll send him over. Fifteen minutes pass. The beeping hasn't stopped, and the apartment is starting to smell like a cross between an overheated computer and a hot-melt glue gun. I call again. Lady is polite but unconcerned, and firmly tells me Guy isn't back yet. I ask her to page him, she says she will.
Half an hour passes. The apartment is about 90 degrees, the air conditioning is running furiously, the beeping continues, and I move anything even remotely meltable/flammable away from the oven, which is so hot I can barely touch it. I am a raw bundle of nerves- freaked out, worried and totally pissed. I call the office again. Lady is a little annoyed and tells me Guy went home (?!*@!) but that she just sent Other Maintenance Guy out with some tickets, including mine. She says he probably went to the others first (of course, she probably didn't mention that mine might be kind of important.)
I call Kyle, angry and almost in tears (probably not helped by the fact that I have been to scared to go anywhere near the kitchen to make myself lunch and I am starving), and whine about the situation to him.
Half an hour later and still nothing. My head hurts, and I'm not sure if it's hunger, the beeping (which continues, uninterrupted), stress or the fumes. I call Kyle again. His co-worker suggests flipping the circuit to the oven, and I feel stupid for not thinking of that over an hour ago. I flip the circuit off, and the beeping stops, finally. I put our oscillating fan in front of the oven, grab a banana, and collapse on the sofa.
Finally, three hours and fifteen minutes after the whole ordeal began, Other Guy shows up. "Your oven doesn't work?" he asks. (Clearly, Lady didn't explain the situation to him. Grrr.) I explain the situation to him, and he seems concerned. He fiddles around with the now-cool oven and replaces the new timer with the old timer. When he flips the circuit, everything is back to the way it was before. Not normal, just the way it was before. He tries the oven out. "It still doesn't heat up," he says. "I guess Guy's ordering that part." I tell him I don't care right now, as long as the beeping stops and the oven won't burn down the apartment.
I finally eat something when he leaves- some cherries, some soy crisps and two microwaved s'mores. I'm so frazzled now... It was a long day. So, the devil is still in my oven, but at least its quieted... For now...
In case you've never worked extensively with chocolate before (which I hadn't prior to this class- though I had eaten chocolate extensively) there are several steps required to ensure that your chocolate will dry smooth and shiny, will be hard and will release properly from molds. Every kind of chocolate you will ever buy, from a plain ol' Hershey's bar to a box of Godiva truffles (yum!) has gone through this process, called tempering.
Tempering is basically a process in which you melt your chocolate to a specific temperature (it varies by the type of chocolate), then you pour it out and paddle it on a marble or stainless steel table until it cools to a specific temperature, then you warm it back up to another specific temperature. If you don't temper chocolate, it won't harden properly, it will have a grainy texture and it will have a sticky feel.
After tempering the chocolates (we had to use white, milk and dark in our sculptures) I poured them out, let them cool slightly and cut out my pattern pieces (which I had made from paper the day prior). Once all the pieces were cut out and cooled, I carefully assembled them using more melted chocolate and a special cooling spray that cools the chocolate so it sets faster. Some were assembled flat, others were assembled once the piece was upright on the base. The final touch was some bon-bons and chocolate garnishes on the base, some edible luster dusts and filigree work.
Mine, as you can see, was space themed, with a comet, stars and the aurora borealis. (The aurora borealis was done with colored cocoa butter and luster dusts.) From the base to the tip of the comet's tail was probably about 15in. Chef liked it, and I got an excellent grade, which was gratifying, as my goal for the project was to make something that at least wouldn't collapse under its own weight.
We just started working with sugar last night, which is a very different process. Much hotter. I should probably stock up on burn cream.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
- 1 1/2cups dry small red beans or kidney beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 4oz andouille sausage, cut into half-circle coins (optional)
- 1Tbsp Canola oil, if needed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 bay leaves
- 2tsp Cajun seasoning or 1/4tsp cayanne, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp ground pepper and 1tsp salt
- A few dashes hot sauce (I like Tabasco's Chipotle Sauce)
- Water (as needed)
In a large pot, cook andouille and oil (if using a lower-fat andouille) until andouille is fragrant and some of the fat has cooked out. Add the onion, celery, green peppers and garlic and cook until onion just starts to soften. Add the beans and enough water to cover (about 4 or 5 cups). Add the bay leaves, spices and hot sauce. Bring to a rapid boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to med-low and cover pot. Check on the beans every 20-30 minutes- give them a stir to prevent sticking and add a cup or two of water if needed to keep beans covered. After about 2 hours taste a bean to check doneness. If bean is still crunchy, cover pot and cook another 30-60min. If bean is done, adjust seasoning, adding more salt and spices if desired. If the beans are "soupier" than you prefer, remove the lid and bring the beans to a boil for a few minutes to cook off some of the liquid.
Serve beans over cooked white or brown rice, with a bottle of hot sauce on the side.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The range still works, but the actual oven itself barely heats up. This is frustrating, as, ironically, all my meal plans this week needed to be baked. Of course.
I called the apartment office yesterday, but no one has stopped by to look at it yet. They're re-finishing the breezeways at the apartment, so I think maintenance is a little tied up with that activity... So it may be a while before I have an oven again, which makes me a little sad, as I had some baking I wanted to do. Guess it'll have to wait.
I also re-worked my meals for this week to use the stove only- luckily, the ingredients for the other meals will keep. Right now I have some red beans boiling on the stove top, and they smell heavenly! Yum!
Monday, July 14, 2008
There are several advantages to homemade marshmallows- the taste of a fresh homemade marshmallow blows store-bought marshmallows out of the water (or the hot cocoa), they melt nicer, you can make them any flavor you want (mint? vanilla bean? Yum!), plus you know and control the quality of the ingredients. Homemade marshmallows don't contain high-fructose corn syrups, preservatives, artificial flavoring (unless you choose to use them) or food dye (even plain white marshmallows contain blue food dye. Weird, right?) Also, everyone is super-impressed by your mad culinary skills when you serve them a homemade marshmallow!
As I mentioned, making marshmallows is really pretty simple, and the prep only takes about 30-45min, but once the process is started, you can't really stop. You'll want to have everything you need- equipment, tools and weighed ingredients ready-to-go. (The fancy-pants culinary term for this is mise en place, which translates roughly to "put in place".)
- Be mindful- You will be cooking a hot sugar syrup. This is probably not the safest activity for young children. I am not responsible for burns or injuries.
Also, to give proper credit, I did not create this marshmallow recipe- it was given to me by my tres French chef instructor at school. I do not know where he got it, as it was handwritten on a slip of paper.
As far as tools and equipment goes, you will need-
- A candy or digital thermometer
- A saucepan
- A heat resistant spatula or wooden spoon
- A stand mixer or hand mixer, large stainless steel bowl, and a buddy
- A well buttered glass 9x13 pan
- A small bowl
- A scale
- A sifter or fine meshed sieve
- Pizza cutter
- A timer
Collect your tools and then weigh your ingredients (sorry, this is a by-weight recipe. Digital scales are about $20 at Target or Bed Bath and Beyond. It's a good investment.)
Makes 60+ marshmallows
- 6oz water
- 16oz sugar
- 1.25oz honey
- flavoring of your choice (I used 1/2tsp vanilla bean paste)
- 1oz unflavored powdered gelatin
- 6oz ice-cold water (in addition to above quantity)
- 5 egg whites
- 1.25oz sugar (in addition to above quantity)
- About 1c confectioners sugar and 1c cornstarch sifted together
In your small bowl, dissolve the powdered gelatin in the ice water. Stir to ensure there is no dry gelatin. It will be very thick.
Attach your candy thermometer to your saucepan. Put water, honey and your flavor in the saucepan and heat on med-low until honey dissolves. Once honey dissolves, add the 16oz of sugar. Stir gently to dissolve the sugar, then allow to cook undisturbed until it reaches 275F. (This is sometimes called the "soft ball" stage.) Use extreme care with hot sugar!Once sugar reaches 275F, carefully remove thermometer, and stir in gelatin paste. The sugar will bubble when the gelatin dissolves- this is because the water in the gelatin is boiling off in the hot sugar. Again, be careful. (You can see it bubbling a little in my picture.)
Set sugar aside for a moment and whip egg whites in the mixer (or with hand mixer) until they are frothy and start turning white. Sprinkle on the 1.25oz sugar and continue whipping (as if making meringue) until you reach medium-stiff peaks. (When you pull the beater out and turn it upside down, the egg fluff should just barely droop at the peaks.)
If using a stand mixer, set it on low and slowly and carefully drizzle the hot sugar syrup onto the egg whites. If using a hand mixer, have your buddy hold the hand mixer and with it on low-med while you slowly and carefully pour sugar syrup over the egg whites. Pause periodically to let your buddy ensure the whites and syrup are well mixed. Once all the syrup is Incorporated, set your timer to 8 minutes, crank your mixer to its highest speed and whip it like you're in Devo.
When your timer goes off, quickly pour your marshmallow goo into your greased 9x13 pan. Smooth the top. Using your sifter or mesh sieve, dust the top generously with your confectioner's sugar/cornstarch mix. Let marshmallows set for 1-2 hours. This would be a good time to tidy up.
Once marshmallows have firmed up, gently pull them out of the pan. If you greased the pan well, this will be pretty easy. Lay the slab o' marshmallow powdered side down on a sheet of aluminum foil. Dust the unpowdered side.
Using a pizza cutter, cut your marshmallows into small cubes. Toss the cubes in your remaining sugar/cornstarch.
Voila! You're the proud owner of a big ol' pile of homemade marshmallows!Toast them, make s'mores, plop 'em in hot cocoa, eat 'em plain... the possibilities are endless!