This past weekend we drove up to Santa Maria to visit my mother and celebrate a belated Christmas with her. I try to make my gifts meaningful for the recipient, and during her visit here at Thanksgiving, I learned that my mother adores marshmallows and divinity, so I decided that my Christmas gift to her would be homemade marshmallows. (Divinity will have to wait – it’s rainy season here and humidity would not be my friend.)
Thursday evening, while my daughter was out with her knitting friends, I whipped out the marshmallows (oh, pun maybe intended?), using Alton Brown’s recipe. For my first try, I stayed with simple vanilla. My goodness, it was sticky! And, you have to work very quickly to scrape it from mixing bowl to prepared pan. My skills will probably improve with repeated attempts, I’m sure. On Friday morning I removed the marshmallow slab, cut it into pieces, and tossed the pieces with a powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture. They do taste much, much better than store-bought. I left a few for my neighbor, then boxed up the remainder to give to my mother. Well, the marshmallows survived the trip and were met with great approval and a request to make more. Next time I will try a second recipe I have and also play with different flavors.
We took one excursion on Saturday, in between the rain showers from three strong storms. Just south of San Luis Obispo, there is a lovely area called See Canyon. It is a popular area for hiking and biking, but also for apples and wine. During fall harvest season, you can find many varieties of delicious apples and apple cider. One of my quilt friends had brought back several varieties last October, which she shared during one of our meetings. And, recently, one of my culinary friends had gone there to check out the small winery in the same area, Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards. Along with more traditional wines, the winery also makes an apple merlot and an apple chardonnay, both quite tasty and both taking advantage of the local bounty. I came home with an apple merlot and a luscious zinfandel port. The apples, themselves, will have to wait until next fall, but I will definitely return to See Canyon during harvest season.
And bring more marshmallows.