I decided to try some more things this weekend.
First, I thought it’d be fun to make my own gummy candy, because it’s apparently really easy to do. Following this recipe, I took two ¼ oz. packets of Knox Gelatine (unflavored gelatin) and a 3 oz. box of Jell-O, added them to 1/3 cup water, waited 10 minutes, heated to dissolve, then poured into a mold. Sort of.
Did you know it’s darn near impossible to find gummy bear molds? Even on Amazon you can’t find molds that have small candies, just big ones. If you want to find one that has any decent number of cavities, especially if it’s silicone, you’ll pay through the nose. Like to the tune of $2 per bear. Good gads.
Anyway I ended up using cherry lemonade Jell-O, because it’s awesome (my wife can’t stand the smell though), and for lack of a mold I just poured the mixture into a round Pyrex container with a flat bottom. The container’s about 7 inches across (it’s the 7-cup container I believe), and the mixture filled it up to about a quarter inch. The mix was sticky and hard to work with even after 20 minutes of curing time (at room temperature), and was extremely difficult to cut. Corn starch did make it easier to handle. I have not mastered the art of the light dusting, however. In the end I was able to cut it into a number of fairly large, thin pieces.
Taste-wise the gummies are pretty good, but I think they could use a bit more flavor and a bit less chewiness; and here I was worried they wouldn’t be chewy enough. The texture is a little too… gristly, for lack of a better word, which I guess makes perfect sense considering where gelatin comes from. The page where I got the recipe suggests maybe using two boxes of Jell-O and three packets of the Gelatine with 1/2 cup water for more flavor; that would effectively double the recipe (important when working with the Pyrex container) but I think will still be a little too chewy. Then again, maybe there’s a balance you have to strike to get it to stay stable at room temperature. I’m tempted to try it with 2/3 cup of water, which is basically double the original recipe if I used slightly less Gelatine—but maybe that would re-dilute the flavor unless I threw in some other kind of additive like a packet of Kool-Aid. The questions that come up are surprisingly Google-proof.
Coating the candies in citric acid to make them more sour didn’t work very well, leading me to wonder if it reacted with the sugar in the Jell-O (as malic acid is known to if you put it on any kind of sugar candy) or if I just didn’t use enough. It might work better after starch is applied, but I’m not sure. More experimentation will be needed. I love me some sour candies.
Today, since I had a thin little 4 oz. New York strip steak that I needed to finish up, I thawed that puppy out and took a shot at making epic dinner. I seasoned the thawed steak on both sides liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic. Then I put it in a frying pan with butter for one minute to a side, threw it into a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible, and put it into a water bath that I tried to keep around 130° for about an hour. (That’s Fahrenheit, obviously.) After that I took a 20 oz. bag of medium-sized white potatoes that had already been cleaned—they were in a steam-in-the-microwave bag—and threw them in my big saucepan with 2 quarts of water (I counted) and about a cup and a half of kosher salt, to make salt potatoes. Once it got up to a boil I simmered for what was supposed to be 20 minutes, but was longer because of the bigger potatoes. Finally I took some mushrooms, threw them in the pan I used to sear the steak, and added a few tablespoons of bacon grease and more garlic, later followed by some lemon juice and about half a stick of butter. (Most of the rest of the stick of butter was used for pouring over my bowl of salt potatoes, which was about half of them.)
I learned a few things here. First, when pre-searing a steak for sous vide, don’t be content with one minute to a side on medium-high; do two minutes or use higher heat. Second, I need to stop trying to make salt potatoes in my big 5 qt. pot because I think it’s corroding the pot, and I need this pot to make cheese. Third, apparently you can’t find baby white potatoes in March for love or money: gold and russet and mixed, sure, but not white. Gold potatoes make awful salt potatoes; it’s white or nothing. Fourth, the mushrooms will probably come out way better on medium heat instead of medium-high.
Epic dinner attempt: B-. I’ve had epicer. But this wasn’t bad for a cold day with no grill. This satisfied my steak craving somewhat though, and should help stave off the spring madness just a little while longer.
I do however have leftover potatoes; I only ate about half of them, and since my wife’s eating low-carb she can’t have any. So at some point fairly soon I intend to cut up the remaining salt potatoes and fry them up to make some nice home fries, which is something my mother used to do a lot with leftover salt potatoes.