The last six weeks of every semester is always a bit of a Sisyphean nightmare of grading, so we usually need a few weeks to recover and empty our minds of all things academic. This year–our last–I don’t feel as exhausted as I usually do, but I do feel the compulsion to empty my mind, and there’s nothing more meditative than cooking.
I puttered around all day in the kitchen…making dips and soups and such. The soups, of course, are for my two dads, who’ve both put in orders. My second dad is actually my older brother, Johnny, who was seventeen when I was six, and all my little girlfriends thought he was my dad, so he refers to himself as such (though he usually simply calls himself my “favourite dad,” while I refer to him as “Beezlebub” because it suits him so well).
I may have overdone the soup though…
However, my very cool, though not entirely successful, cooking experiment of the day was aquafaba meringues.
Aquafaba is a fancy name for the stuff you pour down the drain when you open a can of beans (usually chickpeas or white kidney beans, but other beans as well). Yes…aquafaba is…BEAN JUICE.
According to The Official Aquafaba Site…
Aquafaba can be used to replace egg whites in many sweet and savory recipes. Its unique mix of starches, proteins, and other soluble plant solids (which have migrated from the seeds to the water during the cooking process) gives aquafaba a wide spectrum of emulsifying, foaming, binding, gelatinizing, and thickening properties.
A growing international community has developed around aquafaba to explore its full potential, resulting in many exciting recipes such as meringues, mayo, butter, cheeses, pavlovas, macarons, baked goods, and much, much more!
Most recipes I’ve come across have suggested that a can of chickpeas will yield about a cup of the apparently magical stuff, but at most, I’ll get maybe a quarter of a cup, so I started just collecting it in a jar until, lo and behold, after a few weeks, I ended up with almost four cups.
Anyway, I used this recipe, which calls for 3/4 up sugar to each cup of aquafaba (or “goo” as I’ve been calling it all day). This seemed like far too much, so I cut it down to 1/2 cup of sugar per cup of goo. As it turns out, it was still way too much sugar, but I’m recording the ingredients so I know what NOT to do for my next foray into the world of aquafaba.
- 4 cups of aquafaba
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 cups icing sugar (FFR: this is WAY too much)
So you combine the first three ingredients in a stand mixer and whip the heck out of it F.O.R.E.V.E.R. (seriously, we’re talking half an hour). Gradually add the icing sugar.
After half an hour of whipping the goo, it was the consistency of, say, Cool Whip, but hadn’t yet formed stiff peaks (which is apparently what you want):
Eventually, however, the peaks formed, and the texture was really quite neat:
You then cook them F.O.R.E.V.E.R. at 200 degrees.
Here’s what they look like before cooking (so pretty!):
The cooking didn’t really work out very well, however. I tried an hour, and they were too soft, so I left them another half hour and they were kind of getting there enough that I figured I’d experiment with the next sheet in terms of time and temperature, BUT they tasted terrible because they were FAR too sweet.
So…ultimately, I decided to chuck the rest in the bin and chalk it up to experience.
I remain intrigued by the whole aquafaba thing, but I think I’ll try it in savoury dishes (or as an egg replacement) instead. Oh well, I’ve never been much of a dessert maker anyway.
I think James may have been a little disappointed that he was robbed of his promised dessert, however, because I found this beside his chair….
Aaaand the song of the day is the Boss’s tribute to Prince…”Purple Rain”: