Last weekend I was able to get out of town and head up to the San Bernardino Mountains for a few days.
I attended Camp Blogaway - a getaway weekend for food bloggers, recipe developers, and photographers that is organized by the lovely Patti Londre. The weekend serves as our time to enrich our sense of community and connect with one another and learn ways to improve and enhance what we love to do. I truly enjoyed making new friends, catching up with old ones, and being surrounded by people who love and appreciate food (and all that good food stands for) as much as I do. It was food for my soul (pun intended) to be in an environment surrounded by genuine people that have true passion. And of course, the blue skies and clean air didn't hurt.
Anytime I go out to the mountains in So Cal I always feel like I am going home; the real 'forests,' green grass, and birds chirping take me back to the Midwest where I grew up. I definitely felt like that this past weekend, but I also felt a different sense of belonging that you can only really get when you are with a group of caring, like-minded people. That sense of family was even further reinforced when we listened to Cheryl and Susan talk about their community of readers, and about how our online families extended beyond the connections we made with each other at camp to include each one of YOU that faithfully reads our blogs. And for that I want to say thank you - for being part of my family - for supporting me when life is hard, for laughing with me when life is amazing, and for always appreciating good food and good friends.
I caught up with some old friends at Camp Blogaway, but also met lots of new ones - I can't possibly list them all here but I definitely want to make sure you know who they are and to introduce you to some fantastic new blogs. Check out the Camp Blogaway website for a full list of attendees, and also to see an awesome slideshow of photos from the weekend (don't miss the photo of me wearing my designated camp shirt - a cartoon of dancing chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows saying 'Let's Have S'more Fun.' Yeah, it's amazing.). I didn't get a whole lot of photos of the weekend (even I need a break) but the collection of pictures in the slideshow really captures it all. Also, within the next week I will be updating my blogroll to include these new blogs I think you will love.
Myself and Quyen of Kitchen Runway.
After spending the weekend at camp with my new 'family,' I came home feeling nostalgic and dreaming of comforting sweet treats. I swear I don't have an obsession with marshmallows (despite the fact that I make them from scratch and own t-shirts adorned with them) but I seriously could not stop thinking about rice krispie treats. I blame Cathy of Gastronomy for this fixation, because I tried her Rosemary Rice Krispie Treats earlier this year at a photography workshop and I was blown away. They have been on my 'to-do' list ever since then, and a weekend of camping brought them to the forefront of my mind.
Finely minced fresh rosemary.
Melting marshmallows with rosemary and butter. *Sigh.*
For those of you that have never made rice krispie treats before, they are a simple (but sinful) mixture of butter, marshmallows, and popped rice cereal. Adding a little rosemary and lavender takes them to a more 'adult' place, but they are still a child's treat at heart.
Now I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that making rice krispie treats can be a bit messy. See those sticky threads of marshmallow up there? If you are not careful you can get krispie-marshmallow-goodness just about everywhere. And, that is exactly what I did.
I thought I didn't have any parchment to press the rice krispies into the the pan, so I resorted to trying to press them down with aluminum foil - bad choice. When I tried to pull the aluminum foil off, the marshmallow stuck and I proceeded to get it all over the table, my hands, and my hair (not sure how that last part happened, but well, it did). And even with all that, these Rosemary Rice Krispie Treats still turned out fantastically.
Now if you are still skeptical and think you might be 'above' eating a childish Rice Krispie treat, well, think again. And when you do, remember how much you enjoyed eating them when you were a kid. Remember how you could barely wait for them to cool before you begged your mom to cut you a piece? She handed you one perfect gooey square, and your tiny mouth broke into a huge grin. A crunchy bite of that sweet treat was the high point of your day, in fact, the high point of your week. They were the best, and mom was the best for making them for you.
Now imagine making them a bit more sophisticated by adding rosemary and lavender, and you have the perfect taste for big kids and families alike. Maybe you might even switch the roles around and make these for your mom this Mother's Day, just to remind her how much you appreciated those simple, happy days as a child.
You might also like: Making S'mores from Scratch: Homemade Marshmallows and Graham Crackers
One year ago: Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies
Rosemary Rice Krispie Treats
Adapted from The Los Angeles Times
Remember eating rice krispie treats as a kid? These are the stuff of childhood memories, all grown up. The vanilla and marshmallow plus the extra lavender and rosemary make these smell intoxicating, and the crunch is irresistible. This recipe is uber simple, just be wary of sticky melted marshmallows.
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tbsp finely minced fresh rosemary, add more if you like
1 bag (16 oz) of marshmallows, or make your own
1/4 tsp lavender extract (optional)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 box (12 oz) Rice Krispies, or crisped rice cereal
Prepare a 9 x 13 inch baking pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray or coating with extra softened butter. Set aside.
In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the rosemary and stir to mix, then add the marshmallows and continue to stir over medium heat until the marshmallows have completely melted. Stir in the lavender extract, vanilla extract, and salt, then add the Rice Krispies and stir until everything is well coated and mixed evenly.
Transfer the entire mixture to the prepared 9 x 13 inch baking pan - this step might be messy and remember everything is still hot! Once everything is in the pan, use a sheet of parchment paper or well-oiled hands to press down on the top of the rice krispies to smooth out and level off. (If you like your rice krispie treats very dense, press down a lot at this step; if you like them to be more airy and less compact, then only press gently on the top of the pan.)
Let the pan cool for at least one hour or longer, then slice into squares and serve immediately. Rosemary Rice Krispie Treats will keep in an airtight container for at least 4-5 days, but are best on the day they are made.