i went to the post office again this morning, to pick up yet one more package my new mailman refused to deliver because apparently i live in the dangerous part of cambridge. i had a good guess it was my mail order prescription HBP medication. afterwards i went to the citizens bank in davis square to deposit a $25 check a knitting magazine paid me to use one of my photos. the weather was overcast and a bit chilly and i felt a few drops but it didn't rain at all today.

i went out again in the afternoon to rite aid when i had a candy craving and stopped by market basket to get some oranges. my upstairs neighbors came back from their italian vacation so it was immediately noisy upstairs again. i wish their houseguests lived here instead, they were a really quiet couple.

i attempted to make some turkish delight last august and failed miserably. on paper, the recipe is pretty straightforward: combine a sugar syrup with a corn starch paste. in practice however it's a different story. my big mistake last time was botching the corn starch paste; what i didn't know and what the recipes failed to warn me was corn starch only dissolves in cold water. figuring i'd take a shortcut, i used hot water instead resulting in a pot of starch pellets. i wouldn't make that mistake this time.

sugar syrup:
4 cups sugar
1.5 cups water
2 tsp lemon juice

corn starch paste:
1 cup corn starch
3 cups COLD water
1 tsp cream of tartar

flavor & coloring:
1 drop blue food coloring
3 drops red food coloring
1 tsp rose extract

other equipment
candy thermometer
7x11" pyrex dish (or 9x9")
2 medium pots

of the ingredients, i still don't know why i have to add lemon juice or cream of tartar. but if it means the difference between failed turkish delight and successful turkish delight, i'll add them. i used the following 3 recipes as references: 1 2 3.

i only have one medium-sized pot but was reluctant to use it because it's non-stick, and i know when working with any type of syrup or jelly that the pots and pans are incredibly hard to clean afterwards. fortunately i had those 2 medium-sized aluminum pots i found on the curb back in june. they were perfect, and because they're non-stick, i could easily scrub them clean with a brillo pad afterwards and not having to worry about scratching them.

with the syrup at a boiling simmer (low heat), i turned my attention to the corn starch paste, the key component that i messed up last time. i used cold water this time and was a little worried when i added all the ingredients but unlike last time, the corn starch quickly dissolved into a milky-like solution.

i then heated the corn starch "milk" on medium heat. this was a mistake. why? i should've waited for the sugar syrup to heat up properly to the "soft ball" stage which is around 230-240°F, since the paste has to be combined with the syrup as soon as it's done. what i didn't realize was how quickly the heated corn starch liquid transformed into a paste. i turned off the heat for the paste and took a few temperature reading of the syrup with my digital thermometer. the temperature barely peaked at 230° but i couldn't wait anymore and poured the syrup into the paste.

at first i thought i made a mistake, because the corn syrup paste formed into large clumps combined with the syrup. but quickly soon after i began stirring, the clumps got smaller and smaller until they disappeared.

once the mixture began boiling, i turned down the heat to medium-low. recipes said to stir anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour, until the mixture turned a light golden yellow color. why such a long stirring time? recipes said to prevent the mixture from scorching. but i kept on stirring because otherwise the mixture would bubble and splatter raw turkish delight goo all over the stovetop. it actually smelled pretty nice, this mellow sugary fragrance; i didn't notice it when i boiled the syrup but caught the scent when i created the corn starch paste.

after about an hour and 20 minutes of stirring, i still wasn't seeing the pale golden color. in fact, i didn't see much color chance since i first started. i did notice at the 50 minute mark that the primordial turkish delight was a single blob; stirring the mixture, i could actually see the bottom of the pot. the mixture never lost its lumpy consistency, but these were soft lumps, not the hard starch granules like last time. i saw a few photos of raw turkish delight and they all looked about the same.

i finally turned off the heat. i added the food coloring, 1 drop of blue and 3 drops of red for a pink color. finally i added a tsp of rose extract. i poured the mixture into a 7x11 pyrex lasagna dish that i greased up earlier with vegetable oil.

i noticed the jellified scraps at the bottom of the pot had that golden color i was waiting to see. i ate a few spoonful because finally putting the pot in the sink, scrubbed clean with a leftover brillo pad. i left the pyrex dish sitting out on the dining table to set. after a few hours, it looked pretty solid, like a jello mold but without the jiggles. i hope it isn't too solid, i'm not making hard candy after all! it definitely looks better than what i made back in august though. tomorrow i'll cut them into squares and dust them with confectionary sugar.

my mini digital LCD thermometer/hygrometer arrived today (small enough to slip through the mail slot, so i didn't have to go pick it up at the post office again). i bought it on ebay for $3.58 (plus 12¢ shipping) and it arrived from shanghai. it has a humidity range of 10% to 99%, and a temperature range of -50°C to 70°C. i got it so i could find out the temperature/humidity of my grow closet. i like the long tethered probe, which means i can put the readout someplace else for better visibility. the only thing i don't like is it only shows celsius, but i got it primarily for the humidity anyway.