There is a vicious circle when it comes to making macarons. Last month while listening to Penny de Los Santos endless words of food photography wisdom, I mulit-tasked like a master (yes, I said ‘Master’) and whipped up a batch of almond macarons determined to find what really made streams of people rave and claim divine intervention over these little sandwich cookies.
Whatever skepticism and doubt I had over their power was quickly wiped away when one of the egg white poofs crossed my lips. The last few weeks I’ve been all out fantasizing about what macarons creations I will cook up next.
The vicious circle part of the equation comes from the left over egg yolks that are not included in the macaron recipe. What on earth is one to do with extra egg yolks…why not combine them with a little Bailey’s, sugar, and cream? Sounds like a reasonable solution to me.
For your Grocery List:
~ ¾ cup heavy cream ~ ½ cup whole milk ~ ¼ cup Irish Cream liquor ~ 5 egg yolks ~ 80 grams Baker’s Sugar + 1 Tbsp for flaming
You’ll also need:
~ 13×9 in baking pan
~ 4 oven safe ramekins
*Sidebar* Is it just me or are you seeing the face in the photo above? Mr. Bill’s “ohhhhh, noooo!!” springs to mind.
Baker’s sugar, as listed above, is much finer grain that typical ol’ sugar. Just like powdered sugar is even finer than that. It’s easier to melt and burn, where regular sugar would take way to long and heat up your creme when you want it to stay cold and leave the sugar torched.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a medium size bowl, whisk yolks and 80g baker’s sugar together until creamy. In a small saucepan whisk cream, milk and irish cream until hot, but not boiling. Pour over the egg mixture in bowl and whisk together.
Pour into individual ramekins and place filled ramekins in 13x9in pan. Pour water into 13x9in pan until it reaches approximately ½ way up the sides of the ramekins.
Place in oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let them cool, and place in fridge for at least 2 hours.
Before serving, evenly spread 1 tablespoon of baker’s sugar over the top of the four ramekins, heating to caramelize using a blowtorch, or placing under broiler until brown and bubbly. Eat when sugar cools and turns hard.
One of the best summer drinks I’ve ever had in my life is the Puerto Vallarta, aka “PV’s” named by Beka and I after we tipped back a couple or three one summer afternoon while simultaneously geeking out on wedding magazines and ticking our toesies in Huck’s doggie/kiddie pool. It’s what ya do on a hot summer afternoon, flip through wedding mags dreaming of your big day and name ridiculously delicious drinks crazy names…
How on earth it has taken me this long to get this post up, I’ll never know but better late than never, right? But that’s another story…
For your grocery list include:
12 ounces, fluidPina Colada Mix 1 cupFresh Or Frozen Strawberries 2 ounces, fluidRum 2 ounces, fluidBaileys Or Other Irish Cream Ice
Toss those delectable berries into your blender,
Saturate those jewels with Pina Colada mix, Rum and Bailey’s
and blend away!! If you’re using frozen strawberries, you won’t have to add as much ice. But if you’re using fresh berries add a few cubes to give it a good frost.
The first time Beka made these I was completely taken aback by the Bailey’s in the drink, but it really good kick of chocolately flavor. How strawberries and Irish Cream turn into a chocolate flavor I’ll never know, I just roll with the punches.
Pour it into a huge glass – cause who wouldn’t want a massive glass of this? – and gulp to your heart’s content!
If you’ve been around WBACC for any length of time, you’ve already been throughly introduced to and become friends with (albeit electronically) my bestie Beka. We’re kind of attached in a ridiculous way. It’s more than an “attached at the hip” friendship – there is a freakish Volcan Mind-Meld thing we got going on…like those freakish twins that can feel eachother’s pain. Make sense yet, or are you terrified now? Either way, I wanted to give you a first hand look at my bestie and give her a chance to show you all why I totally and completely heart her. Feel free to visit her brand spankin’ new blog Kvetchin’ Kitchen, show her a little love and stroke the ego a bit. A good ego strokin’ puts a little bounce in your step. Take it away Schmoopy!
I saw for a while, staring at a blank screen, trying to figure how to even start this! It’s very unsettling – the white screen… and all that Megan has built this up to be… I got a little intimidated! I just wanted you to know that – incase this post disappoints you… I was ascared.
I’ve known Megan for almost 7 years – and we only hated each other for 1 of them (I kid – but really, we lived together in a teensy dorm room and had 3 of our 4 classes together… it wasn’t all hugs and kisses). But we found our groove together and have been peaceful ever since! In our college apartment, we would take turns teaching each other our home-cooked secrets. One day, she came to me and asked me to show her how to roast a chicken, so she could impress this guy. So, as best I could, I showed her a very simple way to roast a chicken. Just a short time after it went into the oven (the point of no-return), it became clear that the guy did not want to come inside and eat, he insisted on taking her to a fancy restaurant in town (I had assumed, to impress her). And, like girls will do, I got irrationally mad. Because as she left on her fabulous date, I was left at home, to turn and tend to the chicken that refused to cook (we learned later that the heating element was broken… which is why it took 4 hours to roast a teensy little chicken).
The chicken was finally done, and as it sat on the counter resting, I was sure that it was mocking me. So, I angrily cut it up (that’ll show it!) and froze it. Because I sure as heck wasn’t going to eat such a rude, angry bird (LOL – Angry Bird! Sorry – I’m addicted). She came home, and it wasn’t a fabulous evening. And instead of being the kind, empathetic roommate, I ignored her, because I was really mad about the chicken, see?
*Editor’s Note* – I got dumped that night – so I *Megan* was a complete and utter wreck, inconsolable and had snot running down my face kinda tears goin’ on and no to bestie who’s shoulder I could cry on… but that’s neither here nor there… We’ve moved on. It’s funny – NOW.
But I didn’t stay mad for long, and of course I got over it, and she got over it. But the Mean Chicken stayed in the freezer until the day we moved out of that apartment. And we didn’t eat it. Because then it would win.
This isn’t a recipe about roasted chicken, though. This is a recipe about mushrooms. Roasted in butter. And spices. Let me start by saying that at the time of the Mean Chicken incident, I hated mushrooms. We had just learned in biology that mushrooms were some freak of nature – not quite “plant” because it didn’t perform photosynthesis, and not quite “animal” because it doesn’t chew much… but it seeks out nutrients with roots that move. Hunting roots. Creepy, no? And after freaking all of you out, I’m going to show you a recipe that will turn it around for you. Because if you roast anything in enough butter and garlic (and spice, if you’re into that sort of thing) then it will be delicious. Especially if you eat that with bread. Delicious bread… Obviously, I was cured of my aversion to mushrooms, because Megan and I (with our menfolk) went to eat at a local restaurant chain called Matador.
The special that night was roasted mushrooms (they had a fancier name, but for the life of me they haven’t been on the menu since and now I can’t remember).
This was amazing food – but especially these mushrooms. Hot and spicy, but not so spicy as to hide any flavor, but just enough to wake up your tastebuds, and butter (so much butter!) and garlic, and what we can only guess to be chipotle peppers. We ate it with bread. And then they tried to “help” and get the “empty” plate out of our way, except it still had all the butter juice on it! And you can be sure that we kept it at the table, because I was going to drink that if I had to. (maybe too far? Well, I had enough bread to clean the plate).
And like any good restaurant, they don’t divulge their tasty secrets. So, like any good set of friends that have lived through a Mean Chicken incident, Megan and I figured out this recipe together. The basis of the recipe is a Garlic Butter Mushroom recipe from Smitten Kitchen. And then I played with it a little to make it a spicier Latin version. You could also replace other soft actual vegetables if fungus still gives you the heeby-jeebies. I imagine that zucchini spears would have a very similar roasting time; carrots would be excellent, but take longer; peppers would be tasty, but might dissolve before the sauce really develops…
1 lb mushrooms (we used white button – but cremini would also work)
1 T capers, rinsed and chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 T oil (olive or vegetable – we used vegetable this time, but I think that olive with add a nice finish)
4 T butter, cut into pieces (I used salt – don’t hate on me)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
2 chipotle peppers, chopped
½ lemon-worth of juice
BREAD. Oh so much bread. Something crusty (sourdough, maybe)
Preheat oven to 450. Mix together oil, capers, garlic, pepper flakes, chipotle. Toss with mushrooms, to coat. Pour into a pan to contain the deliciousness. Put pats of butter on top of mushrooms. Put in oven for 15-20 minutes. You will smell when it’s done. Nom nom nom. When it’s out, finish with lemon (it’s refreshing!), let it cool just long enough that your mouth won’t be burned for a week. Try to breath between bites.
What better place to work your way into the depths of your man’s heart and soul than in the kitchen?
And if you’re going to be lightin’ that fire through food – why not steam it up whilst decked out in a Flirty Apron!?!
Flirty Aprons really breaks the mold on the dull and drab aprons of ye olde days, breaking out some energetic and funky colors that really modernize the Way of the Apron.
Who doesn’t remember their Grams in an apron, tossing a spoon in a pocket and simultaneously using it as a kitchen towel or oven mitt to whisk something piping hot out of the oven? And June Cleaver even rocked one with a gorgeous strand of pearls. Classy broads.
Now, a lucky winner can too – just hipped up and brought into the new age.
Because it’s a Saturday night.
Because I’m sitting here with an 85 pound labra-dork snoring right next to me and lounging in my PJ’s watching NCIS,
and because I love ya, I’m giving away one (1) Flirty Apron in Cocoa Lime!
To enter just leave a comment below telling me…
What are you going to cook, bake or whip up while wearing this here gorgeous apron?
This giveaway will run until next Friday, June 17th when the winner will be announced here and on the Wanna Be A Country Cleaver Facebook page. Feel free to tell your friends! And good luck!
*Editor’s Note* This giveaway was sponsored by yours truly with my own money, because I’m a sucker for a good deal and adorable duds. Over and out.
PMS must have been really hitting me hard this month (too much info?) because all I could think about was tossing a couple of peaches on the grill, and slathering it with a giant mound of ice cream…. it was a rough week.
Today I finally got around to whipping this baby up, with a few minor changes.
For your grocery list be very sure to include…
~ 2 whole peaches, halved ~ 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar ~ 2 Tbsp Sugar ~ ½ cup Raspberries ~ ⅓ cup Vanilla or Creme Fraiche Ice Cream or Gelato
In small saucepan, heat raspberries and stir until mush.
With sieve over a small bowl, pour hot mashed berries into the sieve. With a spatula work the raspberries through until only seeds and pith of berries remain. Toss seeds, who really needs ‘em?
With sieve over a small bowl, pour hot mashed berries into the sieve and with spatula work the raspberries through until only seeds and pith of berries remain. Toss seeds
Put raspberry juice back into saucepan, adding balsamic vinegar and sugar. Heat over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to syrup consistency. Set aside.
Heat grill to medium heat. Place halves of peaches flesh side down on the grill for about 7 minutes or until grill marks are visible.
Place in bowl, flesh side up and place dollop of gelato on top, pouring raspberry balsamic syrup over the top. Serve immediately and devour.
Labrador owners, especially yellow lab owners, go through three different stages of ownership.
Stage One: Stock up on every brand of de-fuzzing agent known to man. From rolls of extra strength duct tape to Costco packs of Lint rollers and everything in between.
Stage Two: Buy clothes in colors that will compliment your labradors hair color so it doesn’t stand out when it gets rooted into the fabrics of everything you own. Black is most definitely OUT, you should see my Northface fleece – it’s now looks gray thanks to all the hair interwoven into it.
And I’ve tried everything including taking a Furminator to it… no joy.
Stage Three: Accept that no matter what you do, you labrador will commandeer anything you let lay on the floor for more than five minutes.
“It smellz like Mom, must cuddles with it.”
Step Four (Cause who’s really counting?) : Love that squishy face no matter what, cause after three years this habit of his isn’t going to change. That blue fleece jacket he’s laying on is officially his…
My cakes used to need a lot of help. And I do mean alot. They were unevenly baked, terribly frosted, hard on the edges and barely done in the middle and completely domed like a mountain. Not something you’d be really super pumped to present to someone on their birthday. But you do the best you can with what you got.
For the life of me, I didn’t understand why they were terrible, but after taking my cake decorating classes, I found out the whole reason why…
In the oven your cakes don’t bake evenly from the bottom up. The edges get done first, setting them selves up and baking inwards so that last piece done is the very middle. With those crispy set edges, it forces the cake batter in the middle of the pan to rise up since it can’t go anywhere else in the pan – hence, the dastardly dome of doom. (I like alliterations, can you tell?)
In my first cake decorating lesson I learned of the Wilton Bake Even Strips, and wham bam thank you ma’am did they solve all of my cake problems!
Today I was baking a couple of cakes for my first Wilton teaching gig that starts TOMORROW, and I had to share with you how wonderful these strips are.
I prepped my batter ready to bake it according to all instructions and before loading up my pans I soaked my strips, ready to put them around the pans to go into the oven. On one of the pans I used a Bake Even strip and one pan without as a control. See how scientific I am?
See if you can spot the difference in the baked cakes!
This is the cake I baked without the strips. It’s got the ring of overdone-ness around the outer edge, pulling itself away from pan and giving it the dome on top.
Here is the cake I baked with the strip. It’s brown pretty evenly all around with a no crusty edge and no valley and dome in the middle.
The wet Bake Even Strips slow down the baking process a bit, allowing the edges and bottom to get done at a similar pace, eliminating the doming and uneven baking that would normally happen.
Can you tell the difference between the two?
These have been a great addition to my baking and if you like a well baked and level cake, these are something you really should try!
What was your best baking accomplishment? Or what was your biggest baking blunder?
Over and out!
*Editor’s Note* Yes, I am starting tomorrow teaching the Wilton Method – but these were purchased over a year ago with my own money when I initially took the Wilton classes and I put them to the test in my own kitchen. This is a product review done of my own accord and I am not, I repeat NOT being compensated for this review. These strips are just that fabulous.
Since most (90%) of our wedding still has yet to be planned – I felt it was time to make a little progress by working on what colors we may want as part of our big day. For the longest time I’d been in love with a lavender, wheat and sage color combination, but lately my mind has turned to a wheat, teal and poppy palette that would mix old and modern tones.
The other part I wanted to ensure I included in our wedding was some country-esque themes. How on earth could I do this?
Ben, in his infinitely fantastic decorating wisdom used to have vases full of dried wheat around his apartment. It was a fantastic way of incorporating some texture and dimension into a typically lifeless white walled apartment. Since we are no long living in our beloved Palouse, I’ve been dreaming of adding dried wheat into our bouquets and table decorations from day one.
Then while doing a little grocery shopping, we purchased a couple of bottles of milk – glass bottles, like the old school ones that actual Milkman would bring by. How could we not use these for vases? Today I put it all to the test and broke out those bottles to do a demonstration and make sure it was as beautiful in real life as it was in my head.
We’re lacking the dried wheat right now, but perhaps we can snag some on an adventure back east later this summer during harvest. Poppies were plentiful at the farmer’s market this morning, so I picked up a quick bouquet that had a few dashed in just to give me a visual representation of what I was dreaming about. And really, I don’t think I’m too off my rocker here.
Said milk jugs. How adorable are these? My other thought was using Mason jars. Who doesn’t love a good mason jar?
Farmer’s Markets and their endless seas of flowers always have a way of brightening your day. This had a great mix of red, orange and red/orange poppies. I almost bought some with a light peach poppy in it, but that will have to wait for another day. Today’s bouquet had a purpose to fulfill.
I’m actually a fan of them without the twine wrapped around them. But the poppies would pop with a little wheat thrown in. I’m not sold on the yellow and purples in here – so don’t focus on these guys, even though they are pretty.
Here I added some teal, orange (darn it wasn’t poppy), and basic tan twine. The texture is nice, but I almost prefer just a plain tan here.
So, what do you guys think here? Am I onto something, or am I plain nuts?
What are your favorite flowers? What kind did you have at your wedding?
This is one of those sammies that has been on the list of things to make and feature here, but inevitably life gets in the way, the dog needs to go out, something needs to be cleaned and by the end of it I all but forgot what day it is let alone posting about my favorite grilled sammie. Whoops.
But finally here it is, short and sweet – because again, life is calling and Ben’s tummy is grumbling for dinner.
For your Grocery List:
~ 4 thick slices of bread (your choice)
~ 4 slices Havarti
~ 6 Slices Black Forest Ham
~ 4 thin slices Tomato
~ Handful of Spinach
~ Thinly sliced Sweet Onion
~ Mixture of 50/50 Mayo and Mustard
Heat up your skillet and toss a little Pam in the bottom of that bad boy. Slather on a little of the mayo/mustard mix onto your slices of carby deliciousness, topping it with cheese, onion, tomato, spinach, ham and the other slice of bread.
Grill ‘er up like a good ol’ grilled cheese and promptly devour. These transformed my life, with less guilt than a traditional grilled cheese would provide but enough to know there was melty cheese in there somewhere, and plenty of good vegg to leave you a little less jiggly around the midsection.
Last Saturday was Ben’s birthday, 28th to be exact. One year closer to 30. But who am I to make fun, because this year I’ll be turning 26, officially past my mid-20′s. Dang. Moving on!
This adventure took some careful planning between my fabulous friends, Jackie, Nick and Beka. There were even “Ben’s Birthday 2011″ T-shirts made! They took hours, ruined my iron, and I may have cried a bit over them. They took so long I didn’t get to make Ben a birthday cake! What kind of fiancee am I?
But I digress.
Originally the plan was to wake up way to early as is reason for a Sunday of a long weekend and head to Mt. Rainier to get some good clean air and crack a Rainier beer or two. (Rainier beer seemed appropriate) But, the brilliant plan went to h-e-double hockey sticks in a handbasket when we found out the night before there was still fifteen feet of snow up at the visitor’s center. Pass!
Instead, we stopped for a hearty breakfast, and a Bloody Mary to start the day. Beka enjoyed some epic pancakes, as evidenced by her astonished expression.
After breakfast it was time to hop the ferry over to the Peninsula to glorious Port Townsend and Fort Worden.
But while waiting for the ferry – another beer needed to be had. Guiness at 11 on a Sunday wasn’t my cup of tea…clearly it was Ben’s. I stuck with something a little lighter, but the ferry showed up a bit too early and had to coax Ben into finishing it. You don’t leave a solider behind. Even a beer one at that.
Nick went all engi-nerd/sailing-geek on us explaining who knows what about sailing and currents. But we heart him anyway. The captain even had some fun honking the horn making us all but jump overboard. He thought it was pretty funny… My heart didn’t think so after it went into premature ventricular contraction. (It skipped a beat, get it?)
When we and our skipping hearts made it to shore it was off to Port Townsend, boy was it fantastic. If you are ever in Washington and need a day trip – make this it. Pedestrian and incredibly dog friendly – it was a win!
The restaurants were just plain yummy. Between a good beer,
crayons on the table and
Salmon fritters to eat, this was on it’s way to being an epic day.
Fort Worden called our names and we finally got to really put our walking feet and jiggling overstuffed bodies to the test.
It a military-ghost-town, turned state park and camping haven. Creaking metal doors, concrete barricades, rusting metal and shadows galore. Never would I want to be there at night. I’m a woos like that, not ashamed to admit it.
By the end of the days adventure, all of the fresh salt air sapped the energy out of us all – leading us to…
have one last beer before heading home.
Ben’s Birthday 2011 was an epic success, to which none of us have fully recovered. Getting home at 11pm is just too late for us old folks…but it was more than worth it.
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