- Make chocolate-covered strawberries in no time
- Valentine's date ideas for photographers
- Five signs you're burned out
- Best moments from the Puppy Bowl
- Pretty red and pink pieces for Valentine's Day
- Surefire ways to pick the perfect red lipstick
- Things you might not know about Queen Elizabeth II
- Valentine's Day cake pops for your lil sweetheart
- Seven ways to decorate with Ikea's Ung Drill frame
- Delicious recipe for oriental crunch salad
- Behind-the-scenes on Gisele's topless Versace shoot
- See new pictures from The Avengers
- Easy ways to eat more fruit
- Best quotes from the Oscar nominees luncheon
Posts for February 6th 2012
As a self-proclaimed documentary junkie, I'm fascinated by the sheer volume of foodie documentaries out there for your viewing pleasure. Most recently, I've found myself intrigued by the history of local farming movements and the intense pressure chefs deal with every day. I've rounded up some of my favorite foodie documentaries I've seen to date. Grab some gourmand popcorn and get watching!
Just like the basic macaron recipe, the basic buttercream filling recipe can be customized with endless flavors and colors. But don't stop at buttercream! Try jams and preserves (or even Nutella!) straight out of the jar or whip up a quick chocolate ganache for a decadent spin on the macaron.
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cut butter into pieces and mash with a spatula until the consistency resembles mayonnaise.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then add the granulated sugar and whisk until the mixture lightens to an off-white and you can no longer see the granules of sugar. Add the milk, and whisk to combine.
- Pour the egg mixture into a small saucepan and heat over low heat, whisking frequently to ensure that the mixture does not curdle or scorch. Cook until the mixture becomes thick and custardy, like pudding.
- Pour the egg mixture back into its bowl and whisk constantly until it returns to room temperature. Whisk in the butter in three batches, add the vanilla, and stir until smooth and all ingredients are fully combined. Pipe or spread onto one macaron half and sandwich between the other.
Makes enough for 2 dozen macarons.
- Desserts, Pastries
If there's one thing I could eat every day, it's chocolate and fruit. Chocolate-covered strawberries are one of those decadent desserts that people save for special, romantic occasions, but I don't really understand that. This technique for dipping your strawberries in melted chocolate is so simple, it can and should be enjoyed regularly. While many recipes tell you to melt chocolate and butter together, I find that the chocolate chips melt perfectly on their own and I like to keep things as simple as possible. I use semisweet chocolate chips, but feel free to use whatever your taste buds prefer. Click through to follow along.
The basic meringue-style French macaron is merely the springboard for your wildest color and flavor combinations. Try adding a teaspoon of Dutch-process cocoa and red gel food coloring for a red velvet macaron, or a 1/4 teaspoon rose extract and pink gel food coloring for rose. Always add the dry flavorings to the almond meal/powdered sugar mixture and the extracts/gel color to the meringue.
2/3 cup almond meal or ground almonds
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 large egg whites at room temperature and preferably aged up to 3 days
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 280º and position two racks in the lower section of the oven. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. If you have time, draw 1-inch circles on the back of each sheet, spacing the circles at least 1/2-inch apart.
- If your almond meal is very coarse, grind it with the powdered sugar in a food processor until fine. Sift the almond meal-powdered sugar mixture twice through a mesh sieve.
- Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) and begin to beat on medium-high. When the eggs are frothy, gradually add granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Continue to beat the egg white mixture until glossy and stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters. Gently stir in the vanilla extract. Be careful to not overbeat the meringue (e.g., the meringue takes on a clumpy texture).
- Add half of the sifted almond mixture and gently fold it into the meringue using a flexible silicone spatula. Lift from the bottom, up around the sides, and toward the middle, being careful to not overagitate the meringue and lose too much air. Once the almond mixture is predominantly incorporated, add the second half and repeat the folding motion.
- When the almond mixture is just incorporated, you will need to transform the batter into the appropriate texture. Using the flat of the spatula, "punch" down into the center of the batter, then scrape more batter from the sides to the center, and punch again. You will need to repeat this 10-15 times (or more, depending on your arm strength and the beginning texture of your batter) until the batter slowly and continuously drips back into the bowl when you scoop it up with the spatula. Think of the consistency of molten lava. For the best results, punch the batter a few times, check the consistency, then punch a few more times, etc. Do not make the batter too runny or the macarons won't rise as they should, and you could end up with oil stains on the surface.
- Pour batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 0.4-inch tip. In a pinch, you can also use a gallon size Ziploc bag: just snip a teeny bit from one of the bottom corners. Twist and clip the top of the bag to avoid overflow. On your prepared baking sheets, pipe out 1-inch rounds in the circles you drew (remember to draw the circles on the back side of your parchment to avoid ink or pencil stains on your macarons!).
- Holding the baking sheet in both hands, rap each baking sheet firmly on the counter two or three times. This smooths out the tops and helps form the "pied" or frilly foot on the bottoms of the macarons. Allow the piped macarons to dry, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes. The macarons should form a very thin, smooth crust where, if you tap it lightly with your finger, the batter will not stick to your finger. If after 15 minutes, the batter is still sticky, let it dry longer. This may take up to an hour on humid days.
- Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. After the first 2 minutes, open the oven to allow any excess humidity to escape. Halfway through, swap oven racks and rotate the sheets for even baking. The macarons are done when they are baked all the way through and the shells are just hard. Take care to not underbake (insides will still be mushy) or overbake (tops will begin to brown). Remove them from the oven, and cool on baking sheet placed on a wire rack.
- When fully cooled, assemble the macarons with your choice of filling. The assembled macarons can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Makes about 4 dozen macaron halves (about 2 dozen complete macarons).
- Desserts, Pastries
After a long day of football-watching and cocktail-drinking, this ginger fried rice topped with a fried egg from Fresh Tart sounds like the perfect hangover helper, don't you think?OK yes, I realize that I'm posting yet another fried egg dish, but this one is just too good to not share. I had actually forgotten about it, which is rather amazing given how many times I've made the dish since Mark Bittman first wrote about it in the New York Times two years ago.
This is a Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe, simple and elegant and exactly how I like to cook and eat. The fried rice itself has but three ingredients: oil, leeks, and rice. You wouldn't expect just rice and leeks to be so addictive, but they are, particularly when topped with a fried egg and crispy ginger and garlic. A drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil to finish makes the whole thing completely sublime.
If you make an effort to keep leeks around, count this as a perfect quick dinner when you invite someone over and forget to swing by the store to pick up ingredients. I don't often find myself with leftover rice, so I make a fresh batch and cool it on a baking sheet before continuing — works perfectly.
I pretty much adore anything coconut, so when a lactose-intolerant friend introduced me to her version of hot cocoa, made with powdered coconut milk, I became obsessed.
Believe it or not, I'm usually lukewarm on hot chocolate, but I've fallen in love with this "cocoa-nut" recipe. The basic makeup comes from Alton Brown, just swapping powdered coconut milk for powdered milk and subtracting the cayenne, since I think it would clash with the coconut.
Even if you only fill your mug a quarter of the way with the mix and just add water instead of hot milk, this cocoa is creamy, rich, and irresistible. Serve up a couple of cups for a Valentine's night in, and even add a nip of liquor if that's your thing.
Turnips are one of those Winter root vegetables that get little love but can be a truly delicious addition to your next meal. There's little information about their original cultivation, but we do know that back in ancient Rome Pliny the Elder considered the turnip to be one of the most important vegetables of his day. Today, lots of families in the South love stewing up the turnip vegetable or its greens for a warming supper.If you've never been exposed to cooking turnips, these guys can be a little tricky to choose. To learn more about the cute little turnip, just keep reading.
Valentine's Day is quickly approaching and planning ahead is the best thing to do to avoid last-minute stress. If a casual indoor picnic isn't what you're looking for this year, perhaps you're imagining a classier affair. Put together an evening complete with tall, dripping candlesticks, soft music in the background, and a traditional romantic feast. A perfectly cooked steak is the star of this meal, but the aphrodisiac oyster appetizer sets the mood for the rest of the evening.