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Everything posted by chezcherie

  1. Ludja-- according to my new guide for living (American Boulangerie), caramel is used in place of buttercream for filling. Rigo suggests (somewhat oddly, I thought) to add a pinch of chopped hazelnuts on top of the piped macarons before baking, for the caramel ones. Not sure whether that is to enhance caramel flavor, or as a "marker" to distinguish what flavor it is, like the chocolate squiggles on the sampler chocolates?
  2. i have had bittersweet choc ones with fds sprinkled on top. i did that on a couple yesterday, with good results. wasn't sure whether the tiny sprinkle would melt in the baking process, but it did not. (also, the macs are too dry on top when baked to sprinkle it after baking.) the caramel ones, i think, have the fds in the caramel. i do so love a slightly salty caramel, and while you lose the texture when you use the pricey salt in the caramel, it doesn't take much. i suppose you could garnish with a few grains on top of the cookie, as a visual clue? not macaron-related, but on the subject of fleur de sel. i recently had the opportunity to taste some artisanal chocolates (lucky me!)--i think they were fran's (seattle)? there were several types that incorporated different salts, including one with smoked salt (be still, my heart!), and i knew i was in for a treat when the fellow who was talking them up (and giving the samples) suggested that i put the caramel in my mouth upside-down, to better appreciate the salt on my tongue....yeah! oooooh yeah.
  3. okay. first i get some good mac results. then, i manage (no small matter for tech-challenged moi) to get those photos onto the eG site. (still not sure how that happened...) and then- nightscotsman compliments my feet. if i print that out, will you autograph it? inspired by your gorgeous macarons, i re-launched the quest, which i had abandoned in frustration. especially after dorie greenspan (whose book paris sweets i purchased in hopes of unlocking mac secrets) dashed my hopes by saying that proper macs really couldn't be made at home. thanks for the tip on the lemon macs--would a bit of zest be amiss? and, moreover, thanks for the kind words....now working on the smoooooth tops...my piping focus last time was on size consistency.
  4. thanks, ludja. i'm ridiculously pleased with the result, as i have been trying to get a good result for years...this is by far the closest i've gotten. funny you should ask about the hazelnut ones, because i believe the book contains an error on that flavor variation. it states " in step 1, substitute 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely ground, toasted hazelnuts for the ground almonds." (then goes on to enhance a standard buttercream with hazelnuts for filling.) BUT the master recipe calls for 4 ounces of almonds...i'm no chemist, but even i recognize that that's (forgive me) a recipe for disaster. i went half and half (almonds and hazelnuts) and they worked well. the coffee ones were great--filled some with espresso buttercream, and some with ganache....dreamy. i have a great batch of lemon curd (made from my lemon tree, and my own chickens' eggs...how could it not rock?!) that needs to be gently sandwiched between a lemon variation (oddly not included in the eight variations listed in the recipe). so the weekend will certainly include a batch of those! one of the great things about the recipe (besides the fact that it works..) is that it is sooo easy to split a batch and make a couple flavors, which i always think loks nice. i am spoiled (and inspired) by my favorite macaron-erie in paris, where a display of at least a dozen gorgeous flavors are always on offer. in fact, i have a bakery box from laduree (brought fresh pastries home for the famly in it from my most recent trip), and i have a little fantasy of filling it with an array of my macs! cassis! lemon! pistachio! and how spring-like would those be? excuse me--gotta go grab the pastry bag!
  5. After an exhaustive quest, I have achieved near macaron nirvana in my own kitchen. A visit to Bay Bread in SF prompted me to buy chef/owner Pascal Rigo's book The American Boulangerie. The Macarons de Paris recipe is relatively simple, and produced not only the frilly edges, but the shiny, smooth tops and the crackle-sinking-in-of-teeth qualities I miss from my favorite macaron-erie in Paris. Did a batch of hazelnut---divine! Another batch of raspberry---swoon. Both disappeared before a photo could be snapped, but I will try to have camera in hand when the next batch (and there will be many---I must try my hand at all flavors!) emerges from the oven. This recipe alone is reason to buy the book, but the croque monsieur is killah! Can't wait to cook my way through this book! Eureka!
  6. thanks for the ringing endorsement, comfort me. yours seems to be the final (well...only) word on the matter! much appreciated.
  7. i call upon those kindly souls lucky enough to know the city. this will be my first, long overdue visit to new orleans. i've told my husband he can plan the entire trip, as long as his plans occur between meals. he has further been instructed not to whine about lunch-planning at breakfast, and dinner-dreaming at lunch.... now, where to stay? would like to be near, but not in the french quarter, and would like to keep it under $200 per night (the better to dine with, my dear..) thanks in advance for your consideration!
  8. I bought a bunch of wine a year ago that TJ had picked up from the airlines (no corkscrews allowed on planes). this is the story i heard about charles shaw, post 9/11...
  9. I think they are trying to refer to the fact that he is no longer involved in the business, having sold it years and years ago... jeez, wording seems a little drastic...former owner or founder seems a bit more appropriate, no? anyway, i'm glad he's alive, kickin' and talking about his great business ideas. i don't know what i would do without tj's.
  10. the last link states that joe coloumbe is the "late founder", but i guess not, if he was speaking in napa last week?
  11. Mayhaw Man, please educate me. I plead Northern (and Western, being in CA) ignorance, but I long for knowledge. I know that the trinity clearly calls for green peppers, and only those. But I truly detest them, and adore yellow and red...last night I was trying a jambalaya recipe from New Orleans in a Bowl, and went to the store specifically for green peppers, in order to properly replicate the recipe. Well, despite my quest for authenticity, no green peppers were on offer (our blasted grocery strike is in its 5th month now, and many staples are unavailable, like green peppers, and meat with bones...) so I defaulted to red. Honey, that pot of jamabalaya certainly floated our boats, even with the heretical reds, so my question is, what special mojo do green peppers bring to the party that reds are lacking, and how much crap would one subject one's own self to, if one were to bring a green-pepperless-pot of goodness to a LA (not L.A.) potluck? I eagerly await enlightenment.
  12. chezcherie

    dried apricots

    kitchen shears make short work of dicing a small quantity of dried apricots. stack, snip, snip, gather, snip, snip. done.
  13. chezcherie

    dried apricots

    stuff 'em with goat cheese (or bleu) and top with a pecan half...drizzle with some honey spiced up with a little cayenne or chipotle if you like. mmm
  14. well, yeah----i think i'll go with that, too.
  15. oh, pickles, you just gave me a good laugh, remembering when a friend was shopping from an ingredient list from a visiting chef....she was clueless as to what to look for, seitan-wise, so seeking advise from a clerk, she said (to the clerk, whose back was turned) "excuse me, do you know about seitan?". the clerk wheeled around, and drew back in horror, thinking she was being approached by an evangelical devil-worshipper. sorry--can't help with the seitan thing...recently had to "recipe-test" with veggie bacon, and it nearly made me weep--looked exactly like bacon my kids woulda made from play-doh when they were little. tasted like it , too (tho i will admit that the brown sugar and chipotle poder we sprinkled on improved it a bit!)
  16. chezcherie

    Hideous Recipes

    "Semi-Homemade" anything, ala Sandra Lee.
  17. too funny...when i first laid eyes on them i thought "cool colors, but they look like a bedpan!"
  18. amen, sistah...the only positive thing i can see about the low carb frenzy is that it leaves more bread for US!!!
  19. okay, with all this egg poaching, someone must have a great solution for the aftermath....i always find the scum a bit hard to clean off the pan after a poaching session. are there tricks, or do we just soak and scrub? thanks!
  20. chezcherie

    Film Noir

    you are doing great---in fact, i'm tempted to flip all the cards and declare you the winner...anyone else want to take the challenge?
  21. chezcherie

    Film Noir

    by all means!
  22. chezcherie

    Film Noir

    okay, so the fowl course has been covered....more? thanks!
  23. i second the oliveto suggestion, or a cote, just down the street (college ave.)
  24. chezcherie

    Film Noir

    throwing this out to the ever-clever eG crowd..a friend has been invited to a "film noir" dinner, and would like menu suggestions. (apparently a potluck, so open to any and all courses.) i feel empty and stupid...perhaps we opened the wine too early this evening!
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