Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Macaron Madness

So this has been my very frustrating adventure recently. I have not posted since I started working at Sweets and Spurs in Norman, OK. I am currently the head baker and the owner decided we should start selling Parisian Macarons. And thus, macaron adventure for myself and my very patient baking associate Gaby.

I cannot really explain how frustrating it was to have a batch created from the same recipe come out differently each time. For example:

One thing that helped me was looking at blogs online. So I thought I would report my findings.

No feet on the macarons: Did not let sit long enough before baking
Cracked tops: over mixed batter
Wrinkley tops: over mixed batter
Pointy tops: under mixed batter

Most successful method to date: FRENCH METHOD

Use Gel color to dye your batter.

Beat Egg whites to stiff peaks that fall to look like a birds beak on the end of the whip so not too dry.

Baking on humid days doesn't effect result.

You don't have to age your egg whites - that's really silly.

Most successful formula:

2 cups of almond flour
2.25 cups of 10x sugar
5 egg whites - real eggs
4 TB granulated sugar

Put 10x sugar and almond flour in food processor for 25 seconds. Sift mixture into bowl. Wipe mixer bowl out with lemon juice to make sure metal is clean and free of any grease. Beat egg whites until foamy add granulated sugar then beat to medium-stiff peaks. Add gel dye. Beat until color is incorporated. Place in large mixing bowl. Fold almond flour mixture into whites in thirds.
Pipe on silpat on a double lined sheet pan into 1 inch dollops and let sit for 60 minutes or until skin forms on discs and is not tacky to touch.
Bake in a preheated 325 oven for 10 minutes rotate pans bake for 11 more minutes. Let sit on pans for 2 hours before trying to remove from silpats. Fill with raspberry puree or ganache or caramel or whatever your heart desires.

There! We did it! It was really really hard...and I had to be patient. Maybe this is your magic recipe maybe it isn't. You will find it though.

Happy Macaroning.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Eggplant Experiment

So I bought an eggplant at the local farmers market because they were so beautiful and so plentiful.
Brennan said eggplant parm was one of his faves so I checked out some recipes and made two single servings with just one eggplant.
I love that the Brits call it an aubergine. And I believe Aubergine is the name of one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants.

So simply enough I egged and breaded the eggplant and baked at 425 7 minutes on each side. Then layered the eggplant like this:
Eggplant slice, sauce, Mozzarella cheese, chiffonade of basil, eggplant, sauce, cheese, basil, eggplant, sauce, cheese, sprinkle of bread crumbs. Then I baked this at 375 for about 15 minutes until cheese was bubbly and brown. YUM!

I also made these with zucchini

Just the same procedure as the eggplant. Bread the slices and baked then a dollop of sauce some cheese and some basil. Made for a great snack for Brennan when he walked in the door hungry while I finished up everything else.

Make sure you season everything really well with salt pepper oregano and garlic!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Saffron + Greek Yogurt + Garlic = Bread

Saffron Garlic Loaf

20 ounces Water, warm
.5 tsp saffron threads steeping for 15 minutes in part of the water
4 TB Olive oil
3 scant tsp yeast
1 egg yolk (save white for egg wash)
2 TB sugar
3 TB greek yogurt
5-6 cups AP flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder

Use about 4 oz of the water heat until 150 degrees add saffron threads and let steep. Mix water, sugar, yeast, egg, oil, yogurt then add steeped saffron liquid. Add flours, salt and garlic. Blend together until dough comes together. Turn out onto counter and knead dough until smooth and firm. This dough is really sticky, so flour your hands when kneading and use a well floured counter space. Shape into a nice sphere and place in olive oiled bowl cover in plastic and let rise until doubled, about 60 minutes. Divide dough in half and shape into loaves. Place in sprayed or floured loaf pans. And let proof until doubled, about 1 inch over lip of loaf pan, 60-90 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. Brush with reserved egg white wash. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool, and enjoy!

This recipe yielded two loaves and three sandwich rolls. I like to scale a few rolls from the dough because one, I can taste it when it comes out of the oven and two, so Brennan and I can have hamburger buns...

This bread has such a superb flavor, the crust is firm and chewy and the crumb is soft and uniform. You can also see the threads within the crumb giving it little yellow swirls.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Southwest Art Village in the heart of OKC

Since we have been here Saturdays tend to focus on finding an apartment but now that we have one and a move in date Saturdays can be used for exploring. First we went to the Farmers Market and found some edible gems. Peaches, Grapes, Squash, yes GRAPES! they are of the Mars variety and grown organically right here in Oklahoma.

We also bought cucumbers, sweet onions and Brennan bought a some bison meat.
I also discovered this fantastic Market called Forward Foods carrying organic and local edibles, ranging from produce, baking items, bulk foods, coffee, tea, cheese and a deli. It's really fun to meander through and kill some time.

But anyway, back to Saturday in the Paseo - which is the art district in Oklahoma City. We started at Picasso Cafe, which was by far my favorite place we ate and drank at all day. I started with a Pimm's Cup...with an enormous cucumber garnish, this was indeed a perfect summer afternoon cocktail.

Brennan enjoyed some brews from Left Hand...
The menu at Picasso is phenomenal - lots of veg options. Including this amazing Arugala salad with toasted pinenuts, roasted beets and a piece of fried goat cheese, drizzled with honey this salad blew my mind.

Brennan enjoyed a cup of lobster bisque and figs stuffed with bleu cheese and wrapped in proscuitto.
It was even nice enough to sit outside and enjoy the southwest architecture of the Paseo.
We ventured into some trinket shops and some art galleries and a so called cowgirl shop called Bonedust. It was interesting for sure. I can't wait to go back after the sun goes down to see what the Paseo night life is like.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More Rosemary Buns

So today was a stormy day lots of thunder and lightning. Of course I wanna kick on the oven and make some sandwich rolls.
Making bread includes lots of waiting and time for snuggling on the couch with Matisse - my dachshund.

I have recently discovered adding instant potatoes to bread dough giving the finished crumb a wonderful light texture.

Rosemary Olive Oil Buns

10 ounces Water
2 TB Olive oil
1.5 tsp yeast
1 egg yolk (save white for egg wash)
1 TB sugar
2.5 cups AP flour
.5 cup whole wheat flour
.5 cup instant potato flakes
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried rosemary

Place first 5 ingredients in a bowl, let yeast dissolve. Add flours, potato flakes, salt and rosemary. Blend together until dough comes together. Turn out onto counter and knead dough until smooth and firm.

Shape into a nice sphere and place in olive oiled bowl cover in plastic and let rise for 60 minutes. Divide dough into six equal pieces (for large sandwich buns) and shape into roll, place on parchment and floured pan.

For sandwich rolls I always try to flatten the roll shape with my hand before proofing. Preheat oven to 375. Proof rolls until doubled, about 45 minutes. Brush with reserved egg white wash, sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Let cool, and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Parisian Lunch in the Midwest

Today Brennan and I decided to go to lunch at La Baguette Bistro, slowly we are discovering little gems of Oklahoma City as we eat our way through the town.

This one I was interested in because I thought about applying here when we first moved here because they have a bakery attached to the restaurant and make pastries, desserts and breads in house; therefore you can purchase them in their little shop.

The menu was intriguing and now that we know it's tasty we can go back and try more.
When you sit down in the red dining room with gold framed paintings and photos you get a since of a European cafe and the oversized booths and the u shaped seating gives a sense of privacy and romanticism.
I settled on the roasted vegetarian sandwich with pommes frites and the bistro salad
The sandwich was served on a herbed bun made in house, the shoe string fries were crispy and fresh and the house vinaigrette was awesome and available for purchase in the grocery.
Brennan got the Panini Capogna with pommes frites and a cup of french onion soup.

His sandwich was roasted chicken on sourdough and his soup was buttery rich and perfectly seasoned.

All in all - it's safe to say we will be back.

Monday, May 9, 2011

oatmeal cream pie

For Brennan's Birthday I asked what he wanted to make for his birthday dessert and he said oatmeal cream pies - like the ones I ate by the box full from my grandmother's pantry...
So I search the internet for recipes and oddly enough they were all blog posts dated really close to Brennan's birthday...
So I made these time consuming sandwich cookies. And they were absolutely delicious.
Next time though I will definitely make them smaller because they are really sweet.

I don't wanna repost the recipe because it is exactly like this blog

But I did cute the recipe in half...
I think the next adventure will be homemade samoas..