I did better than 1 new recipe per week… There’s still half a week left with a plan to make Julia Child’s Soupe à l’oignon Gratineed.
This month Chris and I made:
1. Magret du Canard with a very nice recipe I found on the beFOODled blog. We found the duck breasts and Herbs de Provence at a butcher shop on 30th Ave and they turned out amazing. A pretty simple recipe, but the resulting dish seems very fancy and rich.
2. I tried a soufflé out of the Chocolate and Zuccini book by Clotilde Dusoulier that Flynn gave me a while back. Flavor-wise, this recipe turned out amazing! But they fell. Could have been that I didn’t beat the eggs properly, could have been our not-very-precise oven, could have been that I don’t have real soufflé cups and used my popover pan instead. Could be that I need practice. Sooner or later, I’ll get them right!
3. Cranberry Coffee Cake: a combination of this cranberry cake recipe from thekitchn.com and this streusel topping from the Culinary Cafe blog. This came as the result of a 10pm burst of baking energy and served as a good lesson for why you should always make sure you have all the supplies before you start cracking eggs and blending butter and sugar: I didn’t have enough flour! So I mixed in some barley flour we had, which left the cake tasting a little too… healthy? You know, that dense, earthy, hearty flavor. Anyway, it was ok, but not sugary and crumbly and bad for you like I had been craving at the time!
4. Bifteck Sauté au beurre! We finally got Mastering the Art of French Cooking at Costco a few weeks ago and I was very enticed to try this simple way to cook steak. I usually load up on steak seasonings and saute, but I trusted Julia and tried just butter, and made a kind of gravy with the pan juices. I sauteed some baby bella mushrooms in a separate pan while the steaks were cooking, and served the steak on canapés, mushrooms piled on, drizzled with the meat butter.
5. Steamed lobster tails! I’ve helped my mom steam crabs many times as a kid, but have never really steamed any crustaceans myself. Well, these weren’t whole or live, just tails. But they turned out nicely! Served with french bread and lots of melted butter!
6. For the first time in my life, I POACHED AN EGG (or 4) PERFECTLY! After brunch at Kate’s one Sunday, I found a renewed confidence that I can cook eggs! I am not ovo-handicapped! So this very morning, I poached eggs. And they turned out PERFECT! Every time I have ever attempted it before, my whites would whisp off and float away leaving only a thin layer remaning around the yolk, which would usually break. But today I was determined. I took the big soup ladle that I have and scooped some of the simmering water. Dropped the egg into that and gently set it into the water, letting the egg cook for 5-8 seconds in the ladle before turning it and gently letting the egg into the simmering pot of water. My eggs turned out full and soft and the yolk entirely masked by the white.
7. French Macarons for Kate’s birthday! I’m obsessed. But for whatever reason, it never occurred to me that I could try to make them myself! But why not?! Laduree is too far away and while there are a few amazing patisseries in New York that do have really perfect macarons, they’re $2.50 a piece! So I found about 20 different recipes, and basically made the one from La Tartine Gourmande, with just a few alterations. I used Nutella, Cajeta Caramel Creme, and Lemon Curd to fill mine!
for about 15-18 small macarons
- 2 egg whites (2 oz), at room temperature
- 100 g confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 60 g almond flour, sifted
- 30 g fine sugar
- A few drops of your choice of coloring
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- Run the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar in food processor until as fine as possible, then sift well. Set aside.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Start to mix on medium speed with 1/2 Tbsp fine sugar and the cream of tartar. Once slightly foamy, increase the speed. After a few mns, when they are almost firm, add the rest of the sugar, and a few drops of coloring. Continue to mix until the egg whites form nice, stiff peaks.
- Add the dry ingredients to the egg whites in two or three times, making sure you fold them in carefully (Make circular movements using a rubber spatula). Once the preparation homogeneous, it is ready. Do not overwork the meringue batter.
- On one (or more) baking sheets, place a Silpat or a piece of parchment paper. With a decoration bag, pipe small amounts of batter 1 inch in diameter, 1 inch apart. Leave to rest for 1 hour.
- Preheat your oven at 320 F.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for about 12 to 13 mns, according to the macaron size (if you make bigger ones, increase the cooking time). After 7 to 8 mns, crack the oven door open (keep it open inserting a wooden spoon for example) and reduce the heat to 290 F.
- Take the macarons out of the oven (check whether they are cooked by touching them lightly) and pour a thin stream of water under the Silpat to create some steam. The macarons will be easier to remove. Wait a little before removing them from the Silpat (use a flexible spatula if they stick). Let them cool down on racks before assembling.
- If you’re making your own filling (chocolate ganache, a fruit spread, caramel, etc), let it cool completely — but not cold, like fridge temperature — pipe some on one macaron half and stick the other half on top.