I had friends over for dinner tonight. We had French onion tartlets, tossed summer fruit salad, fresh bakery bread, and one golden, sliced heirloom tomato.
For dessert? Maple bacon cupcakes
I made a birthday cake for a friend's new baby.
There are homemade popsicles made from fresh, crushed berries in the freezer.
Homemade yogurt in the fridge.
Stuffed portobella mushrooms waiting to be heated up.
Spinach and cheese pasta.
Raspberry cookie dough ice cream.
A big bowl of crab apples, all ready to be made into jam. For now it is serving as a centerpiece.
I love that feeling, like I've arrived. As a chef. I am successfully feeding my family!
I got that feeling when my husband came home to a fresh batch of macarons and didn't bat an eye.
How was your day, honey? Oh, fine. Just made a batch of one of the more difficult pastry desserts for no reason except that I felt like it.
Successful macarons make me feel like I am a grown-up.
Soon I will be drinking tea with my pinky sticking out and wearing pearls. Real ones.
Just you watch and see.
Basil Lime Macarons (recipe adapted from Canelle et Vanille she is a macaron expert. Heed her words...heed them!)
180 grams almond flour
240 grams powdered sugar
140 grams organic egg whites, aged
3 grams egg white powder
2 grams fine sea salt
80 grams sugar
6 - 8 leaves fresh basil
a few drops of all natural green food coloring
Make sure that the egg whites have been separated from the egg yolks the night before. This bit of aging really makes a difference in the macarons.
In a large bowl, sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar and sea salt. Snip the basil leaves into ribbons and stir them in. Set aside.
Whip the egg whites with the egg white powder until very fluffy, almost fully whipped. Start adding the vanilla sugar slowly while whipping. Whip to stiff peaks but not too much or the meringue will dry out. We want semi soft "ripples" still in the meringue. Add as much food coloring to the meringue as you like.
Add the meringue to the almond flour mixture and fold with a spatula until a shiny mass forms. We want to achieve a batter that makes ribbons. You might have to test it to see if it's done. Pipe a small amount on your sheetpan. If it keeps a little bit of a top when piped, then you have to mix it a bit further, if it spreads really fast, you have gone too far and your macaroons will turn out flat.
When you have the right consistency, place the mass in a pastry bag with and pipe small rounds onto sheetpans lined with parchment or silpat. Let them dry at room temperature for at least 45 minutes to an hour, or until they are dry and do not stick when lightly touched with a finger.
Have the oven preheated to 350 degrees. Place one sheetpan in the oven at a time and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes and rotate sheetpan and bake for another 10 minutes. Test to see if they are done by picking one up and seing if it still sticks to the paper.
1 cups sugar
4large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
Combine the sugar, egg whites and salt in a heatproof bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees and the sugar has dissolved.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff, shiny peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tbsp. at a time, adding more once each addition is incorporated. If the frosting looks curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again. Mine looked super curdled, but keep beating and it will come back together.
Stir in the lime juice and tequila and mix until fully incorporated. If mixture curdles again, continue beating at medium-high speed until reaches thicker consistency. Keep at it!
Pipe onto flat shells of macarons, and top with another cookie. Enjoy!