Thursday, April 23, 2009

Homemade Chicken Soup

I know it's too hot for soup now. Well, at least in LA it is. In my apartment it is. But I made this soup, long ago, in February. The weather was chilly, the classes weren't as demanding, and I had a sick Brian on my hands, who had never ever had homemade chicken soup. Ever. This made me sad. Everyone should experience homemade chicken soup! But of course, I had never made homemade chicken soup. A little blog here, some google there, and a few calls to mom later, I came up with something pretty good.
Veggies for Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Nothing to it! A turnip, some parsnips, carrots, celary, onion, and some parsley made up the base of the broth - along with some chicken, of course.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
I let this boil for a few hours, and eventually got this...
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Once the chicken was cooked, I removed it, along with all of the vegetables. At this point, the veggies are good to go, becuase the flavor is pretty much gone into the broth. So, I shred the chicken, added some egg noodles, and some freshly chopped celery and carrots and let that boil until the noodles were ready.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
It was pretty delicious. And, I do think it made Brian feel better!
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
My only regret is that I wish I made more in a bigger pan, because for all the hours
it took to make, it was gone in minutes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Easter Macarons

Today, I blog about Macarons, but around this time next year, I hope to be eating them during my honeymoon in Paris! I've been a little quiet on this little blog, but I think Mr. B said it cutest, "Your like a little kitty in a tree... hang in there kitty!" This is referring to the fact that I have 6 weeks left to graduate and all I am stuck doing is writing papers and presentations, non-stop. Oh yea, and we are planning a wedding! Luckily, my sister-in-law has graciously offered her wedding planning services, so she has booked just about everything Brian and I wanted. I feel so relieved. And now it's time to start thinking about the details. One detail I know I'd like to somehow include throughout the wedding festivities are lovely French Macarons.
Homemade Macarons
I really have my heart set on making the all the Macarons myself, but people tell me I must be crazy to make Macarons for a wedding for about 200+ people. You know that just makes me want to do it more, right? So, I decided to start practicing now. And the timing was perfect, I made these for Easter.
Homemade Macarons
After making the batter, I piped the Macarons into petite circles onto parchment, raped the baking sheet, and let the batter set for about 15 minutes, until I noticed a sort of skin form.
Homemade Macarons
Make sure the oven is super hot. It may take some experimentation with your oven, but my oven worked perfectly at 375 degrees. Why is this so important? One word: Feet. Yes, feet.
Homemade Macarons
See the little ruffles at the bottom of that cookie? Those are your Macaron's feet! And they make all the difference! Once the pan cools, gently peel the Macarons off the parchment paper and start to match them up by size. I line the table with foil or parchment for this step.
Homemade Macarons
But, before filling the Macarons, I make the filling. I made 4 types of Macarons and 4 types of fillings. First, I made Milk Chocolate Ganache to go with my Banana Macarons:
Homemade Macarons - Making Milk Chocolate Ganache
Then, I made a White Choclate Ganache and seperated it between three cups. From the left to right, the cups contained honey, Green Tea Matcha powder, and Rose water.
Homemade Macarons - Making flavored Ganache
Did I mention I made quite a bit of them?
Homemade Macarons
I think there must have been around 120 Macarons or so. A lot.
Homemade Macarons
So, all in all, the flavors are:
Yellow = Banana with milk chocolate ganache
Green = Green tea with white chocolate green tea ganache
Pink = Rose with white choclate and rose ganache
Lavender = Lavender with white chocolate and honey ganache
Homemade Macarons
It's really hard to pick my favorite - they were all so different and so good. Everyone had a different favorite, but I think majority ruled on Banana-Chocolate.

My recipe was pretty basic...
190 g. almond powder
310 g. confectioners sugar
150 g. aged egg whites
95 g. fine sugar
*flavorings, powder food coloring

Whisk together the confectioners sugar and almond powder and set aside. Beat the egg whites, then slowly add in the sugar, food coloring and flavoring. Beat until you get peaks - slightly less than firm, but almost firm. Basically you want thick lava texture (cause, we all know what lava feels like, right?) Then, fold the dry ingredients in, just until they are blended. Pipe using a pastry bag. Rap the baking sheet. Let rest until a skin is formed. The baking part is really tricky - on my oven, I bake for 375 degrees, then slightly open the oven door after about 5-7 minutes or so later. Then bake until slightly browned. It's tricky. If the oven is too cold, you'll get cracked Macarons and no feet. Not good.

I think I could definitely see myself doing some baking a few days before the wedding... maybe not 4 flavors, but definitely 1 or 2.