January 30

JANUARY IS TAKING FOREVER! a slower week this week, thank heavens. still...made some stuff. you know.

starts with a yummy breakfast of pear clafoutis. sound french, sounds fancy, but it's really very easy. it's like a crustless tart, and this one came out fabulous, i have to say.

although i added my lavender flavored brown sugar to it (threw a few sprigs of lavender in a tub of brown sugar and let it sit for two weeks. lavender sugar!), and the flowers and pears together were a bit weird.

still, all in all, came out quite good.

salted caramel cupcakes! well these were a bit of a disaster. as anyone can see, i need a piping lesson or two. plus, i overfilled the cups and the cups then overfilled the pan upon baking.

i had to trim them down (and yes i ate those trimmings), and then cover the blooper with frosting. poorly piped frosting.

buttt...they tasted awesome, even if they didn't look that great. the cupcakes were moist and caramelly, and the caramel sauce drizzled on top came out perfect (still have some in my fridge...what do you do with leftover caramel sauce?) and then they little chunks of sea salt on top? magnifique. saved.

it has been an asian sort of week here, despite clafoutis and caramel sale. justin got me a kim chi pot a week ago, so i just had to use it! you fill it with spiced cabbage and leave it on the back porch to ferment/rot. yum.

this stuff is so addictive. it burns at first, but then you just...need it. i woke up last week feeling like i would sell everything i own for just a bite of the kim chi. thus the pot, thus the kim chi. a bit heavy on the fish sauce, but good. mm.

more asian invasion. seaweed soup! mmmm! it was good. i had to make some of my own this week after i got sick on some from a restaurant. dang i like the stuff.

it came out a bit gungy though, the sea weed strips are supposed to stay in strips, not all melt and slur together. must have got the wrong kind. tasted good though. i guess it was just that kind of week.

buckwheat pancakes! i am experimenting with different kinds of flours. i find buckwheat very...earthy.

filling though, and i didn't have that too full feeling i sometimes get from flapjacks. could it be the buckwheat?

yup, just that kind of week. i attempted macarons again (practice makes perfect!) but they went ahead and white flighted on me. thats when the center decides to make a break for the edge of the pan during cooking, leaving the shells hollow. shame.

i think the problem was my oven was turned too high on the temperature. also i didn't leave them to sit long enough before baking. still...tasted pretty nice. they were meyer lemon, which is the newest flavor im nuts about. they're lemons mated with mandarin oranges and they are wonderful!


Pear Clafoutis (can be done with about any fruit - apples, berries, cherries, persimmons, etc.)

1 T butter at room temperature
1 1/2 lb fruit
3/4 c plus 2 T flour
1/3 c sugar (i like to use less but i dont like it that sweet)
3 large eggs
1 1/4 c milk
1 t vanilla extract
confectioner's sugar, if desired

Heat oven to 350. Butter a shallow oven proof tart or pie pan. Spread the fruit in the bottom. Put the flour and sugar in a large bowl, mix together, and make a well in the middle. In another bowl, whisk the eggs; add the milk and vanilla and whisk to combine. Slowly pour the liquids into the dry ingredients, beating constantly until all the liquid has been added and you have a smooth batter. Pour over the fruit. Bake 40 minutes, or until the batter is firm to the touch and golden on top. Sift with confectioner's sugar if desired and serve warm. With whipped cream, if desired.

Salted Caramel Cupcakes
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar (again, i used less)
1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the sugars and butter together until light and fluffy, 2 - 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full (less! less!). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 - 22 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Caramel drizzle:
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/4 c cream
pinch salt

In a heavy-bottomed, high sided saucepan, cook the sugar over medium-high heat until it begins to melt around the edges, about 5 minutes. Stirring with a clean wooden spoon, continue to cook until the sugar is melted and has turned golden amber, about 3 minutes longer. Carefully pour the cream down the side of the pan in a slow steady stream (it will bubble and spatter), stirring constantly until completely smooth. Stir in the salt. Pour the caramel into a small heatproof bowl and let cool completely before using.

3 large egg whites at room temperature
3/4 c sugar
pinch salt
1 c unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, at room temperature (i used 1 1/2 sticks)

In a large, heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch (about 160 on a thermometer), about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg white mixture until it is fluffy, cooled to room temperature, and holds stiff peaks, about 6 minutes. It should not appear dry.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the salt and the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition. If the frosting appears to separate or is very liquid after all the butter is added, continue to beat on high speed until it is smooth and creamy, 3 - 5 minutes more. Add 1/2 c of caramel drizzle and beat until combined.

Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream. Top each cupcakes with a drizzle of caramel and a pinch of sea salt.

Kim Chi
3 T plus 1 t pickling salt
6 c water
2 lbs chinese (napa) cabbage, cut into 2 inch squares
6 scallions, cut into 2 inch lengths, then slivered
1 1/2 T minced fresh ginger
1 c minced garlic (yes that's right, a cup. i had to go to the oriental market for it)
3 T fish sauce
1/4 c korean ground dried hot pepper (gochuchang)
1 c shredded korean radish (mu)
1 t sugar

Dissolve the 3 T salt in the water. Put the cabbage into a large bowl, crock, or nonreactive pot and pour the brine over it. Weigh the cabbage down with a plate, and let soak for 12 hours. Drain the cabbage, reserving the brine. Mix the cabbage with the remaining ingredients, including the 1 t salt. Pack the mixture into a 2-quart jar. Pour enough of the reserved brine over the cabbage to cover it. Push a freezer bag into the mouth of the jar, and pour the remaining brine into the bag. Seal the bag. Let the kim chi ferment in a cool place for 3 - 6 days, until the kim chi is as sour as you like. Remove the brine bag and cap the jar tightly. Store kim chi in the refrigerator, where it will keep for months.

Seaweed Soup
1 oz dried brown seaweed (not nori, apparently)
1/4 pound beef sirloin (optional, i used chopped up bits of an old roast)
2 t sesame oil
1 1/2 t soy sauce
1 t salt or to taste
6 c water
1 t minced garlic

Soak seaweed in water to cover. When soft, drain and cut into 2 inch pieces. Heat a saucepan over medium heat; add beef, sesame oil, 1/2 T soy sauce, and a little salt, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in seaweed and remaining 1 T soy sauce; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Pour in 2 c water, and bring to a boil. Stir in garlic and remaining 4 c water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Buckwheat flapjacks

1 c buckwheat flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 medium egg
1 3/4 c milk
some sugar i thought it could use

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the egg and milk. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Heat some oil in a large skillet or griddle. When the griddle is hot, pour in 1/4 c batter. Cook until bubbly, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side the same. Butter, syrup, jam, or honey, and eat.

Meyer Lemon Macarons

For the shells:
3 egg whites (1 -2 days old. Leave them out to dry in the fridge! this step is important)
50 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds
zest of 1 meyer lemon

Put the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a good foam and gradually at the sugar until you have a glossy merengue. Do not overbeat. Add the almond-sugar mixture and the zest to the merenge, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon, about 50 strokes. If the mixture flattens itself when placed on a flat surface, it is ready.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds onto parchment paper baking sheets. Or a silpat is even better, if you have one. Let the macarons sit out for about an hour (important!), then bake in a preheated 300F oven for 12 - 15 minutes. Let cool.

For the filling:

Meyer lemon curd (from Canelle et Vanille)

100 grams eggs
35 grams sugar
100 grams meyer lemon juice
zest of 1 meyer lemon
10 grams butter at room temperature

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, juice, and zest. Cook this mixture in a double boiler until it thickens (84C). Strain into a clean bowl and chill it over an ice bath until it is about body temperature. Add the room temperature butter and mix with a hand blender until an emulsion is formed.

Make a half a batch of buttercream frosting (as in the caramel cupcake recipe) without the caramel. Mix with the lemon curd, 2 parts buttercream to 1 part lemon curd.

Spoon or pipe onto cookie shells and put them together. ta da!


Vee said...

love the camera upgrade.
everything looks so damn sexy now!
Ry would die for some of your home made kim chi!

minisuperbias said...

ooo, where'd you get the meyer lemon?! I've always wanted to try one! yummy!

jeannesioux said...

Where in the world do you get these wild ideas?
Sam has a very yummy apple pancake recipe that we love. He likes to freeze the leftovers and use them for his breakfasts during the week. He and I watched your "Food, Inc." documentary last night and this morning he decided to have oatmeal for breakfast. None of that storebought stuff with nasty surprise ingredients.

a. maren said...

i know meyerlemons right! i dont know where they came from. my mother was going to the store and asked if i wanted anything and i said 'lemons please!' and she brought home a sackful of meyers without even knowing how great they were or how much i'd have wanted them! serendipitous.

haha jeanne good for you and sam! i eat far too much sugar, but i credit my otherwise general good health with doing all i can to avoid processed junk. i love it. and apple pancakes sound delicious.