... tackling one recipe at a time

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

End of My Mac Project

Heyyy, I finally filled my macarons (see last post) and here are the pics :) The flavors are strawberry thyme, apricot rosemary, lime basil, chamomile white chocolate, and hazelnut crunch

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Anniversary & Macaron Explosion :D

I didn't realize that my blog has been up for a year! Time flies so fast.. Since I didn't know, I didn't make anything special to celebrate. Plus, I'm sooo busy taking care of stuffs that I need to do before I move back to Indonesia for good. Finishing my thesis, subleasing my apartment, selling my car, packing, blablabla.. Yeap, I'm graduating this May, finally!!! Kind of sad that I'm leaving the US, but excited to go home too. It's a mixed feeling I guess. Anw, this week is spring break here at Urbana-Champaign, so all my friends flew to Florida or UK or somewhere exciting while I get stuck here -_-" Actually, I'm glad I didn't buy that ticket to NYC because apparently I had to repeat some experiments even though my thesis is due next Tuesday. Arggghhhh!! Although I have a lot of stuffs to do, I want to have some sort of spring-break baking project. You could probably guess what I'm baking, yesssss, macarons! Tons of it! My fridge is full of mac shells and fillings. I'm planning to fill them towards the end of the week so that they won't get soggy before my friends come back. This macaron explosion is my celebrating my blog's first anniversary, as well as my last "gift" to my friends here :) Below is the preview of my on-going mac project. I'll post the end results after I'm done filling them. Til later ^^
 The fillings
 The shells (from top left down: lime basil, hazelnut crunch, apricot rosemary, chamomile white chocolate, Mexican chocolate). Still have to make the shells for strawberry thyme and raspberry lychee.
 My shells for the Mexican chocolate one were very ugly (bottom right). They cracked during baking like a volcano, probably because of too much cocoa powder. They are still good regardless, but they just won't be included in the pics as much :p

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oh Bellini Bellini Bellini...

Bellini. A mix of champagne, peach juice, and raspberry. Sounds delicious, no? Once I found the recipe of this cocktail online, I immediately thought of making macarons with this flavor combo. I could not contain my excitement, so I grabbed my keys and rushed to the nearest grocery store to buy the ingredients. After I gathered all the ingredients I needed, I rushed home and started working in my kitchen. There was something wrong with my macaron batter, I didn't get the feet as tall as usual, oh well. To build the bellini macarons, I sandwiched champagne meringue buttercream, peach gelee, and raspberry jams in between two macaron shells. I stored them in the fridge for one night to let all the flavors meld together and when I woke up the next morning, I ran to my kitchen, opened the container, and took a bite of the macaron. Emmm... oh... it didn't taste like champagne or peach or raspberry -___-" I couldn't believe it! I could only taste a little bit of raspberry and the rest was overpowered by the almond shell. Faiiiiiillllllll (> <) Well, my friends still liked the macs even though they couldn't tell what the flavor was, sighhh...

I didn't give up and tried to incorporate this flavor in other types of dessert. So I searched for inspirations online as always and I found La Religieuse, which is basically one small fondant-coated cream puff stacked on top of another bigger fondant-coated cream puff. I had been meaning to make this but totally forgot about it until I saw it again on www.parispatisseries.com. Okay, bellini religieuse it was! I made champagne creme diplomat, pate a choux, and peach-colored poured fondant. I filled the big puff with the creme, leftover peach gelee and raspberry jam, then dipped the top in the poured fondant. The small puff was only filled with the champagne creme and I dipped its top in poured fondant before attaching it onto the big puff. I decorated the stack with piped buttercream and voila, bellini religieuse! I bit into one and I tasted...... "tape" (fermented cassava from Indonesia)???!!! It tasted delicious to me, but still how could champagne cream tasted like fermented cassava? Probably, the yeasty flavor of the champagne combined with the bready taste of the choux caused that. Again, I couldn't really taste the peach and this time I even lost the raspberry. Fail #2 -___-" Don't get me wrong, they still tasted pretty good, it's just that I hate it when my dessert doesn't taste like it is supposed to. I gave up, next time I'll just make the religieuse with vanilla pastry cream and the macaron with raspberry ganache and peach gelee. Always learn from your mistakes, right? :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Banana Green Tea Macaron, Huh?!

I had leftover macaron shells from making this cake. Although my friends and roommate were happy to just eat the shells without any filling, I wanted to fill the shells with a filling that I'd never made before. Also, in order to join this month's Mac Attack, my filling had to include fruits and/or spices. The idea of the filling started from a joke. One of my friends was sick (called J) when I shared my cake with them, so J didn't try it. J absolutely hates and cannot smell, touch, or eat bananas. Since my cake had a yellow peach jelly in the middle, my other friend teased J "Hey, don't worry that is not banana". Then I said, "Eeww, banana and green tea? Okay, banana is good by itself and green tea is also good by itself, but together? Don't think so." Despite my skepticism, my friend told me "I think they will taste good, I would eat banana and green tea together." Oh well, guess I had to make it to prove who was right.

So I made a ganache filling with pureed ripe banana, green tea powder, white chocolate, and cream. I tasted it and it was soooooo sweet, probably because the banana was already sweet and the white chocolate boosted its sweetness to a toothache-inducing level. I added 1 stick of melted butter to the ganache and thought that I would let it firm up and whip it to make sort of whipped ganache buttercream. At this point, I was totally experimenting and didn't follow any recipes. After the mixture firmed up, I whipped it with my mixer and the mixture looked slightly broken and was not smooth -__-" I figured the water in the butter and banana puree couldn't blend with the cocoa butter causing the mixture to separate. I took a spoon and tasted the mix, surprisingly it tasted pretty good! It was not too sweet and I could taste banana and green tea. I decided not to mess with it anymore, I thought of adding powdered sugar to bind up the water in the mix, but it would make it really sweet. So pardon me for the broken filling, I know it's not pleasant to look at, but trust me it tastes good and even my roommate who rarely likes macarons loves it :) Here are the pics, have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

森の光 - Light in the Forest

This is by far the most time-consuming cake I have ever made. It took me about 3-4 days to finish this cake. Well, of course if you have lots of time you can finish making this cake in a day, but I still have to go to lab during the day so I can only bake after I come home. Usually, my patience ran out and I just assembled everything together hastily. This time I tried to be patient and put the components carefully together to make a nice neat cake. I'm glad to say that my hard work actually paid off :D I love love love the result! The components tasted really good together, too bad the cake was still rather frozen when everyone tried it so the flavors were not as pronounced. I liked that it was not too sweet, but some of my friends told me it was not sweet at all. Again, probably it had something to do with it being slightly frozen. The cake composed of matcha sponge cake, azuki bean mousse, peach gelee, matcha cream, black rice macarons, black sesame crumbles, and white chocolate decoration. Phewww, now you understand why it was sooo time-consuming. The idea of this cake came up when I was browsing through www.parispatisseries.com and found this cake called Bamboo by Sadaharu Aoki. I thought the decoration was so simple yet very elegant and pretty. I wanted to make something like that and changed it a little bit to my own taste. Of course, my creation was not as refined as the master chef's, but still I'm very satisfied with it :) Oh btw, I named it "Light in the Forest" because the outer decor was like a bamboo forest (drawings on the macarons and the white chocolate decoration) with gravels (black sesame crumbles), then when you cut the cake there was the bright yellow peach gelee that resembled a ray of sunlight in the middle of the forest :D Maybe it is a little bit cheesy, but I don't care, hahaha..
This month's mac attack is about sugar and spice. I wasn't sure whether this cake fitted into the category,  the cake did have peach in it but the macarons did not. Well, they were black rice macarons, but rice is not a spice nor a fruit right? I tried posting my entry anyway and got approval from the blog creators  yeayyyy thank you sooo much Jamie and Deeba =D Anw, I took tons of pictures of this cake just because I spent so much time on it that I wanted to capture every angle, lol. Ok, pics are below, if you want the recipe just comment or message me because if I post it here it will be a mile long ^^

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Favorite Korean Dish: 떡볶이

Along with 비빔밥 (Bibimbap), 떡볶이 (ddeokbokki) is my favorite Korean dish. I can never get enough of this spicy chewy goodness and it is so easy to make. You can find the recipe here and mix in whatever vegetables or protein (seafood, egg, etc) you like. Try it out, maybe you will like it as much as I do ^^

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Officially Bored: Pizza & Ice Cream

Sunday morning, I woke up and sighed. It's the end of the weekend and I had nothing to do. Again. As I was watching Food Network, I couldn't resist the urge inside me to cook or bake something. I thought I was gonna go on a diet, but whatever :p In the end, I made spicy bbq carnitas pizza and sweet potato coconut ice cream. Yumm, the pizza was soooo good! Spicy, sweet, meaty, cheesy. I think the best I've ever made. The ice cream turned out really good too, smooth, creamy, sweet-potatoey with just the right amount of sweetness. Ahhh, pizza and ice cream always work for me when I want to kick away the end-of-weekend blah :D In case you're wondering, I'm not a vegetarian anymore, hahaha... I knew I couldn't stand avoiding meat, but now I still don't eat meat that much during weekdays just because I only cook in the weekends. Oh btw, you can find the recipe of the sweet potato ice cream here (I substituted the heavy cream and milk with coconut milk and water), pizza dough here (roll it thin if you want thin crust), the carnitas here. To make it spicy bbq carnitas pizza, just shred the meat and add your favorite bbq sauce. Layer Rotel's tomato habanero sauce, the shredded meat, and cheese on the pizza dough and bake according to the dough recipe's instruction. Alrighty, find the pics below, enjoy the rest of your weekend :)
 (I topped the sweet potato ice cream with toasted marshmallow fluff and shredded coconut)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Snow Day & Hokkaido Pan

Can't believe it's snowing again today. I absolutely hate this kind of weather, it was rainy and warm yesterday and 12 hours later it's snowing -__-" I just wanted to curl up on my sofa, watch TV, and eat something warm and soft. As I searched for recipes online, I found this Hokkaido pan recipe. I had always been curious about the tenderness and fluffiness of Hokkaido pan that everyone raved about, but plain white Hokkaido pan wasn't good enough to satisfy my craving especially because I didn't have whole milk on hand, let alone Hokkaido milk. I believed the great taste of the bread came from the fragrant Hokkaido milk. I checked my fridge and I only had soy milk. Okay, guess I had to modify the recipe a bit.

The recipe asked for cake flour and whole milk. I substitute the cake flour with black rice flour that I got from Indonesia (not sure if they have it in the U.S.) and the milk with soymilk, then follow the instruction in the recipe. The dough turned out a tad wet, so I added a little bit more bread flour . After the first rise, I rolled the dough out into a rectangle, sprayed it with butter-flavored baking spray, sprinkled toasted coconut flakes on top of it, rolled it, and placed it into the mold. I let the dough proof in a warm oven and bake according to the recipe. The result? The bread was really fluffy and soft, couldn't really taste the black rice though, but I thought the hint of toasted coconut was great. Pics are below as always and now I gotta go do my laundry -___-"