Cardamom Rosewater Macarons

Originally posted on July 14, 2008

In spite of my love of all things culinary, I somehow managed to get through my first thirty years or so of life without ever hearing of French macarons. I have never been to France, and certainly not to Laudree. So of course, culinary snob that I am, I had to learn to make them. I take it as a personal affront if someone else knows how to make something better than I do. I realize this makes me just a tiny bit insane. I am quite proud to say that the pictures in this post are of my very first attempt.

Also, more than a tiny bit insane since I decided that I should blanch, peel, and grind 150 g of whole almonds, even though I had a perfectly lovely bag of Trader Joe’s Almond Meal sitting right there in my kitchen. I’m not entirely sure why, except that I’d never done it before, and I’d had some whole almonds in my freezer for a while.

After hours of searching online for recipes and techniques, I was determined to come up with a flavor combination that hadn’t already been done to death, so I decided on cardamom with rosewater buttercream filling. Continue reading

Strawberry Marshmallows

Originally posted to my incredibly old blog on January 28, 2008

One of the quirks of my love of cooking is my absolute obsession with learning to make things from scratch that most of the people I know don’t even realize can be made in a tiny apartment kitchen. I started canning fruit jam while living in an apartment with literally 18 square inches of usable counter space. I make hand-dipped truffles that rival (in taste, though I’m still working on appearance) the candies you’d pay obscene amounts of money for in a boutique chocolate shop. If something is supposed to be far too much trouble or too difficult to make at home, then I want to make it.

My latest obsession? Marshmallows.

That’s right. Homemade marshmallows. Light, fluffy, wonderful marshmallows. Marshmallows so good you’ll wonder why you ever ate those boring, flavorless lumps of stale fluff from the grocery store.

They’re nowhere near as difficult as you think. As a matter of fact, with a few tools, a decent stand mixer, and a little patience; you could whip up a batch in the afternoon and have fresh marshmallows after dinner.

The flavor possibilities are nearly endless. My first batch was simple vanilla. Vanilla doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves. I’ve already promised my darling wife mango and peach marshmallows for my next two batches. This time, however, I’m going with strawberry. Continue reading