Quinoa Filled Squash Boats for Passover

photo: Lucy Schaeffer

photo: Lucy Schaeffer

As we wind our way through Passover week, it’s great fun to experiment with ingredients that fit the bill as perfectly as quinoa does. This vegetarian dish brings bright colors and textures together for this elegant side dish or entree. Continue reading

Macarons, the True French Way

photo courtesy of Cecile Cannone and Ulysses Press

photo courtesy of Cecile Cannone and Ulysses Press

As promised, here is the recipe from Cecile Cannone, baker and owner of Macaron Cafe, NYC. Her book, FRENCH MACARONS, AUTHENTIC COOKIE RECIPES FROM THE MACARON CAFE, will guide you clearly through every step of the process. Many thanks to Cecile Cannone and Ulysses Press for sharing these photos and this recipe.

French Meringue Macarons

makes 50-60 shells for 25-30 filled macarons

French Meringue Macarons

Thanks to Cecile Cannone, owner of Macaron Cafe, NYC, and her publisher: Ulysses Press, for this recipe and these photos.

Before you bake: To make a template for piping your macaron shells, draw 2½- inch circles on a large sheet of paper, using a compass or tracing around a cookie cutter or a small glass. Space the circles 1 inch apart. Position this pattern on your baking sheet, then place parchment paper on top of it. After piping your shells, carefully pull out the pattern to use on the next baking sheet.

Ingredients

  • 2¾ cups (8.8 ounces/250 grams) almond flour
  • 2¾ cups (12.4 ounces/350 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup egg whites (from 7 or 8 eggs), at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons powdered egg whites, if weather is humid
  • ¾ cup (5.3 ounces/150 grams) superfine granulated sugar
  • 5 to 7 drops gel paste food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  1. Step 1: Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Step 2: Blend the almond flour with the powdered sugar in the food processor to make a fine powder (or sift together, discarding any large crumbs and adding a bit more almond flour and powdered sugar as needed to compensate). Then sift the mixture through a strainer until it’s as fine as you can get it. This keeps crumbs from forming on the macaron tops as they bake.
  3. Step 3: With the wire whip attachment on the electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt and the powdered egg whites (if you’re using them), starting slowly and then increasing speed as the whites start to rise. Add the granulated sugar and the food coloring. Beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks and your meringue is firm and shiny.
  4. Step 4: Pour the beaten egg whites onto your almond flour mixture and gently fold them in, using a rubber spatula. Move your spatula from the bottom of the bowl to the edges with one hand, using your other hand to rotate the bowl. Now hit the spatula against the rim of the bowl until the batter falls in a wide ribbon when you raise the spatula. When you can’t see any crumbs of almond flour and the mixture is shiny and flowing, you’re ready to start piping.
  5. Step 5: Fit your pastry bag with a number-8 tip and fill with batter. Start by squeezing out a small amount of mix onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to form a 2½-inch circle. Be sure to leave 1 inch of space between macarons so they will not touch each other while they bake.
  6. If the peak that forms on the top of the macaron does not disappear after piping, it means the batter could have been beaten a little more. To eliminate the peaks, tap the baking sheet on the tabletop, making sure to hold the parchment paper in place with your thumbs.
  7. Let the piped macarons rest for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 300°F (325°F for a non-convection oven).
  8. Using a pastry bag requires some practice. It may seem awkward at first, but you’ll soon get the hang of it.
  9. Prepare the bag (if it hasn’t been used before) by cutting about 2 inches off the narrow end—just enough so that when you insert a number-8 decorating tip, about a third of the tip extends outside the bag. Push the tip firmly in place and spoon in your filling, leaving enough room at the top to twist the bag shut. It’s best to fill the bag with half of the batter at a time so it’s not too heavy. To make it easier to fill your pastry bag, place it upright in an empty jar or other straight-sided container. This will help steady the bag while you fill it with batter.
  10. Squeezing the bag slowly, pipe each macaron shell out in a single dollop. Lift the bag quickly to finish.
  11. Step 6: Bake for 14 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, open the oven door briefly to let the steam out.
  12. Let the macarons cool completely on a rack before taking them off the parchment paper. Press the bottom of a cooled baked macaron shell with your finger; it should be soft. If the bottom of the shell is hard, reduce the baking time for the rest of your macarons from 14 minutes to 13 minutes.

Notes

The French have a special word—macaronner—to describe the physical action of mixing all the ingredients for macarons. This has to be done by hand. You cannot do it with your mixer—you must be able to feel the consistency of the macaron batter.

http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/macarons-the-true-french-way

White Chocolate Ganache Filling- Dairy

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces (200 grams) white chocolate, cut in little pieces, O R white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3½ tablespoons (1.7 ounces/50 grams) unsalted butter, preferably European-style

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, gently stir together the white chocolate, heavy cream, and honey until the chocolate is melted and perfectly blended in. Pour into a bowl and let cool to room temperature; or put it in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to cool more quickly, checking to make sure the chocolate doesn’t get too hard.
  2. When the ganache is completely cool, transfer it to your mixer bowl and begin beating at high speed using the paddle accessory or wire whip attachment. Add the butter in small pieces and let it work in until you have a light and fluffy white chocolate cream.
http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/macarons-the-true-french-way

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Celebrating Autumn’s Bounty

It’s time to exhale deeply as we approach the joyful holiday of Sukkot. We are in the homestretch of the fall holiday series and the tenor has shifted to lighthearted celebration.

Sukkot  punctuates the final harvest of the agricultural season with eight days and nights of celebration and shared meals with family and friends.

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Impossible to Resist Honey Cake

 

photo courtesy of RED BEE HONEY

I tried to avoid this. Really, I did.

I wracked my brain, rustled through my ever expanding kosher cookbook collection and finally through up my hands and yielded to Melissa Roberts, my go-to recipe writer, for a traditional Rosh Hashanah recipe with a twist.

Like you, I was thinking, aren’t there enough honey cake recipes out there, already?

Maybe so, but I’m feeling sentimental about honey cake and here’s why.

I clearly remember the first time I fell for it.  D. brought S. home from Boston to share Rosh Hashanah with us. I could see that their love was deep and for real.
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Let’s Talk Gefilte

image courtesy of Gefilteria

Question: How do you recognize a gefilte fish swimming in the ocean?
Answer: It’s the only one with a carrot on its head.

The subject of gefilte fish, in all of its old and new permutations, brought a standing room only crowd of over 200 enthusiasts to the Center for Jewish History in NYC last week.

An enthusiastic group of curious old timers (“what’s to talk about  so much?”) and young hipsters (“SO cool”) gathered in the comfortable theatre to hear New York’s quintessential gefilte makers talk about their recipes, why gefilte fish has lasting appeal, what their patrons have to say about it, and best of all, to offer samples to the hungry crowd after the panel discussion. Continue reading

Labor Day Reflections

Labor Day’s signal is loud and clear.

Like Pavlov’s dogs, we respond to the first Monday in September with a wave of sadness as the date proclaims that summer is over. Not so fast!

I’ll take this Labor Day to give thanks to those who advocate for fair wages, better working conditions, and fair trade. Now is a good time to re-state our commitment to honoring those who grow our food with concern for our environment and better nutrition for our families.

I’ve come closer to my food sources this year, through an all organic, GMO free, guaranteed local farmers’ market  in my hometown, in  Westport, CT.  As a result of the  persistent efforts and support of town leaders, a visionary and super smart (and strict) market manager and tireless volunteers, I can now turn to my local (within 120 miles) market for farm fresh deliciousness each and every week. Continue reading