Showing posts from January, 2009

Making Macaron

I swear, these are my favorite cookies. And no, I didn't start liking them after the Parisian crowd (then Japan, then Taiwan...) fell into a frenzy over these tiny little petit fours. I really cannot recall when I had them for the first time. But I just love the outrageous colors and the lovely textures -- crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The high sugar content and egg whites make the inside not only chewy but also sticky. It is also interesting that almond meal/flour (basically ground up almonds) is used, so there are bits and pieces of chewable almond particles. Again, Y had the most perfect notes and recipe from Le Cordon Bleu. We made pistachio, lemon, chocolate, and raspberry. There is just one master recipe of the dough (beat up egg white + powdered sugar + almond flour). Then it can be divided into portions to be mixed with flavoring and coloring:

Type: what's in the doughwhat's in the filling
Pistachio: green coloring onlypistachio paste+butter
Lemon: ye…

Making Pate

When my friend Y called to ask me if I wanted to join in the sharing of a quarter pig purchase, I thought "why not?" Well, I took home all these random parts like kidney, liver, and heart. So it is only natural to make some pate out of the liver. I've never attempted it before so I was very excited, especially at the prospect of using caul fat! It is a beautiful piece of fatty membrane that surrounds the internal organs. It has a fractal pattern of the fatty deposits. In Chinese cooking it is sometimes used to wrap fish before steaming or frying, and sometimes used to wrap deep frying items. The idea is sort of like larding a piece of roast to keep it moist. The recipe is from NPR, although I substituted the chicken livers with pig liver. It taste pretty good!!

Tea Amai & Bake House

The Cornell "ChemE Jury" group had a reunion again since John was in town. Too bad Joe is missing again this time. We first had brunch at Cafe Cluny in the West Village. The food was good, but the portion was a bit small. We continued our conversation at yet another tea place in the vicinity of East Village, Tea Amai & Bake House. The place is tiny with about only 6 tables. The back room has more of an "atmosphere" with low lighting, and little foot traffic. We had to sit in the front and endured the cold draft whenever someone walked in and out of the place. It's not really a tea house because it's pretty much a self-service place (order and take your own stuff to your table or to-go), although one can order pots of tea. The pastries are all asian influenced and are quite delectable -- they were all deliberately sweetened very lightly. We tried an assortment of cookies, a matcha chocolate cake, and their signature green tea cupcake. Overall a nice plac…