More on ze Macaron

Yes, I might be a little obsessed.

My father is a lover of all things pecan, and as I have no valentine, I figured I would see if I could rig some sort of pecan turtle macaron into existence for my poppy.

The pecans worked like a dream (and taste amazing).

IMG_0131

I sprinkled a little salt on the top to balance out the sweet. My family in general is not a huge fan of super sweet confections, and as you can’t really decrease the sugar in a macaron, I’ve been playing with complimentary flavors to make them a tad more subtle.

I’m planning on attempting some homemade caramel to fill these with as well as some cocoa nibs or a chocolate drizzle.

Valentine’s day is good for something.

IMG_0129

I will be writing a more in-depth post soon… or maybe vlog… about how I finally made macarons work for me. It’s by no means a tutorial or instruct-able, but maybe just a little encouragement. We plebeians can turn out stuffy success too.

Try something new today, my little raindrops.

And always keep your head in the clouds.

-H-

From the Ashes of Disaster Come the Macarons of Success

Ficus cookies.

THAT is what I have taken to calling the maddeningly touchy almond cookie of the French. (If you have never owned a ficus, or have particularly good luck with ficuses ((fici?)), then you may not catch my drift.)

They are a pain in the rear end.

I have made a grand total of four batches and finally have something resembling those little Parisian crabby patties.

From the initial sifting, to the aged egg whites for the merengue, to the gentle folding, and the final patience testing rest and bake time, SO MANY THINGS CAN GO WRONG.

I think that’s why I’ve been so persistent with these. I’m not used to this sort of culinary failure. Yeast breads? No problem! Pie crust? Runs in my blood! Decadent cake? Already licking the spoon! But the macaron? First try didn’t even remotely resemble the shiny dome and bubbly feet I’d come to know and love.

As I was being razzed mercilessly by those people whom we sometimes call friends and family, (with the exception of Cousin Jennifer, who stuck by me like a champ) my resolve strengthened further. I would rise from these ashes. And finally… finally, I have skewered my standard into uncharted territory. Battle no. 1 is won.

IMG_0113IMG_0120

After discovering that these make essentially the best ice cream sandwiches ever, I may have trouble choosing an alternate filling.

In keeping with my tradition of mixing food with philosophy, (is there any better way?) I have found that in the pursuit of the perfect macaron, I discovered a persistence that is *maybe* migrating to other areas of my life. I love to learn and try new things, and I don’t do it nearly enough.

Why?

It’ll make too big a mess.

It’ll take too long.

Does it even really matter?

I will probably FAIL.

The failure is definitely a deterrent. I don’t think there’s anyone who actually loves failing, but I avoid it like Gollum avoids Elves.

And humans.

And dwarves,

And the dark lord.

I like hobbits too. Easy, happy, content hobbits. Unless they’re tricksy, then count me out.

When my first batch of macarons flopped, I wanted to give up. Really. And I know it sounds silly and pointless in relation to eternity, but I felt like crap.

I avoid any situation like that in life–any situation where I could fail or make a fool of myself or have to be corrected or taught. However, when you start chopping out opportunities that involve those things, you start to realize that you don’t have many opportunities left.

So I don’t know where that leaves me, or you, for that matter. But maybe, just maybe if we stop ruling things out because of failure, we’ll find something that surprises us.

Keep those heads in the clouds.

-H-

The Incredible Edible… Breakfast Sandwich

I love eggs.

My family often watches with a collective grimace as I experiment with new and exotic pairings of fried eggs, fruits, cheese, spreads, vegetables, and the perfect carbohydrate. A previous favorite is posted here, but today we are in full swing cranberry season.

And I love cranberries even more than I love eggs. If I could handle the bitterness of just sitting and eating a bag full, I would.

Last Thanksgiving, I was in the great abroad, but in their great love and remembrance of me, my family froze two bags of delicious cranberry sauce. After having eaten it on toast, on a spoon, and on a bagel, I decided to honor the humble cranberry by including it in one of my breakfast sandwiches.

YUM!

How delicious!

The recipe is pretty straight forward.

Soft fry your egg: mine was somewhere between over-easy and medium.
Add Muenster on top and give it one flip to brown the cheese.
Top a lightly toasted piece of wheat bread with as much leftover cranberry sauce as you desire.
Scoop egg on and enjoy!

Try it out!

Keep those heads in the clouds~

-HH-

Super Duper Yumminess

Grab some Hawaiian Honey Rolls:
We’re talking yeast and fluffy carb goodness.
If you’re really awesome (and slightly granola) make some organic whole wheat buns with raw honey.

Cut an avocado in half:
Leave the half with the pit in a sealable container and save for a sandwich tomorrow (because you’re totally gonna want one tomorrow).
Lightly slice the flesh (don’t cut through the skin) lengthwise and crosswise, and flip the skin inside out.
Voila.

Open a can of crushed pineapple:
Drain.
I would use fresh pineapple, but it destroys my mouth.

Crack an egg into a heated pan:
Fresh farm eggs trump anything.
Fry in butter, coconut oil…. or anything you want really.

Place a piece of provolone cheese on the fried egg:
Let the cheese melt.
Flip the egg over and brown the cheese

Put the egg on the (toasted) honey roll, smash avocado on opposite side, top with crushed pineapple, and consume at a frightening speed.

Boom.

Keep those heads in the clouds, y’all.

-HH-

Five thoughts about one thing

In retrospect, my five favourite/favorite things post was fun… but I have changed my mind.

MY favorite things are too limiting. Nobody really enjoys a post like that unless those same five things happen to be their favorite things. And I want you all to enjoy yourselves.

Within reason.

I just had the carpets cleaned.

Anyhow, I decided to try something new. (In typical “me” fashion: bouncing to something else before the original new even grew legs.) ((Reason #3209 why I should become a nun.))

I am now going to post five thoughts about one thing.

Five… because we all know how much I enjoy arbitrary numbers, and the thing is left entirely to whatever is striking my fancy that day. I am open to suggestions as well.

Today’s thing is pudding.

Yes, I was eating a Snack Pack while the idea came to me.

FIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT PUDDING

1) Most pudding is good–(except for hospital pudding), but cooked pudding trumps instant pudding eight-bazillion to one. Pudding from scratch is one of the best tasting, non-chewable, “foods” on the face of the planet.

2) Cooked pudding always ends up with a film on the surface. This pudding film simultaneously disgusted and intrigued me as a child. If it was broken up and mixed in with my dish of pudding, the grossness level landed somewhere between slugs and band-aids. But if I pulled it off and ate it by itself…

Buddy, that’s a primary school delicacy right there.

3) Pudding with stuff in it is generally a win in my book. AKA tapioca, rice, animal crackers…

4) Obscurely flavored pudding (banana, lime, cotton candy) does not have any purpose on planet earth… except as a possible adhesive replacement should there be a glue shortage.

5) Puddings that aren’t really pudding (those Brits again) are a definite yes. Bread pudding, plum pudding, Yorkshire pudding–the 18th century knew what was up.

What about you? Do you like pudding? Is pudding starting to sound weird now that you’ve read it so many times?

Should banana pudding be sued for vanilla pudding impersonation?

Keep those puddin’ heads in the clouds!

-HH-

When Life Hands You Lemons… Make Salad?

I’m somewhat stealing this post from my friend Chloe, but I came across the pictures today… so with full credit to her and her blogging- here, I will expound.

Last month I was visiting her and for lunch one day she made salad.

“You don’t have to eat the lemons.”

She had just thrown them into the mix of leafy greens, garbanzo beans, peppers, and carrots for color and maybe some juice, but I am the type of person who was raised to eat anything that was placed in front of me, regardless of my preference. So shrugging my mental shoulders, I stabbed a lemon with some lettuce and chewed it up.

It was good! Really good, rind and all. The lemon rind isn’t bitter like oranges are, and combined with the other vegetables and balsamic vinaigrette, the sour wasn’t overwhelming.

I thought it was interesting how life can be like that- we avoid the lemons, or try to sugar coat them, when in reality we should just try them. Who knows? You may actually end up liking them.

Try both this week; the real kind AND the kind life throws at you.

Pessimists pucker at lemons. Optimists smile and chew.

Keep those heads in the clouds~

-HH-

The Simple Things

The other day, I had a mini-epiphany. A mini-epiphany is something akin to an epiphany, but it’s not quite original enough or earth shattering enough to be considered quite the whole thing. Kind of like when you forget to register Microsoft Word, and you’re left with the reduced function version… anyway-

It was a day or two after Christmas break started, and I was enjoying being disentangled  from school. My first semester of college has been good, but I tend to be the type of person who enjoys discovering what her day brings, rather than planning every detail, then carrying it out.

So on this day, already on my mind, was the absurd satisfaction I find in having a large pile of tarped wood sit outside our house. It looks like we’re trying to hide an elephant out by our wood burner, but every time I see it, I feel a connection with every other family, past or present, that relies on an ample supply of wood to get them through the winter. My Laura Ingalls Wilder (that I don’t have to dig very far to find) surfaced with a vengeance. I almost ran upstairs and threw on my hoop skirt- yes, I do own one. However, I opted to grab some apples instead.

We have a large box of Granny Smith apples sitting out in our laundry room, and since they are probably one of my favorite baking “mediums” I started peeling…

 

I had forgotten how much I love to bake. It felt so useful. It was only apple pie and cran-apple crisp, but I felt like I had accomplished more in those two dishes than I had in my entire first semester.  I honestly believe that it is the simple things that last. The rosy red cranberries clinking into the metal bowl will be the same today, tomorrow, even fifteen years from now. It is so nice to do something you enjoy, and have it benefit others… life doesn’t always work like that, but when it does, I hide it in my heart.

In our world, we don’t appreciate the simple things. They might look silly in the eyes of the “worldly wise” or the “driven achievers” but they are the things that make life beautiful. What are some simple things in your life this season?

Keep those heads in the clouds~

-HH-