Monday, March 23, 2009

Paulette Macarons

I spent the weekend up in LA visiting Lindsay and exploring a few bakeries. Lindsay recommended her favorite macaron shop, Paulette Patisserie in Beverly Hills. I went by myself today while she was at work and picked out a few interesting flavors for us to try. The storefront is very simple and the presentation of the product is beautiful. The counter top is a rainbow of macarons and the prices here are excellent. The individual macarons are $1.60 each, which is by far the lowest price I've seen macarons going for in America. The flavors range from caribbean chocolate to New Orleans praline to more exotic flavors like jasmine tea and violet cassis. All the macarons can be ordered online to be shipped overnight or picked up at the store.
I purchased four of the flavors and each macaron I tried was incredibly fresh and bursting with flavor. I chose the caramel, coconut, jasmine tea, and violet cassis.
Yum Yum Yum!!! Brings me back to Paris and my very first experience with the delicate and complex cookie that is the french macaron.
The violet cassis was my favorite. The filling consisted of a violet ganache and a black currant jam. Next time I'm in LA I will most definitely visit Paulette again and I hope the raspberry rose macaron is on special that day!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Quick and Easy Pizza Dough

This recipe is so simple and fast, it takes under 10 minutes to prepare the pizza dough. If you own a food processor, the process is even easier (however the dough may be mixed and kneaded by hand or in a standing mixer).

Once I had mixed the ingredients, I allowed half of the dough to rise at room temperature for use later that evening. I placed the other half of the dough in the fridge to use the next evening. The cold temperature of the fridge causes the dough to rise very slowly, which prevents the dough from spoiling and allows you flexibility. This dough will even keep for 2 days in the fridge.

Pizza Dough

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F.)
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour*, plus more if necessary
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

*If you have cake flour on hand, substitute it for half of the all-purpose flour. This will make for a more delicate crust on your pizza.

Combine the yeast, water, and olive oil in a small bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place flour and salt in food processor and pulse to mix. Slowly stream the yeast mixture into the flour and mix until the dough forms a ball. If the dough feels sticky at this point, add more flour until dough is soft but not sticky.

At this point, transfer dough to a floured surface and knead for a few seconds to form a round, smooth ball. I cut the dough in half at this point and place one half in the fridge, for later use.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with a slightly damp towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Shape dough as desired (I like thin crust) and top with your favorite ingredients. Place pizza in oven for about 20 minutes, or until crust is browning and cheese has melted. I like to crack an egg on top during the last 5 minutes of baking for a little extra flavor. Have fun!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Atomic Fireball

This dessert is for those with an adventurous palette. It is for those who make a habit of ordering the most obscure, odd, and unique item on the menu because they understand that these are the dishes that capture a chef's true passion, talent, and creativity. These are the dishes you never forget.

Roasted Cinnamon Stick Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
5 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbs ground cinnamon

Roast the cinnamon sticks in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Smash and break up the sticks.

Bring the milk, cream, 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon sticks, and ground cinnamon to a boil. Turn off heat, cover pot with foil and allow mix to infuse for 8 hours or overnight in refrigerator.

Bring mixture to a boil. Meanwhile mix 2/4 cup sugar with eggs and yolks with whisk. Temper the eggs by slowing streaming boiling liquid into eggs while constantly whisking. Return entire mixture to pot and switch to a spatula. Lower heat to medium low and continue to stir mix until it just begins to thicken (about 3 minutes).

Transfer mix to container and place in fridge until cold. Churn in ice cream machine.

Mexican Chocolate Sauce

1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup water
8oz dark chocolate
2 tsp cayenne powder*
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Bring cream and water to a boil and pour over chocolate and spices. Stir until melted and combined. Add more cayenne if you prefer more heat. Keep under refrigeration until ready to use. When ready to use, reheat mixture and pour on top of cinnamon ice cream.

*Make sure your cayenne powder is pure and does not contain any other spices such as garlic powder or salt

**This dessert would not be complete unless it sat on top of my mom's delicious brownies!
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