Monday, October 24, 2011

LADUREE Macaroons

I stumbled upon LADUREE today in the city.
I had planned to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art because it was my day off and I have never been. I have lived a stones through away from the city for a year and a half and have hardly explored. So yes! Today was my day to hit up some culture in NYC.

I trudged through multiple subways. which I am just now becoming comfortable with, all the way up to 82nd and 5th. I am silently congratulating myself for making it there without any issues when I look up at the steps to find... its closed on Mondays. And so is the Whitney.

So I quickly readjusted my plans to wandering around the area. 

Had some lunch in the park. 

Wandered south on Madison Avenue, until this cheery image popped into view. 
Now, a few months ago, I decided to try my hand at french macaroons. These pretty little sandwiches caught my attention, and so with much research, I learned that I had chosen the most difficult little cookies in the world of baking. Several attempts and bags of almond flour later, I came up with these. 

They were a tad dry but not bad. However, while researching, I learned that LADUREE in Paris is the gold standard for macaroons. AND I learned that a LADUREE was opening in NYC! 

And then I forgot about the whole macaroon obsession until today. 
So of course, I bought a box of eight amazing, gold standard, french macaroons. 
Such a pretty little green box. 

They were definitely the BEST I have had. Perfectly moist insides with crisp, light outer shells and a delectable assortment of mouth watering flavors. 
Chocolate ganache, sea salt caramel, coconut, cinnamon, pistachios, grapefruit, coffee, and raspberry. 

Yes, I ate them on the couch, with my boyfriend. All of them. 
They were FANTASTIC and all I had hoped for. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chunk Cookie turned Strawberry Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

These were delicious, decadent and melty! 
So I made the cookies - sort of made up the chocolate chunk fleur de sel part because I happen to have the fleur de sel. 
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fleur de sel  and extra to sprinkle on top later
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (8 ounces) Ghirardelli's bittersweet chocolate chunks ( I hand chopped from the big bar)

Heat oven to 350 F. 
Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. 
Cream together butter and sugars. Then add egg and vanilla. 
Slowly mix in dry mixture on low speed.  
When its nicely combined, fold in chocolate. 

I put the dough in the fridge for about a 1/2 hour while I did some dishes and general kitchen clean up. I have read that keeping the dough in the fridge for 24 hours is a good idea for cookie texture and appearance. I will not be testing this out this time around. When you have an anxious for ice cream cookie sandwiches boyfriend, there is no time for aging dough. 

So I spooned the dough onto my parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Then sprinkle the fleur de sel onto the tops of each cookie. 
Bake for about 2 minutes per tray until bottoms are golden brown. 
These cookies ended up super chocolate chunky and thick. The hint of salt was a nice touch, keeps the taste buds interested. 

Once the cookies are done, it is IMPORTANT to wait for them to cool. Resist the temptation to rush. The results of combining warm cookies with ice cream may seem obvious...
Finally, once the cookies are cool, just sandwich in some Häagen-Dazs Strawberry ice cream. I sort of smooshed it around like they do at Coldstone Creamery so it was nicely spreadable. 
And there you have a decadent treat!  Eat with a fork, they're messy. 

My Jersey City view of downtown Manhattan.

Early morning out in the neighborhood! I live in the Paulus Hook neighborhood and love it. There are some really great restaurants, little gourmet grocery stores, and plenty of parks and views of the water. It is quiet here in comparison to a place like Hoboken but there is still plenty to do and definitely more parking!
I am from the eastern shore of Maryland and am used to living close to the water and having lots of boats around. Moving up to New Jersey, I had not planned to end up so close to marinas, as well as being just a hop skip and a jump from the city.  But here I am.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lemon Pancetta Linguini

My current favorite pasta recipe!  I put this together to combine the best of several other great pasta recipes.
You will need: 
large pot of water for pasta
1 large frying pan

1 box linguine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano
1 lemon - zest and juice
garlic finely chopped
Asparagus, fresh
3-4oz of Pancetta
kosher salt
olive oil

To prep:
Snap apart your asparagus taking off the bottoms. Then snap again in half for 1-2 inch pieces
Zest the lemon then cut in half for juice squeezing later
Cut pancetta into smaller pieces
Boil water for pasta; add dash of kosher salt.
Grate 1 cup of cheese

Add pasta when water boils. Once the past is going...

Put about a teaspoon of olive oil in the pan. Turn to medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the pieces of pancetta, spreading it out across the pan. Keep the heat at medium and keep a close eye on the delicate pancetta. After about 4-5 minutes, it will start to crisp up. When it starts to look crispy throughout and browns just slightly, its done. Use tongs to remove the pancetta and place it gently on a paper towel.

Keep the rendered fat in the pan. Add the asparagus and garlic to the pan.

Saute the asparagus on medium for about 3-4 minutes. It should be cooked but still crisp.

Now the pasta should be done and drained at this point. Return the pasta to the pan. Begin to add in lemon zest, squeeze lemon juice, pancetta crisps, asparagus, and cheese. I use tongs to toss it all together gently. Once its thoroughly mixed, plate it up. And feel free to add a little more grated cheese on top!

Side note: You can substitute the green vegetable for whatever you have or feel like!  I have use broccoli, spinach, and peas; all very good!

Ina's Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

My first post! 
I have done this amazingly delicious and super easy icebox cake twice now. I think its safe to say, its a crowd pleaser.  The only catch is that as easy as it is, you have to plan at least 1 day ahead of time so the cake can take its time in the fridge over night. I made it for a 4th of July get together on a friend's boat and then again for a weekend out on the North Fork of Long Island with friends.   

So this is Ina Garten's Long Island version of an old fashioned icebox cake! She uses the famous Southampton Tate's Bake Shop chocolate chip cookies.  I was so excited to make this because I had just discovered these crispy delightful cookies at the gourmet grocery store down the street. If you live in the New York/New Jersey area, these cookies are pretty easy to find. If not, you can get them online, or she recommends any thin crisp cookie.