Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Je t'aime, Madeleine!

I have always felt that I must have some type of French ancestry somewhere since I love all things French. I love their food, lifestyle, wine, literature. I have been fortunate enough to visit Paris three times, and let me tell you, I can go there a hundred more. I miss the bustling city, the metro, the endless number of crepe stands, the open markets, the cafes...I really could go on. Every time I have been to Paris, I am always in search for the most yummy (or yummiest, if you prefer) madeleine cookies. The soft cake-like texture and their buttery sweetness make it one of my favorite desserts (well, let's be honest, they're really a snack for me). As mentioned before I received a madeleine cookie pan for Christmas and I finally was able to use them yesterday. I made about 20 cookies, all now waiting to be eaten by me with a cafe au lait in hand! They came out pretty good for a first attempt...not as pillowy soft as the ones I buy. However, they will fix the craving.

recipe copied directly from 101 Cookbooks.com

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch fine-grain sea salt
2/3 cups sugar
zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar
a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan

Special equipment: A madeleine baking pan, regular or small

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Melt the 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it's brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, roughly 20 minutes. Strain (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) - you want to leave the solids behind. [**NOTE: I did this and it didn't really strain...so I ended up just skimming the solids out with a spoon] Cool the butter to room temperature. By doing the butter first you can complete the rest of the steps while it is cooling.

While the melted butter is cooling, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to grease the madeleine molds - get in there and make sure you get in all the ridges. Dust with flour and invert the pan tapping out any excess flour. Lanha uses "cooking spray" with flour to simplify this part.
Put the eggs with the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until thick - you are looking for the eggs to roughly double or triple in volume - approximately 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. Now with a spatula fold in the lemon zest and vanilla (just until mixed). Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture. Only stirring enough to bring everything together.

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3 –3/4 full. I use a small cup filled with batter to keep things clean and manageable, it is easier than using a spoon.
Bake the madeleines for 12 - 14 minutes (7-10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.
(Makes 2 -3 dozen regular madeleines)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Why I've Been Such a Culinary Dud

Let me tell you, Internet, what I've been up to so I can explain my lack of recipe postings. It is the start of a new year and my I'm-turning-30-this-year crisis is in full swing. Up until now, I've been really fine with the age thing. I still have my looks (or rather still get carded for drinks at bars) and get mistaken for being in college. So, that isn't the problem really. It's more that I'm almost 30 and feel like I don't have much to show for it. I do have a career (check); I am married (check); I have a house (check). See- this is what I do on a weekly basis to assure myself that I am ready to turn 30. My life is in a semi-chaotic order for 30. 30 is the new twenty. Ah...I digress...but, now you can see what is going on in this head of mine. I'm not thinking about what fabulous recipes I can cook, but rather going through neurotic conversations with myself.

Now, on top of all the neurotic-ism, I have been busy with other things too. I've had visits from friends, weekend trips, hosting holidays. I'm also now mulling over a new business venture with some great girlfriends, which will hopefully be starting soon. (I'll post more about this when I have more information.) But, speaking of these fabulous girlfriends, they will be guest bloggers on this site so I can spread the cooking/ recipe love. They have given me such great recipes in the past that I told them they must be a part of this. So, there's stuff to look forward to, dear Internet. Food and life are headed your way!

PS- My neurotic-ism will probably turn itself into a new blog site...that I do know.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Moving in the Right Direction

So, with 2008 in full swing, I must say that my cooking has not been. I've not only been completely uninspired, but also have been plain worn out. What do we eat home lately? Tacos, pizza, pasta (of sorts), turkey burgers, etc. Nothing of any merit to post on here.

However, just in the past few days I can start to feel the cooking urge slowly coming back. I got a BEAUTIFUL new madeleine cookie pan that is starting to feel a bit neglected. I think this may be the week folks!

Friday, January 11, 2008



Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy 2008!

So, I took a little break from this blog just to catch my breath and rethink how I want to tackle it in the upcoming new year. After a month of thought, I have reached no conclusion. Oh well!

A and I had a wonderful holiday filled with eating...lots of it. I must say that I know I'm getting older when after the holidays I actually GAINED weight. Yes, I was always one of those fortunate people who could eat and eat and not gain an ounce because of metabolism. Well, those days are over my friend and after-holiday diet is now a must. Oh, I'll still be cooking...but maybe just eating less. We'll see...

I am going to start posting recipes again as of tomorrow. I hope 2008 brings many tasty new things into my kitchen!