Macarons are notoriously testy when it comes to measurement, moisture, baking, preparation, not beating the merengue too hard (heh heh heh) and knocking all of the air out of it, etc. But I love the way they taste. And so does mommyPrimate.
This weekend is Mother’s Day in the good old U.S. of A. I think it might be that three years ago we were in France on Mother’s Day, eating macarons, croques monsieur, and soupe du poisson, but for whatever reason, mommyPrimate was all like “for mother’s day I want homemade macarons.” Knowing the varying degrees of success I’ve had with them in the past, I said “sure, honey.” On the inside I was like…
So after a bit of dickering about flavors, I decided to do lavender. It’s classic, it’s french, it tastes like Froot Loops cereal. So I whipped (and naynayed) the eggs, carefully mixed in the nuts and the sugar. Piped them onto the pan. Dropped it (turns out I did this step too early and they didn’t form feet), and let them rest.
They had fucking nipples. I tried to flatten them or at least make it look like they had pasties. NO JOY. They baked with fucking nipples. NIPPLES I TELL YOU. So I let them cool and stuffed them with some homemade buttercream.
So of course I had to try one, and I was all like:
They taste like macarons, have the texture of macarons, but look like my toddler baked them. I’m going to call this a success.
I’ve always thought there was something kinda noble about a plain old baguette. It’s super simple as far as ingredients go, but packs such a punch of flavor that it can stand up to your tastebuds without any help from butter or jam…and when you add butter and jam omg. But I always thought they would be super difficult to make.
So I got out my good old friend Paul Hollywood’s book and got to work. Flour, yeast, salt, water, mix mix mix, rise rise rise. Bake bake bake.
What I ended up with looked nothing like a baguette or even a demi-baguette (because let’s get real, you need a freaking HUGE oven for full sized baguettes. But it tasted like a baguette, and was just a few minutes away from the perfect crust.
Next time I will nail it, because j’adore les baguettes!!!
For Christmas, my sister gave me a copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’ve wanted a copy of this for years, as it’s the basic cookbook. Well, when we were doing our meal planning for this weekend and next week I said “let me pull a recipe” and started digging through the book. I had nearly settled on coq au vin when I saw fricassée de poulet a l’ancienne. A classic chicken fricassee. Then Julia’s description called it a traditional Sunday dinner and I was sold.
But the thing with Julia Child is that she will have two or three subcomponents that need to be made either concurrently or before you start on the main dish. This one had two, oignons glacés au blanc, and stewed mushrooms. The onions involved making a little bouquet of herbs and stewing the whole pearl onions in dry white wine and butter for like an hour. IT SMELLED AMAZING.
The aromas in the house just got better, though. After lightly browning the chicken in a mirepoix it was covered with boiling chicken stock and wine, left to stew and thicken with flour, then the broth was fortified with the juices from the onions and mushrooms, whipping cream, and egg yolks. EGG YOLKS.
Anyway, I served it, per Julia’s suggestion on white rice with buttered peas on the side. It was DELICIOUS.
When we finally got babyPrimate started on eating, mommyPrimate and I were all like:
Because that shit was good. We’ve packed it up for lunches tomorrow. And when the microwave in the break room dings, I’m going to be all like:
That said, the art of French cooking isn’t something you can do every day unless you’re going to buy bigger pants, so it might take this daddyPrimate a while to master the art of French cooking.