One of mike’s favorite things is french macaroons.  Today it was meyer lemon macaroons with lemon white chocolate filling, and chocolate macaroons with coffee ganache filling.  I loosely followed the recipe in Martha Stewart’s magazine, and it was completely simple to do.  That small bag of almond flour has been burning a hole (not literally) on my kitchen counter wanting to be baked into something!  I also made Financiers, and they were too small and dry.  Man, the more I bake the more I realize how much butter and fat make those bakery bought cookies taste so good.  With financiers, you literally have to coat the baking pans with butter or they don’t take on the right spongy, soft consistency and nutty fragrance!  I used silicone pans today so thought I could cut some of the fat out of the recipe by skipping the pan buttering part, but some the financiers ended up like crispy cookies.  Ah well.  they still tasted good. 

 Speaking of silicone, I am floored by silpats as the macaroon halves did not stick to them!  the last time I made raspberry macaroons, I spent a good half hour peeling the halves off the wax paper I’d used.  this way is much better.  🙂

Lemon tart…gotta try that one again

I noticed recently that they started selling meyer lemons at trader joes which historically have been hard to find.  I’ve bought a few batches of them and have been slicing them into my water with cucumber for a refreshing treat at work. 

 Today I tried something a bit more adventurous and attempted the lemon tart recipe from the new york times dessert book I have.  It was my first time making my own pastry crust, and I can’t say it was a success.  I’d read many times not to overwork butter based pastry to prevent it from getting tough, so I just barely mixed the ingredients until they were relatively uniform and held together.  Maybe it was because the crust was overbaked, but the texture was not at all what I was hoping for–really flaky and crisp and it almost came apart all over the place–as opposed to the beautiful crusts at tartine which are almost like shortbread.  the lemon curd was a bit tricky and also came out a very bright yellow.  In fact, the finished result was very similar to a tart I got from trader joe’s a few weeks back. 

 Luckily our guests were very gracious and did not complain about the tart at all.  I was very full from dinner at Las Americas Peruvian restaraunt in San Mateo.  This hole in the wall restaurant had piqued our attention on the many occasions that we walked by it and eventually we made the point to give it a try.  Many of the yelp reviews online herald the authenticity of the food here, but it lacks for ambience.  the place seems a bit dirty, which made me a bit uncomfortable about the fish ceviche (although it was quite good).  Two beef dishes were tasty but very similar to each other as well.   All in all, the food was slightly above average, but pretty overpriced–we ended up paying about $80 for two couples which strikes me as pretty high for Latin food.  At least my curiousity is satisfied.