"You should really update your blog, just so everyone knows you're not dead," said my food-obsessed friend. Inspired by her words of wisdom, I've finally managed to post an entry after months of neglect and false starts.
I apologize to everyone I’ve ignored during the past few months. The e-mails and comments have been piling up, and I’ve been awful at answering them. It’s what I feel the most terrible about, since I really do appreciate everyone who visits my blog, and especially anyone who takes the time to write to me. I should be caught up in a few days, and now I hope that I can make a new attempt at getting my blog back on track.
I wish I could tell you that I’ve just arrived home after spending the past two months traveling around the world, but alas, I’ve been in Toronto all along, working on getting my business off the ground, and ignoring my food blog. Getting more balance in my life is something I’ve been working on for a while, but have yet to achieve. Ideally, I’d like to have the discipline to wake up early, exercise, work, cook, blog, and still have time to waste. But more often than not, I’ll spend most of my day on one thing, and not leave enough time for much else.
A big thanks to Keiko, Cathy, Derrick, Alberto, and Barrett, who judged last month’s Does My Blog Look Good in This? competition. I was very happy but surprised I won, as many of the other photos looked so professional and delicious. Congratulations to Niki, Cenzina, and the Confabulist who also won.
Despite my lack of blogging, I’ve still managed to cook and experiment from time to time. I have a few things I’ve been meaning to write about, and there are many dishes I’ve been meaning to try, most notably, macaron ice cream sandwiches!
My birthday, now exactly two months ago, gave me an excuse to cook. Being on a Wednesday, I didn’t have the time or energy to invite my friends over for dinner. But dessert, I could certainly manage. I decided to make a few of my favourites from the past, and also try a dish that I’d seen and heard much about.
I started by serving my friends Ataulfo mango and Bosc pear sorbets, two of my favourite fruits. The sweet, creamy, but slightly tart mango, paired nicely with the icy, mellow pear. My mango sorbet always seems to have a slightly woody taste to it, as though I’d added some of the mango pit to the sorbet. This doesn’t really bother me, but it was very apparent when I compared the flavour of my sorbet to that of fresh mango.
The second dessert I served was the White Chocolate and Rice Milk Flan with White Chocolate-Pistachio Emulsion that I made last October for SHF 1. While I normally find white chocolate to be too sweet, rich, and creamy, the rice milk makes this flan incredibly light and delicate. The white chocolate-pisatchio emulsion contrasts the flan with its rich, nutty flavour and colour, and the rice chips and noodles, which have been soaked in ginger syrup, add crisp and chewy textures to the dessert.
The Chocolate Caramel Egg Shell is a dessert that I wanted to make from the moment I first saw it. It’s the signature dish of Michael Laiskonis, the pastry chef at New York’s Le Bernardin, and consists of 1-1.5 inches of milk chocolate crème brulée (without the brulée) covered with a thin spread of caramel, and topped with an inch or two of airy caramel foam. The ‘egg’ is then garnished with a few drops of maple syrup and salt (I used Fleur de Sel, but Laiskonis recommends Maldon sea salt).
This really is quite an impressive dessert. The intense Fleur de Sel contrasts beautifully with the sweet caramel foam, which in turn contrasts with the creamy and decadent crème brulée. I made two versions of the egg, one containing a vanilla-infused crème brulee, and the other with milk chocolate. Both were delicious.
I will post an adapted recipe with pictures soon. But in the meantime, Michael Laiskonis’ recipe can be found here.
To end the night, I served macarons (of course!) I’m addicted to the nutty aroma of sesame, so I made both white sesame and black sesame macarons sandwiched with their respective buttercreams. I also made macarons sandwiched with black current and chokecherry jams, which my friend had brought me the day before. All were delicious, and I was very glad to have my friends to share them with.