Monday, January 31, 2011

Adour

Adour is an excellent restaurant of Alain Ducasse inside of the St. Regis Hotel in midtown NYC. Everything... I mean EVERYTHING was excellent. They are very pricy, but they can be, for their excellence. I used "excellent" too many times... well, their food and service was wonderful and we had a great experience.
I attached some of the pictures I took there. Oooh the dessert.... After we had ordered dessert, they brought out some Macaron and Chocolates. How amazing is that??? the waiters were friendly and not too over the top. Chairs are comfortable and when I left, I was completely full because their entree size is very impressive for this type of restaurant.


compliment starter of scallop

Best ricotta gnocci I have ever had. Just like a cloud
.
Prociutto wrapped loin of lamb. Wonderful sauce.

Chocolate... something.

pairing of chocolate and Marmalade. Love it.

Macarons

This is a macaron recipe


When I lived in NYC, Jason and I used to go to Madeleine Patisserie for their Macarons. We tried many different vendors, but trust our big appetite, Madeleine Pattisserie has the biggest, yummiest macaron in the city.

Are you afraid of making macaron? does it seem intimidating? DON'T!!! I have made it a few times now, and all of those times... NOT perfect. but GOOD. Some problems I had in making macarons are:
  • trying to make it on a humid day. Macaron is not the best thing to make on a humid GA summer day. The meringue did not have the best time coming to the peak I wanted, and the crust did not form for a long time.
  • I baked it for too long. it really only take about 12-14 min. mine turned out tough and chewy around the edges when I over baked it.
  • I was not ready. when trying a recipe for the first time, have everything ready and measured out. have your baking sheet with silpad on the counter ready to go, and your piping bags already fitted with the round tip. Panicking is never fun.
Don't be afraid! I know that almond powder is a bit pricey, so you can't keep making mistakes,but just be calm, do it on a dry day, and be patient when you are macaronnage-ing. once you succeed, you don't have to pay so much at a bakery! I saw this youtube video and copied its technique.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4OkfhA0uK8&feature=related

ingredients:
3 aged egg whites
35g granulated sugar
100 g almond flour
205g powdered sugar
20g cocoa powder
a pinch of salt

1. measure everything and put cocoa, almond powder, and powdered sugar through a sieve.

2. beat the eggwhites on low speed with a pinch of salt until foamy. Put it on high speed and beat in the sugar in three batches until stiff peak forms. (i beat mine until it's almost crumbly, like the video's)

3. fold in the dry mixture in three batches, then once it's incorporated, start the Macaronnage process. (it's kind of a kneading/folding/mixing technique to get that Lava consistency before piping)

4. Put the batter in a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe it onto a flat baking sheet with silpad. piping it pretty close to each other is fine.

5. WAIT for about 30 minutes until the top surface is dry and filmy. (depending on the season this time can vary. some recipes said 4 HOURS! mine usually take about 30-45 minutes)

6. at this point, preheat your oven to 300 F. I baked it for about 6-7 min, then turned the baking sheet for another 7 minutes. (it depends on the size of your Macarons.)


before it goes into the oven. its shiny and dry.

In the oven- starting to develop feet. this is a good sign.


For the Ganache.
the top picture is the end result. left one has raspberry white chocolate ganache, and the other is dark chocolate ganache with espresso.

white chocolate raspberry ganache:
100g white chocolate, finely chopped
35g HOT cream
a good handful of raspberries (maybe 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup)
1 tbs of sugar

1. heat small sauce pan on a mid-low heat with the barries and sugar. One the sugar is melted and the berries are starting to break down, take it off the heat and put it through a sieve to get rid of the seeds. (if you like the seeds, just smash them with a fork and set aside)

2. bring the cream JUST up to a boiling point. (I did this is a micro wave, staring into the window of the microwave in order to stop it just as it boils up). pour the hot cream onto the chopped chocolate, give it a minute, then stir until smooth.

3. stir in the raspberry "sauce"


Dark chocolate ganache with espresso:
100 g. dark chocolate
40g HOT cream
1-2 tbs Espresso

the steps are the same as the white chocolate one. treat the espresso as the raspberry puree.



Limoncello




I'm not much of a drinker. BUT, I love a great challenge/test kitchen.
LIMONCELLO. I love the name, it sounds so refreshing and delicious. I don't remember having any in Italy, but I may very well have and not remember. My mother has been talking about this home-made limoncello she had at a small family owned Italian restaurant in Philly, and I have been meaning to make her a batch.
Just like any new recipes I try, I first read many different recipes and pick one that fits my needs. this recipe called for :

750 ml EverClear
750 ml Vodka
peels from 15 lemons
4 cups distilled water
3-4 cups of sugar
(if you want it on the sweeter side, you can go up to 4 cups of sugar)

Almost all the recipes I checked out had all those ingredients. just slightly different in their measurement... maybe. on the first day, you only need the liquor and lemons!


★Day one of my Limoncello: I peeled all of my lemons with a peeler. I was lucky enough to have a peeler that peels thinly. So as you can see, there's no pith on my lemon peels. Having pith will make your limoncello less clear and bitter.


Those are the liquor choices I made. over all, the alcohol cost me about 35 bucks, but I did not want to buy the really low-grade stuff and get bad end product. Besides, with this amount, I can make another batch and then some.


The above picture was taken 2 minutes after the liquor was poured onto the lemon peels. it's still fizzy :) I had asked my mother to stir it every 3 days or so, gently. (I made this at home. I am going to go back home in two weeks). Some recipes will tell you to stir it every day, some will say every week... so I just took the middle. When the lemon peel SNAP when you bend it, it's ready for the syrup addition. We will see if the peels snap in two weeks!

note to self: update in two weeks.



★★★★★★★★★★★★

So, from that point on, I waited about a month to add the simple syrup.

For the Syrup. just bring your sugar and water to a simmer and simmer cook until the sugar is dissolved. just couple of minutes. One thing to remember when you are adding the syrup: wait until it's completely cooled!

Notice the bigger container. Since the amount will nearly double, you will need something bigger or just start with big enough jar.


Then I waited about about 2-3 weeks for everyone's consumption. I strained all the lemon peels and as some blogs suggested, ran the whole bottle through a coffee filter. This took FOREVER. So I don't know if I will do it again, but if not a coffee filter, I would use some thick layers of cheese cloth. A sieve would not be good enough.


Verdict?? Everyone who's tried it Loved it! I don't drink, but This one is a keeper! INTENSE lemon flavor, and its a great addition to your cocktail too, I think. I liked mine best with a squeeze of lemon (a must!!) and some tonic water! Limoncello is very sweet as is, so I wouldn't mix it with anything sweet.



Do you wonder what you should do with all the skinless lemons? Maybe a TON of lemon curd? I froze mine, as you can see below. I plan to make lemonade all through summer with this lemon juice. I took my lemon juice cubes out into a ziplock bag. From my research, these will be fine in a zip lock bag up to 3 months.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bacchanelia

If you are a foodie in ATL and have not paid a visit to Bacchanelia, you must. Bacchanelia is located at the back of Star Provisions. Star Provisions is this fun store/everything that I could spend forever in... they have a
-cafe (not to mention the food the cafe provides.. oh my),
-small meat shop with some steaks and lots of cured meats,
-small cheese shop with great selection of cheeses,
-and a gift shop that carries just random stuff.. all in the best taste!(ceramics, kitchen utensils, seasonal decorations, cards, etc.

Back to Bacchanelia. the restaurant looks a little dark and mysterious from the gift shop... kind of intimidating to walk in. I have never went in without a reservation:besides, you kind of want to look semi nice anyways. everything I've had was delicious. top-notch ingredients, creative pairing, timely service, and GOOD service. I like their appetizer menu more than their entree. I have nothing bad to say about the entree, but I just like appetizers. I have some pictures to share with you, but know this: because I didn't want to flash in ppl's face every time, I took these without flash. so they could be blurry...

This is their winter radish three ways. one of the "gift from the chef"

Kumamoto Oysters with yummy things on top. These are ridiculously tiny oysters with full of flavors. one of the best oyster dishes I've ever had.


I know this photo is not the best... but another one of the "gift from the chef". delicious spiced hot chocolate. Honestly, the portion here are not huge, but with all these "gifts" you will get full pretty fast.


Again, the picture does it no justice.. this this is their Lamb dish. My father said this was one of the best lamb dish he's ever had. He is not a big fan of Lamb, but he liked this one~

Maybe I will be able to update the photos when I go again. Despite the photos, Bacchanelia is one of the best restaurant I've been to. I think my parents and fiance enjoyed it very much.