Posted in Snacks

Old Fashioned Coconut Macaroons

there is any baked goodie that is easier to make than a fruit cobbler, it is a coconut macaroon. A soft slightly chewy center, with a light crisp outside… altogether yum!

Not to be confused with ‘macaron’, the trendy sandwich cookie that has been all the rage recently… that will come later. This is about the egg white and sweetened coconut concoction that is airy and light. But not meringue light, it has some chewiness to it too.

Macaroons have their origin in Italy, during the renaissance period. Initially they were made with almond paste. Later, for the sake of convenience, bakers started replacing the almond paste with either almond meal (powder) or dried sweetened coconut.

The coconut macaroons were popularised by the European Jewish communities who found it suitable for Passover as it was unleavened.

Macarons, the French version which were small round cookies without any coconut added, were developed by the chefs and bakers who accompanied the Italian noblewoman Catherine de Medici to the French court when she became the wife of King Henri 2nd. Like I mentioned earlier, more about them later.

I have made the coconut macaroons with almond and cashew slivers as well, and they do taste great.

However, adding a bit of colour makes you reach straight for them!

Next time, I’ll try spicing them up with some ginger, cinnamon or allspice.

If you would like uniformly shaped macaroons, you can pipe the mix through a star nozzle onto the baking sheet. I am usually too lazy for that; I just shape them into balls by hand.

I like to imagine Nora (the chief protagonist of Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House) eating coconut macaroons, though Ibsen just uses the generic ‘makroner’ and not ‘kokosmakroner’ in the original Norwegian. Though coconut macaroons are a typical Christmas treat in Norway today, it is unlikely that coconuts were commonly available in the Oslo of 1879, the play’s setting. Still, I see Nora munching on coconut macaroons and they definitely had little specks of red glace cherries on them! 🙂 So here is to the Noras of the world…

Posted in Uncategorized

Food for Thought

In a large Dutch oven set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Stir the roux over medium heat until the color of peanut butter, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic to the roux, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pot and season with the bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon Essence. Cook the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk in the Shrimp Stock.

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Quote, quote

Somebody, somewhere

A new head

In a large Dutch oven set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Stir the roux over medium heat until the color of peanut butter, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic to the roux, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pot and season with the bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon Essence. Cook the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk in the Shrimp Stock.

Posted in Brunch, Salads, Vegetarian

Oranges and Beets on Wild Rice – a Picturesque Salad

The most versatile among the food grains, rice is the staple food of over half the world’s population. It is the largest cultivated crop and provides more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans.

BOWR-closeup2
Rice cultivation originated in the Pearl River Valley of Chine, close to 10,000 years ago. From there, it spread to countries in South and Southeast Asia like India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Legend has it that is was the soldiers of Alexander the Great that brought this grain to Europe. And when Europeans started the colonization of the American continent, rice reached there too.

BOWR-finished
There are many varieties of rice available today, each one suitable for particular ways of cooking. Like basmati for a pulav or arborio for a risotto. And if we start talking about the many many dishes that can be made out of rice, we will be here a long time. 🙂

Posted in Lunch, Non-vegetarian

Green Egg Sandwich

Not exactly… I mean, the eggs are not green, but the sandwich is! A lovely green chutney is the secret behind this delicious sandwich can be made in a jiffy.

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When it comes to sandwiches, I totally agree with John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who is credited with its creation in the first place. The story goes that reluctant to get up from the card table – apparently, the man took his gambling seriously – he would ask his servants to hand him a piece of meat between two slices of bread so that his fingers would stay clean. Naturally, the other players at the card table started asking for the food item ‘same as sandwich’ which soon got abbreviated further and the dish names sandwich was born!

GES-chutney-egg

Here the role of the bread is just to hold the goodies inside (which function I get lettuce leaves to do as well, very often). And whatever interesting and tasty food that keeps its shape can be placed inside a sandwich. If you are not sure whether the filling will stay inside the bread, just toast it to keep it all together. 🙂