Être en fleur – to blossom


Youpi! It’s Spring!!!
Convinced by the many compliments and the empty bowl, I believe I should offer you up my wild rice salad recipe with flourish!
This salad is full of flavor, color and fun textures

Voici some measurements but I really prefer to eyeball everything… it’s like art, I don’t paint-by-numbers.

Long grain black wild rice about 1.5 cups
Short grain black rice about 2 cups
Dried cranberries about 2 cups
Graines de courge (the green squash seeds) about half a cup.
Thyme (fresh not dried) about 1 cup.
Chicken (diced)
A handful of diced onions (for the chicken) about a quarter cup.
Edible flowers (color – au choix!)
Salt (amount to taste depending on the quantity of your salad) for mine I probably used about 2-3 teaspoons, but it was a large salad.

Everything I got was organic (except the flowers, I got them from the Bon Marché, but I don’t think they were organic)

So…

I cooked the two different rices separately because of different water volumes and cook time. The long grain (1 vol. of rice for 2 vol. of water), cooked for about 45 minutes.
The short grain rice (1 vol. of rice for 2.5 vol. of water) cooked for about an hour.
I put in some fresh thyme with both rices to cook. 1/8th cup per pot. This will help get the thyme flavor in the rice.

Mix the two cooked rice grains in a large bowl and stir to let it cool a little while you take care of the rest.

The chicken should be diced in small pieces, about the size of… well a dice, and sautéed with the diced onions until cooked through, but not too dry! Don’t over cook. Add the chicken to the rice mixture.

Toss in the dried cranberries.

Take the green squash seeds and put them in a clean dry pan on low heat to roast for about 3-4 minutes. Shuffle frequently. Add to the rice mix.

Take the rest of the thyme and stir it in the mix.

Add salt to taste. I add a little, stir, taste and repeat until I think the flavor is perfect.

The flowers are to be added on top just before serving. Don’t mix them in as they will end up looking slightly like flower mush.

And voilà!
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Macarons à mourir! – Macaron madness!

I am no Ladurée chef pâtissier, but I have taught myself how to make some pretty decent macarons. It’s a cookie that they have been making in France since the Renaissance period, that is light, full of flavor and addictive! (I think the Italians invented it, but I believe it’s safe to say that the French perfected it). 🙂
I will share this recipe and photos so you can try your hand it these delightful little delectables.
MACARON COOKIES :
For about 12 macarons
100g of very fine almond powder. (2/3 cups)
160g of powdered sugar. (1+1/3 cups)
100g of egg whites ~3 egg whites or just a tad less.
40g of granulated suger (just over 3 tablespoons)
2 to 3 tsp. of powdered cocoa ( for chocolate macarons only!)

Mix the almond powder and the powdered sugar in a bowl. Then sift it to make sure it is a uniform mixture with no lumps or clumps.

With a mixer, beat the egg whites until the are very stiff, and add the granulated sugar. Add the food coloring, and continue to whip until the color is uniform.

Then mix very VERY delicately (on slow speed) the dry almond powder mixture with the stiff egg whites.
Line a pastry sheet with baking parchment paper, in two layers.

Use a pastry bag (also called a piping bag) or of you don’t have one use a ziploc bag with a tiny hole cut in one corner, to distribute the dough in little circles that are just under an inch and a half in diameter. Space them well. You should make 24 of them for 12 macarons. (mine were a little large…)

Let them sit out in the open air for an hour so that they “crust” on the surface. Do not touch them. Some recipes say a half hour but I do a full 60 min. just to be safe. This prevents the surface from cracking up in the oven.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. (180°C)
Put them in the oven for 8-10 minutes. To make sure they do not brown on top, watch them carefully.

Remove them from the oven and let them cool. They should be room temperature when you take them off the baking sheet.
FILLING :
My cream filling is for lactose intolerant people. I use margarine from the natural foods store, several spoonfuls (about a cup), that I whip with about a cup of powdered sugar. I judge it all by eye and taste testing (more fun that way!)
(For chocolate macarons use a ganache recipe)

Add Vanilla flavoring (OPTIONAL – a few dashes of lemon juice or a couple spoonfuls of lemon zest for a lemon vanilla flavor). Add some food coloring if you would like it to be colorful. Whip well. I like lots of colors!

Put a dollup… um is that the technical term? ;-)…on the flat side of one macaron cookie, and sandwhich it with another. Et voilà!

Eat. Savor. Enjoy.