Is anyone else having a really hard time believing that Christmas is two weeks away? Holiday baking is in full force around here, as there are a plethora of work, friend and family events on the horizon. I’ve been making a lot of molten chocolate cakes and savoury aolis that ask me to use only the egg yolks, therefore I have a ton of egg-whites leftover. What better to make with leftover egg-whites than macarons? These are the first of a few flavours I hope to play around with over the coming weeks.
I would have liked to do a gingerbread buttercream as a filling for these babies. I had a large container of chocolate ganache leftover from a cake that I made a while back that needed using up instead. While the gingerbread flavours did come across (I think the ginger cookie sprinkled on top helped), the chocolate is quite prominent. I don’t think that it would hurt to be a little heavy handed on the spices.
For the shells
135g egg whites
45g granulated sugar
215g powdered sugar
125g almond flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh ground ginger
1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
Ginger cookie recipe from The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set out your piping bag and twist off the bottom so that no batter leaks out when transferring.Add powdered sugar, almond flour and spices to a large bowl. Combine and sift the mixture.
In another bowl, add egg whites. Beat on low speed until frothy, about a minute. Gradually add sugar. Increase speed to medium, and continue to beat until the egg whites are foamy, about two minutes. Increase speed to high, and beat until the egg whites stiff-peaks are formed and resemble thick shaving cream. Do not over-beat.
Add the flour mixture to the egg ones in one batch and gently combine. Continue to fold the mixture until if forms a ribbon-like consistency. To test, drop batter onto a plate. If the mixture collapses back onto itself within ten seconds, you’re good to go. If it beaks, give it a few more folds, continuing to test.
Once the batter is ready, transfer to the piping bag. Pipe small rounds. Give the baking sheets a rough tap on its side, rotate 90 degrees, and tap again. This helps to eliminate any air in the piped cookies. Sprinkle crumbled ginger cookie on top of the shells. Allow the piped cookies to sit out and develop a crust, thirty minutes to an hour.
Heat oven to 200F. Bake macarons for 20-22 minutes. Remove from oven, and remove from baking sheet to cool. Once cooled (30 minutes or so), remove from parchment.
For the ganache
1 cup heavy cream
5 oz dark chocolate, chopped
3 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 TBSP light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
Put chocolate into a large bowl. Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate. Allow to sit for roughly a minute, then stir until smooth. Sit in corn syrup, vanilla, and salt. Allow to cool until thick.
To assemble, spred or pipe chocolate ganache into cooled macaron shells. These are really great if allowed to sit in the refrigerator overnight to develop the flavours.
During the school year it feels impossible to read for fun. I am sure all you students can agree! However, a few weeks ago Sam and I were talking about trying to disconnect more, and since then I have been trying to cut back on my TV time and replacing it with for-fun reading time. What I have been reading is Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I am about halfway through the memoir right now, and I am absolutely loving it so far.
It is a memoir chronicling one woman’s decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone during a time that she thought of as ‘bottom’ in her life. It’s not a typical hiking memoir, and details the emotional journey she goes through during the time. I am a huge fan of memoirs and people sharing their stories, and this one is one of the best that I have read so far.
Another reason why I am loving it so much is that I have this idea/dream that Samantha and I will hike the West Coast Trail next summer. We have zero back country camping experience, and the WCT is pretty intense. I don’t think we are going to be able to do it just based on my schedule and plans for this summer, but I am hoping to do it in the next few years. It’s a bit of a pipe dream, but something that I really want to do. Reading Wild has given me a pretty big longing to travel and hike, especially since the weather is turning here.
I strongly suggest watching the book trailer—it summarizes and explains the novel and highlights why you should read it!
A number of years ago, I read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. A great deal of the book follows the lunatic farmer, Joel Salatin, on his sustainable farm in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. This was my first introduction to the guy, and boy was I ever hooked on what he was doing. Earlier this year, I jumped at the opportunity to see Salatin speak at SAIT here in Calgary. It was everything that I had hoped it would be, and (to continue on the pipe dreams…) inspired me to one day give farming a try. Yeah, that. There is a lot in the media that romanticizes farming, which I think is what I’m after. In reality, I would likely last one day working on a farm before calling it quits due to the substantial amount of labor. I spent the summer doing some half-assed gardening instead and ultimately abandoned that dream, until I finally picked up a copy of one of Salatin’s books: Folks, This Ain’t Normal. Salatin talks a lot about the decline of society as the market economy took over, a topic that is becoming increasingly near and dear to me. He offers suggestions for improvement—some doable, some a bit far-fetched for us city dwellers. Salatin is careful not to romanticize the labor involved in farming, but highlights the relationship with the animals that comes with this sort of sustainable agriculture. He goes on to talk about the perils of the industrialized food system, touching on the usual topics, with a different perspective due to his profession. Joel Salatin is truly an inspiration for “holding his ground” and traditional ways of life as the world has modernized. I dare say that there is a lot to be learned from him.
What are you reading?
A few weeks ago (okay… at this point it is probably looking more like a month since I am wearing SHORTS in these photos) my friend Amelia and I went for a walk here in Ottawa. This is something we do frequently, but this day Amelia suggested we walk on over to Main St. to check out this beautiful Children’s Garden that she had stumbled upon a couple weeks prior.
So off we walked! Fall had just hit Ottawa, and the colours had just changed, The leaves were falling, and slowly but surely we had come into Fall. The weather here has been a bit strange, and we had a warmer than average Fall, and we sort of just jumped right into the beautiful colours etc., but didn’t have the cool weather. Of course—typical Calgarian here talking about the weather… it follows you, okay! Or is this just a Canadian thing?
The Children’s Garden is REALLY cool. It’s located in Old Ottawa East, right down the street from St. Paul’s University. It’s not only a beautiful neighbourhood, but the garden is full of colour, an organic garden, compost bins, trees, and a place for story time.
It was really fun playing in the leaves, checking out the little nooks and crannies of the garden and overall just feeling like a kid again! Not only is the sustainability aspect of the garden really cool, but it was fun to just let go and adventure and explore like kids do.
Mucho thanks to Amelia for bringing me here, as well as taking my picture while playing in the leaves. It was a great afternoon!
Ottawa-based? Visiting Ottawa? Check out their website here for more info.
Way back when in Victoria.
Breakfast: Gluten-free waffle (watch for the recipe) topped with almond butter. Water, coffee.
Dinner: Pan-fried tempeh and mung beans
I managed to sleep in particularly late (around 8:00AM), which is slowly becoming a terrible trend. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been having the most ridiculous time trying to get up early as of late. I am chalking it up to it not being light out at 6:00AM anymore. I had a leisurely breakfast (I have been loving waffles as of late) and eventually headed out the door for a run. It was my first ten kilometre run in a while, and boy did it ever feel good.Noon:
Class all day. Tuesday’s and Thursday’s are weird, because I start my day learning economics and finish it doing a strong critique of capitalism. I’ve mentioned this before,
but the dynamics between these classes is really quite interesting.
Night: Drinks with the coworkers. It’s not often that I go out with them (mostly because I’m a tad pretentious, and find little enjoyment in going to chain restaurants and/or bars in the suburbs), but I decided on a whim to abandon my homework for the evening in an attempt to be social. It was an early night after just one drink, but nice to get out anyhow. It was a warm enough night to do the thirty minute walk home as opposed to catching the bus, which really became the most refreshing time to clear my mind.
What does your morning routine look like typically (when you are getting up at 6?)? Make and eat breakfast, usually while watching the previous days episode of the Chew. Head out the door around 7 for a run. Shower, get ready and if I have time, sneak in some readings for class.
What are your other classes this semester? Are you liking them? Two core classes (Microeconomics and the Canadian State), plus three general education classes (Texts and Ideas, Communities and Societies, and Writing in a Digital Context). In regards to liking them: yes and no. I’m a little bit over this term (mid-term blues, my friends), as well as taking first year classes in general. Two years of that is more than enough for me. There are little bits and pieces of each class that are for sure interesting, but as first year classes are, they are so broad and unspecialized.
Where did you go for drinks? Favourite places to eat/drink in Calgary? We went to Original Joe’s. They have shitty whiskey and no bourbon. Don’t go there if that’s what you’re after (the menu is littered with highly sweetened beverages instead). For drinks, I’m big into National and Local 510. For food, Model Milk, UNA and The Coup (for brunch, mostly) are high contenders. Honestly, I don’t eat out much.