May 2014Creme de la Chic: May 2014
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DEEP SEA DREAMS

5.30.2014


Abundant Finding Nemo references, lollipop-esque palm trees, nostalgic memories whilst crafting quintessential flower crowns. 

You could say my most recent adventure to date venturing out for an hour long "road" trip to Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific à la Two Door Cinema Club Pandora playlist was a jam-fest. For someone who probably sounds like those cringe-worthy epic failures during American Idol auditions, I sing way too much. Just ask my partner-in-crime/boyfriend, Zack--or not! The blush-worthy, face-palm inducing stories will just coming rolling in (even if he'll say i'm a "good" singer.. whatever that means).

Fast forward a profusion of sporadic dancing while screeching along to Sleep Alone, and you'll find me tranquilly gazing at a kaleidoscope of nameless sea life splashing around in their vibrantly-colored coats (cue my inner shutterbug) Not to mention the stimulating tactile exhibitions scarcely sprinkled throughout the kid-friendly aquarium. What was my absolute, hands-down favorite? The Jellyfish exhibition! In all honesty, if you aren't excited about touching jellyfish, we can't be friends. Nonetheless, my meddlesome kindergartener-esque curiosity seeped in and I was instantly tempted to either pick up their gelatinous and lychee-like bodies or make "boing-boing-boing" noises while (gently) poking them (Spongebob or Finding Nemo's Dory moment, anyone?)

MACARONS

5.24.2014



1.     Make sure your eggs are room temperature (TIP: if not, you can submerge them in warm water for 5 mins.)

2.     Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar (Throw away the extra lumps for a smooth batter)

3.     Mix the two together with a whisk or use a food processor

4.     Beat your egg whites for 3 minutes on #2 speed for KitchenAid or on low-medium speed (Don't forget to use your steel mixer for this part!)

5.     Progressively add your granulated sugar into the mixer for another 3 minutes on #7 speed or on medium-high speed.
(You can use a dash of cream of tartar/lemon juice and a pinch of salt to help your soon-to-be meringue form)

6.     Add your food coloring for another 3 minutes on #8 speed or on high speed. The meringue should form a stiff peak. 
(TIP: If you hold the bowl upside down, it should stay intact and not budge)

7.     Gradually pour the flour/sugar mixture into your meringue while you fold.

This process, called the macaronage, is the most important part of making your macarons!
              -it's better to under mix than over mix 
              -try to make around 50-60 turns
              -the result should look like molten lava and not be runny)

8.     Transfer the batter to your pastry bag 
(Use a long cup and fold your bag over the cup an inch for an easier transfer)

9.     Pipe circles on your parchment paper as best as you can 

10.    Tap your double-layered baking sheets 2-3 times on each side to remove air bubbles
(Why do you need two baking sheets? Because it will prevent your shells from cracking + will create "feet" on your macarons)

11.    Let your macarons rest for 30-40 minutes or even an hour
(They should form a skin that shouldn't leave batter on your fingers after touching them)

12.    Preheat your oven to 300°F or 150°C for 13-20 minutes (When tapping the shell, the "feet" should stand firm)

13.     Let them cool to room temperature (Don't be tempted! Otherwise they'll crack)

Congratulations! You just made some delicious and beautifully Parisian treats not to mention they're the most difficult cookie to make! 


So what now?

Make your own buttercream, jam, or even lemon curd to make your filling for the macarons! Want to know something interesting? Macarons aren't flavored by their shells you just made, it's the filling! Macaron shells almost all taste the same. So get creative!

Once you're done filling your macarons and matching equally shaped shells together for your perfectly delicate little bites, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours to achieve that chewy yet crunchy bite! 
 
Here are some troubleshooting tips! Trust me when I tell you not to be fooled by these dainty and instagram-perfect confections. Let's just say I went through 3 incredibly enormous batches of Tiffany Blue batter (cue the tears) and even managed to almost burn down my kitchen... But it definitely made my final creations of the Robin egg  blue & ballet pink macarons incredibly worthwhile. Burned pancake-esque macarons and all. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :) 

P.S. Link me to your macarons! I'd love to see them!
What are your favorite Macaron flavors? 



FLOWER CHILD

MOTHERS DAY

5.08.2014

Moth·er's Day
noun 
1. A celebration honoring mothers by rekindling your childhood arts-and-crafts ideas sans glue paste messes & letting your creative streak run wild with Pinterest ideas.

For me, Mother's Day almost always requires a much-needed, bank-robbing trip to Michaels and the perennial favorite--a bundle of freshly-plucked flowers! Flashback to my elementary days and I remember carelessly strolling around my neighborhood anxiously (and unknowingly) plucking delicate stems of color-saturated peonies and chrysanthemums from my neighbors' plush evergreen lawns. And who can forget the piles of endless Mother's Day cards that are probably stressing out hypothetical Tom from 500 Days of Summer at his card-making job during Mother's Day season. (Oh, how I love that movie)

Whether you're whipping away for an award-winning concoction of your signature heart-shaped buttermilk pancakes à la strawberries or dashing glitter onto hand-made cards while accidentally decorating your face like Ke$ha, Mother's Day is really all about appreciating your one-of-a-kind mom. Being a teenager, I've occasionally gotten into typical tv show-esque quarrels with my mom. Regardless, every daughter in their lives experience glimmers of their mother's as their best friends to laugh and have spa-days with. For me, that entails a skin therapy session of random asian creams as my mom batters me for having dark under-eye circles and having unwelcome breakouts (she definitely forgets that I'm still just a teenager).

Regardless, every daughter thinks of her mom as a Supermom. So why not treat your mom like the superhuman she is and indulge her hard work with some much-deserved gifts! Hopefully this wishlist will do some justice but if not, at least it'll add a dose of bliss this Sunday!