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I Made It Myself: Milkshakes, Donuts, etc.

19 Jan

I’ve been making lots of things!

First, Julia and I made milkshakes with a fancy milkshake maker!



(Thanks, Julia, for the awesome photos and milkshake support.)

Then, Marjorie, Jess, Justine and I made a gazillion gluten-free donuts!

Marjorie is pleased with the donuts.


Other things I’ve been making recently include illustrated instructions for solving a Rubik’s Cube, new friends, mistakes, and a mess.

Also, my niece is coming to visit me soon, and I want to make something with her – either food or crafts. Any ideas?



I Made It Myself: Macarons

7 Oct

In addition to being part of the regular I Made It Myself feature, this is also the secret bonus addendum to my Sabbatical series, since I made these macarons during the France part of my trip.

My mom and I decided that we wanted to take some sort of cooking class while we were in Paris. We found a great English-language school, La Cuisine Paris, that offered the perfect gluten-free class: macarons! Highly recommended if you’re ever in Paris.

Our workstations

One team made lemon macarons, while the other team made pistachio.

Here's my mom mixing up the pistachio dough. We learned the Italian method, which is a little more complicated than the French, in that you have to make a syrup, rather than just mix in the castor sugar. Our instructor explained that this method is more forgiving, though, and therefore a better choice for beginners.

Here's how the cookies look coming out of the oven. The little ridges are called "feet" and they're the mark of a successful cookie!

Here's me having a go at piping in the filling. You can see that I'm trying really hard not to mess up!

Everyone in the class got to take home a whole box!

We had an extra lemon and an extra pistachio, so we did a mix-and-match version. I ate this one soon after this photo was taken.

While I can’t give you the recipe we learned, I can point you to this recipe from the You Can Do It…At Home blog. The author explains the method in detail, and provides a nice recipe for a chocolate ganache filling. Yum!

I Made It Myself: Cookie Cutter Tortilla Chips and Jalapeño Lime Hummus

30 Jul

I have to say, IMIM is getting weird. I do love that I never know what’s going to happen when Julia comes over for a cooking session/photo shoot. So much improvising. And snacking!

The tentative plan was homemade tortilla chips and jalapeño-lime hummus (recipe courtesy of the gluten-free goddess). But that didn’t seem nearly interesting enough for an IMIM photo shoot. Fortunately, my mom, who is awesome, had sent me both a musical note cookie cutter and a palm tree cookie cutter, and Julia and I had the idea to make tortilla notes and tortilla trees to accompany the dip. (Note to self: Find boat-shaped cookie cutter and make tortilla ships.)

Here’s what we came up with:

Chickpeas and jalapeños hanging out. Do they know they're about to become the world's greatest party food?

We practiced with some standard triangle-shaped chips...

...and they looked pretty good

Then we broke out the cookie cutters...

...and snacktime became awesome.

p.s. Looking for a good homemade tortilla chip recipe? Here’s one: cut up some tortillas into your favorite shapes, and fry them in oil on the stove, then drain them on a paper towel. Prep time: 45 seconds. Total time: Two and a half minutes. Serves: you and a friend. 100% of the people who wrote this blog entry would try this recipe again.

I Made It Myself: Ice Cream Snowballs

11 May

My mom used to make ice cream snowballs as a special occasion dessert. For the uninitiated, snowballs are a ball of ice cream rolled in something delicious like coconut, and served with a candle in it. I think it’s a traditional Christmas thing, but I figure it’s good any time of year.

Julia and I recently had a go at recreating the magic of my youth.

We started with some really good ice cream.

We rolled some in coconut, and some in crushed peppermint sticks.

Then we added the candle. And some fake diamonds!

The best desserts offer punny advice on improving your interpersonal skills.

Just like mom used to make. (With fake diamonds!)

We Made It Ourselves: Croissants

4 Feb

I’d like to introduce my new food feature partner, Julia Smith. I asked Julia to help me revamp the “I Made It Myself” feature, because I felt it was severely lacking her photographer’s eye and food styling skills, and because I like hanging out with her. Our goal is simple: to give ourselves semi-regular food creation challenges, and to rise to the occasion (or not). We hope to create something delicious each time, but the real joy is going to be in the process.

For our first effort of 2011, we present: Croissants!

Here’s how it went:

Not bad, right?

We started out following the recipe here, but we veered a little off course when certain aspects didn’t go as smoothly as advertised. The repeated freezing of the dough resulted in some unexpected ice crystals (solution: maybe check the temperature of your freezer?), our geometry was way off when it comes to cutting isosceles triangles (get a protractor?), and we had to invent a new brushless technique for applying an egg wash (no solution needed; our fork spatter technique was a-ok).

Lesson learned: Don’t be afraid of croissants. Just add more butter.

I Made It Myself #15: Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse

14 Nov

I Made It Myself is a series where I document my attempts to cook food that I would normally pay someone else to make, or buy in a package.

I’ve never made mousse before. But I’ve had these ramekins for a few months and I haven’t used them yet. What a shame. The obvious choice for the ramekin debut would have been crème brulée, but I didn’t feel like crème brulée. I felt like mousse. So I made some for the first time. Turns out, it’s pretty easy.

Basically, you make a chocolate cinnamon mixture in a double boiler, and then a whipped cream/vanilla/sugar mixture with a hand mixer, and then you combine them.
And then you serve it in ramekins! Easy peasy.

IMIM (#14): Pavlovas

4 Oct

I Made It Myself is a series where I document my attempts to cook food that I would normally pay someone else to make, or buy in a package.

Pavlovas are a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. I’m in Seattle this weekend and my mom and I decided to give it a go. First, we watched Giada do it. Then we did it ourselves.

Beating egg whites is half the battle.

Still Life with Meringue and Dutch Oven

Fully dressed