Monday, April 20, 2009

There's a little french pastry chef inside of me.

French (or Parisian) macaroons have been on my list of things to make for over a year now. I've read testimonials about how the cookie is really really (really) fussy, and that one should not expect success on first attempt. Being afraid of failure, I did what I do with other things I am afraid of failing at- avoid it. If I don't try, I don't fail. Great logic...

One week ago today I had a root canal. Because I am very anxious and apprehensive about such a procedure, the endodontist was kind enough to prescribe some very effective sedatives for me (it was that, or risk another anxiety-induced freak out). Nic was kind enough to skip class in order to drive me to an from the procedure. After I was all numb and had the roots of tooth #31 filled with putty, we went to Fred Meyer for some more drugs. I was still a bit high from the sedatives, but took the opportunity of being in a grocery store to do some shopping. I remember buying beets, eggs and maybe some fruit or yogart.

Two days after the seditives wore off, I thought back to Fred Meyer and asked Nic if I had, in fact, bought almond meal. He replied in the affirmative. My subconsious was telling me that it was time to make parisian macaroons.

And so I did. I used this recipe.

And exactly 2 out of 24 macaroon cookies turned out perfectly! It was a successful baking venture. Out of which I learned several things. Namely, after the batter is squeezed out of a pastry bag (or plastic bag with a hole in it), it should be allowed to sit for several minutes to help form a nice 'skin' on the macaroon, so that it doesn't crack and look like a desert in the middle of a 10-year draught.

But it doesn't matter that 1/2 of my cookies are drought cookies- because I made 2 perfect ones!

I also made a chocolate ganache for the filling. I'm going to take most of them to work tomorrow so that I don't end up eating them all.

Spring market bag.

The arrival of spring (summer?) and the completion of this month's project coincided perfectly. Just as the trees are beginning their greening, I was thinking about how I need more colorful accents in my clothing and accessories. But instead of budding out leaves and blossoms and such, I have actually created the thing that fits the bill perfectly.

Behold, the Market Bag by Portabellopixie (Sandi Henderson Design).

I must apologize to Meghan. We do a pretty good job optimizing out time together- as 'hanging out' always seems to be in addition to something else. She brought over this pattern as well as fabric and used my sewing machine to finish half of her bag (there are two different bags within the pattern package). I asked if I could also use the pattern to make a Market Bag of my own- and the only restriction on that was that I couldn't finish my bag until she finished hers.

Well... I couldn't help myself- I guess you could say I got carried away. I think I may have already made the statement about small projects being fun and manageable without being boring, which might have something to do with the fun new techniques I got to try out:
Top stitching
Using interfacing to strengthen the fabric
Making my own piping using cord
Attaching a clasp for the inside of the bag
I've got a few more projects in mind, so stay tuned. If I'm not spending time at work, in the sunshine, or in the kitchen, I'll either be at my sewing machine or doing something else.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An outline of April

Sometimes maintaining an online presence is hard- especially if there's a lot going on in real life. That's sort of been what April has been for me so far- what with a trip to Tucson, a birthday (mine!), out of state visitors, major dental work as well as lots of actual job work makes for a busy first half of the month- not to mention that it feels like life's been kicking my ass lately.

Highlights of the first half of this month:
-Riding a tandem bicycle
-Having a bake sale... for fun
-The Desert
-Great friends

My Birthday
-Roller Skating
-Good People
-Photo Booths

Catching up with friends
-Over Coffee
-Over Backgammon
-Over Paper Mache

Starting a new sewing project.