About Me

My photo

My husband, Mike, and I moved from NJ to Southwest Florida in September 2006. I currently work at the Punta Gorda Library and fill my free time with crafts, reading and my experiments in the kitchen.  Our fur kids, Buddy the dog and Nibbles (aka Brutus) the cat, keep us entertained all day. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Are macarons are my Waterloo?

A few years ago, while out shopping at an outlet mall with my husband, we discovered a little french bakery that was selling these adorable little sandwich cookies called macarons.  We have since found several other places that sell them. One place is called Le Macaron.  We fell in love with these cookies.  They are a French sweet meringue-based confection made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, ground almonds and food coloring. They are filled with either flavored icings or jelly/jam.  When I first saw the name Macaron, I thought I was going to be getting a coconut based cookie - which I don't like. To my delight, I bit into a crispy, chewy, delicious little cookie.  I was hooked.

Since there are no places nearby that sell macarons, I've been toying with making my own for a while.  I bought a macaron kit with a mix and a macaron kit with all the tools needed for success in making them.  Today I decided to try making them.  I love to share both successes and failures in the kitchen.  Macarons turned out to be a FAIL.

Here is a short before baking video:

While they were baking, I could see that the macaron dough had run together.  Here they are after I took them out of the oven:

Due to the running of the dough, I could only get ONE actual macaron.  It was delicious.  Here it is:

So, it is back to the old drawing board.  I will be trying this again.  Stay tuned and see if I have success or more failures with macaron baking.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Food adventures with Mike

Anyone who has met my husband knows that he can be a bit of a picky eater. In Mike's mind, the only thing better than meat with potatoes is meat with meat.  Slowly over the almost 13 years we've been married, I have managed to get him to try some new foods, mostly at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  This past Sunday, while we were looking for a place to have lunch after visiting Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Mike suggested we try Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar in Sarasota, FL.  It is near the new Mall at University Town Center.  For an appetizer we shared the small order of chickpea fries.  YES!  I said CHICKPEA FRIES.  They were served with a tomato jam and a saffron aioli.  

They were absolutely delicious.  I wanted to lick the little bowl that the tomato jam was served in.  It was so tasty.  The saffron aioli had a bit of a kick to it and it was Mike's favorite. We both said we would order them again.  

I don't have a picture of Mike's lunch.  He had a pressed angus burger.  It had caramelized onions, manchego cheese, and chili aioli.  The sandwich was so big that he couldn't finish it all. 

I had the chicken pita with a side of cranberry-pistachio quinoa.  I couldn't stop eating the quinoa.  It is a food that I really don't enjoy preparing but love it when someone else makes it for me.

I would have loved to try one of the desserts but I was full.  I asked our waiter for a wine suggestion.  After a few questions, he suggested two wines.  I chose the Washington Hills Late Harvest Riesling.  It was the perfect pairing.  

I wish Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar was closer to home.  I could spend many happy meals tasting all of their food. If you are ever in the Sarasota area or any of their other 7 locations, I suggest you give them a try.  If you are an adventurous eater, you will be very happy.