Thursday, October 9, 2008

dans l'amour de macaron....une magnifique expérience à L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

There is no need to explain further on our love with the French macaron....there are no pâtisseries like the macaron, a visual and sensual enlightenment in a minute elegant package. A macaron is a traditional French pastry from Nancy, a commune of the Meurthe et Moselle département, in northeastern France. Dating back to the 18th century, the macaron is made of egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar and sugar. This sweet pastry came out of the French courts' baker's oven as round meringue-like domes with a flat base.


In the early 1930 the tearoom and pastry-shop Ladurée in Paris started selling the new creation of Pierre Desfontaines, grandson of Louis Ernest Ladurée: two traditional dome halves sandwiched with a sweet filling between: the ganache. This resulted in giving the new macaron a larger size, the possibility of flavored garnishes, and a newfound moistness that came from the garnish. Whereas the traditional macaron was sweet and dry and crunchy, the new macaron had the added attraction of being delicately crunchy on the outside, while moist, chewy, and flavourful on the inside.



Apart from the most well known Paris pâtisseries Pierre Hermé and Ladurée for their French macaron creations, it was the jewels at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong, that turned my love into a devotion. Unlike the macarons at Pierre Hermé and Ladurée that come in grandes variétés of seasonal flavours, and are not shy to display their vibrant characters, there are only 8 flavours featured at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, each with a soft pastel colour that complements the delicate texture of this prized French pâtisserie. The sweetness was much milder than those I savoured in Paris, allowing each of the signature flavours plus the backnote of almond to trigger a more complete and intense chemoreception.


My affair with L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon was not meant to end with just their macarons, when my gaze was redirected towards a pâtisserie featuring no other teas but The Earl Grey....I was sold simply from its stunning presentation - en forme de dôme de mousse gently kissed by a thin dust of sprayed chocolat blanc. It was unimaginable that its taste could be more phenomenal....it was the perfect representation of the marriage between Earl Grey and citron, and tasting it on the rocking Star Ferry ride between Central and TST just gave the extra edge. The flavourful mousse was expertly formed to create a fluid mouth feel, and to heighten the textual experience, the skillful chef added petites pastilles de chocolat croustillant.


Leaving this treasure chest with une boîte de macaron, I knew it was enough to bring forth the jealousy from my strange companion on a dreadfully long flight.



Sunday, September 28, 2008

All BLACKED Out! The current food trends on anything black....

It is not entirely a strange concept to consume foods that are mysteriously "black". In foreign cuisines, we have pastas and sauces elegantly "contaminated" with squid ink, and the East, black sesame made its way through the shadow with its mesmerising aroma. Black soybeans came crashing into the healthy eating market with the features of being lower in carbs and higher in fibre, compared to its fair cousin.


Just when you were expecting that our adventurous palates have been saturated with the culinary arts of darkness, here comes charcoal walking through the back entrance....Yes, charcoal indeed! I am not referring to the carcinogenic derivatives on meats we generate from our most honourable barbeques, but a special variant of charcoal that has undergone a manipulative process of wood or bamboo, where heat no less than 1000 degrees celcius is applied for a pr0longed period of time.


This type of charcoal,
Binchō-tan (備長炭) - the wood version or 竹炭 - the bamboo version, is certainly no stranger, but a highly valued multi-tasking gem among the residents of Japan. The origin of Binchō-tan dates back to the Genroku period of the Edo era (1688-1703) in Japan, when a businessman perfected the Chinese art of making charcoal that was introduced in the early 9th century. Binchō-tan is priced for its matching strength to steel, which is achieved through physical activation of the carbon in specially selected high density woods. This activation creates a type of charcoal that conducts electricity (therefore it has the ability to neutralise electromagnetic waves), with an ultimate power of filtration and humidity regulation. These qualities of Binchō-tan appears to be more suitable for household settings, and to the innovative Japanese, it wasn't surprising that they have incorporated Binchō-tan in the culinary setting. Rice becomes more flavourful with improved texture when cooked with Binchō-tan, due to the filtration power of the charcoal, and the leeching of microminerals from the wood, minerals that becomes available only after the activation process.


Don't be mistaken....cooking rice with Binchō-tan alone will not turn your rice black! However, with the constant expansion of the market for healthy eating, and the curiosity of Japanese consumers reaching the stratosphere, the ground version of this black mass has made its entrance to the culinary repetoire (the bamboo version is used for making "edible" ground charcoal). The Japanese believes that the filtration power of charcoal would translate when ingested, and often seen incorporated into flour for bread and pâtisserie items. This trend has infiltrated the neighbouring cities like Hong Kong and Taipei; Hong Kong now has a restaurant featuring sofisticated "charred" dishes!


Studies conducted in Japan have shown that consuming edible charcoal will enhance gastrointestinal mobility, digestion, and the excretion of toxic substances, but the Taiwanese found no convincing evidence to support these claims. What's my take on all these? It is an item I am not ready to incorporate into my daily diet. The porous nature of the charcoal would in theory have the ability to absorb toxic substances within our GI, but this absorption would unlikely be selective. It can interfere with the absorption of certain essential nutrients from our diet, which could lead to nutrient deficiencies. Similar to nutrient supplements, we should take caution with new "ingredients" where the effects of long term intake have not been studied. Despite the doubts, tastings were inevitable with my curiosity. The subtle yet complex bitterness of the charcoal added to the depth of flavours in sweet cakes....the best of all, the charcoal does not stain your tongue! A Sweet Deal indeed!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Recipe: Pineapple Bun - 菠蘿包

Makes 30-35 buns


Ingredients:

Sweet Crust -
500g Pastry Flour
100g Sweet Butter - room temperature
125g Lard - room temperature
400g Caster Sugar
8g Baking Soda
8g Baking Powder
50g Evapourated milk
50g Eggs - lightly beaten
1 small pinch Ammonia Bicarbonate -
needed to generate the signature checkered top that resembles the epicarp of a pineapple


Chinese Style Bread Dough -
1000g Bread Flour
240g Caster Sugar
150g Eggs - lightly beaten
80g Butter - room temperature
40g Evapourated Milk
10g Salt
18g Active Dry Yeast
350g Water
50g Lukewarm Water - 37 oC

Egg Wash - 1 egg + equal amount of water


Instructions:

Sweet Crust -
1. Using an electric mixer, slowly incorporate sugar, butter, lard and evapourated milk
2. Mix the baking powder, soda, Ammonia Bicarbonate
and eggs into the butter mixture
3. Gently fold the pastry flour into the butter mixture
4. Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator overnight prior use


Bread -
1. Dissolve 1 tsp of sugar and yeast with 50g of water at 37 oC, allow it to stand for 5 minutes
2. Dissolve the remaining sugar in 350g water
3. Add eggs, evapourated milk, yeast mixture, flour and salt and into 2, knead with hand until all ingredients come together to form a rough dough
4. Gradually add butter into the dough, one tbs at a time, knead until incorporated before adding the next tbs of butter
5. When all the butter has been added, continue kneading the dough until it becomes a soft and shiny spherical mass, about 10 minutes
6. Transfer dough into a buttered mixing bowl that is at least double the size of your dough, cover with damp cloth and allow the dough to raise in a warm area for 1 hour or until doubled in size
7. After the first proof, use your fist to punch the dough to release the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast
8. Knead the dough briefly to reform a rough spherical shape. Divide dough into 30-35 pieces
9. On a floured surface, form each of the pieces into balls by pressing the dough with the palm of the hand and roll in a circular motion
10. Transfer dough balls onto baking sheets, allow at least 2" gaps between doughs. Cover with damp cloth and allow the allow the doughs to proof for an hour or until doubled in size


Assembly and Baking -
1. Preheat your oven to 190 oC
2. Remove the sweet crust mixture from the refrigerator and divide the mixture into 30-35 pieces
3. Roll each of the pieces into circular discs
4. After the bread doughs have completed the second proof, press down each dough gently and lightly brush top surfaces with egg wash
5. Cover each dough with a disc of sweet crust. Brush the surface of discs with egg wash and allow them to stand for 5 minutes. Apply the second layer of egg wash
6. Bake at 190 oC for 10 minutes


Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A "Little" Taste from the Chinese Boulangerie "麵包店" - Flavour Profile: le Pain au four....

Pains or "麵包" from Chinese Boulangerie are well integrated with my cytoplasm; they are the "official" after school snacks for primary school kids, the best mates with your 15:15 coffee, and as for me, it is a love affair from the beginning, one that most likely to last a life time....


It is almost upsetting to see that there is barely any recognition within communities here, apart from those heavy interlaced with Asian influences. Chinese Boulangerie are mostly secluded within Chinese neighbourhoods i.e. Chinatowns in the US, a place for loud Chinese speaking customers to "relax" (the word relax here might seem misused as the constant interception of noisy conversations would suggest anything but place desired for seeking a restful time!). For most with their products well hidden behind counter like gems concealed within a treasure chest, the experience of visiting one could be intimating for foreigners. Despite all the gritty surface, real treasures could be savoured if you are willing to take a dip into this unfamiliar territory!


When I mentioned Pain from Chinese Boulangeries, they are usually the savoury or sweet buns that have emerged from the oven. In traditional Chinese cuisines, their version of buns and sponges are usually blossomed inside steamers; convention ovens are not their gadgets of choice. The foreign occupation of Hong Kong was undoubtedly followed by the demand of foreign cuisines. Baked bread was ranked highly among other items on their list, as it was a necessary item to break their fast. This trend opened up a line of job opportunities for the locals whom were living through poverty and hardship; it also became a possibility for those whom were keen on experiments on new creations that suited the general public.


I have no doubt that Hong Kong folks would be bugged if this introduction did not begin with the Pineapple Bun "
菠蘿包", a misleading name for a fabulous creation, as you would not be able to find it on its ingredients list. It is a sweet treat that is no simpler than a fluffy bun with a crispy sweet overcoat.

So why all the buzz? Apart from being simply delicious, it is a signature icon that represents Hong Kong, both its history and character. It is believed that with the lack of resources during post-war periods, and the preference of locals for sweets, left over breads were topped with a pastry made of a dough similar to that used to make Chinese sugar cookies, which consists of sugar, eggs, flour and lard. The crusty sweetness complements the embraced bread that is soft and slightly sweetened. Lard is the key for the dimensions of texture; the sweet crust should be slightly crispy and flaky on the exterior, yet moist and tender at where it meets the bread component.


To up the caloric metre further, this steaming hot bun can be turned into an over-the-top treat with the insertion of an icy cold slab of savoury butter - a creation named Buttered Pineapple Bun "菠蘿油" that is still popular among many and often seen savoured at local Hong Kong style cafes "
茶餐廳" and street stalls "" (sadly....these true street food stalls are almost extinct in Hong Kong). This treat is certainly not for the faint of heart and absolutely not recommended as an everyday (or should I say every-month) treat. However, this delicate contrast between hot and cold, salty and sweet, crispy and tender, it is a perfect example of heavenly taste with a small package.


To keep up with the trend of fusion cuisines, numerous creations were born with the combination of either savoury or sweet filled centres - custard and Chinese barbeque pork are the favourites among the residents. The most memorable one for me would be the Gam Tou Sou "金桃酥", a creation by a century-old Boulangerie situated in Macau, called Pastelaria Fong Kei "晃記餅家". It is a divine marriage of the Pineapple Bun Crust and the Chinese Wife Cake (a traditional
Chinese pastry made with winter melon and almond paste, which gives it the mochi texture).


So why call it the Pineapple Bun? The name originated in 1960s, from the fact that its sugary top crust is cooked to a golden-brown color, and because its checkered top resembles the
epicarp of a pineapple. In 2005, "Pineapple Bun" was nominated as a potential typhoon name but was rejected. The director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Lam Chiu Ying, as one of the judges for the naming process, commented: "If we say XX country is being ravaged by a Pineapple Bun, that would be too hilarious."!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Reflection: Our repertoire of food and ingredients....

It is never a difficult task to begin a microscopic analysis on recent conversations with friends while you are ill in bed =P

This conversation began on pictures of the spiny crustaceans I sampled during my trip to Hokkaido, Japan....


The topic: our willingness to expand of our repertoire of food and ingredients

The panel of speakers: 2 Asian foodie vs 2 American foodies


The verdict....wouldn't be that difficult to guess....

As a person whom is privileged to grow up in a place with a history can be shared through its cuisines, a culture embraces an eating philosophy that all moving creatures with their backs facing the Sun can be consumed, and a culinary belief where the distinction of textures between the various cuts within a slab of beef brisket should be cherished; it was difficult at first for me to understand how one would deliberately restrict their knowledge in ingredients....ie shrimps only come headless and edible chicken parts only consist of muscles. My fascination on foreign and odd looking bites, could be one's nightmare.


As I began unfolding my "fresh" sashimi experience, me peeling the flesh of a Pudan Shrimp (ボタン海老 - 牡丹虾) off its skeleton when it was still very much alive, my friend from the other side of the panel simply looked horrified.

As I began to dissect this conversation, I came to realise, culinary experience for some of us including myself, is something that we thrive to gain. There is nothing more thrilling than seeing the unfamiliar and the strange. It is almost like an addiction, an sensory experience that would give us cognitive pleasure.

However, if this sensory exposure or imagination of a foreign food could yield an experience so alarming and fearful, the gustation of flavour would simply be overwhelmed and most likely be affected in a negative aspect. If that is the case, why are we still criticising those for not being adventurous in culinary experience?



I too do have intense struggles when faced with certain types of food. My most recent experience would have to be the Pork Lung Soup I savoured during my trip to Hong Kong. Organ meats are definitely a challenge for me, but as Mr. Choi Lan (蔡瀾先生 - a famous food critic in Asia, and someone I very much admire) said, you must let down your mental guards when it comes to food; you have to taste it and taste it again before you presume your likings, and then you will be able to open yourself to all that this world has to offer.

And my verdict on the soup? It was honestly the most unimaginable experience. The flavour was delicate yet complex. The 5 tastes were perfectly balanced, and the combination of pork and Chinese almonds brought out the natural umami from all the ingredients. The lung pieces themselves matched very closely with sweetbreads in its texture, minus the intensity of game flavour. Délicieux!

What's your insight on this? I will leave here another picture of a dish I often dream of....

Friday, September 12, 2008

Recipe: Israeli Couscous Infused with Chanterelles....

A follow-up of a related post:
http://lafleuraucacao.blogspot.com/2008/09/affair-with-chanterelles.html

~ Israeli Couscous Infused with Chanterelles.... ~

by Blanche IP


Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups Israeli couscous*
1 ½ cups water or chicken broth
2 tbs unsalted butter
6 ounces Golden Chanterelles or other types of mushrooms
3 tbs herb infused extra virgin olive oil**
½ lb boneless chicken thighs – with or without skin, cut into bite size pieces

2 tbs soy sauce
1 ts sugar
1 tbs rice wine (optional)
1 ½ cup shelled edamame beans – frozen***

Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to serve (optional)


Instructions:

1. Marinate chicken thigh pieces in soy sauce, sugar and rice wine for 30 mins.

2. Clean chanterelles by lightly wiping them with a damp paper towel. Hand tear chanterelles into bite size pieces.

3. In an iron skillet or pan, dry sauté chanterelle without oil in high heat until the mushrooms begin to brown lightly and sweat. Set them aside in a bowl.

4. In the same skillet over high heat, add 1 tbs of butter with 1 tbs herb infused olive oil. Sauté the chicken pieces until brown on all sides and fully cooked (if skin is left on, sauté skin side down first – will keep chicken more juicy and flavourful). Remove from skillet and set pieces aside in a bowl. Keep the skillet un-washed as the brown bits aka ‘fond’ will be one of the flavouring agents for the dish.

5. In a 2 quart pot over high heat, add remaining butter and toast the Israeli couscous for 5 minutes. Add the water or broth and stir. Cover pan with lid until the content comes to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and allow it to simmer for 30-40 mins or until al-dente with pot partly covered. Stir occasionally.

6. Place edamame in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until steaming. Add them along with chicken pieces and remaining herb infused olive oil into pot with cooked couscous. Stir gently, and add salt and pepper to taste.

7. Heat the skillet with fond over high heat. Gently fold chanterelles into the couscous and transfer mixture into the hot skillet. Allow the mixture to stand in hot skillet for 5 minutes before serving.

8. Present it with sprig of rosemary or thyme, and serve with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and a lightly dressed arugula salad....



* If you have a Trader Joes near by, their Harvest Grains Blend is an excellent substitution. It is a mixture of Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa. This savoury deliciousness can be cooked in 15 minutes.


** My Herb Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil consists of garlic (finely chopped and sauté in oil till brown and crisp), mixture of dried herbs (any kind to your liking), and lots of chopped sun-dried tomato. The herb mixture is allowed to infuse in extra virgin olive oil for at least 2 weeks prior use. Both the oil and the herb mixture were used in this recipe.


*** For the best results, package of frozen salted edamame pod
s should be used. The package should first be defrosted and pods would then be shelled to retrieve the
plump edamame beans within.



....and of course, nothing gets better than a meal that has a bittersweet ending....though my dear friend and I decided to begin with one....an excellent Canadian Vidal ice wine and crème brûlée....

....


Israeli Couscous Infused with Chanterelles.... on Foodista

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mambo Jambo....MAMONCILLO! A little tangy taste from the tropics....


Haymarket has done it again....discovered another species of fruit, foreign to most, but friends to Central and
South Americans....introducing the Mamoncillo....


I was not intrigue by them at first, since they have a strong resemblance to the green olive *something I have yet to learn to appreciate after many trials....which included the dirty martini of course....heh....but after having seen them in 2 consecutive visits to Haymarket, my reservation was overrun by my curiosity. I observed and picked the worker whom appeared to be most approachable....from my shopping experience at Haymarket, sometimes that's a necessity for a successful inquiry =P


And indeed, it was a success! I was granted a brief description and a public demonstration on how to savour this treat. With the free demo, he earned his business....half pound of it....and without hesitation, I withdrew a single emerald gem from my bag. The feeling of its skin on mine was oddly familiar. It was very much like a Longan....a fruit from Southeast Asia....only softer and more waxy. My instinct was to peel the mamoncillo like a longan (Southeast Asians out there should know what I mean), and the creamy orange plump flesh slipped out without an effort. I popped it into my mouth and attempted to take a bite....it didn't take long for me to realise that I was supposed to suck the pulp that encased the stone of the fruit. Don't let the fullness of the flesh fool you....the stone itself practically occupied ~95% of the volume within its shell, and the slippery pulp was a challenge for my tongue to undress....but I was not easy discourage, as it was simply delicious! The tangy, juicy membrane was refreshing, followed by the intense sweetness with floral accent, and unlike other fruits, it had a long finishing. Although this fruit is genetically related to the lychee, it took me a while before I can brainstorm a food that masks the textual experience....it was yet another fruit from Asia, 黄皮, or the Clausena lansium.


Enough said, I will leave you with an interesting fact.
According to Caribbean folk wisdom (especially in Jamaica), girls learn the art of kissing by eating the sweet flesh of this fruit, also it is said that if a girl finds two seeds then they'll have twins!


Saturday, September 6, 2008

An affair with Chanterelles....


I often head to the farmer's market at Copley Square here in Boston, and with a rare find of chanterelles, what is more delightful than experiment with it, and share your fruit of labour with your friends....or should I put it, having your dear friends to be your guinea pigs for your experimental treats....teehee....


I was never a great fan of traditional couscous
....the crumbly texture like sable, and the miniscule granules are a challenge for my palate. Couscous or kuskus is a pasta from the Maghreb of Berber origin. It consists of spherical granules made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat and then coating them with finely ground wheat flour. The finished grains are about 1 mm in diameter before cooking. Traditional couscous requires considerable preparation time and is usually steamed. In many places, a more processed quick-cook couscous is available and is particularly valued for its short preparation time.



Roaming around Boston, I have found a few Middle-Eastern markets hidden within Haymarket. It was not difficult to loiter within one of them, the experience was an eye opener....the display
of numerous cuts of meats, the delectable collection fruit spreads *figs....hmmm...., and isle after isle of various grains. Out of fields and fields of yellow cousin, I came across this couscous....white like pearls, and in the size of white peppercorns....it was my first introduction to the Israeli Couscous. With my curiosity in food and ingredients, it was not possible for me not to trade for a bag with my pocket change.


Israeli Couscous, also known as maftoul or pearl couscous, is made of hard wheat instead of semolina in traditional couscous, which gives it the white pearlish colour. Israeli couscous is a version of North African Berkukes, introduced by immigrants from various parts of North Africa in the early 1950s, and Levantine Maghrebiyya (from the Maghreb) common in Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Israeli couscous was meant to provide a rice substitute for those immigrants from eastern Arab countries and from Persia, where rice was the staple grain. Unlike North African couscous, it is not semolina at all, but rather a toasted mixture of bulgur and flour.

In order to take in the natural flavour and texture of the couscous, I lightly toasted the Israeli couscous in a saucier with a little bit of olive oil, then boiled it with water and a generous pinch of NaCl. The delicate scent and flavour of wheat, and the al dente texture, make Israeli couscous an excellent palette for pairing with other ingredients. The couscous came out just slightly on the sticky side, due to the leaching of starch from the grain in the process of cooking, maybe a little herb infused oil would loosen it up, as well as a vehicle for adding flavour.

And with a handful of chanterelles ready, I couldn't wait to test out ideas within my imaginations....still working on putting the recipe in writing, so stay tune....



Israeli Couscous Infused with Chanterelles.... on Foodista

Friday, August 29, 2008

A little taste of Hokkaido - Nouvelle Pâtisserie Japonaise Kitakaro 北菓楼

Nouvelle Pâtisserie Japonaise Kitakaro 北菓楼

One of the notable pâtisseries from my southern Hokkaido trip....and being situated in Otaru 小樽, the history and hospitality of the location only made Kitakaro that much more memorable. This gem hides within a gray stone complex, and if it wasn't for the honey floral aroma that disbursed from within, I would have mistaken it for a historical Japanese bathhouse, grand but eccentric....


As I walk inside the tunnel that spanned the broad walls, the welcoming lights emerged into sight, followed by elegant displays of their signature sweets. The aroma intensified....unique combination of fragrance from honey, eggs and flour could only be the results of on-premise baking! With a few broken Japanese phrases, and a little squeezing through the immense crowd waiting to exchange their gold for the delectable, I have arrived to the kitchen for the demonstration of their most priced item - Baumkuchen 妖精の森, which translates to "The Fairy Forest"....the tree-ring pattern of the cake represents the forest, whereas the golden sheen on the cake, the inviting aroma, and the exquisite flavour of this signature piece could certainly live up to the enchanted beauty of fairies.

With just one tasting, I was sold....the delicate flavour of maple and honey balanced well with the sweetness and buttery richness of the cake. It was moist yet light in texture....delightful with a cup of Earl Grey and lemon *will speak more about my devotion to Earl Grey as an ingredient later....

The Japanese are known to have intricate inspirations for their machinery designs....and they have done it again....a special oven just to achieve the perfection of 妖精の森....words alone wouldn't do justice here....heh....please check out the video featuring the making~!

video

The Puff that Rises....

....yet when it reached Boston, Mass, it has fallen flat.


After chatting with my friend Jen, whom has recently visited Beard Papa's "ビアード・パパのパ" in SF *feeling envious*, and written an entry on her blog, here is my tribute to this amazing store....and for those whom enjoy the puff as much as I do....


I stumbled upon the late Boston location when I first visited Boston for the interview of my current job....well....I spent 2 hours for the interview, and 2 days visiting the city. As a person whom spent her high school years in Hong Kong, Beard Papa's wasn't a nouveau icon....but with the sign in sight, rushing towards the custard clouds was the natural reflex. What attracted me more was the intense aroma of fresh vanilla bean... one of the staff started extract the minuscule seeds from the second most expensive spices after saffron. My cooking instincts then attracted me to a plastic cup filled with the spent pods used for display. With a brief hesitation, I spoke with the manager, and the soon after, the cup of spent pods ended up in my bag.


As Alton Brown puts it....nothing is worth more than a cooking tool that can multi-task. I would say the same for ingredients. The spent vanilla pods would be a waste if they do not end up in your jar of castor sugar, or a good bottle of potato vodka!

It was sad to see Beard Papa's disappear from the Faneuil Hall....I always ponder from the thought of whether there is just a lack of demand for great pastisseries in Boston. It was determined not to miss out on them when I headed back to Hong Kong this past June....and I was surprised by the diversity this company has incorporated to their stores....stay tune for my new Asian experience of the "ビアード・パパのパ"!


Jen's blog: http://rhymeswithhungry.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summer Flavours of Boston....

As a recent resident of Boston whom lacks the passion for this city, the farmer's market at Copley Square is a great escape, twice a week during the summer months.


Though with the limited selections, and prices that can easily top off similar stalls in the Big Apple....in the presence of fresh produce in pristine colours, and the fragrance from the woods that recalls your memories of summer wilderness, it is hardly a challenge for ones' mindset to transform from tiredness towards adventurous, looking forward to the challenge to the upcoming dinner.


The excitement doesn't end there when you have the pleasure to stumble across a store while its proud owner is presenting the rare variety of the mycorrhzial edible fungus....picked from the wild....the Golden Chantrelles, or the Cantharellus.


The chanterelle exists by forming symbiotic associations with plants, thus making it very challenging to cultivate. C. cibarius is the best known species of this genus is the Golden chanterelle, which is orange or yellow, meaty and funnel-shaped. On the lower surface, underneath the smooth cap, it has gill-like ridges that run almost all the way down its stem. It has a fruity smell and a mildly peppery taste, and the gill-like ridges helps with the release of its intense flavour into your dish....though, they also make water a lethal weapon for leaching out the flavours and aromas from the chanterelles. With such delicate structure, this mushroom is best cleaned with a slight moist paper towel, using it to gently dust away the soil.


I couldn't help but admire them closely with my camera....with my mind drifting off thinking of the type of adventures these jewels are destined to head....

début de la fleur au Cacao....


The name I have in mind for the "L'Empire des Gourmet" I want to create someday....as my passion for food and cooking began from inspirations that lies within the Cacao....

With a life time goal to travel for culinary experiences....hope to share some of it here with you. Merci!

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