Saturday, November 7, 2009

Recipe: le macaron noir!

~ le macaron noir ~
sésame macaron à la crème de sésame noir

This article is part of "The Macaron Series"

And an extension to the article "All Blacked Out"

Makes 20 macarons


65g Almond meal
80g Icing sugar
40g Castor sugar
50g Egg white
8g Roasted Black Sesame Powder

Japanese Kurogoma Creme

Preheat your oven to 325oF
1. Stack two or three heavy baking trays. Line the top tray with Silpat.
2. Process the almond meal and icing sugar at high speed to achieve a fine powder. Incorporate the Roasted Black Sesame powder into this mixture and sift to break up any lumps of powder.
3. In a clean bowl, beat the room-temperature egg whites until foamy and just at soft peaks. Gradually beat in the castor sugar, adding a little at a time. Beat on medium speed for a number of minutes until you have a firm, glossy and compact meringue.
4. Sprinkle half of the dry mixture over the meringue and fold in with a spatula using a circular motion around the bowl and under the batter. Repeat with the remaining powder. You don't need to be gentle, but the goal is to incorporate the dry ingredients quickly to avoid overmixing. *It's better to undermix than overmix.
5. The final batter should be the colour of pale brown, smooth and thick but flowing. A ribbon of batter dropped from a spoon onto the top of the remaining batter should take about 30 seconds to disappear.
6. Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a 8-10 mm nozzle and pipe evenly onto the baking paper. Mild peaks should settle back into the batter eventually. If they don't disappear, tap the tray repeatedly on a table until the peaks have largely disappeared.
7. Leave the piped batter to dry for anywhere between 20 mins and two hours.
8. Place the tray in the oven and bake at 325oF for 12 minutes.
9. At the 5 minute mark the shells should have lifted and developed 'pied' or the feet. At the 6-7 minute mark they should be starting to colour just slightly.
10. Remove from the oven and leave on the tray for a minute or two.
11. Once removed from the sheet, leave the shells to cool on a wire rack, face up.

Assemble "le macaron noir":
1. Place the kurogoma creme into a piping bag and pipe mixture onto one macaron shell.
2. Gently press an un-piped shell onto the kurogoma creme until the creme just reaches the rim of the macaron.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Recipe: Vegan Delight Spring Rolls!

This recipe is dedicated to my vegetarian and vegan friends!

....and the extension of a previously published article:

Serves 4-6

1 package of fresh Tofu Skins (cut into 8" x 8" pieces)
4 cups of shredded vegetables of your choice (Enoki mushroom, King Trumpet mushroom, and the stems of Chinese Broccoli were used)
* For those who are not vegetarian or vegan, you can also add shredded meat

Sauce (can be used to marinate the sauteed shredded vegetables or served as a sauce):
6 tbs Lee Kum Kee Chicken Marinade - Teriyaki
1-2 tbs Lee Kum Kee Chili Bean Sauce (Toban Djan)
2 slices Ginger (1/4" thick)
4 cloves Garlic

1. Sautee each of the shredded vegetables individually in oil (grapeseed was used) in frying pan or wok on high and sprinkle with little sugar. Sautee until golden brown.
2. Set all sauteed vegetable aside in a bowl and mix well.
3. To make the sauce, sautee both garlic and ginger with a little oil on medium heat. Add the Chili Bean Sauce and sautee with garlic and ginger to release the aroma. Stir in the Chicken Marinade and remove sauce from heat.
4. For Crispy version of the Spring Rolls, add enough sauce to the sauteed vegetables to your liking. For a softer texture, the Spring Rolls can be braised in the sauce after pan frying.

5. Place the sauteed vegetables in the centre of each the Tofu Skin pieces. Fold and wrap the Tofu Skin around the sauteed vegetables to form the Spring roll. Fold the left and right sides of wrapper over filling, then lift up the wide end nearest you and tuck overtop. Roll to the other end. Secure the roll by dipping your fingers in some water and wetting the end, "pasting" it shut.

6. Pan fry Spring Rolls in a wok or a non-stick frying pan with a little oil, seal-side down first for about 1 minute on each side or till they turn light to medium golden-brown.

7. For the braising version, reheat the previously made sauce in frying pan with 4 tbs of water. When the sauce begins to simmer, add all the Spring Rolls into the pan and allow them to simmer in the sauce for minute.
8. Serve both version on steamed vegetables and/or rice.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Veganism can be delightful with Tofu Skin!

As conscious as I am in health and nutrition, I very much enjoy the occasional helping of meat protein. But when it comes to tofu, or any of its related members, I almost have an obsession, one of my weaknesses in craving for something that is actually healthy for you!

Strolling along the aisles in the local Chinese market, I spotted the item that I have always had the urge to use it as part of my experimental creations, the "Tofu Skin", or known as "Yuba" in a Japanese dictionary of gastronomy. The name of it almost sounds distasteful, but for those who dim sum often, this should not come across as a cosmic matter, if it is not already among the items on your favourite list.

Tofu Skin a Chinese and Japanese food product made from soybeans. During the boiling of soy milk, in an open shallow pan, a film or skin composed primarily of a soy protein-lipid complex forms on the liquid surface. The films are collected and dried into yellowish sheets known as tofu skin or soy milk skin. Because it is derived directly from soy milk, it can be used as part of a lazy trick to homemade soy milk!

Carrying a rich scent from soybeans, Tofu Skins also carry a nutritional property that no other soy product does. Due to its high density, 100 grams of it consists of 14 grams of fat (mostly polyunsaturated), 50 grams of carbohydrate and over 25 grams of protein, providing all the essential amino acids. Along with other micronutrients, Tofu Skins and other soy products have gradually become important protein sources for vegetarians and vegans.

Tofu skin may be purchased in fresh or dried form, in the latter case, the tofu skin is rehydrated in water before use. Its uses in the U.S. is very much limited, but a trip to China has enlightened my knowledge on the versatility of this flavourful ingredient, from stir-frying to braising, as a textual component of a soup to the sculptural centre of a hors d'oeuvres, the possibilities are endless.

Apart from the versatility of the product itself, I was intrigued to learn that Tofu Skins can be made with the darker cousin of the pale yellow soybean, the black soybean which is often found fermented in the making of black bean and garlic sauce. Its mysteriously dark hilum is to disguise its youthful green flesh. The black tofu skin is one item that I must try during my next visit to the Mainland China.

The innocent looking yet flavourful tofu skin, is the masterpiece of the experimental yet skillful artist:

Soaked beans are cooked in boiling water.

Soaked beans are sent to the the traditional stone grinder fixed with an electric motor to break apart the cooked beans and extract the nectar from within.

The fresh soy milk is poured into specially designed shallow woks.

Temperature of the soy milk is kept at 95oC within the woks, and the temperature difference between the milk and the exposed interface with the surrounding air will promote Tofu Skin formation.

The freshly made Tofu Skin is gently released from the sides of the woks, and hanged over a wooden rod to dry

With this ingredient comes my vegan invention. Please visit my blog again as the recipe will be posted shortly!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...