Posts tagged “chocolate

Stout

Posted on March 18, 2013

For at least a year, I’ve wanted to abandon the WordPress Thesis template that powered this web site. I didn’t like that it made a blog the focal point of my domain because, the thing is, I either don’t blog or I force myself to blog a bunch of stuff that winds up being hit or miss. I don’t do “miss” so well. Or, I wind up blogging about how hard it is to maintain a blog, but how I’m going to resolve to update it more and do better this time (only to do just the opposite). Blogs are super-duper problematic for me, which is why I found a new template that stuck mine at the bottom of the page…as an afterthought…because let’s face it, that’s what it is.

So welcome to the new paigebowers.com, a landing page where you can click around to find my clips, my bio and a way to contact me for writing assignments large and small. Yes, there’s still a blog, but it’s tucked away in a spot that works for me. I hope the new site works for you too. So click around, make yourself at home and let me know what you think about the new look.

Onward…

I titled this post “Stout,” in part as a commentary on the solid new design of this site, but also because it was St Patrick’s Day this past weekend. For me, St. Patrick’s Day and Guinness go hand in hand. But it’s also worth noting that I’m a chocoholic of the first order. What do St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness and my chocoholism have to do with each other, you might ask? Well, St. Patrick’s Day serves as a good excuse for making chocolate stout cake.

The other excuse? This old ad:

guinness

Photo: SmithsonianMag.com

Now that I’ve built my case, here are the recipes I used, both from Gourmet.com:

Chocolate Stout Cake

Stout Creme Anglaise (I hereby rename this “Awesome Sauce”)

And here is the end result:

IMAG1149

Macaron Madness: Baby Steps

Posted on June 8, 2012

macarons

See these? These are macaron cookies from Laduree in Paris. Laduree was founded 150 years ago during a massive economic boom that transformed the city. It became known as a tea room where ladies could visit with each other (sans male companions) without being considered, as Edith Piaf once put it in the song “Milord,” ombres de la rue (translated: shadows of the street, or prostitutes). The folks at Laduree didn’t make macarons in those days, but by the twentieth century they had this bright idea that maybe they could take light-as-air cookies that had been around for centuries and sandwich them together with a thin layer of ganache.

It was a good idea and it became the way to make macarons. Just ask any fashionista who has been in Paris for Fashion Week, or any Franco-geek like me who has attempted to recreate them Stateside after having religious experiences with boxes like the one  pictured above. The cookies are delicate, not overly sweet, and a bit of a scientific marvel, if you ask me. On the face of it, macarons should be easy to make. They have few ingredients and their recipes are fairly straightforward. How hard can it be?  Well, even he admits it’s not so simple, that making picture-perfect macarons is more about technique than it is following a recipe. After reading his The Sweet Life in Paris and staring at the very technical Les Petits Macarons, I decided to venture into this pastel land of no return, hoping that something edible might result from my efforts. The method to my madness: Use Lebovitz’s chocolate macaron recipe (because who hates chocolate?) and refer to Les Petits Macarons in case of trouble (which was sure to come).

Here’s what happened:

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A Wrinkle in Time

Posted on June 2, 2012

I had coffee with my academic advisor yesterday. He told me I looked composed and (believe it or not) relaxed. He also told me this post was “weird” because no one was trying to “get” me, or drag me back for a PhD against my will. I told him it was an ill-conceived joke, just me making fun of my inability to read anything off-topic. And then I told him that I surprised myself when I rewrote the bio for this web site. In an effort to keep myself honest, focused and real in my writing pursuits, I discovered that nothing looks the same, or feels the same, at least bio-wise. He said I needed more time. I told him I don’t wait well.

By the time we had finished our wide-ranging conversation, three hours had elapsed.

And three days after I went through the exercise of “rebranding” myself (or so to speak), I still haven’t posted my effort here. What gives?

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A few weeks ago, I finished reading A Wrinkle in Time with my daughter. I didn’t really understand Wrinkle when I read it as a child and certainly wouldn’t have recommended it to any of my friends because fantasy was so not my cup of tea. As an adult, I found myself on the verge of

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