March 26, 2014

Bosom friend

It's three in the morning, I have no drowsiness, open the computer, but also facing the computer screen on a line of real text. Such a quiet room, such a quiet night, no people and car talk loud sound, only the quiet night, and incomplete month. Such a quiet night, I always love, because the night always gave me the real feelings and deep sigh. Let the day that a blundering heart becomes quiet Floor Display Unit, so he wrote his beloved characters.

People live in a lifetime, some people will encounter one or two special people, this may be the only purely spiritual, but can not be pure planning as a friend, because you love him, you to his gentle, you worry about him, has gone beyond the general friends and philosophy. This feeling seems to be love is not love, because it is more valuable than love, more subtle, more powerful. You will be because he sometimes depressed mood, which affects your mood. When he failed, you will give comfort and encouragement, because not everyone is Everything is going smoothly.. Failed, you can come back again, or to understand situation, live my own life.

We all thought with ease, wealthy life. But it is not hard, everyone can live a life like that. After all, a person's success, it needs someone to give you, support you. When a person was brilliant, suddenly one day fail, that when it was discovered that the usual good friends are one of the more and more distant from their own. This feeling is very painful, very afflictive, a close to the verge of despair, but this is not a bad thing. Because when you fail, you will finally see the delete you so-called good friends are the one. But this is the need for a long time, let oneself slowly cheer up, let oneself slowly wisdom.

At some point, because you may be a soulful song, one act of touching the screen, but think of someone. Thinking of you and his acquaintance, think of his sincerity, remembering his sad, feel a touch the soul of the intersection. And you no matter what they said about him is not good, you still so sure believe him, support him.

At this time, always warm your heart, a bit better, a bit of feeling, a vision, a persistent. I know you can't get together with him, but the man was imperceptibly into your heart, let you always remember the man.

And when you sad or upset or sad, think of him you will be overcome by one's feelings, I hope he can be at your side, two people then quietly said, not to do what. Because this kind of feeling is very pure and precious, this feeling is not everyone can have. So, when you are sad monthly rental apartment, sad, a phone, that person will take the time to accompany you, then this person must be careful. Encounter such a person, don't think too much of it, then please treat and cherish the good.

In the boundless huge crowd, not every encounter people can do nothing, but also unconditional love. When you encounter difficulties, there will be no conditions to help you. When you are frustrated, there will be no conditions to accompany you, teach you. Such people, our life is very important, special person, if not this person, then your life will lack a kind of regret.

Although sometimes you very not reconciled to not tell the people come together, you may encounter is not too late or too early, but someone you are decreed by fate. Although this decreed by fate of people and then do not imagine you in a better, he is married, with his wife and children, but you have to believe, most certainly not understand his wife. And go with you to the end, is not necessarily a wife, and some words can not tell my wife. So in our life, but also the need for such a special person to exist.

Perhaps, in our life, not everyone has the sincere together will "hold your hand, and grow old with you" love story. However, because you will have such a special person, more love for yourself and your life, and cherish their own lives. In fact, you and he maybe two without the intersection of time, just like the stars in the sky never collided. Also not brewed the fruit of love, but also seems to be concerned with love and romance, you will feel the reality of love and marriage in the desecration of the pure feelings between you, this is just a kind of supernatural offbeat, emotional above a high above the love and friendship pure electric motor manufacturers.

Posted by: gorgeous at 08:29 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 20, 2014

Vanilla Bean Éclairs (and a giveaway!)

titleWhen I was a little girl I hated ballet class. I was never one for intense negative emotion, not for any virtuous reason, simply because I was, and am, a generally mild mannered person. But ballet class I hated. I can’t really recall any other thing from my childhood that provoked that fierce a dislike. Not even chicken livers nor tennis lessons…and that is saying a lot.

I was never a coordinated child and most certainly not one that could ever stretch into gracefulness (sadly these attributes didn’t manifest themselves in adulthood either). Neither did I really enjoy physical exertions (that didn’t come with adulthood either), preferring to burrow with a book and a big bowl of rice and beans liberally laced with extra virgin olive oil and a spattering of red wine vinegar. I was round and soft and white with a mass of wild curly hair (those attributes did decide to stay on into adulthood I am sorry to report despite semi-starvation, scorching hair-straightening, and truly death-defying tanning). Slap that into a pink leotard in the middle of a flock of twirling, shiny-haired, lighter-than-air little ballerinas and that, my dear friends Flower shop, is my version of hell.

Not that the little ballerinas where bad people (now, wouldn’t that have been horrid? You might as well have thrown in the chicken livers!). Not at all, in fact they were all quite nice and relatively harmless. I actually like ballerinas a lot – they are lovely to watch! It’s just that, heavy-footed and heavy-handed, I knew, even in my young and immature heart, that I was in a place I so totally was not meant to be. And in my inexperienced youth, all I could helplessly think was "why am I here??”

It’s been a very long time since ballet class, and I have learned quite a few things about trying to stick a curly peg into a straight hole. I have since learned to embrace most things about myself (my hair and I, I fear, are still fated to remain frenemies). I am also learning to pay more attention when I hear that voice plaintively ask "why am I here??” And realize that, no longer a child, I can actually do something about it.

I am still heavy-handed however, which is why I can never quite pull off delicate confections like éclairs. Unlike ballet class though, I love desserts, so I do my best anyway cube organizers.

Vanilla Bean Éclairs
(pâte à choux and crème pâtissière slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, glaze slightly adapted from Sweetapolita)

For the vanilla bean crème pâtissière (pastry cream)

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar, divided in two
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways, seeds scraped
A pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the pâte à choux (cream puff and éclair pastry)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
4 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white if needed

For the vanilla bean glaze

1 vanilla bean, split lengthways, seeds scraped
1/4 cup whole milk
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

- Make your crème pâtissière. In a saucepan, combine the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat until this comes to a simmer SKI TRIP.
- In a bowl whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch, and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until homogenous. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Continue to add the milk mixture, about a half cup at a time, whisking, until everything is incorporated.
- Pour the mixture back in the saucepan and cook over medium high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens (or reaches 160F on an instant read thermometer –I didn’t have one). Remove from the heat and remove the vanilla bean from the mixture.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and beat on medium speed until the butter has melted and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.
- When the mixture cools transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it direcly onto the surface of the crème pâtissière to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, for a minimum of 2 hours or a maximum of 2 days.

- Make your pâte à choux. In a saucepan combine the butter, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water and bring to a boil over medium high heat, then immediately remove from the heat. With a wooden spoon, quickly stir in the flour until combined. Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture pulls away from the sides and a film forms on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the batter to the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and add the whole eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated before adding the next egg. Test the batter by touching it with your finger and lifting to form a soft peak. If it doesn’t form a soft peak then add the egg white, a little at a time, until a soft peak forms.
- Place the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip. Pipe the batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Martha instructs to mark lines of about 3 1/2 inches with a pencil and ruler on your parchment to guide you (flipping the parchment over before piping on the batter) but I didn’t – you may want to though, seeing as how my éclairs came out a tad crooked.
- Place your baking sheet in a pre-heated 425F oven. If you have two racks, place them on the upper and lower thirds so you can bake two pans at once, if not you will just have to do it in batches like I did. After 10 minutes at 425F, lower the heat to 350F. Continue to bake for 25-30 minutes more until the pastries are golden brown. Transfer pastries to a wire rack to cool completely.

- Make your glaze. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk and mix thoroughly. Let this stand for about an hour. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar gradually into the milk, until you get the desired consistency. It shouldn’t be too runny. It will feel quite thick but still slowly run down the sides of the éclairs.

- Assemble your éclairs. Poke a hole on the side of one pastry shell. Widen the hole with the pastry tip you will use for filling. Repeat with the other pastry shells.
- Place your crème pâtissière in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4 inch plain tip. Insert the tip into the hole you’ve made in the pastry shell and pipe to fill it. Repeat with the other pastry shells.
- I didn't have a small pastry tip so I sliced the shells open and filled them that way. Not the tidiest thing but in a pinch it does the job.
- Place the filled éclairs on a wire rack and drizzle, drape, or pipe on the glaze. Sprinkle with some gold or silver dragees if you are feeling fancy, and let the glaze set.

This may seem like a very multi-step process, and it is, but you can break this down over a couple of days so as not to overwhelm. You can make the crème pâtissière up to two days before, stored in the fridge. The glaze can be made a day before and stored in the fridge as well. Just give each a good stirring before using. The pate au choux can be made a day before and stored in an airtight container at room temperature (note though that it will soften as it sits). You can assemble everything before you plan to serve the éclairs, but make sure to leave enough time for the glaze to set.

***Now, a giveaway!!***
I used some of the vanilla beans I received from the kind folk at The Vanilla Company, who bring these precious beans to our shores. For the crème pâtissière I used a gold label Tahitian bean, plump and moist and headily aromatic. For the glaze I wanted a softer version of the same so I used the regular Tahitian. This was my first time baking with real vanilla beans and I so enjoyed it! Now, I’d like to share the joy with one of you (because you’re a fantastic bunch and because I love that you come here and keep me company!) I will be giving away one pack of these vanilla bean beauties!! All you have to do to join is leave a comment on this post. I will be placing your names in a hat and picking one. This is open to all readers in the Philippines and beyond.

These may not at all look like the elegant French pastries that we press our noses against glass to stare at, but delicious nonetheless, and proudly my own. The vanilla beans impart such a deep and encompassing fragrance and flavor that a few uneven edges can and will be forgiven. I loved the crème pâtissière! Creamy and vanilla-infused, I wanted to eat it out of a bowl with a spoon, like a comforting as English custard.

Many times, unusual and odd parts together make the most charming wholes. Let’s embrace what makes us, us, and never let anything keep us from making our éclairs and eating them too!

Posted by: gorgeous at 03:30 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 03, 2014

Sticky Buns...Do I Dare?

Guess what! C’mon…look around. Is anything new? I’m sure you can figure it out Ok, here’s a clue – see the super-cool logo above? What about the matching one on my sidebar? Yes, by jove it’s true…I’ve gone and become a Daring Baker Speed Dating!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got the email inviting me to join this band of culinary swashbucklers who have been forging a brave path through baking fears and challenges; tucking such tricky things as Crepe Cake, Gâteau St. Honoré, Bagels, Strawberry Mirror Cake, and Croissants, under their collective belt with panache and finesse. Could I really become one of them? Oh I hope so!

With more than a fair share of nervousness I waited for my first challenge, silently praying that it wouldn’t be in the Gâteau St. Honoré family…not for the first, please patron saint of baking! So I was happy and more than a bit relieved when I found out that this month’s challenge was…Cinnamon and/or Sticky Buns. Not that I had much experience doing that either!

The host of this round, and chooser of this challenge, is Marce of Pip in the City. You can check out the original recipe (for both the cinnamon buns and the sticky buns, each with its own topping) here.

So on with the challenge! Like ever newbie, ridiculously thrilled and shaking in her strappy sandals and flowered apron, I printed out the recipe and industriously read it over and over. I bought everything I needed, stocked in my little kitchen, ready for the blessed event of bun-making. I decided to make just the sticky buns, partly because with only C and I here I knew we couldn’t handle (eating-wise) a deluge of buns, and partly because I wanted to keep it nice and simple for my first challenge. There would be no overextending and pulling of any ligaments even before I was out of the starting gate! The only modification I made (which was one of the allowed modifications) was to substitute the raisins in the sticky bun topping to dried figs…leftover from my SHF cookies.

Like all yeasted recipes, lots of "waiting time” comes into play what with the first-rise and second-rise, but aside from that everything went pretty smoothly. From the feedback I was reading from the other Daring Bakers (yes, there’s a whole support network of bakers who can virtually hold your hand while you bake!), it seemed that everything was going well: recipe straightforward, dough a dream to work with, and buns absolutely delicious.

Same for me. Well, except for a tricky moment with the dough.

Like everyone was saying, my dough was also amazingly soft and pillowy. But it was too soft. So soft that when I rolled it up and cut it, I had to re-roll my buns because, soft as the dough was, I could not for the life of me get even close to a semblance of a tight roll. But I needn’t have worried because they came out gorgeously sweet and sticky! I quickly dispatched some off to my best friend, my mother low interest personal loan, and my brother, who all gave it the stamp of approval (my mother’s only comment though was that it was a bit too sweet but trust me, she says that about everything). C liked it too!

These were my kind of buns. The bun itself was really soft, the glaze a sticky-sweet glue the clung to the buns and gently permeated parts of it. And I loved the figs! Sorry raisins, but I don’t think we will be seeing you for as while

Whew! First challenge tucked under my belt. Perhaps not with as much panache and finesse as I had hoped, but give me time and let’s see what else I will dare to do

Now go check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll for a load of fantastic buns craniosacral massage!

Posted by: gorgeous at 02:24 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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