macUpdate

remember in the last post, i mentioned my disappointment of receiving damaged macarons from sucre?  & how i emailed the company & told them?  well, i didn’t think i would hear from anyone from there… BUT i did!

chrissy from sucre emailed me a few days after i had sent that initial email.  she was very apologetic.  AND she informed me that she had already re-sent another sampler pack to me @ no extra charge!  i wrote her back & thanked her for her kind gesture and professional customer service.

i started to rethink my opinion of sucre

well, a couple of days ago, i received the “make-up” order…. BUT sadly 😦 all the macarons in there were CRACKED.  mon dieu, much worse than the original order!

sigh, at this point i realized that the folks at sucre really have no control over their fragile goods once they are in the hands of UPS.  chrissy had mentioned in her response email to me that as much as they carefully & thoughtfully package their fragile confections, they are, unfortunately, somewhat at the mercy of “the whims” (chrissy’s words, not mine) of UPS’ handling and delivery… 

so, i emailed chrissy again to tell her the above & that i appreciated their efforts, etc… & that she needn’t send another box… bec. frankly, i don’t care to be disappointed in a box of cracked up macarons…  i really doubt another box would make it either!

as before, i didn’t cry over broken macarons… i salvaged what i could & decided to have a photo shoot of sorts, before they all got discarded (aka eaten)  🙂

i tried to photograph them in as flattering light as i could manage.  most all the macarons were crushed on the one side… so i tried to not show the underside.  but the crumbs… they were hard to brush off mainly because they stuck to the filling & i didn’t want to chance cracking them even more!

as imperfect in appearance as they were, they were still quite very tasty.  the lemon ones were my favorite ones, i think. 

one of these days, when conditions are oh so right for macaron making, i will have macarons that are not on crack, er, i mean not cracked :)…

& that will be a day of celebration, for sure.

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mac attack

lately, i’ve become obsessed with all things macarons…  i am determined to learn how to make them…correctly & successfully 🙂  have been scouring the internet for the 411 on these delectably sweet french confections.  you might say that i’ve gotten “a big mac attack” wicked bad.  a week ago, i ordered a sampler box from http://shopsucre.com… i received my goodies the other day, but was  disheartened to find that pretty much all my macarons were damaged…there were crumbs everywhere!  yes, i have contacted the company & told them all about it, even sent pix like this one: 

to express my disappointment and dissatisfaction.  i have not heard a response from them, suppose i never will.  but companies need to be told when their products arrive damaged & not as described…   and above all, how all  that simply is not acceptable… yadda yadda…

oh well, instead of getting my knickers all bunched up in a twist, i decided to make lemonade, so to speak.   i took what macarons i could salvage from the “wreckage” and set up a little still life that i could sketch and paint.  don’t get me wrong, the damaged macarons were still delicious.  heck, they should be!!!  omg,  after paying a premium for these rather high-priced french cookies, one tends to expect nothing but the best!  so, long story short, this is precisely why i want to learn how to make my own macarons… so i will never have to be crushed by, well, crushed  (& overpiced) macacrons again! 🙂

i guess the moral of my lil tale here: when the cookie crumbles, go ahead & enjoy the crumbs 🙂

if you like coconut & cheese…

we have satellite internet & we have found living in a very wooded boonies, that internet connections can be very temperamental… it just seems with the crazy, unpredictable winter weather happening these days, our internet service gets a bit more wonky than usual.  i am typing this quickly before the internet goes…

anyway, if you weren’t able to get the recipe for “bibingka” in the last post (i used a hyperlink shortcut), here it is that i copied and pasted—> (it is very similar to my mother’s, though i modify it for her & use sugar substitute on account of her being diabetic… still tastes FABULOUS!)

Recipe: Bibingka 

 ½ stick of butter, soft

 2½ cups sugar

 5 eggs

1 box (16 ounces) Mochiko rice flour

5 teaspoons baking powder

 2 cans coconut milk or evaporated milk

1 cup coconut flakes

1 cup cheddar cheese

 Preheat your oven to 450˚F, and grease a 13-inch-by-8-inch baking sheet. (The pan is critical. Any other size, and your bibingka is doomed.) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. On low speed, slowly add the sugar, and continue to beat until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. In a medium bowl, stir together the rice flour and baking powder. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture, and mix well. Stir in the milk, one can at a time, and mix well. Add the coconut flakes and cheese and stir just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. You’re probably going to get a little nervous here, thinking all the batter won’t fit. Don’t worry — just fill that pan right up. Bake at 450˚F for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375˚F and bake for 20 more minutes. Cover the pan with foil when when it gets brown. The cake is done when a knife stuck in the center comes out clean.

Read more:  go here  for the original post of this recipe.

bibingka and other foodie business

Bibingka.

i woke up this morning thinking about this…  it brings many happy, fond memories.  my mother makes the best, then my sis jo & i have been known to make it pretty nicely too.   i was wracking my brain for the recipe… i believe i have all the ingredients to make a batch… i know i have my mom’s recipe somewhere.  but aaack, just can’t find it.  so i googled for the recipes.  a ton of different versions of this quintessential filipino cake popped up & i searched and searched until i found one (aka see above link) that closely resembled my mom’s version.  my mom’s version is simple but oh so delectable.  no lie.  i ❤ this cake.  🙂

i think i will whip up a batch using the above recipe just to make sure that it tastes like my mom’s, hehehe. 🙂 

& if it works out, then i will make another batch & send it to my mom… her birthday is coming up (shhh, don’t tell!) & i know that my mom (& my dad too) will LOVE getting this surprise 🙂

next to making art, cooking has become another passion these days.  idk how i became a “foodie” all of a sudden, hehehe… but i’ve been totally diggin’ cooking things from scratch lately…PLUS  also using the freshest ingredients where at all possible. 

speaking of which, “cooking fresh” also makes me want to grow my own food this gardening season!  i used to when we lived in maine… i tried in vain to replicate my old veg and herb garden beds when we first moved here.  but i soon got discouraged because of the very rude & quite brazen deer population that also reside out here in the wooded boonies. 😦 

 the deer around here simply have no respect and  have treated my garden beds in those early days like their own personal smorgasbord.  i couldn’t plant or grow anything without seeing nibbled remains of plants, shrubs and trees!  once one fall weekend,  i planted about 200 tulip bulbs in the front yard, envisioning a glorious spring display…but instead, i found a field of bitten off tulip heads come that following spring!  OMG, was i ever so pissed.  you. have. no. idea.    the deer have been so CHEEKY that in the last few years, i sorta just threw up my hands & gave up on trying to grow our own food like i had before in maine.  i was going to be damned before i grew a whole crop of veggies just exclusively for the entire deer population!!!!

last summer, i had frequented a number of various farmer’s markets in the area… so much so,  that a part of me felt a bit sad (& rather mad) that i had to buy other peeps’ food when i knew full well that i could grow my own tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, fresh herbs, etc, etc if it weren’t for those gosh-darned DEER!  when we lived in maine, i never had the deer problem there as  i do here.  OMG.  we had a virtual grocery store in our back yard when we lived in maine.  homegrown gardens were the norm where we had lived.  i SO miss that.

this year, however, especially after receiving countless seed and garden catalogues, i am determined to grow our own food again.  but this time, i think i will grow them in containers & place them all on the huge back deck.  i figure that at the very least, those darn DEER could not possibly get into the second floor deck!!!  the sun exposure is westerly so that should be plenty enough to grow a small crop of assorted veg, herbs and of course flowers.  you gotta have flowers to pretty up the joint and bring the bees and hummingbirds by 🙂

so that’s what i’m plotting… literally and figuratively. as soon as the weather warms and i can work in my garden, i plan to clean up  my lower garden beds and then i think – NO! i must! – plant some thorny (make that EXTRA thorny!) rose bushes and other deer repellent plants and shrubs.  ha!  take that you pesky DEER!!    who knew that i was going to have this on-going WAR with the DEER (aka “the enemy”)? 

as for my plan of ATTACK, so to speak, the upper back deck, which btw runs the entire span of the house, i will start planning my container garden. that is where i will basically grow our food. hopefully, this plan will work.  i cannot wait to get my hands in the dirt and play!  back in the good ol’, deer-free days, i was (& will be again!) a voracious gardener.  i am looking forward to getting back into gardening saddle again.  it’s been too long.  & back to self-sustenance & reliance is what i say!

🙂

oh yes, nearly forgot… last 2/26 was my BLOGOVERSARY.  i totally FORGOT…oopsie!  it’s been SIX years -OMG- since i started art blogging.  oh well, no biggie… LIFE happens and i have had a lot going on these days.  well, happy belated blogoversary to me then, hehehe 🙂

i’ve said what i’ve wanted to say today… so now, BIBINGKA time!  gotta get crack-a-lacking…if you have never had it… idk what to say other than that you are in for a real treat if you can try it. 🙂

you won’t be disappointed.  trust me on that one!

xoxo mary ann

(ps., pardon all the 🙂 …today is one of those rare days that i am actually not feeling stressed, like i usually am… i think it’s because i’m at home & not at school!!!)