Thursday, February 10, 2011

French Macarons

I have received emails from some people about frustrations on the production of macarons.  I do not profess to be an authority on these delectable little french tradition, but I speak from experience.

There are several methods in the prooduction of macarons, some use the regular french meringue method while others prefer the Italian meringue method.  Personally, the French meringue method is trickier but with better mouth feel than the Italian meringue method, which, to me, tends to be a little crispier and perhaps thicker skinned.  The Italian method is however, beautiful and turns out thinner cookies.

There  several things that I watch out when making macarons:
1.  eggwhites are better separated aabout 30 mins before use, and at room temperature
2.  if using a mchine, add the gr sugar soon after soft peaks.  When doing it by hand, add sugar towards the stiffer side of the meringue.
3.  perform the macarone method
4.  let it rest for about 30 mins before baking in a slow oven
5. do not overbake.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Crowd Favorite Winner: David Hilo's Bicol Express

David Hilo, student volunteer and representative of WOW Philippines and the Philippine Consulate despite a last minute sign up,  won the crowd's vote as the best overall flavor and spiciness out  of three competitors at the 2011 Chicago International Travel and Adventure Show.  Bicol Express, a traditional favorite  from the southern tip of the island of Luzon in the Philippines was altered a bit by this young chef to suit the American palate.  David eliminated the shrimp paste and added tender slices of pork sirloin, used several varieties of hot peppers to achieve a balance of flavors and heat.  Most of the heat from the peppers were trigeminal in effect and not shocking and off.  Coconut is a staple of the dish and so is ginger and garlic.  David also added some calabaza or squash to add color to his presentation.

David edged out seasoned Chef Dudley Nieto representing the Mexico Board of Tourism and Chef Sonita Roach representing Zara Travel from Tanzania.  With his passion for food and desire to enrich his American upbringing with Asian cuisine and Philippine culture and traditions, how can he go wrong?