Category Archives: Photography

Coffee Macarons | The Rambling Fangirl

Adventures in Cooking: Coffee Macarons

6th November 2014

Coffee Macarons | The Rambling Fangirl

We’ve finally hit the middle of the work week! Hurrah! I’m surrounded by papers (half finished progress reports, assessments, attendance records) and prepping for another round of parent-teacher conferences. We finished nine back-to-back sessions today and tomorrow evening we’ll have some more. It’s always nice getting to talk to parents and sharing stories with them, but it’s exhausting. Sometimes there’s so much to say and other times it’s a struggle to find the conversation. But they’re important meetings and a great opportunity to establish the parent-teacher team.

I’m worn down from work and all of these changes in the weather, so I’ve reacquainted myself with my old pal NyQuil and I’m thrilled to be making this an early night. But first, a distraction.

Macarons.

I’ve only made French Macarons a handful of times, but it still sort of frustrates me that I don’t have my perfect formula down. I want perfection, even if I know that it’s difficult to achieve with these tricky cookies. My favorite resource for making macarons was linked by Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky. In the post, she wrote about using a video from Beth Le Manach who regularly posts amazing cooking videos on her YouTube channel.

This video gives you the step-by-step process for macaron perfection:

If you watch, though, Beth explains that there are a lot of ways to mess up. I’m sure I’ve done all of them. Sometimes the cookies have turned out too crispy or crinkly, but at least the fillings have mostly been delicious. Last Saturday I used Natalya’s Coffee Macaron recipe and paired it with my go-to macaron base recipe (Beth’s) and the results were pretty tasty. They weren’t as chewy as I wanted them to be, but the coffee-chocolate ganache filling was so good and super simple to make! I used some Cafe Bustelo for the coffee flavor and it was bold and slightly bitter, but balanced well with the chocolate. I think my main macaron dilemmas are as follows:

1. Should I use the convection setting on my oven?
2. If so, how should I adjust my cooking time and temp?
3. Remembering to leave the damn cookies out for a full hour before popping them into the oven.
4. Piping smaller, higher cookies, rather than ones that are too wide and thin.

Coffee Macarons | The Rambling Fangirl

Coffee Macarons | The Rambling Fangirl

Coffee Macarons | The Rambling Fangirl

Coffee Macarons | The Rambling Fangirl

Do you like baking macarons? Do you have a go-to resource to share? Any suggestions for my next macaron batch? Let me know in the comments!

Recipes and Resources:
Beth Le Manach: Beth’s Foolproof French Macaron Recipe
Blogger: Delightfully Tacky-French Macarons (great supplement to the link above)
Coffee Macaron Recipe: MomsDish.com
Follow on Bloglovin

Adventures in Cooking: Prosciutto Margherita Pizza

27th October 2014

Margherita Pizza with Prosciutto | The Rambling Fangirl

This is a cheat, because I barely had anything to do with this pizza. At least I don’t think I did. It’s possible that I cleaned the basil. I did make the salad, so maybe that counts?

Here’s the thing: I think people who can cook are awesome. I think people who can develop recipes are dope as hell. I can produce an edible creation with some random crap from the fridge, but I will never make it the same way twice unless I have a proper recipe. Steven, on the other hand, is magical. He knows the ways flavors work together and puts in a little of this and a little of that and creates some truly kick ass food.

This summer, after a visit from our friends, Steven was inspired (forced) to create a blog about two of his favorite things–coffee and pizza. I think he could consume these things every day and be totally happy. We spent a lot of time talking about pizza. Making pizza. Photographing pizza. It was awesome. Then work started up and now he’s incredibly busy, so the blog is sort of on hold.

But my blog isn’t on hold and I have all of these lovely photographs of food to share.

And gosh darn it, I’m going to share them.

Margherita Pizza with Prosciutto | The Rambling Fangirl

One of the keys to this pizza business is the dough. It’s not hard to make, but it seems like every time we decide we’re going to make pizza, it’s already 4 p.m. and we’re starving, so we do the store bought thing. We’re lucky enough to have a great bakery a few minutes away. 1 lb of dough is a little over a dollar and more than enough for two pizzas. For the sauce, it’s a can peeled or crushed tomatoes (I can’t remember which), without any salt added. Then there’s plenty of fresh basil. It’s only after this year, after planting so many basil plants, that I realized how useful of an herb it is. It enhances the flavor in pretty much any dish it goes into. Our six basil plants did us well this year and I plan on buying a little one that we can keep on the windowsill throughout the next few months. Basil has become essential to our cooking. Then there’s the cheese. Fresh mozzarella is best. It just is. Even if it’s a little pricier, you can absolutely tell the difference in color and flavor. Packaged cheese will do in a pinch, but if you’re gonna do it, do it right and splurge on the mozzarella in water. Your taste buds will thank you. The prosciutto came about because Steven wanted to jazz up a simple Margherita and it was absolutely the right choice. Like the basil, it boosts flavor and also gives you an additional bit of protein to keep you full.

Margherita Pizza with Prosciutto | The Rambling Fangirl

It also helped inspire the salad. Simple mixed greens with plenty of baby spinach and strawberries. Fruit and salad are always a great combination. Also, nuts. More protein! I made a maple balsamic dressing to go along with it and roasted some of the walnuts in some pure maple syrup before adding them to the salad. I love dipping bacon in syrup when I have it for breakfast, so I thought a fresh maple balsamic would go well with the prosciutto in the pizza. It’s also super easy to make: equal parts maple syrup, balsamic vinaigrette, and olive oil. I think I did 1/3 cup of each for this particular salad.

Simple Strawberry Salad

And now I’m hungry.

What have you been cooking lately?

Follow on Bloglovin

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

26th October 2014

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Fitzgerald. Last week I went on a walk with Steven in Harriman State Park. I’d driven through some of it a few weeks back and knew that I wanted to visit again to take some photos. It was absolutely frigid and the sun was in and out while we were there, but the views sure were lovely. Despite the cold, it was so nice to just explore and snap photos with each other (and sometimes of each other). New York, you gorgeous state you.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

Follow on Bloglovin

I went apple picking and all I got was this lousy pumpkin.

30th September 2014

IMG_0310

Yesterday Steven and I continued our three-year long tradition of going apple picking. We headed up to Kingston to meet up with his family and then over to Red Hook (not Brooklyn) to get our picking on. There’s only one problem: there weren’t any apples left! None. The dude who gave us our bags warned that there may not be many left, but we assumed we’d find something. Every tree was picked clean and we were super disappointed. Still, we had fun exploring the grounds and ended up snagging some pumpkins from their pumpkin patch. I’ve never actually picked pumpkins before…not quite as satisfying as munching on apples while pulling more fruit off trees, but at least I can say I’ve done it. Steven bought two adorable white pumpkins that he’ll use for cooking soon. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

Next Saturday we’re going to try apple picking again with a few friends of ours. Let’s hope we get a good haul! I’m in the mood to try out some new recipes, along with a kickass apple pie.

IMG_0341IMG_0314

IMG_0318

IMG_0319

IMG_0342

IMG_0355

IMG_0362

IMG_0370

Have you been apple picking yet? How do you celebrate fall where you live?
Follow on Bloglovin

Dia de los muertos…

3rd November 2013

IMG_7073

After a very tough Friday, all I wanted was a peaceful Saturday. I went to bed very early on Friday evening and woke up this morning feeling refreshed. I spent the morning hanging with my parents and organizing my closet, purging it of things that I absolutely do not and will never fit into, and saving a few pieces that I love too much to get rid of. I took a nice walk with Mason and Steven and then headed into the city to meet up with some friends at Dallas BBQ (aka-another place where I care less about the food than I do the margaritas). There was heavy traffic on the way down and my estimated arrival time was later and later. Isn’t it the worst to realize that you’re the asshole holding everyone up? I was on the verge of turning back for home, but I got through it and I was so happy to hang with my ladies! Even if we only spent a short time together, sometimes you just need to chat and vent and catch up. Also: Bulldog Mango Margarita. Yes.

IMG_7070

After dinner, I was wandering around for a bit and heard some beautiful music playing. There was a Dia de los Muertos gathering at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. It was organized by a group called Mano a Mano which is dedicated to the promotion and celebration of Mexican culture. I’ve passed by St. Mark’s church many times, but I’ve never visited. Maybe it was something about the night or something about the music or something about the tequila, but I went into the gates and was overwhelmed by the celebration. It was tiny, with only a few tents set up, but it felt very powerful to be there. I bought a lovely piece of art from Alicia Garcia De Leon called Animas Del Sol. Her work is gorgeous, with vibrant colors and made with obvious passion for her culture.

IMG_7071

The most powerful part of the experience was seeing the altar set up for the dead. There were pictures and flowers, lights and handwritten messages for loved ones who had passed on. It felt sad and uplifting at the same time. The notes were in different languages, but many were written in Spanish. They immediately made me think of my grandma and I decided to light a candle in her memory. I’m not Mexican and my personal faith doesn’t usually involve outward symbols, but the altar was created with such reverence and joy and I wanted her to be a part of that. It was a very emotional experience, but it felt right. Being alone, walking around the city always makes me feel good for some reason. Remembering my grandmother and reflecting on her life and also on how much I miss her is something that I have done daily for the past two years, but this was something special. I was really grateful for a tiny church courtyard and a meaningful tradition.

IMG_7072

IMG_7074

IMG_7075

IMG_7084

Follow on Bloglovin