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2010 Starts off with . . . Chocolate

January 4, 2010

The Boy and I celebrated Christmas Eve with our new dog Giada.

This is Giada.

Everything was nice except for the Hazelnut-Mocha Macaroons I attempted to make.

Instead of adding 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar to the to the food processor, I added 2 cups. And instead of parchment paper, I used waxed paper. Blech.

I ended up with flat macaroons stuck to the wax paper. Argh. (Always follow recipes you’re not familiar with, especially if it’s posted by the tried and true Food Network.)

On New Year’s Day, I tried the recipe again to better success (although it didn’t yield the plump looking macaroons that the Food Network manages to achieve).

The 2nd attempt at macaroons. Not plump.

By the way, soy creamer makes a decent substitute for heavy cream in this recipe.

The Boy’s Reaction: Non-verbal. He has been eating 2 of these macaroons a day, so I think it’s a go!

Later that night, I went with my mom to visit her friend Linh. This friendship goes back to 1976 when they were one of the first wave of Vietnamese immigrants in Chicago. I like the stories that emerge about my mom when Linh is around, but one of the things that she can’t explain is why she never taught my mom how to cook. My mom is one of the worst cooks, and I think it’s because she relied on Linh’s cooking back in the early days. Linh is so amazing that she can cook outside the Vietnamese cuisine (I have never known any of my parents’ friends to be foodies) and sent me home with a bag of biscotti that she had made.  I was impressed . . . and inspired. She said it was easy, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I found a Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti recipe in my Gourmet Cookbook that I decided to try. Because this was a spur of the moment thing, I didn’t have walnuts nor did I have chocolate chips on hand. So the walnuts were replaced with chopped hazelnuts. This undid itself as a double chocolate recipe (but really, isn’t “single” chocolate good enough?) but it worked out.

Not that hard to make. Try it!

The Boy’s Review: “Yum! This is going to be so good with my coffee this week!”

Baking is not in my comfort zone, and I’m hoping that I explore more things in 2010. Although I didn’t think to come up with a resolution this year, I did promise myself to incorporate more Vietnamese dishes into our diet (I added this to my To Do list after an impressive spread of homemade pate, bun tit nuong, goi du du and pho at Linh’s) and went to the library earlier today and checked out Andrea Nguyen’s (no relation) Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. Definitely a good book, and again, I am inspired.

Happy New Year. I hope 2010 is a great year for all!

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