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Hello world! It has been quite a while, but I’m hoping to get this food blog up and running again and perhaps even expand its breadth to something more than just a food blog. Also, I’m planning on posting some dorm-friendly recipes up once I get back on campus. I left my big fancy camera in the States, so these photos will have to do for now.

Anyway, on to the food. French macarons have been a trend in Bangkok for a while now and images of these confections have been popping up all over my Facebook for the past year or two. When I saw a shop at Terminal 21 sell a box of 16 macrons for 600 baht ($20)., I knew I could do better and took matters into my own hands.

This was my first time making macarons and actually only the second time every eating them. It took me two trials to get it right, but I finally got the “perfect” macaron, complete with the feet! It was a pretty successful feat (sorry, I can’t help myself!), if I do say so myself.

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Letting the piped macarons rest before baking

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How do I get the results in attempt #2?

  • Avoid flat, misshapen macarons by making sure to beat your egg whites enough and handling the dough quickly and with a gentle hand when piping
  • Get feet (the little thing that sticks out on the base of the cookie and makes it look like a macaron!) by “aging” the egg whites. Normally, people apparently separate the egg whites a couple days prior to using them. I skipped this step and sped up the process by zapping the egg whites in the microwave on med-high heat for ~7 seconds

What, I can make these low fat?

I replaced the ganache in this recipe with my own “low-fat” one, replacing evaporated milk for the whipping cream. I prefer this because I avoid buying whipping cream if I can help it – I can never use up the whole carton and I feel bad about wasting it. So, using evaporated milk is a nice (and coincidentally low-fat) option!

So… I’ve been ripped off?

Well I brought these to work and a co-worker asked me how much it cost to make these (considering that they are pretty pricey when sold in the store). I calculated it out and it comes out to about 5 baht per macaron… compared to the Take that Terminal 21! However, I’m not sure it was worth the time, trouble, and cleaning so I’m not sure how often I will be making these in the future.

Finding the ingredients in Bangkok

  • The most affordable place to get ground almonds in Bangkok is at the UFM baking store on Sukhumvit, Soi 31 (next to the UFM cooking school), where they sell a 200 gram bag for 125 baht. They also sell dark chocolate there at ~85 baht for 200 grams.
  • You can also find dark chocolate at Big-C. I recommend the Casino brand, where you can get 2 bars (400 grams) for 125 baht.

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Recipe Box
Chocolate Macarons
Recipe from Joy of Baking
- 100 grams ground almonds
- 170 grams confectioners sugar
- 15 grams cocoa powder
- 100 grams egg whites (egg whites from 3 eggs)
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 35 grams superfine sugar

1.) Place almonds, confectioners sugar and cocoa powder in a food 
processor and pulse for 30 seconds until combined. Sift the mixture.
2.) Whisk/ beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add 
the superfine sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the 
almond mixture in 3 batches.
3.) Put the mixture into a piping bag and pipe 1 1/2 inch rounds on 
a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. Bang the pan on a table 
2-3 times to get rid of air bubbles and let it rest for 30-60 
minutes until a skin forms on top of the macarons and the tops lose 
their shine.
4.) Bake the macarons in a pre-heated oven at 160 degrees C/ 
325 degrees F for 14-16 minutes. Macarons are done when they just 
barely separate from the parchment paper. Let the cookies cool on 
a wire rack.


Low-Fat Ganache
This "ganache" uses evaporated milk instead of cream. It creates a
smooth, rich filling perfect for macarons. 
- 3/4 cup (4.5 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons evaporated milk

Melt the chocolate and evaporated milk together in the microwave 
in 15-30 second increments on High. Stir until the mixture becomes 
smooth and glossy. Let cool, and then store in the refrigerator. 
Check on it every once in a while and give it a good mix until it 
becomes your desired consistency to fill your macarons!

Everyone deserves to feel valued regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. However, these issues are still a work in progress. Today, I wanted to share a bit of a personal story of small moment that felt like a smack in the face – a small example of a much larger problem and moment of realization of how much we as a society need to change.

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In model UN conferences, you are put in a committee ranging from the usual ECOSOC to the more quirky Lord of the Rings or historical Potsdam Conference post-WWII. Then, you are assigned a position that you represent for the duration of the conference. During CHOMUN (the model united nations conference hosted at the University of Chicago) last year, I represented Richard Nixon in the historical House of Un-American Activities during the Cold War. After packed weekend of intense debate and resolution writing, delegates used Sunday (the last day of the conference) as an opportunity to have fun. A couple of delegates from the National Republican Convention of 2012 thought that it would be funny for me to go into their committee in character as Richard Nixon and give a speech. They handed me a pre-written speech where I was to act like a president who had somehow time traveled to the 2012 convention to berate the senators for their incompetency, and walked me over to their committee room.

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Once at the republican committee room, I stood at the podium, cleared my throat, and looked out at the large, overwhelmingly male (for some reason, the gender-ratio always seems to be skewed at these conferences) committee. As I began my speech, I noticed that people weren’t paying much attention and were talking over me. I was annoyed by the disrespectful audience but didn’t think too much about it… it was the last day of committee and Sundays at model UN conferences are infamous for being a “shit-show”. So, I upped my volume and hurriedly continued my speech.

However, as I tried to finish up, I heard a guy in the audience say:

But [how can she be Nixon], she’s a girl!

My felt sick to my stomach when I heard that. I felt really embarrassed and uncomfortable, quickly finished my speech and got the hell out of that room. I felt a mix of emotions after that moment: I was angry that that guy felt that it was appropriate to say something like that and that no one seemed to notice, I was hurt that I wasn’t taken seriously because of my gender, and I was embarrassed. To be honest, I was so embarrassed by the incident that I never told my team mates about it – frankly, I was worried that they would think I was a drama queen over something that wasn’t a big deal.

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But now, a year later, I’m realizing that this was just one, small example of something that happens around the world, every day… and that it is a big deal. Feeling belittled or undervalued due to one’s gender, race, religion, sexuality or other difference is a big deal. And I hope that speaking up about these little moments and recognizing that they are examples of a large issue that is a big deal is a move in the right direction.

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It was just a moment, just one off-handed comment, but it hurt. And it still hurts. CHOMUN attracts students from leading universities in the country, from government majors at Harvard to international relation majors from Georgetown. In a decade or two, these future leaders will not unlikely be in the positions of the very people they are simulating.

 

As Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg discusses in her talk, gender inequality still remains a pertinent issue even in corporate America. Women at the highest ranking positions in the most competitive industries continue struggle to get their voices heard and to be taken seriously in the work place. And, if the incident at CHOMUN is any indication, we young people still need to take steps to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get a seat at the table.

Food for Thought (please let me know in the comments!):

  • If you were me, what would you have done?
  • Have you ever felt unfairly treated based on your gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.? How?
  • Does my story demonstrate a larger issue, or is is an off-handed comment that shouldn’t be taken too seriously?
  • What do you think about Sandberg’s talk?

I’m thinking about getting back into blogging, but I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep. Anyway, I tried a new style today. I hope it looks OK. Let me know what you think!  Hoping to bake far more often from now on. Recipes at the bottom of the post!

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The Recipes

  1. Chocolate Cupcakes
  2. Peanut butter frosting
  3. Salted caramel frosting <– ah! I just remembered that the person who recommended this recipe gave the following suggestions

*Double* the caramel (first 4 ingredients), *halve* the butter (6 Tbs), and sugar to taste. I use more like 3/4 cup or even less of the sugar.

I’m changing my opinion and will make the recipe again with these additions!

So, we have an unofficial tradition at my school where graduated seniors go on a week long senior trip to Koh Samui, Thailand. Koh Samui is a tropical island that’s only a night-train away from my home city, Bangkok. It’s also a place that allows you to wake up to sights like this…

…and witness sights like this…

Here’s a little shout out to my friends I senior tripped with:

Tara, Prin, Kam, Howard, Rose, Ronnie, Jack, Teh, Suguru, Ani, Dong and Toy — thank you all for an amazing trip! Keep in touch and best of luck.

Here are some photos of the food I made (and ate!) during the trip.

ผัดไทย [Pad Thai]

Lime Pudding Cake

Crêpe Suzette – the vanilla ice cream is melting on the hot crêpe

Cheesy Home Fries

ยำมาม่า [Yum Mama] – it’s like a spicy Thai ramen salad

Caramel Custard/ Flan

It has been an unforgivably long time since my last blog post on my previous food blog, http://lisa-is-hungry.blogspot.com. I think I stopped blogging because I felt a sense of pressure and/or obligation to blog a new recipe each week, which made it less fun. However, I’ve just graduated high school and I have an entire summer free to blog/eat/bake/do-whatever-the-hell-I-want. I hope to update this blog with new recipes and maybe some snippets of my own life.
I’d first like to make a few resolutions for myself as I start this blog:
  1. Each recipe will receive a 100% honest review
  2. I won’t put pressure on myself to blog regularly
  3. I’ll spend time doing what I love the most. This means, if I don’t enjoy the writing aspect of blogging, I might spend more time taking photos of food instead.
  4. I’ll spend less time fretting over formatting and grammar, and more time enjoying myself doing what I love to do best — bake!
Food blogging has been such a rewarding experience — it has helped me create a portfolio of my own cooking adventures, be part of an amazing online culinary community and try new recipes. I’m so glad to be back!
These are some of my favorite shots from my old blog:
Chiffon Cupcakes - just looking at the swirls of frosting makes me nostalgic :’)
Peanut Butter Granola Bites - one of the few in-action shots I’ve taken
Birthday Brownies - no longer my go-to brownie recipe but still delicious
Carrot Cupcakes - these cupcakes were frosted with the best cream cheese frosting ever! Both the cake and frosting recipe were definite keepers.
So, while I have indeed been out of blogging for almost a year, I certainly haven’t stopped baking. Some of the things I’ve baked recently and managed to snap some photos of are…
Soft Chocolate Cake – I hope to make a grand two-layer version of this soon!
Sugar Cookies – I thought the smiley was cute. To be honest though, I’d take a chocolate chip cookie over these anyway. They looked pretty but tasted like… sugar cookie.
Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies – these were so good! They used obscene amounts of chocolate though.
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