Sunday, December 20, 2009

Macaroon vs. Macaron

Until very recently, I would have assumed the title of this post "Macaroon vs. Macaron" to be a typo. Some of you reading may actually feel the same way. These are actually two different pastries.

If you're like me, you're probably more familiar with the macaroon. The most common form that I see is the standard coconut macaroon -- a yummy mound of shredded coconut (hopefully moist), sometimes dipped in chocolate. Additional varieties include the almond macaroon -- similar to a meringue with almond paste. And even the amazing pistachio macaroons at Mike's Pastry in Boston.

Macarons, on the other hand, are an amazing creation consisting of flavored ganache sandwiched between two thin meringue-like cookies. I recently discovered these cookies at a yummy restaurant / bakery near my office called Sportello. They have flavors such as pistachio, hazelnut and chocolate. A quick Googling around the Web points to lots of different varieties -- particularly in their country of origin - France. If you like meringue's, you'll love macarons.

For Reference

Macaroons on Wikipedia
Macarons on Wikipedia



BiNa Alimentaria on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dill Pickle Cashews

I was cruising through Target looking for stocking stuffers that weren't sugar or chocolate, and happened upon DILL PICKLE CASHEWS. Love pickles, love cashews. 99 cents was quite a deal.

I did a walk-around with this very small bag of the Dill Pickle Cashews and offered them to about 20 people, and half opted to try a few. The other half made funny and/or scared faces.

The lowdown is that they're sweet, they're salty, they're sassy! You get the buttery cashew, and you get the snappy dill pickle, kind of a one-two punch. The bag size (SMALL) is important, this is not something to eat in bulk unless you cut the stock with regular cashews. For the people who tried them, we all liked them.

I think if you had to compare them to a similar snack food cousin, it's kind of like a salt and vinegar or a sour cream and onion potato chip feeling. Give them a try!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Raise your hand - who wants a hard roll with butter... know who you are! Over breakfast today at the workplace, I again discovered that most people in New England have no idea why you'd want a bagel with cold butter on it. I discovered as I was talking to a fellow Jersey expatriot that it is a NJ area thing. We grew up on hard rolls (kaiser bun, bulkie roll) with butter, with many meals (or as a meal).

I would love someone to explain to me what the history of the hard roll with butter is, if you know it, please post! Meanwhile I found a humorous link on wiki highlighting the Cuisine of NJ, listing one of the dishes as a hard roll with butter. Here's another passionate blog post extolling the virtues of this sweet treat, calling it sacred.

Next time you find yourself in Jersey, do me a favor and pick one up somewhere. I promise, you'll enjoy it.