I hate to admit it but in all my trips to Paris I have never had a macaron. I didn’t even think to have one. There was never a craving or desire to look at all the pretty little cookies lined up by colour or to buy the packages from Pierre HermÃ© as gifts. While the world swooned for these little things, I somehow went unfazed. I know, I don’t understand it either!
But Oh Happy Day’s recent blog post about making macarons created a sudden obsession to buy, bake, consume and give all things macaron. In fact, I was working as a stylist on a home photoshoot and was pretty adamant that somehow a pretty plate them get included in a shot (this was an easy sell, actually).
Luckily I have access to two incredible local places that, like is Paris, make macarons an art form: Paulette Macarons in Beverly Hills (she’s Parisian) and Jin Patissiere in Venice (who makes unusual bite sided macarons). My first stop was to Paulette’s which was a wise choice because the colours, flavours and presentation were beyond incredible. My favourites were the coffee, vanilla and the Jasmine green. I can honestly say I have never tasted a treat so perfect. So good were they that the box I bought for the shoot didn’t make it home. I had to run back and pick up a second box!
Not being able to get to Paulette’s on a regular basis, I thought I’d try out Jin’s but wasn’t able to make it there this weekend. I thought after reading Jordon’s recipe that they should be easy enough to make and started a web search for tasty yet easy recipes. Since the macaron dates back to the 18th century, it has basic ingredients and instructions. They basically consist of egg whites, almost powder, and sugar. The buttercreams can be made using different recipes and ideas and there are endless possibilities with this little sweet pastry.
For a great introduction on the macaron, read this article. For an easy, tasty recipe that I used along with more great macaron recipes, click through to read more.
I think the only (spring) food that Danes like more than their new potatoes are perhaps Asparges. After a long, cold, winter the spring is welcomed with everything asparagus; soup, salad, open-faced sandwiches, and as alone as a simple side dish. If there is a way to incorporate asparagus into a meal, the Danes will find a way to do so.
However, it’s only recently I’ve come to really appreciate, love and cook Asparagus. With access to the famous Santa Monica Market, I’ve been meeting local asparagus farmers who are so passionate about this vegetable that they could give any Dane a run for their money. When I bought a couple of stocks a few weeks ago, one of the growers asked me how I was going to cook them. I gave him my tried and true recipe: put on pan, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper and broil.
He looked at me with great disappointment and said that his asparagus were so amazing, so tender and sweet (it’s the season) that they deserved to be the full meal and not a sad side dish. He gave me a simple recipe which I have to confess to having for either lunch or dinner every day since. It’s the perfect light but satisfying meal that I intend to keep having until the season is over. Besides, there’s an old-wives tale in Denmark that says it’s bad luck to eat asparagus after June 23rd (Saint John’s Eve).
Click through for the recipe:
Tomorrow at 8:30PM begins Earth Hour; an hour dedicated to turning off all the lights. A lot of cities, hotels, shops and homes are involved (a few local hotels are giving out glow sticks to guests!) and I’m also going to turn my lights off at 8:30 and then keep them off for the rest of the night.
Turning things off more often has been something I’ve been thinking a lot about. I’ve been reading Spent and a few other books that talk about the need for the body to be in rhythm with the day. My own doctor has told me this, that it’s crucial to adrenal support. Yet, as a constant night owl who is just creatively charged starting at 10PM each night, this is very, very hard to do.
I used to get away with being up all night, going to sleep at 7, waking up a couple of hours later. But that has caught up with me physically and mentally and now I’m trying to get into the rhythm of the day (it’s hard). So Earth Hour seems like a good way to ease into a less technological-active night while also being part of a big global movement.
And although I have a goal to one day be able to turn all things tech-related (computer, phones, lights) off by 11PM, I’ll start small with Earth Hour tomorrow. Candles, after all, are a very hygge thing.
Some ideas: Continue reading
Last fall when my mum came to visit, she fell in-love with one of my skirts which she ended up wearing almost every day. She wore it above to the Getty Museum, she wore in during our walk through the Venice Canals, she wore it up on our trip to Solvang. She tried to wear it on the plane back home!
I kept it because for the past five or so years it’s been one of my favourites; something to wear when I need a pick me up or want to be really comfortable. I couldn’t part with it. They say those are the things that make the best gifts.
So when my mum had surgery a couple of months ago, I packaged up the skirt and wrote a note. It was called the “Happy Skirt” – something that we’d pass back and forth whenever one of us needed it to feel better. It was her turn. I can’t tell you how happy she was to have this skirt, to think of where she’d been in it before and where she’d go in it when she was better. It was the perfect healing gift for her.
While flowers are a nice thought and often appreciated there are downsides to sending them such as lots of people having the same idea (my mum had dozens of bouquets in her small room), being hard to manage or take home and inducing allergies (a lot of patients have heightened allergies right after surgery and sneezing can be really painful).
The average price of flowers sent to a hospital room is $35 and using that amount as a guideline, here are some flower-alternative get better gifts:
- One of the other benefits to giving my mum the skirt was that it was comfortable and easy to put on. Because of the type of surgery she had, pants or tight fitting things would be problematic, a skirt that buttons up entirely in the front isn’t. If you know the person well, clothes can sometimes be a good option if you think about what the problem is. If they’re having any kind of leg surgery, a new skirt is great as is nice, loose yoga pants.
- A maid service is another great way to help someone heal, especially if they are told to stay off their feet or not move their body. You can hire a one-time maid service from various companies or you can offer to go over and scrub some floors yourself. It’s especially nice if you can have it done before they come home from the hospital and then have a two week follow-up.
- Cooking can be challenging. Some people can’t get out, some people can’t stand and cook and some people have difficulties knowing what they’ll want to eat day to day as they adjust to being post-op. Consider a meal delivery service or coupons for local restaurants that delivery. Also think about doing a grocery run for them, stocking up their fridge with necessities so when they come home they have liquids and easy to digest food.
- Nothing makes you feel uglier than surgery; everything that goes into your body is going to affect your skin, your hair and you whole well being. A spa treatment gift certificate is fantastic whether it’s for a massage, a manicure, a pedicure, a hair cut – anything that will help the person get back to normal quicker is always a good thing.
- Do a DVD/Magazine/Book run and have all that waiting for them at their house. If they’re into cooking, grab some unique and different cooking magazines. Do they love home? Stock up on all the latest. Pick some DVD’s to go with it and they can lay in bed and read and watch until their hearts content.
- If they have pets, consider a dog walking service or doggy day care gift certificate. It’s really hard to be bed ridden or fatigued and have to take Fido out for walks. Or consider donating your time for a couple of weeks to do some dog walking or cat sitting or bird feeding.
I keep a bookstore on Amazon and I try to update my reading list to the right. Above are the ones I’ve been reading rather ferociously lately.
Coco avant Chanel
Preview for the new biography movie of Chanel played by Audrey Tatou. Cannot wait for this one
Dating in your 30′s
My friend April Beyer did this piece for ABC News; it’s a short watch and I highly recommend it even if you’re not dating. That part that really struck me was the “We’re not connecting” anymore segment. I loved how she so eloquently put it all together; people lock themselves in a room to a computer instead of being out there in a cafe, a park, the world, trying to mimic an idea of who they think they should be instead of just being out there living.
How to Etch Glass
I love this idea as I’m not a huge fan of labels on Jars (they never seem to stay stuck and my penmanship is rather crap). I jar a lot of things from oatmeal to flours to dog biscuits and labeling this way seems really easy and pretty.