Monday, February 11, 2013

Weekly Roundup - Impressing Myself With Shucking Macarons

Shucking Virgins - Over the past year my friend Robin and I have discovered a new obsession that we both share, an obsession with the ultra-luxe seafood, oysters! With about 50% of our conversations drifting to oysters (with the other 50% about the crazy characters we encounter at the bar we both work at), it came as no surprise that after going out to restaurants for nothing but oysters and attending events to devour the oyster table, the time had come for us to prepare oysters at home! We had been talking about our oyster night for weeks now, planning out our mignonette sauce, other toppings, and the convenience of the nearby seafood store doing the shucking for us, and this past Tuesday we finally made it a reality!

I have to admit, I was a pretty thrown when Robin pulled out two bags of unshucked oysters. How the hell were we going to shuck a dozen oysters by ourselves, without the proper tools, and zero experience? I was sure our oyster night was a bust. After watching Ocean Wise's video on How To Shuck An Ocean Wise Oyster, we scoured the kitchen for any tools that could safely and effectively aid us in our oyster shucking mission. Eventually, after nearly giving up, we found a pair of scissors with a flat edged tool at the handle that we thought would do the trick. It began pretty hopelessly, with us simply scraping shards of the shell off with the scissor tool, to eventually finding our groove and miraculously getting a shell open! After the exhilaration of getting that first shell open, we were on a roll, realizing that all it really takes is some patience. We quickly shucked all twelve oysters, with only a single scrap on each of our hands, and went to town enjoying them! Robin wisely picked up two different kinds of oysters from PEI, Malpeque (which turned out to be our favourite!) and Raspberry Point. The pride that we were filled with from shucking a dozen oysters all by ourselves made the oysters even more delicious!

Phebes Zee Grill - High off of our oyster shucking experience, we realized that a dozen oysters between the two of us simply wasn't enough. A quick Google search "best oysters Yonge and Eglinton" told us where to go. We quickly hopped in the car and drove to Phebes Zee Grill to continue our indulgent evening. We ordered another dozen oysters between the two of us, as well as glasses of Prosecco to toast to our success! Before we knew it, our friendly waitress had brought over complimentary lobster croquettes. Piping hot, with a light and delicate interior, complimented by the crisp exterior, and drop of smoked sambal aioli, the croquettes were absolutely delicious! We were then greeted by the chef who told us all about the oysters that they currently have at Phebes, as well as some of his other favourites on the menu, including the croquettes he had just sent over. He raved about his favourite seafood, raw clams, amazed that we had never tried them. As if the croquettes weren't generous enough to give us, he sent us over two raw clams for us to try. We both really enjoyed the clams, but nothing could top our love of oysters! The generosity continued with another round of four oysters sent our way! We were so incredibly blown away by the hospitality we received at Phebes. The staff went above and beyond to give Robin and I a delicious experience, making Phebes our new favourite place to get oysters in the city! We can't wait to go back!

Jambalaya - Craving spicy comfort food this week, with a few leftover spicy sausages that needed to be used up in the fridge, I got inspired to try my hand at making a jambalaya for my mom and I. After doing lots of research on various jambalayas, I came up with my own recipe that I hoped would satisfy my craving. I was so happy that my jambalaya turned out so delicious! I was also surprised at how simple and quick this savory dish was to prepare! Keep your eyes peeled for the recipe that I will be posting soon!

Macaron Success - After attending the Parisian macaron making class at Le Dolci, and having my own personal macaron making lesson from Danielle from Sweet & Splendid Bakeshop, I knew I was ready to conquer the tricky French treat all on my own! Despite its fickle nature and tendency for failure, I felt very confident that I would find success before I began the complicated process. It was when I was at the egg-white-whipping stage that I was sure I had failed, and declared that everything was going macawrong! No, I didn't want to waste any more ingredients, but I prevailed and continued the difficult process, even though I was so positive the almond and meringue shells were not going to turn out. It seems the macaron gods were on my side, as my shells turned out fantastic! Just a tad larger than I would have liked, my shells came out just a touch chewier than my favourite macarons at La Bamboche. I filled my shells with lemon cream cheese buttercream, using the recipe that was supplied from Le Dolci, a great sweet and tangy combo! I was so incredibly proud of how my macarons turned out, tasting as though they could have been purchased at a patisserie! I look forward to making lots more macarons in my future, playing with different buttercream and ganache fillings! The recipe, along with lots of tips and tricks, will be posted this week!

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Listening To:
Chad Valley - Shell Suite

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