Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
When I do a quick check of stock prices on the computer I often have to keep track of what language I am using or which site I am searching. This is because the same information is presented differently.
While I wish the world can agree on the use of colors, such as the ones for the traffic lights, it is unlikely colors can ever be disassociated from cultures. I just have to learn to be careful in discerning information with colors and be happy when I see red or green in the right context.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Luckily Jacques Pepin has a recipe for cannelé in his book Chez Jacques. Pepin's recipe is relatively simple - essentially a crêpe batter with a lot of sugar. The only drawback is the batter requires refrigeration overnight, which means I cannot bake them at the spur of the moment. Pepin suggests using a silicone mold which makes the production much easier. The downside with the silicone mold is it doesn't produce a dark crust on the sides of the cannelé. Nevertheless the result is still quite good. I used to bake cannelés to serve as a petit four for my dinner parties. For some unknown reason cannelés are very addictive. Most of my friends and I can easily eat three or four very quickly.
Recently I walked by Pozzo Bakery at San Want Hotel on Zhong Xiao East Road, and to my surprise found cannelés for sale. I couldn't resist and bought a few; they were not bad. However at the price of NT$45 for one, it was an expensive snack. Therefore, I dug out my cannelé mold and started baking them again.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The building was originally constructed in 1910 as a free-standing store by the Japanese and in 1997 it was designated as a landmark. In 2002 a fire destroyed the building almost completely. While the city of Taipei rebuilt the structure and restored many of the architectural details of the building, the management of the building is done by the private sector, under the direction of 陳國慈. This is the second historic building that is under her care - she is also the director of Taipei Story House (台北故事館).
The building now functions as a mini-museum and currently has a exhibition on the history of the city of Taipei. There is also a little tea house at the ground floor.
I am glad to see that preservation is becoming more prominent in Taipei. While Taipei may not be a city with a relatively long history, there are still plenty of buildings with stories waiting to be rediscovered.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Unfortunately, Dufour is not available in Taipei. Moreover, I couldn't find any puff pastry in any of the western supermarkets around my apartment. I was starting to consider making my own, even though I knew the process would not be easy. It would probably take quite a bit of time and, given the humid conditions in Taipei, several rounds of refrigeration to complete the required six turns.
A few weeks ago, just as I was about to search Youtube for Jacques Pepin's demonstration to make puff pastry and buy a few pounds of butter to try it out myself, by chance I met a French speaking friend and asked her if she knew any places in Taipei to buy puff pastry. After a little research she said the only place she found was Carrefour in Tianmu.
Last weekend I took the 40 minute subway ride to Carrefour and finally found some puff pastry, or pâte feuilletée. Even though this puff pastry is not made with butter, it is good enough for now. In the future I will probably still try to make some puff pastry myself.
With puff pastry in hand it is not too difficult to make some desserts. In this case I made an individual-size tarte fine aux pommes, based mainly on Gordon Ramsay's recipe: cut the puff pastry into 5-inch round, prick the pastry with a fork, top with thin slices of apple, brush with soft butter, sprinkle with sugar, bake in a 400F oven for 15 minutes, dust with confectioners sugar, broil, and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I have always wanted to make pots de crème because they remind me of my meals at Per Se, which serves them near the end of the meal just before chocolates. They are also one of the few things at Per Se that are technically less challenging and easier to replicate at home. With some egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, heavy cream, Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook, and some new bakewares, I finally made some.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Unfortunately Wang's two starts so far in the season lasted not much longer than my breakfast. Before I finished my morning coffee, the relievers were already starting to warm up in the bullpen. Wang now has an ERA of 28.93. I hope he can find his sinker again because the Yankees cannot rely on Nick Swisher to pitch another scoreless inning.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Another interesting thing to note about buying eggs in Taipei is they are not refrigerated in the supermarkets, only air conditioned.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009