Roasted Hazelnut Macaroons

Made a batch of these last weekend to bring to our picnic at the first of the La Jolla Concerts by the Sea:

12 oz. raw hazelnuts

1 c. granulated sugar

2 (large) egg whites at room temperature

Roast hazelnuts at 350 degrees F. for about 15-20 minutes, until fragrant.  Remove from oven, then use a kitchen towel to rub off as much of the papery skin as possible.  The nuts themselves will be a rich caramel color.  It’s all right if you don’t get all of the skins off, as a little bit adds color to the macaroons and does not detrimental to the taste.

As the nuts cool, add a sprinkle of Cream of Tartar to the albumen, then beat the egg whites until stiff but still glossy.  Grind/chop hazelnuts into a coarse meal (the small food processor I used, made by Krups, did a good job of not turning the nuts into a paste, which would have been too fine).  Stir in the sugar, and then fold in the albumen until the mixture becomes a loose, grainy mass.  Form into macaroons using your fingers to pinch together what appear to be miniature mountain ranges.

Place on parchment-lined or silicone mat-covered baking pan and bake for about 12 minutes, or until they turn a nice deep brown (watch them carefully so as not to burn, which happens in the blink of an eye!).  Remove macaroons from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.  Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea, or just as a sweet snack.

Unfortunately for Peter, Scott, and me, the flying rats (ie, seagulls) managed to open the plastic box I’d put them in while we were on our dive, so we didn’t actually get to taste them until I baked another batch in the evening!

The first week of the three-week-long Intermediate AutoCAD course has finished, and I feel okay about what I’m learning.  There are little things that I still want to practice (nice “tricks” that help save time and effort).  I just looked at the course catalog for the school, and the on-site Revit classes do not begin until October.  I’ve been on their website, and it appears that their only other software package training are all online, which does not really suit me.  I’m looking into test prep courses through everblue for the LEED BD+C AP accreditation, and it looks like there is one in a couple weeks, or else there is one in December.  I’ll contact my DoR counselor, Jeffrey, and program manager, Elizabeth, to make an appointment to adjust my IPE (Individual Plan for Employment).

 

Thoughts over Shortbread

I baked a batch of rosemary shortbread this morning:

1 lb. unsalted butter

4 c. a-p flour

1 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. minced rosemary (I used dried, but fresh works just as well)

dash salt

Make sure you grind (dried) or mince (fresh) the rosemary into a very fine texture, or the oil and flavour won’t distribute throughout the shortbread as you’d really want.  Mix all the dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter until it looks right (you’ll know when you get there).  Press into a rimmed cookie sheet or baking tray (mine is something like 12″x17″) and refrigerate it while the oven preheats to 375 F.  Bake for about ten to twelve minutes, then turn the pan around to get the shortbread to bake evenly.  Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, until the edges start to turn ever-so-slightly tan (you don’t want to overbake).  Take out and cut *immediately* into bars or diagonals, or whatever shape you prefer.  It’s important to cut them right away so they don’t crumble.  Use a serrated knife if you’re as paranoid about cookie crumbling as I am.  Allow to cool on the baking tray, then remove carefully to an air-tight container.  They’ll keep well.

While the shortbread baked, I perused facebook, almost always a time-sucker.  I read an article about women’s body shapes and body images, and finally read a post that made sense.  It’s another writer who also uses WordPress, so hopefully, you can find it to read.  If you can’t be bothered, I’ll just compact it into this:  treat yourself with respect, no matter at what stage of fitness or attractiveness you find yourself.  If you’re like me, you are on a continuing journey to find a better self, but are not totally dissatisfied as things currently stand.  I’ve been through the mill;  I’m not skinny-as-all-get-out, but I’m not curvy, either (most certainly NOT).  I wear a size “Medium” in most things, since I prefer to be comfortable rather than trying to squeeze into the smallest thing possible while sucking – or trying to, anyway – in my paunch).  I have a “medium”-sized frame, meaning that my wrist measures about 6″ in circumference.  I had a good friend in college who had the same size frame, and she was a 5′-10″ tall and totally muscular athlete.  So even among those who share the same measurement, we were pretty different in shape and appearance.

In other news, I’m almost finished with my first course in (re-) learning AutoCAD.  It’s gone pretty well, even though I needed help to log into the school’s server in order to complete assignments and take the required quizzes.  Monday is our last class for this course, and the next course begins the following Monday.  I’m having a pretty good time thus far, and expect it to go this way through the AutoCAD courses (each of which runs three weeks, two days per week).  I’m looking forward to learning the next program, Revit, which is more architecturally-inclined.  In the course of learning this new material, I’m also familiarizing myself (a little bit) with my new Windows-based computer.  It’s running Windows 10, which has a reputation of having a lot of bugs that are being corrected on an almost constant basis.  I’m logged in to get new releases as they come out (thank you subscription!), so I expect things to go as smoothly as can be expected…

Time to put the shortbread into a container to take to this afternoon/evening’s event.  That means I’ll have to put on clothes…