May 04, 2011

a summer snack

I seem to be in a cake place, I don't think it's a funk, yet, but it is definitely a place, a place that involves lots of butter and a good amount of flour and these days some chocolate too. I decided that the big, heavy, oh-so-dense-and-delicious-cakes of last week, needed a little, light and fluffy companion - say hello to Madeleine. Madeline and I met around 1pm this afternoon, when after pouring melted butter over a fragrant lemon zest batter, she sprang to life, a gooey and sticky life, but a life none the less - I know she was there because I tested the batter (a few times - I've convinced myself that Swiss eggs don't have Salmonella - which inevitably leaves me with less batter, but I'm okay with that) and I could sense the wonderful future ahead of us. We then met again around 2:30pm when she and her eleven other madeleine friends popped out of the oven, and I ate one of the dozen (even numbers upset me). We met once again after each of the three subsequent baking rounds (again the even numbers issue) and we finished our day of meets and greets (eats) around 5 pm at the park where I ate three (I brought three, ate one, which meant uh-oh I was left with 2, the worst of all even numbers, so I ate another, and then it was like the lone sushi roll which you can't just leave there, you have to eat it, so I did). So if you've been wondering where I've been all day, not posting until now, well, I've been with Madeleine.
When do you ever come back from the grocery store with only the things on your list? I'm convinced the gummy bear packaging is magnetized, because I can't figure out how else they would end up in my cart trip after trip. I always welcome them with open arms (and mouth) when I find them stowed away in my shopping bag.
Butter and flour, butter and flour, butter and flour and SUGAR - those are the ingredients that are keeping haustohouse afloat right now. Speaking of grocery shopping, I don't think I've made a trip since becoming a housetohaus-frau without buying one of those three ingredients. You do not want to know how much butter I've bought since arriving in Zurich. No really. You don't. You'd probably disown me, send me DVDs of scary Jillian Michaels from the Biggest Loser (I miss TV and I almost miss her, almost) and suggest that perhaps it would be worth my while to get a job with the nearest weight watchers clinic.
After making one dozen of the basic recipe I decided to try and get fancy and add some additional ingredients. I'd love to tell you that I am a culinary prodigy and that my new take on the madeline has forever changed the face of French baking, but alas I'm just another American making a mess of another cultures food. My two new Madeleine versions were both bad, not terrible, but not good either. The first was banana-chocolate and the second was raspberry chocolate. With a little tweaking the banana one could be good, but the raspberry one was not good, I messed too much with the liquid ratios of the batter.

It appears as if Zurich has skipped Spring. It has been in the 70s almost everyday since we got back from the honeymoon. I think it's too good to be true. I'm waiting for some serious New Haven inspired grey and rainy days. They are coming, I can feel it.
Here is the banana chocolate chip batch right out of the oven
Notice the beauty of odd numbers in the above photos, 7 and 3. Lovely.
Have you read this book? My friend Tala recommended it and it's both hysterical and interesting. And yes you read the name correctly, Foreskin's Lament! Also note how portable Madeleines are, just the perfect travel companion.

Madeleine recipe
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 6 tbsp butter, melted and kept warm
- confectioner sugar for dusting

In a small bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and then set it aside. In a larger bowl mix together the eggs, sugar, honey, brown sugar and lemon zest. Once incorporated add the flour mixture and whisk until combined. Remove the butter from the stove top and add to the mixture, once again stirring until combined. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drop a dollop of dough into each depression in your madeleine pan, filling it roughly 2/3 of the way. Place in the oven and bake until the edges are brown and the centers have risen, rotating the pan half way through the baking. Baking takes about 5 -6 minutes. Eat madeleine's immediately, especially #12
These few pictures are from yesterday. I'm feeling guilty about not posting anything (blog taking over? perhaps) and I wanted to fill everyone in on what I was up to. Once upon a time in the land of English speaking, cheeseburger eating, Jeep driving Americans, I had friends right in my backyard, literally (Hi Anne and Ed). Now in Zurich, in the land of Swiss-German and Ricola (which they need to sooth their throats after all the crazy guttural sounds their language requires) I don't have friends at my finger tips. But yesterday I spent six hours with three fabulous new friends! To be fair one of those friends has been living with Zach and I for the past two months so it was really two brand new friends and one semi-new friend. One of the brand new friends found me on this blog!!!! That is the whole reason I started the blog in the first place, to find like minded people, but I haven't made any contacts....until this week when I got a lovely email from a woman who moved from Kansas city and is trying to adjust to life in Zurich and would I want to meet for coffee to chat about life in the land of chocolate and expensive appliances?! Um. DUH! Of course I wanted to meet. And so we met with my semi-new, roommate friend, and one of her new friends, who is originally from Texas, but in Zurich by way of LA and NYC and is here with her boyfriend. They have the most amazing apartment with an incredible terrace, with the view in the photo above. swoooon. Talley. Want. Terrace.
And because I am trying to make up for a lost day and now a late post I thought I'd let you in on a little secret - you can make Indian food at home!! I did it and you can do it too. In the days of Talley-and-a-TV I use to watch The Next Foodnetwork Star. Last season Arti, an Indian girl from England won with her indian-food-for-the-home-chef theme, and I'll admit that even when I was watching the show I thought her meals looked complicated, but alas I've tried it and they are easy! I made chicken tikka masala and it was delish, rave reviews all around! There aren't many photos because I was a bit busy trying to calm my tongue after taking a bite from one of those peppers. I know you're thinking, what idiot just takes a bite?- well, me. I didn't know if I had bought spicy peppers or not, so I had to test. Thank goodness I had also bought an entire loaf of butter bread, which I quickly consumed along with a pitcher of water (I know water isn't good, but I hate milk and I had to have something!)

Phew okay, post complete and time for me to go eat a few more madeleines before bed. Where do these days go?


  1. Tal, I just learned something new about you...I didn't know you harbor such ill feelings towards odd numbers!! I'm an even numbers person!!

  2. I am so impressed with your motivation and baking abilities. I cut out lots of recipes and then never cook them - you not only cook them but do so multiple times with different variations....most impressive! The madeleines look delectable!! xo

  3. Tal, if you want to try yet another variation, maybe you can do classic madeleine dough but different kinds of glazes?
    like here
    Ble Sucre has some of the best madeleines in Paris but the glaze made me think of variations like bourbon glaze, earl grey or green tea glaze? etc...
    and so glad you find the book funny!

  4. also, I wouldn't even be worried about the quantities of butter you are buying!
    just read this
    between your new European diet and blogging and walking, I don't know how you'll ever put on weight!

  5. Talley, you just inspired me to purchase a madeleine pan. What a beautiful post!

  6. You are such an entertaining food writer........ you put a smile on my face........ oh yes, I love madeleines too and have baked them many times in the past (yes do get a madeleine pan but butter it well)