BEAN'S BABBLETORIUM

Wednesdays are Hard

I decided last night that I wanted to give pistachio macarons a go. Yesterday, while at the grocery store I bought in-shell pistachios for a grossly expensive price and brought them home. The recipe I would be using called for pistachio paste.

Hm.

{googles ‘recipe for pistachio paste”}

It entails shelling them, which I do while sitting for twenty minutes watching a lecture online, then you have you blanch them. After blanching you put them in cold water and sit for another forty minutes taking the skins off while watching a crime show.

That was actually oddly satisfying.

Then you put them in the food processor until they turn into a weird paste. I stored the weird paste in the fridge and looked up how to make pistachio flour which I would also need. I assumed I would take the remained shelled nuts, toast them and grind them.

Nope. They have to be blanched, peeled, dried overnight, then toasted, THEN ground up into a flour.

So I do that.

I was excited to use a circa 1970 pan that Mom gave me for my morning eggs. I love an opportunity to give something new life! I added coconut oil to the pan like I always do, and the eggs stuck to the pan. Not a great start to the day.

While I have been eating more (who hasn’t during this pandemic situation), I am happy that I have started working out too. Not a ton. Twenty minutes every other day, but it is more than I was doing prior. Because prior was none, aside from occasional yoga videos.

I got up and I put on work-out clothes, skipping the shower. The working-out never happens because after breakfast I feel queasy. It’s my pandemic queasy and I wonder to myself what’s stressing me out because I’m fairly certain it’s not something I am eating that’s causing this occasional queasiness which had been happening for a few months and stopped about a month ago.

Until today. Yay the psychosomatic tummy aches are back!

I had a virtual work meeting, but the rest of the day sort of floated by with some more lecture watching and moping.

Today I just didn’t feel great today about life. I mean, it’s fine and all, I’m glad I have one, but meh.

It also didn’t help that the student I was to photograph today couldn’t meet until 5PM, which left the rest of the day in a sort of waiting-for-an-appointment limbo.

I left home, (still unshowered, which in truth may have been part of why I was grouchy today), got my weekly COVID test and went to the meeting point at the student union.

The student never showed. He later emailed me apologizing profusely, and I get it. Nothing is normal right now. His class got moved to a different location and it threw his whole day off and he forgot about our meeting. I photographed another student virtually attending a meeting in a hallway to try and salvage this annoyance, and headed home, detouring to a Greek place for some dinner.

There are some restaurants up and running here but there is just no way I’m going to dine out. Order out, sure, but I still do it rarely. Where’s the fun in a meal if it’s lukewarm by the time you get home and you don’t have company to eat it with?

Silver lining? Saving money!…Which I then spend on pistachios.

After dinner I decided to make my macarons. I prepared the piping bag, wiped down the beater and bowl to get rid of any residue, measured out the egg whites I had separated hours ago and left out to bring to room temp. I measured out and sifted the dry ingredients, halving the recipe because it was a very large recipe.

After buying and watching a merengue making course online, I was trying the Italian meringue method which called for putting half the egg whites into the dry ingredients and mixing them together to make a paste, then taking the other half of the eggs whites and whipping them while simultaneously making a wicked hot sugar syrup on the stove, bringing it to exactly 119 degrees C before carefully adding it to the egg white to turn them into soft peak meringue.

I did all these steps, carefully, and…my egg and sugar mixture never turned into merengue. It just stayed in a soft marshmallowy form.

I. Wanted. To. Cry.

And I may have. A little bit.

I wanted to throw it all out; The botched egg white and fancy syrup combo, the paste made from carefully weighed out ingredients along with pistachio flour that took me TWO DAYS TO MAKE. So many pots and dishes and bowls were now piled up in my sink, all of which would have to be cleaned in order to try again.

I could not put the almond four, pistachio flour, confectioners sugar, and egg white paste in the fridge for another try on another day when I felt resolved to take on more defeat.

It had to be used now.

I was sure that part of the problem was halving the recipe. It results in working with so little egg white and sugar syrup for the Italian meringue part that the awesome standing mixer I have barely touches the ingredients when I run it.

So, I washed all of the hot, hardened syrup from the bowls and pots and whisk, dried everything thoroughly, and started over with a full recipe batch of merengue, with a plan of only using half of the merengue with the already halved paste/dry mixture. I did this all with incredible rage trapped in my throat.

It takes a billion years for sugar syrup to reach 119 degrees, for starters. The merengue came out a bit better, but I still wasn’t convinced that it reached the right consistency.

I eyeballed the merengue into the paste, which is the worst thing you can to do baking. And honestly? I cried in disappointment and feeling of failure while I combined the batter together.

To my shock, the consistency actually looked pretty good, and they piped out OK on to the pan.

I left the macaron batter out to dry while I washed everything in my entire kitchen and did my best to not throw a plate in the process to release some anger.

A bit later I baked the dried batter (I recently figured out that my oven runs hot by about 65 degrees, so that’s been fun), and to my shock, they are the best looking macarons I’ve made yet.

So, I guess I just have to cry while I bake or something.

Still, this day and its frustrations can suck an egg (white).

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