Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thank You, Boston

I love my city. I love my country and I love my state but I especially love my city. I know that my husband and I are incredibly fortunate to live in the North End, the oldest neighborhood in Boston. With each step down these narrow, dirty and overly inhabited streets I see history unfurl before me like a well-loved quilt patched with moments from before my time.

I'm not a flag-waving-love-it-or-leave-it-you-pinko-punk kind of patriot but I love my city. I know that I could never do the job it takes to protect our little corner of the world and I marvel at the fact that I ended up married to a man who not only works a tough evening-nighttime schedule but does so in one of the most thankless civilian jobs available in our city. I am still amazed at the fact that he goes to work every day happy to work in a job that exposes him to the worst kind of folks and some great folks who happen to be at their worst or experiencing their worst moments.

These last few weeks surrounding the anniversary of September 11th have been tough on all Americans and many in the 90 other nations who lost citizens in the heinous crimes perpetrated that day. My eyes well up even writing these words.

What could I do? What could I possibly say to anyone about how it feels to remember, to reflect, to hope for better? What could I do to let those few and brave men and women who get up every day to keep my corner of my beloved city safe and beautiful know that I appreciate them?

It sounds trite. It sounds silly. But I could make cookies.

I probably should have made good ol' Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies but I wanted to try something a little different and so I decided on macrons. The popular little meringue morsels are everywhere lately and I had just seen some Food Network promo on a food truck (or something) that sells them. Inspired I searched out a couple of recipes and decided on this one by David Lebovitz. I had everything on hand except almond flour so I used sliced almonds and ground them with my Cuisinart Smart Stick. Actually, it was pretty cool because I finally had an excuse to use the chopper attachment. I've had my Smart Stick for over three years but the chopper was still in the plastic!

I don't think my eggs reached their full volume potential because I found it rather difficult to fold all of the dry ingredients into the meringue. The product I piped out was quite stiff and the processed almonds were not as smooth and fine as almond flour would have been. In fact, they appeared rather, um... unpleasant on the tray.

meringue poops on silpat ready for the oven
I was also worried about baking the meringues as I've had trouble with meringues in the past. Here the recipe was absolutely spot-on however, and they emerged from the oven slightly puffed, dry and crisp, without a speck of browning on them.

Cooled macarons on plate
They were too tiny and thick to sandwich (and lord forgive me, they did so look like turds) that I chose to dip them in a raspberry flavored chocolate glaze instead.

I had some cocoa powder-almond meal combo left over so I made almond-cranberry-chocolate chip cookies as well.

The next morning I packed up three trays of the cookies and delivered them with my husband to our local fire station, our local police precinct and to police headquarters to the Operations unit (where all the 911 calls are dispatched out).

I can't do much to assuage this terrible anniversary, but I can say thank you and make cookies.

Cookies ready for delivery

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