Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Musical Chairs of Epicurean Goodness

The Hindus believe in the Law of Karma. "What goes around, comes around."

And although the ancient Greeks were mostly pagans, this reciprocity concept was a common principle in their philosophy as well. "What you wish your neighbors to be to you, such be also to them."

Within Christian circles, this is known as The Golden Rule. Luke 6:31 reads, "Do unto others as what you would have them do unto you."

Being the recipient myself of quite a few favors from generous, good-hearted neighbors and friends. I found my list of people to thank growing longer day by day....

1. There's my next door neighbor, a young mom herself, who knows of my fondness for watercress and thoughtfully remembers to provide me almost a weekly supply of it. And as if that weren't enough, she generously shared with me her treasured and tested recipes to add to my limited, but now steadily growing kitchen reportoire. Thanks Sarah!

2. Two pre-school co-parents who know how C and I both love Bicol's hottest (literally!) delicacies and brought back home the infamous Bicol Express and Pinangat as pasalubong from a recent Bicol trip. Both your versions were yummy, Helen and Tes!

3. A soccer mom who gives me good company during the kids' soccer drills and scrimmage every weekends. You make the one and a half hour wait more enjoyable, Ting!

It is with this ethic of reciprocity that I found myself with the desire to share something back to these wonderful ladies. And so one day last week, I found myself in the kitchen as early as 8am, earnestly frosting the cinnamon rolls that I baked the day before.

Done with that, I proceeded to prepare mini-apple pies to go with the rolls.

Mid-day, there were several boxes of rolls and pies waiting to be given away.

No sooner had the boxes been given out and I found myself, again, the recipient of more benevolence and largesse - still of the epicurean kind. What's inside my goodie bag? A chocoholic's heaven!

A sinfully big tray of Ferrero Rocher. I just love these decadent li'l balls with whole roasted hazelnut in the center and surrounded by a smooth chocolate. Hmmm... some Ferrero Rocher cupcakes, perhaps? I could use my moist chocolate cupcake recipe. Bake as directed. Let cool. Poke a hole in the middle. Add crushed Ferrero inside the hole. Top with chocolate hazelnut ganache. I would love to try that!

Spun golden hexagonal boxes hiding delectable Toblerone bars inside. I can already imagine myself in front of a fondue pot, with the melted Toblerone inside the pot; the potent mixture of chocolate, honey and nougat simmering on low heat. Among friends, surrounded by platters of pound cake, biscotti, grapes, strawberries and dried apricots waiting to be skewered and dipped. The ultimate indulgence!

The lip-smacking, finger-licking marriage of chocolate and hazelnuts in a jar, Nutella. I already have the perfect recipe for this. I have archived a recipe for chocolate flavored French macaron with Nutella frosting. I have long wanted to try this, but have always found myself daunted with macarons. It could be because of the laborious process of drying the egg whites, or the back-breaking task of making sure that each macaron is piped in equal proportions at a certain height above the baking sheet to ensure the "perfect foot." But with these gorgeous chocolate tubs, I find myself having the courage to go beyond my comfort zone and face my French macaron challenge head-on.

Macarons are C and J's absolute faves. It is costly at P35 a pop in Bizu, especially since a dozen is easily not enough between the two of them. Hopefully, it will be my own creations you will see here soon!
Bizu Macarons by chotda on flickr