Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tea Time with French Macarons!

I am indeed a girl who adores her sweets and French ones at that! My absolute favorite treats are French Macarons. They are little meringue pillows made from egg whites and almost always almond flour and filled with anything from butter cream to curds to jams!

Although not the easiest things to create the finished product is always worth the work! My most recent creation is a Chai Tea Macaron with a Cardamon Cream filling and below is my recipe and the method I have found works best for my oven. Keep in mind Macarons are delicate little creatures and timing may vary depending on your own oven.


For the Chai Tea Shells:
1 Cup Confectionery  Sugar
1/2 Cup Almond Flour (my favorite brand is from Bob's Red Mill)
2 Egg Whites
1 pinch of cream of tartar
5 tbsp Granulate White Sugar
1 tbsp Ground Black Tea
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Allspice
1/8 tsp Ground Clove Powder
Powdered Gold Dust (available at Michaels)

For the Cardamon Cream Filling:
8 tbsp Softened Salted Butter
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Ground Cardamon (more depending on your taste preference)
3 cups Confectionary Sugar
2-3 tbsp Vanilla Almond Milk

Preheat the oven to 375.  Prepare two baking sheets both lined with parchment paper. Sift almond flour, confectioners' sugar, salt, tea and spices all together in one bowl and set aside. In your mixing bowl add 1 pinch of cream of tartar to egg whites and whisk until soft peaks form.  Reduce speed and gradually add cane sugar.  Increase speed and beat just until stiff peaks form and egg whites cling to the whisk.

Sift flour mixture over whites. Fold mixture together with a rubber spatula -using short strokes at first -until just combined. Use bigger folds as batter loosens. You will know the batter is ready when it cascades from the spatula like a thick ribbon. Transfer mixture to a piping bag  ( I often just use sandwich bags ).  Pipe 1 or 1 1/2" rounds on the parchment lined baking sheets. Let piped Macarons stand uncovered for 15 minutes to form a crust. Decrease temperature to 325 just before placing the baking sheet in the oven.  Bake pans one at a time for 10 minutes, turning halfway through at 5 minutes.Remove sheet immediately from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes on the sheet and then carefully move the shells to a cooling rack. Oven temp should be increased to 375 then decreased to 325 just before the 2nd baking sheet goes in. 

To make the cardamon butter cream filling cream softened butter and confectionery sugar in your mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on med-high until light and fluffy. Now add in vanilla extract, ground cardamon and slowly add in almond milk 1 tbsp at a time until desired frosting consistency is met. (You may not use all the almond milk). Now pipe the filling into a piping bag and pipe onto halves of the shells. Be careful not to over fill the shells or squeeze too hard when sandwiching them together as they are ever so delicate.

In a small dish mix edible gold dust and a drop of water, mix and carefully brush across the top of each Macaron and enjoy! 

*The perfect pairing for these little treats is a cup of Earl Grey tea with a touch of milk and honey....or perhaps a glass of Brut Champagne *

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


JORDAN VINEYARD; WINERY AWARDS $8,000 IN CASH PRIZES TO L.A. ARTISTS Sonoma winery’s 40th anniversary art competition attracts nearly 200 guests and 50 artists WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA (April 16, 2012) – In honor of its 40th anniversary, Jordan Vineyard & Winery awarded $8,000 in cash prizes to Southern California artists as part of the iconic winery's 4 on 4 Top 40 Art Competition exhibition event on April 11, which was organized by Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) and drew nearly 200 local wine lovers, artists, and epicures to trendy Hadid Gallery for an elegant evening of blending wine, food and art. Part of a coast-to-coast, four-city initiative to marry the distinct flavors of metropolitan cities with the essence of Jordan wines and Sonoma wine country, the 4 on 4 Los Angeles Art Competition culminated in a one-night-only public exhibition and Jordan wine tasting presenting more than 40 entries, featuring works some of LA’s most exciting artists, including James Mathers, Justine Harari, Mattia Biagi, Kristi Lippire, Lindsey Nobel, Suzanne Adelman, Mark Dean Veca, Matt Wardell and many more. A panel of expert judges—Carol Stakenas, director of LACE; noted critic and LA Canvas art editor Shana Nys Dambrot; Kat Odell, editor of LA Eater; David Gadd, managing editor of The Tasting Panel; renowned restaurateur Piero Selvaggio of Valentino Restaurant Group; Chef Joseph Miller of Joe’s Restaurant and Bar Pintxo; and Timothy Williams, artist and gallerist at Black Cat Gallery—selected the top three works of art that met the competition criteria. Guests mingled through the exhibition while sipping Jordan 2009 Chardonnay and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon complemented by hors d’oeuvres from Bar Pintxo. Carol Stakenas, the director of LACE, noted, “We were so excited to organize this competition with the LA art community, giving artists a fantastic opportunity that brought together the Los Angeles art scene and fine wine communities.” The grand award winner of 4 on 4 Los Angeles was I Left My Heart In Jordan by Agne Jomantaite, a student at Occidental College, where Jordan Winery CEO John Jordan, ironically, did his undergraduate work. She is a noted artist on campus, has had work published and received several citations for her art. Jomantaite will receive a check for $5,000, and her work of art will be transformed into a limited-edition lithograph for Jordan’s loyal Southern California fan base. First runner-up honors went to Mark Dean Veca’s The Elegant Fantasy of Jordan Chateau. Veca has exhibited throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan at institutions such as the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, the Brooklyn Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. His work has been reviewed in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Art Review, Juxtapoz and Flash Art. Veca will be presented a check in the amount of $2,000. Kristie Lippire’s Unique Treasures of LA and Wine Country took home the second-runner up prize of $1,000. The Honolulu native has shown at ACE Gallery, the Riverside Art Museum, Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, the Orange County Museum of Art and elsewhere. Patrons got to vote as well, each selecting a single favorite work of art in the 4 on 4 Los Angeles exhibit. The People’s Choice went to My Love by Ivanova Kremena. Kremena describes her winning piece as “integrating the image of the movie industry, which is an emblem in LA. I used the film roll showing Jordan's history, combined with the 40 year celebration, represented by the explosion from the end of the bottle.” The three winning works from 4 on 4 Los Angeles will be on display at a private Jordan Winery 40th anniversary celebration for restaurateurs, retailers and media to be held in West Hollywood on April 23.

Photos from the 4 on 4 Art Competition event at the Hadid Gallery are available for download from Flickr: An online gallery of all 4 on 4 Los Angeles Art Competition entries is viewable at For more information about the 4 on 4 Los Angeles Art Competition, please visit For more information about the 4 on 4 Art Competition, please visit ABOUT JORDAN VINEYARD & WINERY Inspired by the masterful wine, food and hospitality of France, Tom and Sally Jordan followed their hearts from Colorado to California’s Bourgeoning wine country in 1972. That spring, they signed the deed on their first piece of land in Alexander Valley on the very same day their son, John, was born. They quickly planted their first vineyard with a vision for creating a singular Cabernet Sauvignon that could rival the finest wines of Bordeaux. When the first vintage of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon debuted, it was an immediate success due to its elegance and early approachability, as well as its affinity for food. The Jordan family has spent the last four decades quietly building a reputation for relentless quality, graceful ageability and remarkable consistency vintage after vintage. For more information, visit @jordanwinery

ABOUT LOS ANGELES CONTEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS LACE both champions and challenges the art of our time by fostering artists who innovate, explore, and risk. We move within and beyond our four walls to provide opportunities for diverse publics to engage deeply with contemporary art. In doing so, we further dialogue and participation between and among artists and those audiences. For more information, please visit @welcometoLACE