A Year of Tangled Blogging

Thursday, October 29, 2009 72 comments

First Blogoversary Macaroon

Already?

Times flies when you're having fun and my first year of blogging has definitely been fun - not to mention hectic, exhilarating, frustrating, enlightening, maddening and exciting. I imagined that when the anniversary date arrived, I'd break out the balloons, toss some confetti and strike up the mariachi band. Celebration was in order and I envisioned a special post featuring an incredible edible to mark the occasion, or perhaps even a giveaway . . .

But Tangled is the name and tangled is the brain. In an alternate reality, I'm Incredi-Blogger, writing a post every other day while completing my memoirs (Part I, natch), learning several new languages and mastering cheese-making, beer-brewing and all manner of artisanal cookery. But in real reality, my life story can be told in four tweets, I write in the only other language I know (Ye Olde Terme Paper English) and the closest I've come to artisanal cooking is making pancake batter from scratch. It's no surprise, then, that The Big Day (October 23) passed with nary a single shred of confetti or a solitary note of mariachi music to commemorate the 365 days since my first blogospheric disturbance.

I simply forgot.

So much for the special milestone. But as my overworked patron Saint Expeditus might say, "Get off your lazy tuchus and get to work already!" Although it has come and gone, reaching this point really was a thrill for me, so I eked out a moment to make a sweet treat in celebration and gratitude for an awesome year. However, as many of you know by now, I don't just eat, I ruminate . . . and every dish in this blog is well-chewed until I can taste its Deeper Meaning.

Sometimes I Feel Like a (Coco)Nut

To mark the belated event, I went straight to a recipe from my cousin Ara in the Philippines. We met for the very first time last December when Mr. Noodle and I visited my mother's home province of Marinduque. During our all-too-brief day trip, we enjoyed wonderful Marinduqueno-style Filipino food such as adobong manok sa gata (chicken adobo in coconut milk) and kare-kare* [kah-REH kah-REH], a spicy version of dinuguan, or blood stew. Seeing my rapturous enjoyment of the native desserts on hand, Ara promised to send recipes for some favorite sweets, just as her mother-in-law makes them.

*Kare-kare is also the name of a better-known stew of oxtail and vegetables in a peanut sauce.

The first were macaroons - Filipino macaroons, to be precise. What's the difference? The more familiar confection is made with shredded coconut, egg whites and sugar, whereas à la Pinay incorporates whole eggs, sweetened condensed milk and flour. The result is a dense, chewy baked good similar in consistency to a fudgy brownie and with a super-sweetened coconut flavor.

Although it's been a while since my last taste of Filipino macaroons, I remembered enough to have certain expectations as the first batch went into the oven; what came out, however, were quite unexpected. Rather than the flat-topped treat of memory, these had rounded domes like cupcakes and were definitely more cake-y than fudgy. But they formed a beautiful caramelized crust above a moist and subtly sweet, coconutty interior. I was not disappointed in the least, especially when I realized that they were perfect for this post in another way.

Just like these macaroons, my blog began with certain expectations about what I would write or who might read it. I didn't plan on including photos and recipes, or giving accounts of my own cooking, but they are now important elements. I thought only my family would read it (under duress) but instead, visitors found their way to this site, came back for more and have since become friends. Just like these coconut pastries, Tangled Noodle cooked up in ways and qualities that were certainly different, but no less satisfying, than originally anticipated.

In the past year, I've learned so much from writing my blog and reading others': that cooking without a recipe isn't really scary, flash photography is the best way to ruin a dish and blogging should always be a joy, not a chore. More importantly, I've made many new and dear friends among you and it is your encouragement, support and friendship that inspire me to continue. From the bottom of my heart - thank you!

Now, let's see what another year will bring . . .

[Update 10/31/09: I am extremely embarrassed - I had attributed the following recipe to Tita Fuen, Ara's mom, when it actually came from her mother-in-law. My apologies to that dear lady for not acknowledging her generosity in sharing a family recipe! Please note that double asterisks (**) signify where I've made the appropriate changes to the text.]

Macaroons à la Filipina**
(adapted from a recipe, courtesy of cousin Ara)

Have you ever noticed that when someone shares a recipe, there's always an ingredient or direction missing? It's not deliberate - often, the person is so familiar with cooking the dish that it's difficult to write out what are automatic actions. In the macaroon recipe that Ara sent, some ingredients listed were never mentioned again; I can picture Ara's mother-in-law** missing a few steps because she's not actually making them as she dictates. Furthermore, the original yield was triple what I made here - no matter how delicious, Mr. Noodle and I can eat only so many!



Cupcake-ish Macaroon

In the past, when I dared not deviate from the written record, this recipe might have been set aside. But a year of blogging and blog-reading have nurtured my cooking self-confidence, and I managed to make it work. I adjusted measurements and guessed where those orphan ingredients might be added. While my adaptations are by no means perfect, they represent my continued progress from recipe-slave to (dare I say it?) intuitive cook. I hope you'll enjoy these macaroons as much as we did!

Yield: 1 dozen

Ingredients

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
heaping 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
2 eggs
1/2 can (or approx 4 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 tsp lemon extract
3 1/3 cups shredded coconut

To make:

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper cups.

1.  Sift flour, salt and baking powder, then set aside;
2.  Place brown sugar and water in a small sauce pan and heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat;
3.  Cream butter, then add dissolved sugar and mix well;
4.  Add eggs, condensed milk and lemon extract and beat until well mixed;
5.  Add flour mixture and mix until just blended;
6.  Add coconut and stir by hand until well mixed;
7.  Spoon into muffin cups, about 3/4 full - the macaroons will rise like cupcakes;
8.  Bake at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until tops are golden.



Basta masarap! (Simply delicious!)

I have another reason to celebrate this past October 23rd: on that day, Palidor of Crazy Asian Gal decided to share her "I Love Reading Your Blog!" award, one of six(!) she recently received from fellow bloggers. If you're not familiar with her site, please visit Palidor and see for yourself that the only thing crazy about this gal is crazy-good food!

In fact (and by total coincidence - I swear), she posted a recipe a few weeks ago for Coconut Muffins, which uses coconut flour rather than shredded coconut meat. And if that's not enough coco-nuttiness for you, then please check out these delicious recipes as well:

From Mark of No Special Effects: a closer version of Filipino-style Coconut Macaroons.
From Divina of Sense & Serendipity: her Coconut Macaroon Tart is the featured guest post at Just Making Noise, a blog written by Ice Cream Social winner Mare!

72 comments:

  • Divina Pe said...

    These are the macaroons that I'm used to eating here at home. They're absolutely delicious. Now, I could make it myself with this recipe. The only shredded coconut I could find is our finely grated coconut. I wonder if they could make it bigger. Anyway, congratulations. :) Thanks for the link too.

  • Susan @ SGCC said...

    Congratulations on a great year! Your posts are always informative, interesting and insightful. I've truly enjoyed reading them and getting to know you a bit. The blogging world is a richer place because of you. Hope you stick around a very long time! :)

  • Steph said...

    It's so neat to read about your reflections on the evolution of your blog (and cooking confidence)! I hope that I grow as much in a year :) Oh, and those macaroons look great! I'll have to try these macaroons out myself.

  • Jenn said...

    Happy blogiversary!!!! It's an incredible accomplishment. My Tita makes some really good macaroon. I may just have to bribe...er...gently ask her for the recipe. But yeah, I'm agree with you when you get a recipe from someone who's made it several times. But all you got to do is go with it and try to figure it out.

  • 5 Star Foodie said...

    Happy blogoversary! It has been a privilege to follow your wonderful blog since almost the beginning (my own blogoversary is coming up very soon too) and I'm looking forward to reading your posts for many more years to come! I'm loving the macaroon cupcakes, super delicious!

  • Palidor said...

    Happy Blogiversary! I hope that you'll blog for many, many more years to come! :-)

    Those macaroons looks fabulous! I really want to try your recipe. It's funny how our tastes change as we get older. I used to hate coconut as a child, but now I absolutely adore it!

  • My Carolina Kitchen said...

    What cute macaroons. I love the "sometimes I feel like a (coco)nut" phrase. Now I've got that jingle in my head.

    Happy birthday. I'm celebrating my first year on Saturday. Time flies when you're having fun.
    Sam

  • Amy P. said...

    Happy Blogoversary to you
    Happy Blogoversary to you
    Happy writing, happy cooking
    Happy Blogoversary to Tangled Noo(dle)

    Congrats on your accomplishment, Tracey! I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the excellent writing!

    I can't wait to try the macaroon recipe.

  • ValleyWriter said...

    Happy Blogiversary! I've very much enjoyed reading your blog over the past few months - so here's to many, many more blogiversaries!

    And your macaroons look SOOOO good - beautiful coconutty cakes of wonder. Yum!

  • Teanna said...

    Hahaha I hate it when things are missing! Because then I read the recipe over and over and think I am going crazy! Those macaroons look gorgeous and congrats on one year of blogging!

  • Phyllis said...

    Happy 1 year, TN! Glad to be blogger buddies :) I've never tried Filipino macaroons before, but anything with sweetened condensed milk sounds good to me. Thanks for sharing your family recipe!
    ps. I know what you mean about getting relatives to read your blog 'under duress', I stopped forcing them when I realized not everyone spends every waking moment obsessing about food like me! Can't even get hubby to read it unless I put up a photo of him LOL

  • Ozge said...

    I love what you bring, a fresh breath of air filled with yummy smell coming from your kitchen - inviting all the time. Whenever I read a post of you, I wish we'd be friends that keep in touch :-0
    Hope you are well.
    Big hugs and congrats from a miuhead.

  • OysterCulture said...

    Wow, was it just a year ago that we were talking about starting our blogs and finally taking the leap. Its been a joy watching what you produce from afar and keeping up our phone/blog food related conversations. Much to the consternation of Mr. Noodle, I'm sure. Congrats on some well deserved recognition and a heck of a milestone.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Thank you all for your comments and well-wishes! Today was a bit hectic, running errands and trying to ready a 'balikbayan' box so that it arrives in Manila BEFORE Christmas. It's going out tomorrow - fingers crossed. I'll be back to post proper replies! 8-D

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Happy Halloween, everyone!

    Chow and Chatter - Thank you so much! I'm still having a lot of fun!

    Momgateway - I think you'll enjoy them! They're not as dainty as macarons but I think they're easier to make. 8-)

    Eric - Thank you!

    Divina - I actually never liked them when I was younger, but now, I love coconut flavor! I don't know how this recipe would turn out w/finely grated coconut but please let me know if you try it. And if you try Manggy's recipe first, I'd love to find out how it turns out!

    Susan - Thank you so much! My plan is to keep going until someone takes my computer away (and even then I'll find a way . . . !)

    Steph - Thanks! Writing this blog has really helped me learn so much about cooking. These came out HUGE but the flavor is sooo good.

    Jenn - Thank you! I was thinking about how quickly your reached your blog post milestones even before your first year and thinking, "I'd better get my butt in gear!" If you get your Tita's recipe, I'd love to hear about what ingredients she uses. Hopefully, she'll give you the complete list or all the directions! 8-P

    5 Star - Thank you so much! You were one of the first bloggers I started following and you're creativity has always been an inspiration to me. Can't wait for your blogoversary, too!

    Palidor - Thank you! I definitely plan to stick around. 8-) And I was the same way, too: couldn't stand coconut as a kid but now, I'm all over it. But I do prefer freshly grated - I even have my own grater that I brought back from the Philippines!

    Sam - Thank you! I saw that you just posted your anniversary entry and will be heading right over! That jingle is EXACTLY what pops to mind every time I think of coconut treats. 8-D

    VeggieGirl - Thank you!!

    Amy P. - [LOL] After the last note, I blew out the candle! I'm so happy we connected!

    Helen - Thank you and I know!! I was thinking that I was forgetting something and then - click! 8-)

    Kat - Thanks! I should program the date in some calendar that will send me e-mail reminders . . .

    ValleyWriter - Thank you so much! And though these weren't quite as expected, it's hard to find fault with delicious!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Teanna - [LOL] That's exactly what I thought. In this case, it was the brown sugar: after being removed from the heat, it never showed up in the instructions again! 8-D I kept re-reading the recipe until my eyes crossed . . . Thanks so much!

    Mardi - You read my mind! For my next batch, I'm going to make them smaller and dip away! 8-)

    Gera - Thank you so much! You've been such a great friend and support!

    Bob - Thanks you! 8-)

    Duo Dishes - You know all about good eats, so thank you for the compliment! Wish I could come to Foodbuzz Fest. Maybe next year they'll hold in MN? Whaddaya think? November in the Midwest . . .

    Phyllis - [LOL] We are kindred spirits! Filipino macaroons are even sweeter than the traditional kind but this recipe won't strip the enamel from your teeth, I promise! As for our loved ones reading our blog, I make my hubs bring it up on his screen the moment I post, so he HAS to read it! 8-D

    Unja - Thank you! I can't believe I made it this far and still want to keep going!

    KennyT - Thank you so much! I've got your portion waiting . . . 8-)

    Christine - Thank you! I'm coming over to check out your cannoli - save some!!

    Ozge - Hello!! I've been missing that Spirited Miu Flavor! I hope you are doing well; I'll come over soon to see what you're doing on your site!

    Diva - Thank you so much! Another anniversary we'll have to celebrate is when we met through the Eating Your Words Challenge. Can't forget the Diva Biscotti! 8-D

    Rylan - I just got back from your blog and I'm floored by your gorgeous cakes! My coconut cupcake-y macaroons could use a little bit of extra frills, perhaps . . . 8-) Thank you so much for coming by!

    Angie - Thank you! I have to say that these were at their absolute best right out of the oven - the tops were crisp and crunchy . . . mmmmm!

    OysterCulture - I know!! Who knew that we'd be where we are right now with our sites! I'm hoping that year two will be just as fun - after all, there's still so much food to eat. Looking forward to seeing you and Mr. OysterCulture soon!

  • Daily Spud said...

    I think you'll find that there's also a version of me living in your alternate reality. She's churning out books by the trailer-load and simultaneously mastering Russian and Spanish. Super-Spud and Super-Noodle are probably super friends.

    Back over here in the real world, we may lack superpowers but I think that we've got the friendship thing going. My own first blogging year has been a richer place because of you, so here's a big well done on year one and here's to many more happy blogging years for us both!

  • gastroanthropologist said...

    Happy, Happy Blogoversary! I've very much enjoyed your posts and love reading what you write. You are definitely one of the blogs I feel like I have "grown-up" with blog-wise, because we started around the same time.

    Coconut flour...looking forward to experimenting with that - don't think I've used that before.

  • The Beancounter said...

    Wow! Congratulations!

    This post actually made me look and check out when i first started blogging... It's always a good idea to celebrate...missed my first year...i'll make sure i celebrate my 2nd...

  • ATS said...

    I second Palidor because I,too, love reading your blog, especially those that you associate with the homeland and our family :) Happy Anniversary and may you blog for many years to come!

    Love,
    Tangled's ATE

  • girlichef said...

    Congrats on a beautiful year 1! You were one of my very first reader/commentors (is that spelled right!?) and continue to be a source of inspiration for me :) I can't wait to read your memoirs one day...whilst eating a macaroon cupcake...

  • Marvin said...

    Congrats on getting through your first year of blogging! I love filipino macaroons, though I've only had Goldilocks. I will have to try your homemade version sometime.

  • Michele said...

    Noodle, happy blog-i-versary! I love your post; it made me realize I have no idea how old my blog is and I've neglected to celebrate mine. tsk tsk I'm a bad blogger.

    I LOVE the recipe for Macaroons à la Filipina. I adore traditional macaroons, but I have to say these might look better =) I can't wait to try them.

  • Leela said...

    Congratulations! I didn't realize we started blogging around the same time! Mine is a week shy of a year old.

    Doesn't it feel like you've been doing it for much longer?

    I love how you put a lot of thought into each and every post and how I always leave this site with something to think about or bits of useful new information. Thank you.

  • zerrin said...

    Happy Blogoversary! I do enjoy reading your posts here as you have a very sincere writing style. I can understand from your posts that you're not an 'ordinary' woman who just cooks for her husband. You search on foods or share your opinions on issues related to foods and most of your posts are written like a term paper for an academic purpose. Behind the posts here is a cultured woman, and that's what I love here.Keep up the good work!
    BTW the macaroons look scrumptious!

  • Manggy said...

    Happy blog birthday Noodle! I've enjoyed reading your blog and I'm glad I found it! Here's to many more years of good food :) (clink)
    Thanks for the link and I hope you give them a shot! But I wouldn't say no to the cakey ones either :)

  • MaryMoh said...

    I love these coconut macaroons. I love the addition of condensed milk. Am a great fan of it. Always love the beautiful flavour of coconut. This sounds sooooo gooood. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    I am definitely looking forward to the coming weekend! Thank you all for your lovely comments:

    Daily Spud - Hear, hear! It's amazing what one year has wrought for both of us. But I most cherish the friendships that have developed - you and I definitely have the Filip-Irish connection going! It is no longer a just a wish but a firm determination that we will enjoy a meal together soon!

    Erica - Thank you so much! I will do my best to keep it up. (BTW, I'm hoping to make those arepas this weekend!)

    Gastroanthropologist - I feel the same way about your blog! I was so thrilled the moment I saw your 'name', knowing we shared a similar approach to food. So happy to be sharing the journey with you!

    Mariana - Thank you! I have a lot more in me - it's just a matter of organizing! 8-)

    Calm in the Kitchen - Thanks! It's been such a fun year.

    Beancounter - Thank you! But you have to go back and celebrate your belated first (always a good excuse to eat and drink well!) Next time, let all of us know so that we can celebrate with you!

    Ats - Thank you, dear sister! Watch out - the Cali Contingent may be featured in upcoming posts for Christmas feasting! 8-D

    Greg - Thank you so much! I can't wait to see what you'll do to celebrate the first amazing year of Sippity Sup!

    Jo - Thanks! If all goes well, I'll finish my degree this coming spring. Who knows what I can do with my blog when I get all that free time . . . !

    Nora - Thank you so much for your wonderful support and comments throughout the year!

    Girlichef - Thank you (although the memoirs may be a long time coming!) I still love visiting and commenting on your site, even though it's now often mass commenting at one time. But you've always been such a great friend - I truly appreciate all the support and inspiration you've given me. Speaking of inspiration, remember way back when you made lengua? I finally found a good source . . . can't wait to try your method!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Juliana - Thank you so much! I look forward to the next year. BTW, I'd love to try your pudim de leite recipe; I'm so intrigued by the use of cream cheese in it!

    Marvin - Thank you! I've actually only just re-developed an appreciation for Filipino macaroons so I plan to try other versions. This one could use a little tweaking - I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be so cupcake-like! 8-D (Gotta reduce the baking soda!)

    Kelsey B - Thanks! They were barely out of the oven before we ravaged them. I managed to keep one for photos. 8-)

    Midge - Thank you! I think we can all hope for such a wish in the New Year. 8-D

    Michele - Thank you so much! Not a bad blogger at all. Besides, who says you can't celebrate anytime you want? 8-)

    I've enjoyed trad macaroons, too, but I do like the texture of this type, with less of that sometimes overwhelming coconuttiness.

    Leela - I think last fall was a THE incubation period for food blogs! So many of us started around the same time and I'm so grateful to be able to draw inspiration from and grow with such fantastic company! Thank you so much for your comment. Although I'll grumble a bit when I hit a writing wall, I wouldn never consider giving up writing my blog! So happy that you enjoy it. 8-)

    Zerrin - Thank you so much! I sometimes worry that my 'term paper' style is a bit much but then, I realize it is the my style and the best way for me to share what I've learned. I'm on track to finally graduate next spring, so I hope that the extra time for my blog will help it to grow and develop in a positive and fun way. Thank you so much for being such a dear friend!

    Manggy - Cheers!! I will DEFINITELY give your recipe a shot. This recipe was tasty but I do want to achieve a more accurate version of the macaroons. The plan is to make them for Thanksgiving for my in-laws! I'll let you know how it goes.

    MaryMoh - If it's a Filipino dessert, it's got to have condensed milk! At least, that's what it seems like and I'm not complaining. 8-D

    Lisa - Thank you so much! The lemon extract surprised me, too (I'm so vanilla!) but the hint of citrus really perked this up. Otherwise, it may have been too cloying and coconutty.

  • Lo said...

    VERY late congrats to you for your blogiversary!!

    Those macaroons still look gorgeous after a week :) And I'm still reading, even though I took a bit of a hiatus in there.

  • MyCollegeKitchen said...

    A little late on this, but Congratulations!!! I think you've come a very long way in a year, look at your blog, well organized, great contents, people love reading it, I love reading it. Your blog is awesome ! (um...make me feel ashamed that I've just dragged along with mine, i've had mine for about as long as yours)

  • Deeba PAB said...

    Happy 1st blogiversary you adoreable tangled little lady! Great to read your beautiful post, and bunches of wishes fo many more years of fun blogging. Yours macaroons are the sorts my hub knows of.He looked at my macs & said 'What are these?'...LOL

  • Forager said...

    Happy bloggerversary!

    I love reading your posts - they are so insightful, so detailed and provide a refreshing perspective on foodie things on the other side of the world.

    Looking forward to reading more and more posts.

  • Sapuche said...

    I can’t believe it’s been one year, either, and I’m sorry to have fallen behind in reading your (and others’) blog entries recently. It’s great to hear that you’ve had so much fun doing this, and I hope you realize how much your blog is enjoyed and appreciated. It’s pretty amazing to see how your blog has found its direction, and also to hear how you’ve gone from “recipe-slave to intuitive cook.” Here’s looking forward to more of the same – and maybe a book in addition to your blog? :)

 

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