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Saturday, August 25, 2001

went out for some iced coffee after yoga lessons today, only to run into some la colombe! interesting coffee day. . .

la colombe is a very controversial coffee, as you may know. roasted in philadelphia by two european-trained roasters, it's a rather cult coffee. some people love it; others despise it. the roasters claim the blend is so rich and full you can actually use less coffee and still get a great cup. this i personally doubt. but i have been interested in this coffee, while somewhat wavering on whether i actually wanted to bother ordering it.

and then it appeared, for sale right here in brooklyn, fresh roasted, packed in a one-way valve bag. even so, if you touch the bag, the scent of coffee fills the air. la colombe comes in several grades -- i chose a lighter roast, the nizza, for espresso. and i looked forward to tasting it today, only to discover that my trusty 2-yr-old saeco 2002 grinder appears to have died.

when you flip the switch, it makes a ruur, ruuur noise, like a car engine that won't turn over. so now i have no way to try the colombe today. if i can't figure out what's wrong with the saeco, i just might have to give in a get a rocky! i'd actually rather have a grinder where the coffee falls straight into the filter handle, but since i need this machine for grinding vac pot as well, the large doser will be useful i guess. . .

posted by fortune | 4:56 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Friday, August 24, 2001

no pussyfooting. takes work but worth it. definitely requires ice cream maker of some sort. try an inexpensive donvier.

the height of all summer experiences, from my previous life in santa fe -- mexican chocolate ice cream:

3 c. half-and-half
1/2 firmly packed dark brown sugar
12 egg yolks, beaten in a big bowl
12 oz. scharffenberger 62%
3 oz. scharffenberger 99%
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder, or freshly ground espresso (turkish setting)
3 tablespoons cinnamon
3/4 c. confectioner's sugar
1 c. almonds, lightly toasted, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon pequin chile flakes
1 c. coffee liqueur of your choice

put 2 c. of the half-n-half into a saucepan with the brown sugar. heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. remove the pan from the heat. whisk 1/3 c. of the mixture into the egg yolks to warm them. put the saucepan back on the heat, and pour in the egg yolks. cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. stir for 15-20 mins., until mixture coats the back of the spoon. you may want to strain this custard into a nice clean bowl.

put 7 oz. of the 62% and all of the 99% into a microwave-proof bowl. add the coffee. heat in the microwave on high for 1-1/2 mins. then stir the chocolate until melted and smooth. if necessary, return to microwave and heat again for 30 seconds.

attach the plastic blade to your food processor. pour in the melted chocolate, add the remaining cup of half-n-half, the cinnamon, and the confectioners sugar. process until smooth, about 45 seconds to 1 min. gradually add the chocolate to the custard mixture. stir to mix very well. let cool for 30-45 mins.

coarsely chop the remaining chocolate. pour the cooled custard into the ice cream maker and freeze about 2/3. then stir in chopped chocolate, almonds, and chile flakes. continue to freeze. serve with liqueur poured over the top.

posted by fortune | 6:05 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Thursday, August 23, 2001

similiar idea as yesterday, but without the jello part. . .mocha custard.

1 c. espresso or strong, strong coffee
1 c. milk or cream
1/2 c. evaporated skim milk
3 eggs
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
1/2 c. callebaut chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coffee liqueur of your choice
fresh grated nutmeg to taste

preheat oven to 325 degrees. mix coffee, milk, and evaporated milk in a saucepan. scald slowly, but don't burn or let boil. meanwhile, in the bowl of the stand mixer, add in the eggs and sugar. attach the paddle beater and beat on speed 5 until thick and lemon colored, about 3 minutes.

when the hint of a skin has formed on the milk and coffee mixture, remove from heat. with the stand mixer still beating away, gradually and slowly pour the hot milk into the beaten eggs and sugar.

put chocolate chips and liqueur in a small microwve proof bowl and melt the chocolate in the microwave on high power, about 1 min. stir until smooth and melted. add the chocolate to the egg mixture. grate some nutmeg into the custard. lower the mixer speed to 3 and beat until smooth.

divide the mixture into individual ramekins (about 6). place them in a baking pan just big enough so they fit. pour hot water into the pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 10 mins.

after 10 mins, give each ramekin a little stir. stir a second time after another 10 mins. bake for another 15 mins. check to see if a knife inserted into the center of a custard comes out fairly clean, with only a little custard sticking to it. the custard should shake a bit when jiggled. remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove the ramekins from the pan. cool the ramekins on a rack for 30 mins, and then chill for 3 hours or overnight.

garnish with chocolate curls and cocoa. yummm!

posted by fortune | 5:59 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

i think it's time for a little, cool, easy-to-make coffee and chocolate dessert. think of it as jello for grownups.

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 c. + 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 c. cream, whole or skim milk (choose your poison!)
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon instant espresso, or turkish ground beans of your own
2 teaspoons coffee-flavored liqueur of your choice
2 tablespoons callebaut chocolate chips, crushed quickly in a food processor or blender

add the gelatin and sugar in a large saucepan. in a bowl, beat together the milk, egg yolks, and coffee until frothy. stir into the gelatin and sugar mixture. cook this over low heat for 7-9 minutes, stirring constantly until slightly thickened.

pour cooked mixture into bowl. stir in the liqueur, cover with plastic, and chill for about 2 hours. it shouldn't have completely set; if it has, beat it with a whisk to break it up and keep beating until it's smooth. stir in the crushed chocolate chips.

attach the wire whip to your stand mixer. put the egg whites in the mixer bowl and beat at speed 10 until stiff but not dry. plop a spoonful of whites into the jello mixture and stir to lighten. then add the rest of the egg whites and gently fold in.

divide the jello into champagne flutes or martini glasses. chill for 3 hours or overnight. decorate with cinnamon sticks, whipped cream, and a dusting of cocoa on top. sprinkle with a few whole chocolate chips, too.

posted by fortune | 6:46 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Tuesday, August 21, 2001

while it's true that i'm still reeling from the amazement of finding a drinkable espresso in brooklyn outside my own home, it lead me to realize that one thing we completely lack here in new york is latte art.

i've been to many cafes here in new york, but never have i seen any barista even attempt latte art. what is latte art, you may ask? it's a lovely little presentation piece, a design in the shape of a heart, a flower, etc., made with milk on the top of the latte.

while it may seem a trifle, the ability to create latte art shows that a barista has completely mastered milk texturizing or foaming, as its known to you and me.

only perfectly foamed, silky milk can be used in latte art. less than perfect milk won't pour correctly and won't hold the design.

i must confess that i have not myself yet mastered latte art. i'm still working on consistently producing perfect foam. i wonder however why we seem to have no latte art anywhere in new york! how can this be?

if any of you, gentle readers, can point me in the direction of a new york cafe or barista where you've seen latte art, please email me at once! i simply gotta know!

posted by fortune | 6:25 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Monday, August 20, 2001

an interesting coincidence:

the philosopher maintains his tranquility by the power of buddhi, or the discerning mind. . . .and the philosopher's tranquillity is like the stoic's, like a world-fleeing ascetic's, inwardly a lonely freedom, remote, and aloof from men; but the yogin has found tranquility in the truth not only in himself but in all beings. he has realized his unity with all and his tranquil equality is therefore full of sympathy and oneness.

he takes upon himself the burden of their happiness and sorrow by which he is not affected or subjected. the perfect yogin is no solitary musing on the self in his ivory tower of isolation but a many-sided universal worker for the good. because he is a bakhta, a lover, who sees beauty in all beings. -- from "equality," sri aurobindo

and here i am listening to the jefferson airplane live at the fillmore west: "trans-love airways gets you there!" more chocolate tomorrow!

posted by fortune | 11:39 AM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Sunday, August 19, 2001

so after my yoga lesson this afternoon, i went out for coffee with yoga teacher frank jude boccio. he showed me a cute little place on smith st. here in brooklyn, where i actually had a rare, rare thing -- an espresso in a cafe that was actually drinkable. and drinkable without sugar!

oh yes, i was talking to fjb about and he said they great profiteroles at this place. so we duly ordered scrumptious goat cheese and eggplant panini, then profiteroles and espresso. it's almost unheard of nowadays to get a drinkable espresso outside one's own home, you know?

but we did. the barista, stacey, used the cafe's ecm donatello commercial machine pretty well; while the crema could have been a shade darker -- it lacked "el tigre" or tiger mottle, the distinctive darker brown striping in the crema that is one indicator of perfect espresso -- i was still deeply impressed. stacey's rich, mellow espresso is worth drinking, and i think if she had more formal training than just bumping around liguria and making ends meet in neighborhood cafes, she could be a coffee star.

oh, and the profiteroles are delicious too. where is this little brooklyn neighborhood marvel? panino'teca 275, 275 smith st., brooklyn. ask to have stacey make your coffee.

posted by fortune | 3:35 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

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