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Saturday, December 15, 2001

and last but not least, holiday ideas for yogis and yoginis:

posted by fortune | 5:05 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Friday, December 14, 2001

do bread snobs exist? pizza snobs? of course! and so you can now meet the holiday needs of the snobby baker or pizza-lover:

  • king arthur flour; for hard-to-find equipment and the best flour for the home baker

  • sourdoughs international; for an exciting array of staters from around the world -- the sourdough fan will love 'em all, as each has its own unique characteristics

  • the bread bible; one of the most helpful and interesting books on bread, as well as being perhaps the most well-written. some have complained of errors in the instructions, but i've never encountered anything really serious

  • breads from the la brea bakery; innovative, interesting, but sometimes complex recipes

  • no need to knead; fun introduction to italian breads

  • the bread builders; for your inner food chemist, a truly technical book on sourdoughs, the physics of bread baking, and the science of wood-burning ovens

  • artisan baking across america; love this book, my own pizza crust is based on the author's

  • edwardo's famous stuffed pizza; for those pizza lovers who must have this chicago treat, edwardo's now ships 'em frozen. of course they are not quite as good as in the restaurant. . .but they're close!

  • chez panisse pizza, pasta and calzone; i love almost everything alice waters does. . .interesting ideas for pizza toppings and calzone here.

of course, this particular list could go on and on, but we have to reasonable don't we. . .sort of? mostly? anyway, my personal recipe for pizza crust, derived by maggie glezer (above) from the official neapolitan discipline is here.

posted by fortune | 10:08 AM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Thursday, December 13, 2001

ok, so yesterday was all about holiday shopping for the coffee snob. how about the chocolate snob? for those who must have hard-to-find and/or artisanal chocolates:

  • chocosphere; highly regarded by many, altho' i have never ordered from them

  • e-chocolates; also highly regarded by many -- again, i've not used them personally but they did seem cool when i chatted them up at the chocolate show

  • hypergourmet; i want to order from these people soon, if not for the chocolate, then certainly for the buffalo terrine. . .

  • cocoa coop; i think they're still in business, and until i hear otherwise, i'll give ya the link

  • desserts to die for; the inventor of the death by chocolate cake now sells cookies fatales

  • donnelly; i hear more and more good things about this guy's chocolate

  • jacques torres; i love this stuff. . .i love this stuff. . .

  • bernard callebaut; the scion of the belgian chocolate giant, which is no longer an independent firm, went to canada and is devoting himself to luxury chocolate

  • burdick; widely proclaimed chocolate genius, his little mice are just the cutest and taste great too

  • knipschildt; the unsurpassed, perfect truffle, if i do say so myself

again, there are so many many places to get premium chocolate nowadays. it used to be hard to find even lindt! but now we enjoy a wide revival of the chocolate and a new movement devoted to cocoa stuff of the highest quality. . .

posted by fortune | 11:10 AM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

as promised, links to fun coffee shopping websites, where you can get cool and stylish coffee stuff:

  • chiasso; check out fun stuff like the Inka french press

  • oriac; love the fun coffee set; very kubrick's "2001"

  • alessi; for you millionaires in the audience

  • chris coffee; for you seeking illy cups at somewhat reasonable prices

  • Forzano Italian Imports; you never know what they're gonna have or what it's gonna cost, but the atmosphere is priceless

  • 1st line; good place to check out for prices if you're interesting in getting a machine

  • daily grind; another good place to check out for prices if you're interesting in getting a machine (and where i got my silvia from)

  • whole latte love; also a good place to check out for prices if you're interesting in getting a machine

  • aa bree; yup, a good place to check out for prices if you're interesting in getting a machine

if you are planning to buy a machine or grinder, do check out the machine websites above and call 'em up. these sellers are reliable and extremely competitive; they will usually strive to match or beat each other's deals.
so don't think you can't afford a nice piece of equipment right now; just go out there and haggle like a fiend. and remember: buy the best grinder you can afford! the grinder is as important as the machine.

this is only a partial list but i hope it is enough to get you started; i'll offer some more later. . .

posted by fortune | 10:29 AM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

today's the 3-month mark of the world trade center horror:

but this somber note aside, let's talk about a great place to get hard-to-find chocolate: the canadian hypergourmet. finally, you can get bonnat and marquise de sevigne with relative ease. as for the domori, well, i still don't think it's as great as advertised!

and check out that dark chocolate tasting special: looks like it would be a good deal for most people, for whom these chocolates are simply unavailable or range up to US$4.50 a bar! since the bars are mini ones, you don't have to feel quite so guilty about ordering the large special. also, those menier (now owned and retired by nestle but once famous for its lovely advertising poster of a schoolgirl writing on the wall), poulain 1848 (now owned by cadbury), dolfin, and cemoi chocolates are quite difficult to find. . . . though the dolfin can be ordered from the salt-lake-city-based cocoa cooperative.

posted by fortune | 9:39 AM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Monday, December 10, 2001

more on the latte art front:

beginner's art made at home on a silvia by a fellow coffee fanatic: amateur latte art designs.

serious pro art made on a commercial machine by a noted barista: pro latte art designs.

and the how-to article i link to most often: milk texturizing.
note however that latte art requires a special and somewhat pricey milk pitcher. . .

posted by fortune | 11:26 AM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Sunday, December 09, 2001

well, i spent the day sipping minestrone and latte. . .

and it was memorable latte, for me at least: sick as a dog, half-aware of what i was doing, i lucked into my first good foam with the silvia.

good steamed milk isn't "foam" really -- actually it has the texture of yogurt, shines like a white chrome, and doesn't subside for a good long time. it totally lacks any stiff bubbles on top, but will leave a mustache when you drink it.

because i wasn't feeling so well, i pre-heated the silvia and went to sit down with the paper. i lost track of time; the sivlia must have heated for 40 mins., far longer than i usually heat her, and much longer than strictly "necessary." but then the miracle of foam happened!

clearly, it was luck, fresh, very cold milk, and a very hot machine. i'm sure i couldn't do it again if i tried. still, it shows me that perfect foam is in my reach!

maybe i should check out david schomer's video on milk steaming for professional baristas. . .i could learn something!

posted by fortune | 6:41 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

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