Saturday, August 27, 2005
coffee & fresh dates
so i looked up from my dublin core immersion long enough to get my daily fill of intense anti-cancer antioxidants. that is, i made a nice americano with jessica's fresh batdorf dancing goat and indulged in a fresh date (i should have stuffed it with mascarpone).
you see, this time-honored italian snack (click here for fancy california version) is apparently one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself, according to long-time bccy pal, dr. joe "square dance" vinson:
"at nearly 1,300 milligrams of antioxidants consumed a day, java easily topped other popular sources of antioxidants such as tea, milk, chocolate or cranberries. actually, the team found that dates have the highest antioxidant punch based on serving size, but 'americans just don't eat that many dates,' [vinson] said."
just another endorsement for the italian way of life, hmm? who knew this great info?
actually, we did. dr. joe's been saying this for years now.
Friday, August 26, 2005
summer's tough for quality chocolate. you can't ship it, so mail-ordering the great stuff from the artisanal chocolatiers just can't be done.
i'm forced to live on quality chocolate bars and cake. with this in mind, mr. right stopped by buttercup to pick up some german chocolate cake (this is exactly what the article in question should look like, to my mind -- deep dark chocolate cake, lots of nuts and coconut in the frosting, which should be applied with a sparing hand!) yesterday.
long-time readers know i'm a big fan of retro-desserts, meaning i've always loved the magnolia, of which buttercup's an off-shoot, sorta.
magnolia's gotten really popular -- the line to get in the door exceeded 30 mins. when i was last there -- and so naturally quality has declined a tad. their german chocolate cake isn't what it used to be.
but last night i thought the buttercup cake wasn't quite chocolate-y enough, and the frosting lacked adequate coconut. still it was pretty good for a monthly indulgence.
thank goodness summer's nearly over! summer is my favorite season, and i must say chocolate's the only thing that makes autumn bearable to me. . .
for some reason i've spent a good portion of the summer listening to older music -- leftism, for example, is great for coding to -- but today i suddenly switched back to equatorial stars.
it just seemed right.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
vote for conchita!
or lola, as some prefer to call her. . .
but long-time bccy pal and scaa 2nd v.p. mary petitt has always supported us coffee-lovin' consumers, so it only seems fair we vote to support her!
plus, isn't juan valdez the best-known and best-loved advertising icon? i mean, that's just true, right?
and a big congrats to long-time bccy pal kenny nye of 9th st. espresso for this great ny times mention (use bugmenot).
as for kenny's tamper, well, dear readers, you know you heard about it here first. . .
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
i feel exactly the same way
". . 'there is nothing more exalting than a good baguette. . .its attractive appearance seduces you and gives you an appetite to go farther. when you squeeze it, its golden brown crust should crackle and even sing.
its aroma should be a little bit sweet, a little bit toasty. there should be a good marriage between its crust and its interior crumb.
when the crumb is pressed, it should spring back rapidly. its color should be off-white and its cavities widely distributed and uneven in size.
its nutty, buttery taste should be both sweet and savory -- like a good chardonnay'..."
of course long-time readers know that kaplan is a man after my own heart. but here's where he and i leap onto the same waverlength 100%:
"sometimes i make my own. but there's no other bread i will eat."
it's true. even nowadays when he we hear the word "artisanal" tossed about so much in nyc, most bread is tasteless. or it may have a slight hint of wheat.
but that gorgeous chardonnay, dried-apricot quality kaplan describes -- which is immediately present in even a half-competent beginner's home-made baguette -- is completely lacking.
anyone who's had dinner with me has watched me take a tiny chunk of bread from even supposedly "good" restaurants and put it down with disappointment. because frankly, your own fresh, home-made bread just is better.
about 100 times better. at first baking your bread seems overwhelming, but actually it's not difficult; it just requires a little practice.
i highly recommend hamelman's fantastic baguette (or boule) recipe. his instructions really are foolproof even for total newbies. . .
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
kona prices up
"the average price of green certified kona coffee is US$9.75 per pound, up 18 percent from US$8.25 a year earlier."
yay: good news for our bccy pals who grow coffee in kona! this means cea at smith farms, john at langenstein farms, and of course suzanne at lion's gate.
even at prices of US$24 a pound roasted, kona coffee is a bargain per cup, costing less than a can of soda from a vending machine. and of course you can get fresh kona at good prices by buying directly from the farmers!
they take care to ship express, so you can get your coffee fresh and delicious right from them. . .these farmers work hard, pay their workers in accordance to u.s.a. law, obey all u.s.a. regulations, and care about the fragile kona environment.
it's a win-win situation!
Monday, August 22, 2005
more on pizza
". . .pizza hut has come up with the 2,240-calorie full house xl pizza."
naturally when i read this, i was shocked. certainly my home-made pizza, which i'm sure tastes much better than any fast food thing, had to be also healthier than that!
so i ran over to the usda food database and did some calculating. my crust recipe, based on 11.5 oz. flour, 1 tablespoon oil, 2 teaspoons sugar, etc. comes out to about 675 calories per 12" crust.
my sauce recipe, based on 2 lb. canned san marzano tomatoes, 3 tablespoons oil, 3 tablespoons wine, etc., comes out to 81 calories in the amount i use to cover that whole 12" crust. the fresh mozzarella, of which each 12" crust gets about 2 oz., comes out at 170 calories.
thus my 12" home-made pizza, including the olive oil i drizzle on top, clocks in somewhere at about 975 calories for an entire pie. once a week, i eat half of such a pizza; mr. right eats a whole one.
it's important to note that the above fast-food object is a 16" pie loaded with pepperoni. ok, so often mr. right asks for pepperoni on his.
i use 1-1/2 oz. of the best pepperoni i can get my hands on; the food database tells me that adds about 190 calories for mr. right, for a total of 1,165 in his sunday night pizza party.
or just a little more than half of what the fast food object is pushing. in short, for close to the same number of calories, you can get 8" of fast food, or 12" of my home-made, prepared with the tastiest, finest and freshest ingredients i can get my hands on.
just another reason to consider making your weekly pizza indulgence at home!
Sunday, August 21, 2005
wracked with envy
if you'd like to see some cookbook-perfect pizza pix, fortify yourself with your favorite anti-envy ritual, and then click on over to mary beth's awesome pizza page. i am particularly salivating over the only simply entitled "crust," which i nominate for food porn shot of the week.
if looking at that doesn't make you wanna run out a get yourself a pie, you need to consider whether you have an eating disorder. m.b. says she prefers her pizza crust made with higher-protein bread flour.
and you see, her results are excellent. however, mr. right prefers the crispier crust from all-purpose flour -- but to try to equal the chew m.b. has obviously achieved there, i was motivated this morning to fold my dough 5 times!
the st. hamelman recipe calls for only 1 fold, but hey! why not experiment!?!
i also have to compliment m.b. on the beautiful shape of her pizze, which are nice and round, but not overly perfect. they look charmingly hand-made, rustic, appetizing, and professional all at once.
just a very appealing shape; no way they could have been machine-stamped. and the baked pix show a gorgeous light-golden brown crust color.
finally -- i think this is a very important point -- m.b. doesn't appear to be overloading her pies with too much sauce or cheese. less is more here, and quite authentic to the neapolitan style.
in short, i think m.b. needs to consider a career change. she easily could charge US$14 for one of hers, just as mario batali does at otto.
i'm not a big fan of the ultra-thin, ultra-crispy "cracker" pizza mario makes, but i think i'd be happy with one of m.b.'s. . . .comparing the pix, actually m.b.'s may look more yummy than his, which seem a tad too blonde to me. . .