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Saturday, June 17, 2006

surprisingly yummy

no, i'm not referring to oren's greenwell kona in the chemex from yesterday. that's obviously yummy. . .fine after-yoga, pre-marcella drinking!

yes, after a dharma-style yoga class with a lot of backbending -- that's what hot days are good for, yes? -- i floated back home to tackle the cursed jerusalem artichokes.

marcella bills this recipe pollo in tegame con i topinambur, which means it's a braise of chicken with said 'chokes, garlic, capers, oregano, parsley, and white wine from lombardy. (i used dry marsala because, well, that's what i had!

and we all know that making it up with what you have in a really delicious way is the true italian style! this is why other people have stale cookies while the italians have tiramisu. . .)

what i also had from the csa was some pasture-raised chicken from dines farms. this was my first week with the csa chicken and lemme tell you, it's scrumptious chicken.

it comes to the csa pick-up freshly skinned and deboned, so it's a snap to cook with. at US$4.00 a pound, it's not exhorbitant either, considering the quality, prep level, and freshness; the eggs are excellent as well.

no crazy de-beaking or evil stuff, and the eggs made awesome fresh handmade papparedelle for lunch today. . .but i'm getting ahead of myself.

(pasta machines are for wimps! put on your apron, make the dough, and roll it out with a 32-in. pin or don't do it at all!)

marcella's recipe, should you find yourself stuck with excellent chicken and the strange jerusalem artichoke or sunchoke, is easy to make, albeit a tad dish intensive. (not quite one-pot). the complete cooking time is about 1 hr. 10 mins., 20 of which is browning the chicken in 2 batches.

the prep time is about 30 minutes, but only because you have to peel the darn 'chokes. since they're knobby like ginger, it's slower going than potatoes.

chopping up the garlic and herbs is brain-dead stuff, no drama. after the browning, basically everything goes in the largest saute pan you've got and simmer for 45 mins.

surprise! it's yummy! it's actually a good dish.

marcella doesn't tell you one crucial thing about it, however, and that it is has a fair amount of liquid pan sauce. if i were you, i'd use some of that 45 mins. to make up a batch of polenta -- umm, tasty wine-n-garlic-herb sauce on polenta. . .

my husband had seconds. big relief.

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posted by fortune | 6:35 PM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

Friday, June 16, 2006

breaking coffee news: geisha arrives at intelligentsia

just got off the phone with matt riddle of intelligentsia. as posted previously, the auction-busting, prize-winning hacienda la esmeralda panama geisha has now arrived in chicago.

devoted readers know this is one of my favorite coffees of all time. ever.

in fact, matt said, it was being test-roasted even as we spoke. there's only 85 pounds for sale, folks, and it will be broken into half-pound bags -- so only 170 people will be able to get their hands on this coffee. period.

of that amount, 45 pounds is available for sale on-line. here's how matt's gonna do it: next wednesday, he's sending out a coupon code in the intelligentsia email newsletter.

to pre-order, you'll have to put the coffee in the shopping cart as usual, and also enter this coupon code. if the coupon code doesn't work, you'll know you're too late and the coffee's already sold out.

matt expects to blow through the entire on-line allotment pretty much right away. so if you're interested in this coffee from intelligentsia, run over to the site and register for the email newsletter pronto.

then watch your email, follow the newsletter's instructions exactly, and be prepared to buy immediately. . .more details to follow!

of course the remainder of the geisha will be available for sale in doug zell's retail locations, as well.

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posted by fortune | 12:17 PM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

nice chat with oren & the groundwork tarrazu dota

and oren was so kind as to leave his aerie on the upper east side and drop by with some kona from greenwell! much thanks to you, o!

normally i would brew this in the vac pot, but after o's recent discussion of the chemex, that's where this will go tomorrow.

i started this morning with scaa pro member ric rhinehart's groundwork costa rica tarrazu dota shb in the chemex, at 1.75 oz fresh ground coffee to 28 oz. water with a brew time of 4 mins. 35 sec. dota, as i've said before, is a prized micro-region of the famed costa rica tarrazu coffee area.

the trade esteems dota because of its naturally high humidity and unusually rich volcanic soil, says don schoenholt of gillies. these are just extra-wonderful growing conditions for the bean, as is the general altitude, which tends to average about 3,300 ft.

this coffee was definitely roasted darker than ric's granadillo. all the beans showed large patches of oil; say, if you turned the beans over and looked at the backs, up to 1/2 to 2/3s of that surface showed oil.

so i'm calling it espresso. and maybe he intends it for single-origin espresso shots?

as you would expect from the roast level, the brightness was lesser than you might expect, so i'm calling it barely nippy. when ground, the coffee was still floral.

obviously, the major feeling was roast coffee notes (the cupping handbook lists this as a subset of malty, and i'd say the aftertaste is definitely in the pungent, clove-y region of the flavor wheel. the body stayed nice & silky, however.

long-time readers know that i'm not a big fan of the dark coffees personally, but if you love the west-coast dark style, i predict you will like ric's dota very much. i'm tempted to try it as an espresso this weekend. . .

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posted by fortune | 8:38 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

Thursday, June 15, 2006

various topics of minor note

  • bread, that is pizza, in this case:
    • suddenly the weather has shifted from autumnal to high august. it could over 90 degrees f this sunday, which may make it too hot to bake pizza. am watching forecast with care
  • coffee:
  • chocolate:
    • in weather like this, when it's nearly too hot for pizza, it's surely death to chocolate. nonetheless, i hope to have some chocolate news for you all in a few days. maybe. we'll see.
  • yoga:
    • summer being as it is, we are now sadly in high season for subsitute teachers. long-time readers know i'm often unhappy with the quality of substitute teachers. just have to hope the regular teachers all come back soon. just as they say new yorkers go crazy in august when all the shrinks are at the beach, maybe we also all freak out a bit when our usual yoga teachers vanish to india and summer workshops.
  • sunchokes:
    • thanks to the intrepid reader who pointed me to the recipe in marcella cucina for a fricasee of chicken, oregano, capers, and sunchokes. will do this weekend.
  • coffee part 2:
    • one slightly used zach & dani coffee roaster to loan to a known coffee lover in nyc. contact me thru the email link below.

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posted by fortune | 8:15 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

the groundwork costa rica granadillo

ok, as promised yesterday, i leapt outta bed this morning, fired up the chemex, and brewed ric rhinehart's groundwork costa rica shb "granadillo."

i don't have an exact roast date, but i think this coffee is now 8 days old. i would describe the roast level as vienna-, since the occasional bean shows small patches of oil; ric didn't send me an agtron number, sorry.

i ground these beans at setting 11 out of 15 on my saeco 2002, using 1.75 oz fresh ground coffee to 30 oz. water. the water temperature measured out at 198 degrees f.; while total brew time in the chemex was 4 min. 25 secs.

got your scaa flavor wheel handy? ok, here we go!

this full coffee offers a classic costa rica bright, nippy taste. the dry grounds were nicely floral, in a tea-rose kinda way, beautiful scent.

as the water cascaded over the grounds in the chemex, the coffee bloomed in a rushing tide and released pleasant malty, toasty aromas into the air. the granadillo seemed primarily caramelly to me, towards the maple syrup on the wheel.

and the aftertaste followed up with a heavy vanilla-like syrup character -- think this is an example of "butter," but i'd like to talk to ric about that some more -- one that also left the back of the mouth slightly dry and powdery, with an almost nutmeg-like spice feeling.

in short, it's a nicer-than-usual costa rica, made notable by its clean and balanced character. sometimes i think i don't go out of my way here to appreciate balance enough.

ken davids describes balance as "tasting term applied to coffees for which no single characteristic overwhelms others, but that display sufficient complexity to be interesting," which likewise doesn't really give the full sense of how pleasing good balance can be.

balance is really a lyrical quality, you know? it's what makes the coffee feel like music when you drink it; it's what takes these disparate feelings i mention and knits them together in a flow, i think.

the chemex gave the coffee a medium body, maybe even a bit silky. it's a delightful coffee, and i loved it for breakfast.

with a splash of light cream and simple, unflavored splenda syrup, it was a graceful morning cup.

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posted by fortune | 8:02 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

welcome ny post readers!

and what a nice group of people you seem to be! already my inbox is filled with sweet emails from you!

thanks -- i'm so grateful. to you, and the wonderful professionals who run the great coffeeshops here in nyc.

kiri tannenbaum got it mostly right in the post today, which is much better than usual for freelance journalists. however, space limitations did apparently cause the editors to drop juan valdez and cafe grumpy from my list.

the nyc coffee meetup group can be found here, if you'd like to join us coffee lovers. and to become an scaa consumer member, here's your form.

i will later this morning be posting my description of scaa pro member ric rhinehart's groundwork costa rica shb "granadillo" -- well, in just a little bit. . .

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posted by fortune | 6:13 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


unfortunately, due to a mis-routing of the mail in my office, ric rhinehart's promised costa rica from groundwork sat around for a couple of days before anyone told me it was here. (weeping, weeping)

but now it's in my hot little hands. . .the bags appear to have no roast date, so i can't tell you the age. however, the estates are nicely marked: the granadilla (named, i assume, for the golden passion fruit that shades the coffee on this estate); the organic montes de cristo (rumored to marry well with scotch); and a tarrazu dota shb, dota being a prized micro-region within tarrazu.

these will hit the chemex immediately before they age any longer. thank you ric! heart

in other news, today's the second delivery from the csa -- i'm looking at more delicious local organic strawberries, lettuce, herbs, etc. but what's puzzling me is the promised sunchokes.

what to do with these? the 1963 larousse notes they were once popular but are now mostly fed to pigs, remarks that the flavor "is pleasant, but soon palls," and suggests you make 'em into a salad like potatoes. long-time bccy pal and baking marvel m.b. sent me a similar recipe.

however, it does so with a tone that clearly implies you'd only be reduced to this during the next siege of paris after you've stewed all the sewer rats you can find in red wine first -- i kid you not, the larousse has such a recipe, dated from the rigors of the brutal franco-prussian war in which the french lost the capital and nearly became permanently german -- but the link lies, no one in france has eaten this outside of utter warfare, and furthermore, it misquotes the recipe, since it clearly instructs you to marinate the rats in wine before you cook 'em.

after that charming history lesson, i hit the 'net and found that celebrity chefs are decorating sunchokes nowadays with gold leaf. lawd love a green-eyed duck!

there's embracing the forgotten peasant foods of the past, and then there's outright pretension. more common is to find recipes where you boil 'em, puree 'em, and drown 'em in as much cream as you can stand.

one of the interesting things about these objects is that they don't actually contain much starch, which makes them suitable, i guess, for people on low-carb diets and diabetics as potato substitutes. except that lacking starch, they tend to fall apart easily during cooking, so you have to be careful.

unless one of you, gentle readers, comes up with a genius idea, i think the best thing to do with them is to serve them in the trusty gratinee recipe of that wacky louis diat. i know: an autumn recipe.

this is what is striking me as nuts about the csa so far -- with the exception of the strawberries, most of the produce appears to be autumnal! it's june -- i can't feed my husband these october dishes!

when i joined the csa i was looking forward to delicious seasonal vegetable recipes. . .what gives?

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posted by fortune | 6:37 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 3 comments | leave a voicemail

Monday, June 12, 2006

no secret. . .

it's no secret that blogger/blogspot has been having some problems the past several days. and i know some people are having troubles just getting blogspot sites to load -- i'm sorry you're having difficulties reaching this site, dear readers, and so i encourage you to subscribe to my podcast via itunes.

if the blogger issues don't clear up soon, i will start doing more podcasts so you can get your bccy goings-on that way. in the meantime, i really need to chat about peter g's counterculture ethiopian yrg, the ambessa.

but i'm not happy with the grind; i'm still struggling to get that tropical fruit feeling into the cup. i've tried brewing it so far in the chemex and the cafetiére (that's a french press to you!).

so far i can say it's:

  • winey
  • tea-rose floral
  • citrus
  • caramelly-honey-syrupy
  • lighter than peter's usual roast, maybe a city+

and here's a bccy shout-out to long-time pal and scaa consumer member jim schulman:

"the proliferation of coffee shops helped usher in a new era, and coffee lovers now have a new bean to grind. many are doing their own roasting, grinding and cupping-testing the beans' quality by sipping and spitting out samples."

nice piece in the trib, jim! congrats!

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posted by fortune | 8:07 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

Sunday, June 11, 2006

andrew b's ecco espresso

My BCCY Podcast while today's podcast describes andrew b's ecco espresso, i do want to alert readers to the fact that i am planning a podcast soon on the pizza front. . .anyway, more later. . .

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posted by fortune | 9:54 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

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