Monday, December 31, 2001

on the last day of this sad year, let me take a minute to thank all of my readers and correspondents, no mattter whether you're a regular who's been with me from the beginning or have just today made a quick stop by on your way somewhere else. i started this blog in may, knowing only that i didn't want a blog that just chatted about the other blogs i read. i wanted a blog that was more personal, more interesting, more useful, and reflected who i is. from may to today, together we've gone from 500 hits a month to 15,000.

i'll be spending this new year's eve making pizza and chocolate chip cookies. instead of my usual yellow-tomato pizza sauce, i'll be using a more standard red-tomato pizza sauce. here's the way i make it, using canned tomatoes in the winter:

1 can 28 oz. crushed red organic tomatoes
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, in chiffonade
3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 cup red wine
1 teaspoon salt (optional, depending on saltiness of pizza topping)

heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. add garlic and sautee in oil for 1 min. then add tomatoes, wine, bay leaf, salt. reduce heat and let simmer partially covered for 10-15 mins, stirring occasionally. add herbs and simmer for 5 mins. more. that's all there is to it.

once again, my deepest thanks and best wishes to you all. . .and i sincerely pray that 2002 be a happier year for everyone. but we all know that happier years start a morning at a time, preferably with a cup of great cappucino! and yesterday, while making my morning froth, i finally snapped. . .

the silvia comes with a default double-spouted portafilter. usually i plop two shot glasses underneath and let silvia pour. this is great if you're going to pour it all later into a milk drink, but not too long ago, i did have to make a single cup of espresso. then the double spout was a drag -- lost a lot of crema to the shot glasses. i watched sadly as half the crema i had worked so hard to create stayed glued to the sides.

so today i bought a single spout portafilter handle. now i can drop espresso directly into the pre-heated cup and forget the shot glasses for straight espresso. i also took the opportunity to buy a commercial-grade double-espresso coffee basket. this holds a gram or two more of coffee than the standard silvia double. because if you're going to make a double, you should get a big double. more coffee, no crema loss -- excellent!

see you all tomorrow. . .

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