Monday, December 1, 2014

Craft Beer Cellar 2014 Advent Beer Day 1

Today was the first day of this year's beer Advent box from Craft Beer Cellar. Last year was really wonderful, but I had trouble with a beer every night. I've got a plan to deal with that this year: more on that later.

The first beer this year was last year's number 17, Sierra Nevada Celebration. It is an excellent start with a flavor that feels like Christmas. First I noticed a long-lasting, creamy head that left Guinness-like lacing with each sip. The flavor doesn't come across as sweet to me, but the best way I can describe it is like a red bell pepper followed by caramel and bitterness on the back of my tongue. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Egg Muffins Four Ways

What happens when my engineer wife cooks. Well, I get to eat the experiments. I woke up this morning to egg muffins wrapped in bacon. Ummm, bacon. The experiment: scrambled or whole eggs with the biscuit dough on the top or the bottom:


Gail greased the bottom of the tins, wrapped the bacon around the edges and layered the eggs and biscuit dough to test the permutations. The whole thing went in at 350 for 12 minutes, enough to cook the bacon and the eggs.

Whatever was on the bottom cooked more than what was on the top.  So, when the eggs were cooked enough, the biscuits on the top were slightly under cooked.  Even with the biscuit on the bottom, the whole egg needed to be mostly firm. If you want them with a loose yolk, you would need to add the egg half way through the cooking.

The best arrangement was biscuit on the bottom, and scrambled eggs on the top. I'm a lucky engineer's husband.

Making Coffee Art

I've been making drawings in my wife's coffee for a while now, and she posts the best on Facebook. Recently, a few people have asked how I do it. Here's a video of the process so you can make your own.

To make your own, you will need the items in this picture:
  • Espresso maker (including the tamper)
  • Espresso
  • Low fat milk
  • 1 wide mouth coffee cup
  • 1 deep coffee cup
  • 1 normal coffee cup
  • Paper towel
  • Spoon
  • Flat toothpicks
  • Coffee maker and coffee (optional)
  • Sugar (optional)

1. Make the espresso or coffee. Gail likes coffee as the base, but you could use a cup of espresso if you prefer. Fill the wide mouth cup about half full with the coffee or espresso. Sweeten it as you like. This is the final serving cup.

2. Make the espresso in a separate normal coffee cup. You need it for the dark foamy stuff on the top. This is called crema. I drink the remaining espresso when the art is done.

3. Make the milk foam in the deep coffee cup. Surprisingly, we find that low fat milk foams better than whole milk. You can sweeten the milk a little before foaming if you like.

4. When you have the coffee, espresso and foam ready, gather them together with your spoon, toothpick and paper towel.

5. Make the "canvas" by pouring and spooning the foamy milk into the wide mouth coffee cup over your coffee or espresso and smoothing it with the back of the spoon.

6. Wipe the spoon clean with the paper towel.

7. Use the spoon to skim some of crema off the top of the espresso to use as the "paint." Use the spoon as a thick paintbrush or the toothpick as a fine paintbrush. I like the flat toothpicks because one side is wider than the other, so I get two thicknesses.

8. If you want to highlight the image, you can use some leftover foam for white highlights like eyes, or mix the crema with milk foam to get a medium tone.

9. Don't forget to take a picture and share it with me.

Monday, February 10, 2014

2014 Olympics: Iceland

Today's Olympics honoree is Iceland. Gail made an Icelandic dish she found on Andreas Viestad's chicken with saffron and cinnamon. The cinnamon flavors were mild, but given that roast chicken is such a favorite of mine, this dish was a wonderful melding of international and familiar flavors. The drippings made a great sauce for the potatoes.

I poured Garún Nr. 19, an Icelandic stout from Borg Brugghús. I'm not sure I've poured a darker stout. I thought it tasted like a beer version of coffee ice cream, very rich and creamy.

Friday, February 7, 2014

2014 Olympics: Russia

The Winter Olympics have started, and as we usually do, we are celebrating with international food and drink. Tonight we made perogies and I had a shot of vodka to honor Russia, the host nation. Gail and I are struck each time we do this that the international foods with staying power typically have simple ingredients and are unusually satisfying. They are the comfort foods of other nations. The other thing that strikes us is the amount of work per bite that it takes to make many of these dishes.

These perogies are a seasoned mashed potato wrapped in a pasta-like dough. The dumplings are boiled and served in a sauce of onions and butter. They are very simple and delicious.