I love my coffee but like everyone else I try to limit the amount I have each day so it doesn’t get to me. I have been using a Keurig for several years now and have some mixed opinions on it as they don’t seem to hold up very well even though mine only gets used once or twice a day. Anyway, here are some inexpensive manual coffee maker alternatives for those who like a a deeper, richer flavor to their coffee. America’s Test Kitchen tested and rated these. I may just have to check one out myself and see how well it actually works. Let me know if you have these or any others that you think work well.
Category Archives: Beverages
Tired of the cold winter, all the snow here in the Northeast and shoveling all day long? Then you might need to try one of these hot chocolate recipes from Bon Appetit. They give you some new ideas and twists that are perfect to help take off the chill and give you some great flavors. Check it out!
If you are still looking for same game day snacks before the game starts, Williams-Sonoma has a good list of things you can make that will be perfect not just for today’s game, but for any kind of sports party you might be having. There’s a little something for everyone listed here. Check it out and enjoy the game today!
It’s not too early to start planning your Christmas meal out. I like to have a good idea of what I am going to make well in advance when I am hosting Christmas. This blog post from Bon Appetit features 6 great recipes of some dishes you would love to have on your holiday table. Check it out and see if there is anything you like.
To pick up where I left off yesterday, we did not really have a dinner that first night in Dublin. We were so tired we had slept right through dinner and just went downstairs to the bar in the hotel to see if we could just get a drink and relax. When we arrived there, we found out that we could still order things off the var menu. Neither of us was tremendously hungry, but we did want to have a little something. We each decided to order the lemon tart with raspberry sorbet and an Irish coffee. I can tell you, all three things tasted fantastic. While I did not get the exact recipes for the lemon tart and the raspberry sorbet, I did find some recipes that I think will bring you the same tastes that we had that night.
1 fully baked warm tart shell, 9- to 9 1/2-inch (you can buy a store-bought shell if you want, or I will post the recipe for the pastry shell following)
7 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice from 4 to 5 medium lemons
1/4 cup grated lemon zest
Pinch table salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart pan with the shell on a cookie sheet.
In a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together yolks and whole eggs until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until just combined, about 5 seconds. Add lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium non-reactive saucepan and add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the curd through a single-mesh stainless steel strainer set over clean non-reactive bowl. Stir in the heavy cream; pour the curd into the warm tart shell immediately.
Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and until the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove the outer metal ring, slide a thin metal spatula between the bottom crust and the tart pan bottom to release, then slip the tart onto a cardboard round or serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick, very cold), cut into twenty-four 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour for dusting
Whisk together the yolk, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture; pulse to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Unwrap the dough; lightly flour a large sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap and place the dough in the center. Roll out the dough and line the tart pan. Freeze the dough 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust one oven rack to the upper-middle position and the other rack to the lower-middle position; heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chilled tart shell on a cookie sheet; press a 12-inch square of foil inside the tart shell and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake on the lower rack for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. Carefully remove the foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Transfer the cookie sheet with the tart shell to the upper rack and continue to bake until the shell is golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.
Both of these recipes come from America’s Test Kitchen, but of the ones I looked at, these seemed to be the ones that would produce the results closest to what we had. For the raspberry sorbet, I looked around all over the place to try to find one that I thought would be close to what we had when I came across this one.
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Wash the raspberries well. Dissolve the 1/2 cup of sugar into the 1/2 cup of water. Combine the sugar-water mix and the raspberries in a blender (optional you could strain out the raspberry seeds at this point if they bother you. A lot of people don’t like them). Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker. Freeze as for making ice cream. It takes about 30 minutes in a 1 quart gel canister ice cream maker. Let the sorbet harden for an additional 30 minutes in the freezer. (Don’t leave the sorbet in the freezer too long, or it will be hard to scoop and have the texture of a popsicle.)
That’s all there is to it. It’s a pretty simple recipe that I think will produce results just like what we had. Here’s a picture of what we had at the Brooks Hotel;
The Irish coffee we had I thought would be similar to what I make but it did taste different. I have posted my recipe before if you want to see how I make it, but I watched the bartender make hers and she did it somewhat differently.
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 ounces Irish Whiskey
6 ounces fresh brewed coffee
Pour hot water into your coffee glass. Allow the glass to get warm and then dispose of the hot water. Add the sugar and whiskey to the glass. Pour the hot coffee over the whiskey and sugar. Top with clotted cream and serve.
Now I add extras to my Irish coffee, but I have to say it tasted great this way.You could get a good taste of the Irish whiskey and the clotted cream, which we don’t really do, tasted great. We each had Irish coffees on several nights and noticed that different bartenders make it different ways at the same bar. The first bartender we had mixed the whiskey and sugar before putting the coffee in. She also topped the cream with a single coffee bean, which I thought was a nice touch. The second bartender told us when he served it that he did not mix the sugar into the whiskey and gave us spoons to do it. He said some people don’t like the sugar mixed in, so he leaves it up to the customer. You could certainly taste the whiskey more in the second bartender’s version, but both were pretty good. Here is a picture of the one we had on the first night.
Michelle liked that served each one with a piece of Irish chocolate too . They also left a piece of chocolate on our pillows every night.
I was going to include the Irish breakfast in tonight’s post, but this one is already running long so I think I will include it in tomorrow’s post instead. It was quite a full breakfast, and unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of that one, but it was good and I’ll fill you in on all the contents tomorrow. We’ll see how long tomorrow’s post goes and what I’ll include or maybe I’ll just wait until the next day. Keep checking back to see what shows up. until then, enjoy the rest of your evening and enjoy your meal!
It’s National Coffee Day! There are few things in the food world I like more than a good cup of coffee, and here are some good guidelines on how to make one from Williams-Sonoma. Treat yourself to an extra good cup this morning or all day long!
Michelle and I just got back from our trip to Dublin and had some great local food that I plan to write for the blog this week. Check back in and see how the trip went, what we had and some recipes to share!
Anyone who knows me knows I love a cup of coffee. I try to limit myself to 1 or 2 cups a day, but I want to make sure that they always taste good. Here are a couple of helpful hints from America’s Test Kitchen to make sure your morning coffee helps to get you off to a good start. Pair your cup with a nice piece of blueberry coffee cake and you are good to go. Check it out!
I am a big fan of bananas foster as a dessert. I don’t eat many desserts, but if bananas foster is on the menu or we are planning to make it at home, I am in. This milkshake recipe posted by Food Republic on their blog today definitely sounds like a must try for anyone who likes this. Check it out!
Nothing goes better with grilled food than some good beers (okay, sometimes a good sangria will work too) and this article gives you some great pairing ideas for beer and grilling menus. Check it out and give them a try! i know I will!
It turned out to be quite a busy day yesterday, so I didn’t get a chance to do any blogging at all, so I will try to make up for it now. We ended up having some family over yesterday, so I was able to use the chickens that I bought the other day and try out a new recipe. I got this recipe from Bon Appetit and I think it turned out really well. it was Roast Chickens with Pistachio Salsa, Peppers and Corn. Admittedly it was a little warm out here to have the oven running, but it was worth it.
Roast Chickens with Pistachio Salsa, Peppers and Corn
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced, mashed to a paste with the back of a knife
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme plus sprigs for stuffing
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 2 1/2- 3 pound whole chickens
2 tablespoons salt 1 lemon, halved
Peppers and Corn
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup minced capers plus 1-2 teaspoons caper brine
8 cups thinly sliced yellow, orange and red peppers (about 5 large peppers)
4 red Fresno chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the chickens: Whisk the lemon juice, oil, garlic, 3 tablespoons of thyme, rosemary and sage in a small bowl; set marinade aside. Season the chickens with salt and pepper inside and out. Place each chicken inside a resealable plastic bag; divide the marinade evenly between the two bags. Spread the marinade evenly over the chicken to distribute. Seal the bags and chill for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Transfer the chickens from the bags to a small roasting pan; gently blot the excess oil from the marinade with paper towels, leaving the herbs intact on the chicken skin. Stuff each chicken with a lemon half and several thyme sprigs. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen twine, if desired.
Roast the chickens until well browned, about 30-35 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue roasting, occasionally basting the chickens with the pan juices, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees, 20-30 minutes longer. Transfer the chickens to a carving board; let the chickens rest for 20 minutes before carving.
For the peppers and corn: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and capers. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and the chiles; season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the caper brine, corn, parsley and vinegar just before serving.
For the pistachio salsa: Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in the oil until blended.
A couple of notes on the meal. The peppers and corn turned out a lot spicier than I thought it would, so you can either tone down the chiles or eliminate them, or if you like it hot, leave it that way. It was pretty spicy, but I made some brown rice to go with the meal and if you mixed it in with the rice, it did tone done the heat some. Secondly, you can make the pistachio salsa ahead of time and cover and refrigerate it for up to 2 days before serving. Just let it come to room temperature before you serve it.
I made a nice fruit salad for dessert made of watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, mango, pineapple and kiwi that was delicious and I had quite a bit of watermelon leftover, as well as watermelon juice, so I decided to make a refreshing cocktail for a hot day.
1 cup watermelon juice (press watermelon through a sieve or cheesecloth or blend some watermelon pieces)
4 ounces vodka
1/4 cup simple syrup
1/4 cup triple sec
3 tablespoons salt (optional)
3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
Watermelon slices, for garnish (optional)
Mix together the sugar and salt if using. Wet the rim of a chilled martini glass with a piece of watermelon. Dip the rim into the sugar and salt mixture. Repeat for another glass.
Place the watermelon juice, vodka, triple sec, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Top with ice. Shake well.
Pour contents through a strainer into martini glasses.
Garnish with a wedge of watermelon if desired.
It is very tasty and refreshing if you want to give it a try. I think it’s a great adult drink for the summer.
Finally, I had asked a question on here and on my other blog, http://www.theofficeofiguanaflats.com about where you would go on a picnic and what you would bring.
I got some interesting answers, but most of them seem to tend towards the same thing of a nice, quiet backyard-type setting with lots of grass, lots of shade and lots of good food. There are so many places to choose to go for a nice picnic, I don’t know that I could pick an exact place. I can say that I too would like a nice quiet, grassy setting, someplace shaded by trees but enough so that some sun can break through and give you the nice warm feeling on your face now and then. There are probably settings like this all over, in any park or mountain hideaway. it would have to be somewhere where it wouldn’t get too hot, maybe near a lake that you could take a quick dip or do some fishing before you picnic. As for what I would bring, I would take a nice picnic basket with a comfy blanket to sit on or lay on. There would have to be some fresh fruit involved, maybe a fruit salad or just a mix of some berries and melon. I would want to make some chicken salad sandwiches, or maybe even better some peppery bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwiches on some nice fresh ciabatta bread, some really fresh half sour pickles and some fresh, homemade potato salad. I could even go lighter and just bring a fresh loaf of crunchy french bread, some really fresh, off the vine tomatoes, a little salt, some arugula and some good extra-virgin olive oil and just have some sliced tomato and pieces of bread with a little bit of the oil, yum yum. Of course we would have to have a bottle of wine, something light I think, probably a white that you would have chilled to serve with your picnic. I think that would be great.
Thanks again to everyone who answered and a special thank you to Geoffrey Zakarian, Scott Conant, Gael Greene and MyLastBite.com for offering up their answers. If you’re interested, you can check out today’s question at http://www.theofficeofiguanaflats.com to see what it is and answer if you would like. Today’s is also somewhat food-related, so you might like it.
That’s it for today. We’re taking it easy tonight and just having pizza, so there is nothing special going on in the kitchen tonight. I do hope to make the Sicilian Steak tomorrow, so check back for that. Until then, enjoy your holiday weekend and enjoy your meal!