30×30 Day 11

Today I ate more than I should have, even though I wasn’t hungry, because when Dad makes food with the intention of sharing, I have two choices:

1. I can share with him, and we’re all happy for a multitude of reasons.

2. I can reject his bid, forego the happiness above, and leave him to eat way more than he should.

My waistline is glad I only visit once in a while.

I’m glad to be visiting.

Homemade Latte Hearts

I’ve been playing around with pouring latte art on with my super basic home setup, tweaking several variables.

Bean: A couple lighter roasts from my Driftaway Coffee tasting kit, which I don’t like for pourover, then just some backup beans at home, currently Starbucks Breakfast Blend.

Grind: The “espresso” grind on Bodum Bistro isn’t fine enough for what I need now. There’s not enough pressure to even think about crema, and because I have a super cheapo steam driven espresso machine it doesn’t allow enough steam to build up to attempt microfoam. Thankfully, I have a Hario hand grinder that goes all the way to so-fine-you’ll-make-your-espresso-machine-explode. I know this because I was pretty sure the machine was going to explode last week. Crema is still hard to come by, but I’m managing some, which is better than none.

Steam: The steam wand on my 15 year old Krups Il Primo doesn’t move, so I have to tilt the entire thing to get the angle I need. After that, I have a choice of using the foam attachment or going without. I can’t quite get good foam without, partly because the wand is just a little short for my 20 oz pitcher, and maybe because it’s tiny and doesn’t drive enough volume for a good slurp. I’m managing to get almost-microfoam with the attachment if I plug the air hole on it.

Pitcher: The pointy pour pitcher is definitely the way to go. I’m considering downgrading to a smaller size, though, to compensate for the short steam wand.

So far, I’ve managed to pour two hearts. The first one was tiny and semi-accidental. Today’s was small but not tiny, and totally on purpose. Even better, I finished the pour with the foam just rising over the rim.

One of these days I’ll remember to have my phone handy so I can document it. It’s hard to remember when I haven’t had my coffee yet.

Latte Art Class

Inspired by a friend’s Facebook post a couple weeks ago, I popped online and signed up for a latte art class.

Class was this morning. It was an enlightening hour of all the things I’m not doing at home, and why my latte hearts come out looking like other anatomical parts.

Things I’m not doing at home:

Grinding just the right grind and pulling my shot with just the right amount of pressure directly into a cup for just the right crema.

Steaming the milk just the right way for microfoam, and nothing but microfoam. This requires just the right amount of steam powered swirl, plus just the right amount of air introduced, to just the right temperature. At home I introduce too much air and steam for too long. (I like my milk really hot.) This results in clumpy foam instead of smooth microfoam, which should have the appearance of wet paint.

Steaming the milk in a pitcher that lets me pour precisely. For some reason I own a pitcher with a fully round edge.

Some of these I’m not going to fix. I’m not filling my kitchen with a fancy $700 grinder and $2000 espresso machine.

I can, however, try swapping out my pitcher for $10. I can also play with brew methods for better crema.

Before I forget, here’s how to pour a latte art heart:
– cup angle starts at 45 degrees
– swirl the milk just before pouring in case the foam has separated too much
– initial pour is from a few inches up, straight down and into the coffee
– pour onto foam spots to push them down
– bring the milk closer to the surface to change the entry angle and float the foam
– gradually straighten out the cup angle and push the pour closer to center
– raise the pour again and push to the far edge of the cup to pull the heart from top to bottom

And here’s my attempt from today’s class. It has a uh, major developmental defect.

Aaron came to the class as well. He poured a balloon, followed by a fat phoenix, which he calls a turkey butt.

I’m thinking of starting an Instagram series of whimsical latte art creatures. Kind of like Imperfect Produce, for milky espresso drinks gone sideways.

Gâteau à la Broche

Watched this video and realized my French comprehension is still better than my Spanish. I’m not sure whether to be happy about my French, or sad about my Spanish.

Also, this looks delicious and I want to try it.

When Life Gives You Lemons

… clog your arteries?

My friend gave me a bag of lemons and my aunt gave me a giant thing of sour cream, so I made lemon pound cake.

I burned the bottoms (of course I did), so I cut them off and made lemon pound cake bread pudding with the tops.

It’s delicious, probably because it contains a cup of butter, two cups of sour cream, four cups of sugar, and eight eggs.

I still have a giant pile of lemons left. That’ll be four more cups of sugar in my future:

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Who would have thought lemons could be so bad for you?

Coffee Tasting

My local Philz held a coffee tasting yesterday. I signed up. Of course I signed up.

This is where I admit to consuming my daily coffee(s) with liberal amounts of dairy.* Blasphemous, I know.

Blasphemous, and exactly why I wanted to go to a coffee tasting. I wanted to learn to appreciate coffees on their own, and also compare different varieties and roasts side by side. We cupped, we slurped, we paired.

The verdict: I still wouldn’t drink a cup of black coffee on its own.

That said, I discovered that black coffee can pair amazingly well with food. The trick is to match the bean and the food.

Buttery, chocolatey, fruity pastries and buttery, chocolately, fruity coffees. (Not all at the same time.) Like flavors paired well together, and finally made all the pastries at coffee shops make sense. Not that I ever thought coffee shop pastries didn’t make sense. Pastries are always make sense.

My favorite pairing, and a surprise to some at the tasting, was dried mango with the Fair Trade Peru. Coffee and dried fruit? It works!

On the flip side, I mixed my various pairings to experience what doesn’t work. Lots of things don’t work. How, then, are we supposed to find these magical pairings without months of trial and error?

By going to a coffee tasting!

Thanks Philz! Y’all are the bestest.

* This is also where I clarify what kind of dairy is allowed: extra heavy whipping cream for coffee, whole milk for lattes. I’m at least not watering down my beans with fat free nonsense. Fat is flavor.

Toasted Cream

Yes, toasted cream. It’s a thing! And it doesn’t involve a toaster! Or toast. Or a pan. Or an oven.

Just some cream, a jar, and an Instant Pot.

As advertised, it comes out brown and nutty. Maillard reaction FTW!

I haven’t figured out what to do with mine, though. I tried putting it in my already nutty coffee, and it was nuttiness overload.

Toasted whipped cream?

Cap’n Crunch Berry Cereal Milk Ice Cream

On our ice cream crawl a couple months ago, I had a scoop of Cap’n Berry Crunch strawberry ice cream. I loved it, and was inspired to make something similar.

Last week, Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries cereal was on mega sale at Safeway, so I brought a box home. It was a sign! I read up on cereal milk ice cream in my Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, then set out to make my ice cream mashup.

Cap’n Crunch Berry Cereal Milk Ice Cream. It’s real, and it’s in my freezer.

Donut Bonanza

Me: Two glazed old fashioneds please.
Cashier: Can I give you a free donut?
Me: What?
Cashier: Can I give you a free donut?
Cashier: I have to ask because sometimes people don’t like that.
Me: What???
Cashier: They’ll come back and tell me they didn’t order it.
Me: I will never turn down a free donut.
Cashier: puts 5 donuts in my bag

SCORE!!! 🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩