Category Archive: Drink

The Secret to Making Great Iced Coffee at Home

It’s been painfully hot and humid here this week.  I have lived in New England for over a decade now, but I grew up in the Midwest.  In fact, I lived there for 30 years.  So believe me, I know all about hot and humid summer days.  The weather here has been a little too reminiscent for my taste.  I’m ready for this heat wave to break and for New England to return to a more pleasant number on the thermometer.

When it’s this hot, I try to avoid doing anything that is sure to raise the temperature in our farmhouse.  I do make one exception:  the coffee maker.  I can live with cold salad for dinner.  I can do laundry at midnight when the temperature has fallen a few degrees.  I cannot, under any circumstances live without coffee.

True, the coffee maker doesn’t generate too much heat.  On days as hot as we have been experiencing, I’m not in any rush to drink something hot either.  Luckily, I mastered the art of making iced coffee at home several years ago.

Making a great iced coffee is easy.  You don’t need special equipment and the technique is simple.  If you take your coffee black, then you only need to chill the hot coffee and serve over ice.  If, like me, you prefer your coffee regular with cream and sugar, then you might need a little trial and error to perfect the amount of sweetener and milk that is just to your liking.  Trust me; it’s not a bad way to spend a very hot day.

Iced Coffee
8 Tablespoons coffee (I prefer whole beans that are ground just before brewing)
3 cups (24 ounces) cold water
ice
granulated sugar (start with 1/2 cup and adjust to your liking)
milk/cream if desired

First, we’ll start with the coffee.  Because your iced coffee will be served over ice, the brewed coffee needs to be brewed with different proportions than your usual cup of hot morning Joe.  That’s the secret to making perfect iced coffee at home.

While it seems like a simple adjustment, it’s the difference between a delicious cup of iced coffee and one that is watered down and tasteless.  Typically, a full Tablespoon of coffee is used for every six ounces of water.  In this case, we’ll reduce the liquid by half in order to allow for the ice that will be added to the final cup.

By reducing the water, we’ll have removed three full cups of liquid from our coffee.  That will allow us to add back the three cups in the form of ice and milk or cream without diluting the coffee.

Using the guidelines above, brew your double strength coffee.  If you don’t use sugar or cream in your coffee, you can chill the brewed coffee in the refrigerator for later use or drink immediately poured over a glass of ice.

If you prefer coffee with sugar and cream, the sugar should be added while the coffee is still hot.  This will allow the sugar to fully dissolve before the coffee has been chilled.  Add the sugar to the hot coffee and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely.

At this point, the sweetened coffee can be stored in the refrigerator to be enjoyed later.  If you wish to enjoy it immediately, add a cup of ice to the hot coffee in order to cool it down quickly.  Stir the mixture in order to cool it slightly before pouring over a glass of ice, leaving room for milk or cream to be added.  Add milk or cream to the glass and stir to fully incorporate.

If you are making a batch of iced coffee for a group and want to allow guests to sweeten their own glass of coffee, my vanilla bean simple syrup is perfect for sweetening the chilled coffee.  It’s also a wonderful way to add vanilla flavor to your iced coffee or iced tea.


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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/07/the-secret-to-great-iced-coffee-at-home/

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup

This recipe is a staple in the 1840 Farm kitchen.  I always have it on hand in the refrigerator, waiting to be called into action.  With a small amount, I can add sweetness and incredible vanilla flavor to summer berries or cold drinks.

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup is also my favorite way to sweeten cold drinks.  Using a simple syrup is the perfect way to sweeten and enhance iced coffee and iced tea in the summer without ending up with a pile of undissolved sugar in the bottom of your glass.

I like to use vanilla bean pods that have been used to make our homemade vanilla extract for this recipe.  After the pods have been used to make two batches of extract, they can be used to flavor this syrup or pastry creams and custards with excellent results.  I remove the pods from the cooled mixture but leave the vanilla bean specks in the syrup.  If you prefer a clear syrup, simply strain through a fine mesh strainer or piece of cheesecloth before storing it in the refrigerator.

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean pod, split
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise using a sharp knife.  Using the dull edge of the knife, scrape along the length of the inside of the pod to remove the thousands of beans inside.  Transfer the beans and pods to a small pot with the sugar and water.  Place all ingredients in a small pot and stir to combine.

Place the pot over low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Simmer over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.  Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.

Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer if you would like it to be clear and free of vanilla beans specks.  The syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.  I like to store mine in a clean, repurposed bottle with a pourer spout in the refrigerator.


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
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We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/07/vanilla-bean-simple-syrup/

The Summer Solstice Cocktail

When I am trying to develop a new recipe, I happily take inspiration wherever I can find it.  In the case of this cocktail, I happened to find it in three places.  Lucky for you, I’ve combined them into one delicious, refreshing cocktail recipe just in time for your Fourth of July celebration.http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3719/9065963801_04570a669f_z.jpg

The first inspiration was the arrival of summer last Friday.  Since then, we’ve seen temperatures well into the 90s with oppressive humidity.  Apparently, Mother Nature wants to drive the point home:  summer is here!

A recent trip to a local favorite, GiGi’s York Beach, provided additional inspiration.  On my last visit, I was treated to a delicious cocktail they call the “Shiso Good”. Good was an understatement.  The combination of vodka, house made shiso syrup, and fresh lemon was divine.  If you’re looking for a little inspiration, you can see more of the amazing food and drink from GiGi’s in our Local Food Photo Gallery

Not to be forgotten is a book that I am currently reading.  Bitters:  A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All is a fascinating read for someone like me who can’t seem to get enough of the stranger than fiction history of the food on our dinner plates and drinks in our cocktail glasses.  I’m not alone in liking this book.  It was selected as a James Beard Foundation Book Award Winner and also won The IACP Cookbook Award.

So, picture me at the end of a hot and humid day, exhausted from the farm’s daily chores.  I was craving a refreshing, cold drink and thought of the crisp Shiso Good and the fresh ginger-lime simple syrup that I had made from a recipe in Bitters.  The possibilities seemed like a winner to me.

My husband is the resident mixologist here at 1840 Farm.  I get wild ideas about combinations and concoctions which he politely listens to and then goes about the creative business of transforming inspiration into a perfectly balanced libation.  Occasionally, he needs a second attempt to perfect one of our house made cocktails, but he mastered this one on the first try.

One sip and I knew that this would be my summer drink of choice.  Mr. 1840 Farm agreed.  This recipe was perfect and ready to share with the world.

I hope that you will enjoy what we aptly named The Summer Solstice all summer long.  If you’re find yourself still searching for your summer drink of choice, don’t despair.  We’ve got a few more recipes in development.  Yes, it will be a struggle to taste test them before sharing the recipes with you here, but I’ll soldier on.  It’s amazing the things that I’ll do in the name of researchl!

Ginger-Lime Syrup
adapted from Bitters by Brad Thomas Parsons

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 ounces ginger root, peeled and sliced into coins
zest from 1/2 a lime

Place all ingredients in a small pot and stir to combine.  Place pot over low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Simmer over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow the syrup to cool completely.  Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove any solids.  The strained syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.  I like to store mine in a clean, repurposed bottle with a pourer spout in the refrigerator.

Summer Solstice Cocktail
makes one generous serving (and one happy farmer)

We have made a non-alcoholic version of this drink for the farm kids who both gave it a thumbs up.  Simply substitute lemonade or carbonated water for the vodka depending on your preference.

2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 1/2 ounce ginger-lime syrup
4 ounces lemonade

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice.  Shake until well mixed.  Strain into a glass with fresh ice and serve.  At 1840 Farm, we like to serve the Summer Solstice in a wide mouth mason jar.


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form. In a few seconds, you’ll be the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/06/the-summer-solstice-cocktail/

Orange Genius

I have fond memories of my mother treating me to an Orange Julius as a child. During the hot summer months in the Midwest where I spent my childhood, they were a refreshing way to beat the heat. The fact that I was sharing the experience with my mom made it all the more memorable.

Now my children are old enough to enjoy the same experience. I knew that they would love the frothy drink with its orange and creamy flavors reminiscent of a creamsicle. With food allergies to accommodate, we chose to make our own version at home.

First, we needed to develop a recipe. Together, we gathered around the blender and tried several versions before deciding that this one was absolutely perfect. We’ve made this concoction at least a hundred times since then, and I still wouldn’t change a thing.

This frothy drink delivers just the right balance of citrus flavor and sweetness. Each sip reminds me of the treat that I enjoyed so much as a child. Sharing the experience with my children decades later makes it even sweeter.

I hope that you will enjoy sharing this treat with someone special in your life. I think that you will find that it is the perfect drink for summer. In fact, it’s so fantastic that your friends and family might call you an Orange Genius

Orange Genius
makes 4 servings

16 ounces orange juice
8 ounces milk
2 Tablespoons Carnation brand Original Malted Milk Powder
2 teaspoons Tang brand orange drink mix powder
4 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 banana, frozen
1 cup ice
whipped cream to garnish

 

Add orange juice, milk, malt powder, Tang, and powdered sugar to the pitcher of your blender. Cover and blend briefly to combine.

 

Break the frozen banana into several pieces and add to the blender. Blend on a medium-high setting until smooth. (If a frozen banana is unavailable, substitute a room temperature banana and increase the quantity of ice in the next step to 1 1/2 cups.)

 

Add the ice to the blender pitcher. Cover and blend on high speed until smooth and frothy. Pour into glasses and garnish with whipped cream. Add a straw and enjoy!

 


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form. In a few seconds, you’ll be the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
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We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
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Come add your voice to our conversation!
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This recipe was included in From the Farm Blog Hop #33

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/05/orange-genius-2/

Orange Genius

Summer is fast approaching and you might need a new recipe for a cold, refreshing drink.  I’m willing to bet that my recipe for Orange Genius on Foodie.com just might help make your summer a little sweeter.  The Orange Genius is a family favorite here at 1840 Farm made with our fresh, raw goat’s milk.

Give it a try and let me know if you agree that the Orange Genius is the perfect drink to enjoy this summer!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/06/orange-genius/

Red, Wine, and Blue All Over Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I have been making Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Jam for several years.  It makes a lovely accompaniment to a cheese course or topping for a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.  It is also perfect for gift giving and one of my most requested recipes.

Once you have made the jam, you’ll start finding uses for it everywhere you look.  This is one of our favorite ways to enjoy the jam, paired with our favorite blue cheese and grilled to perfection.

 

 

Red, Wine, and Blue All Over Grilled Cheese Sandwich
makes two sandwiches

This sandwich is the perfect excuse to splurge on the highest quality blue cheese you can find.  I can’t help but hope that your local cheese shop offers Bayley Hazen Blue.  If not, feel free to substitute your favorite creamy blue cheese.

1 teaspoon butter
4 slices of your favorite sandwich bread
2 ounces Bayley Hazen Blue cheese
2 Tablespoons caramelized onion and red wine jam

Crumble half of the blue cheese and divide evenly among two slices of bread.  Top the cheese covered slices with equal amounts of the caramelized onion and red wine jam.  Crumble the remaining blue cheese and place on top of the onion jam.  Top each sandwich with one of the remaining slices of bread.

Warm a grill pan over medium high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the butter and melt completely.  Add the prepared sandwich to the hot pan and reduce the heat to medium.  Grill for two minutes before turning one-quarter turn to create perpendicular grill marks.  After another two minutes, flip the sandwich and repeat the process on the other side.

Carefully lift a corner of the sandwich to confirm that the cheese has melted and the onion mixture is warm.  Allow extra time if necessary to melt the cheese and warm the onion jam.

Once the cheese and onions are ready, remove the sandwich from the pan and allow to cool for one minute.  Slice the grilled sandwich in half and serve warm.  Enjoy!


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/04/red-wine-and-blue-all-over/

Nearly Wordless Wednesday-May 25, 2011

As a person who loves wine, yesterday was a reason to celebrate with a glass in hand.  It was the 35th anniversary of the infamous Paris Tasting where California wines were chosen as the winners of the blind tasting arranged by Steven Spurrier.  I know that the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was actually chosen the winner, but what can I say?  I’m a red wine drinker so a substitution was made.

I plan to mark this anniversary today by enjoying great wine and watching Bottle Shock.  I’ll raise my glass and celebrate a great moment in American wine history.  Then I’ll start looking for the next anniversary of a great moment in viticulture to celebrate.  I sure hope it’s right around the corner.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/05/nearly-wordless-wednesday-may-25-2011/

A Stylish Blogger Award For Me?

Really?  Someone I don’t know just gave me a Stylish Blogger Award.  A total stranger.  I won’t lie to you.  It hasn’t made me any less happy about it.  Who cares if I don’t know Betsy from A Plateful of Happiness?  I do know a few things about her.  She writes a blog that I enjoy reading.  She lives in one of my favorite towns – Lexington, Massachusetts.  She likes to collect cookbooks.  I think I like her already.  The fact that she chose to bestow an award on me is purely a bonus.

As is the tradition with acceptance speeches, I feel the need to thank a few people.  Yes, I know that I’m not at the Oscars.  How do I know?  Simple.  I’m wearing my fuzzy slippers and sitting at the computer with my dog Pete.  I know that information doesn’t conjure a terribly stylish mental image, but there’s no point in pretending to be something I’m not, which in this case, is a person wearing uncomfortable footwear.  I am willing to bet that if you watch the actual Oscars, you’ll see at least one star who looks like they would rather be at home in their fuzzy slippers spending a little quality time with their loyal canine companion.

Enough already.  On to my brief acceptance speech which I promise will not require Bill Conti to play me off the stage with  his orchestral stylings.  I would like to thank my family who tolerates me typing away on the keyboard telling my stories even if no one else in the universe might read them.  I would like to thank the someones who have read them and left me such wonderful comments.  I would also like to thank Betsy for giving me the award.

I understand that this honor comes with a few rules that I intend to follow in the spirit of the award.  They are as follows:

Thank the person who has given you the award
No problem there.  I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to the lost art of the thank you.  If you don’t believe me, just ask my children and wait for the collective groan to erupt as they explain my rule about not being able to spend gift money until the thank you card is in the mail.  Anyway, you get the picture.  The thank you was taken care of as soon as I got the nod.

Share seven things about yourself
Wow-what to share?  Well, here are a few things that you might not know about me from reading this blog during the past months:

1.  I used to cook for pure pleasure.  The richer and more decadent the better.  I can remember Sundays spent making cakes with ten different components from scratch.  I was blissfully unaware that I would find myself cooking with a food scale and calculator a few short years later.

2. Today, I cook with a purpose.  I am the head cook for a household that includes a marathon runner who always seems to be in training for another long run, a child with Type 1 Diabetes, and a child with multiple food allergies.  I spend a lot of time researching recipes, trying out substitutions that don’t sacrifice flavor, and calculating the complete nutritional profiles for everything we eat.  Really, I’m cooking and baking at the crossroads of great taste and food awareness.  I guess it’s a good thing that I like a challenge.

3.  I have a profound weakness for good wine, good coffee, and anything that I can eat straight from our garden.  My winners in each category would be a great Shiraz, a fresh cup of Jamaica Blue Mountain, and a Purple Calabash heirloom tomato still warm from the sun.

4.  If I won the lottery, I would buy a small house in Portland, Maine.  No, I wouldn’t leave 1840 Farm, but I’d have a nice place to pass the time when my gardening duties didn’t call.  In spite of my lottery winnings, I’d still eat on the cheap at my favorite places:  Micucci’s, Otto’s Pizza, Duckfat, Dean’s Sweets, and Bard Coffee.  Alright, so I’d treat myself to a fantastic dinner at Fore Street when the mood struck me.  I’d also spend a lot of my winnings on great wine from Old Port Wine Merchants.  Ah, to dream.

5.  I’m a fairly good cake decorator.  I took the requisite classes before the food bombshells listed in number 2 came knocking on my door.  I can make you a cake whether it be covered in buttercream, fondant, or even gumpaste flowers that look like they belong in an art gallery.  I had great designs on using these skills to build a small business.  Lucky for me, they have served me well over the past few years when cakes from the local bakery would translate to a birthday spent in the emergency room with Epi-pens in hand.  Instead, we’ve had three-dimensional cakes in the shape of pink poodles, dinosaurs, polar bears, The Black Stallion novel, a flying Ford Anglia inspired by the Harry Potter series, and even a Golden Laced Wyandotte chicken.
Pink Poodle Cake at 1840 Farm Polar Bear Cake at 1840 Farm Flying Ford Anglia Cake at 1840 Farm Golden Laced Wyandotte Chicken Cake at 1840 Farm

6.  I’m a vegetarian.  The most common question I get is “Why?”  Simple.  I watched Food, Inc.  I read Eating Animals.  That was it for me.  So now I find myself a person who raises chickens but doesn’t eat chickens.  Have I lost you yet?

7.  I am a homeschooling mom.  I am trying to teach my children how to read, write, and do arithmetic, but also that life can be your classroom if you allow it to.  I want them to keep learning long after their school years are behind them.  I hope that they will never stop being students of all things food whether it be how to grow a better tomato or how to make the perfect cheesecake.  Mostly, I want them to understand how important it is to be connected to the food that finds its way onto your dinner plate.

Share 15 blogs that you enjoy reading
This is the easy part.  I enjoy so many that I’ve done my best to come up with my top fifteen.  I haven’t included A Plateful of Happiness as I have already told you that I enjoy reading Betsy’s blog.  Here they are in no particular order.

1.   The Screen Porch – This site is brimming with beautiful photos and wonderful writing about all things food.  Written by a fellow French Fridays with Dorie member.
2.   Vegan Dad – If you don’t eat meat, this site is a must for incredible recipes for all sorts of meat substitutes.  It also features a lot of great bread baking entries with recipes and very illustrative photos.
3.   Ozark Homesteader - This blog is full of interesting posts which cover cooking, gardening, and all sorts of other life topics.
4.   Orangette – Molly’s blog is full of great writing from the author of one of my favorite food themed books:  A Homemade Life.  If you love food and have ever experienced the loss of a loved one, this is a must read.
5.   Dorie Greenspan – Dorie’s site includes wonderful recipes.  Try the punitions and you’ll be hooked.
8.   Rabeleis fine books on food & drink – Who wouldn’t love a bookstore that only carries books about food and drink?  It doesn’t hurt that it is right next door to my favorite chocolate shop in the whole world, the aforementioned Dean’s Sweets, makers of peanut free, nut free, absolutely delicious chocolates.
9.   Simple Scratch Cooking – This blog delivers on its promise and offers an unending supply of simple, delicious recipes.
10.  Six Until Me – A great site to bookmark if you or a loved one fights the good fight with Type 1 Diabetes each day.
11.  5 Second Rule – I love the artistic food photographs that accompany the recipes on this site.
12.  Allergic Girl – If you or a loved one lives with food allergies, this site offers a wealth of information.  Sloane has been living with food allergies for several years and writes very eloquently about her experience.
13.  Bittersweet – This site provided a lot of useful tips and recipes during our egg-allergy years.
14.  Steph’s Bite by Bite - Steph cooks, bakes, writes, and trains for marathons.  Gee, it sounds a lot like what goes on out our house except that I leave the running to my husband.
15.  Salt – I enjoy reading the detailed recipes on this site and love the step by step photos.

Notify the bloggers from your list of fifteen that you have passed along the xx award to them
In my opinion, this is the easiest part of this process.  I get to make the day of fifteen other bloggers.

Thanks again to Betsy for sharing this award with me.  I had received a rejection letter for a writing assignment earlier in the day and was feeling a little sorry for myself.  It saved me to hear from her and learn that my writing had brightened her day.  Now she knows that her writing has returned the favor.  Lucky me, now I’m off to let fifteen bloggers know that I think that they are stylish.  Hopefully they won’t hold my fuzzy slippers against me.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/02/a-stylish-blogger-award-for-me/

Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

       

Welcome to the third French Friday of January 2011.  It has been a very good run for my family’s Bistro Night this past month.  We started off with Paris Mushroom Soup and then discovered the beauty that is Gnocchi a la Parisienne.  They were both sublime, decadent, and warming Winter dishes.  I told you it was a good run.

This  week, I find myself standing in our farmhouse kitchen preparing to make  Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake from Dorie Greenspan‘s Around my French Table.  After reading her recipe and instructions, I was ready to enjoy the rich chocolate mousse perched atop a bed of dense chocolate cake.  I was in.

I started to gather my ingredients and equipment.  The oven was preheating and I was starting to envision how great this cake was going to taste after dinner.  There was only one problem.  My two children were staring out the window at the latest Winter snowstorm.  They were starting to envision an afternoon of sledding.  I knew that I had to get this dessert started and get outside onto our snow pile which has become more of a snow mountain.  Chocolate mousse cake is tempting, but the green snow saucer waits for no one.

This recipe starts with coffee, so it had me at espresso.  Anything with coffee has my attention.  To be fair, the recipe states that either espresso or strong coffee can be used, but I took the opportunity to make two shots of espresso and finish off the portion that wasn’t needed for the cake.

Within the first few minutes, the kitchen was infused with the welcome aroma of coffee and chocolate.  In my opinion, there are few food marriages any sweeter than chocolate and coffee.  If done right, the resulting mixture is equal parts sweet and bold.  My nose was telling me that we were well on our way.  The eggs were incorporated and the egg whites were whipped to beautiful, satiny stiff peaks.  The mousse was complete and the first bake was in progress.  A short time later, we left the cake to cool on a wire rack while we headed outside.

After my time supervising the snow bunnies, I was back at my post to finish the mousse cake.  I spread the mousse onto its base and marveled at its beauty.  All that was left to do was to dust it with powdered sugar and put my fork to good use.   It would be tough duty, but I was pretty sure that I was up to the challenge.

The cake was a delicious treat on a snowy, Winter day.  It was dense and fudgy with just a hint of the coffee flavor.  It was, in case you were wondering, delicious with a great cup of coffee.  Too much coffee for you?  Not for me.  In my world, there can never be enough coffee.  I love great coffee and look for any excuse to drink it.  Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake seems like the perfect excuse to do so.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/01/michel-rostangs-double-chocolate-mousse-cake/

French Fridays-Gougeres

Welcome to French Fridays with Dorie at 1840 Farm.  I’m not usually a person who looks to join this kind of thing.  Really, I’m not.  However, this group involves cooking, reading, eating French food, and blogging.  I felt that an exception had to be made.

And then there’s the fact that Dorie Greenspan is involved.  I don’t own dozens of her cookbooks.  I know her more as a friend of a friend.  Well, that may be an enormous stretch.  Julia Child was definitely her friend.  I’m one of the millions of people who watched Julia on television and wished that she was my friend.  True, it is a marked difference, but at least I know that.

As a child, my experience with Julia was strictly her.  She was on television, usually alone, teaching me to love the experience even if the end result didn’t turn out exactly as I had expected.  She taught me that it was okay to mold a failed omelette back into shape and hold my head high.  As an adult, Julia was on camera with other great chefs and bakers.  Julia was in print with cookbook authors.

Enter Dorie into my life.  Where Julia was, Dorie was sure to follow.  I didn’t just purchase Baking with Julia, I put it on display in my farmhouse kitchen the way some people display fine art.  To me, it was.  I read Dorie’s carefully written recipes as if they were chapters from a great novel.  I chose the recipes I wanted to try and followed her as my guide.  I began to realize that although Julia was gone, Dorie was here.

 

I also knew that my daughter would love cooking the recipes along with me.  It somehow seemed right that if I learned by watching Julia, my daughter could learn by reading Dorie’s cookbook.  So, today we set out to make the first recipe from the series French Fridays with Dorie.

Gougeres.  A food so delicious that it deserves to be its own complete sentence.  If you don’t agree, then may I recommend that you run to your local bookstore or public library and put a copy of Around My French Table into your hands immediately.  Go ahead, make them and tell me that you still disagree.

The recipe was easy to follow.  If I had left my daughter in the kitchen too long, I might have come back in to find them ready to go in the oven.   They infused the whole kitchen with a wonderful aroma and the resulting gougeres were absolutely delicious.  Dorie mentions that they can be frozen and baked directly from a frozen state.  I’m busy dreaming up ways to make more room in the freezer.  They’re that good.  This winter, they will pair beautifully with soups and vegetable dishes.  I won’t lie, they’ll also pair beautifully with that glass of red wine that always seems to be poured a little early on Sunday afternoon while dinner is in the works.

Tonight, the gougeres were served with fresh herb baked eggs and a spinach salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.  We poured a delicious 2007  A to Z Pinot Noir.  The combination was other worldly.  Tonight’s dinner would be enough to cement Dorie’s place in our cookbook collection.  If I hadn’t already been a fan, I would have easily become one of the card-carrying variety.

At the end of our meal, my daughter had a look of pure happiness on her face.  She was proud of her work.  She was happy that we all enjoyed the gougeres so much.  She proclaimed that, “We should have this for dinner more often!”  I couldn’t have hoped for more.   A great meal, a happy child, and the thought that some day, years from now, I will walk into her kitchen.  I’ll smell gougeres baking and that same look of pure happiness and pride will appear on my face.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2010/10/french-fridays-gougeres/

Micucci’s – Portland, Maine

I have been having second thoughts about pressing the “publish” button on this post.  Do I really want to encourage everyone to visit the temple of pizza that exists in the back room at Micucci’s Grocery in Portland, Maine?  Right now, I feel like the cool kid who knows the secret handshake.  I mean, you have to know that the pizza is past the maze of the enormous cans of San Marzano tomatoes and Il Riso Beretta Carnoroli arborio rice.  If you didn’t, you might pass by the understated storefront that is Micucci’s in favor of a more upscale looking establishment, of which Portland has a bevy to choose from.

Me, I’m sticking with Micucci’s.  The Sicilian style pizza is so good that I’m struggling for words that can adequately describe it.  To say that it is the best pizza in the whole world makes me sound like some cheesy tag line for Domino’s.  So I won’t.  I will say that it is the most sublime pizza experience I have ever had.  It is all that you would hope that a great slice would be.  Except that to call this a slice might be a bit misleading.  It’s more of a slab than a slice.  I don’t think that a slice would weigh a full pound and require its own personal pizza box.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not criticizing its size.  I ate it all.  When it was gone, I found myself wondering if I could find a reason to go back for more.  In the end, I decided that having a slab for lunch and bringing a second home for dinner was probably sufficient.

The crust is crisp on the exterior while somehow remaining soft and incredibly doughy on the interior.  The sauce is simply tomato.  It is slightly sweet, but not overly so.  It perfectly compliments the rich, chewy crust without overpowering it.  All that is left to discuss is the cheese and the relative lack thereof.  Instead of the cheese drowned slices of the Americanized variety, this pizza has been topped with a very light hand.  There is just enough cheese to perfectly complete the flavor.  Usually, a slice of pizza that consists of crust, tomato sauce, and cheese would be called cheese pizza.  The pizza at Micucci’s can’t honestly be described that way because the cheese is the least important component on your plate.

Speaking of the plate, if you eat at Micucci’s, you’ll have to wait at the window for your slab and hope not to find the paper plate folded in half.  If you do, you’ll notice that someone has written “5 minutes” on it using a simple black marker.  Five minutes can seem like a lifetime when you’re left to stand there staring at an empty stainless steel shelf smelling pizza this good.  Once the slabs hit the window, you’ll notice that they come on simple, white paper plates.  You can either box each slab up to take home or walk it back through the maze of grocery items to the cashier.  Once you’ve paid for your slab, you can return to the back room and sit at one of the two patio tables and finally dig in with your plastic knife and fork.  Welcome to pizza nirvana.  Now you know the secret handshake.

I’m not the only one who feels like this pizza is incredible.  In fact, when I did a search for “Micucci’s Pizza” a wide variety of diner’s comments and ratings all had one thing in common:  they all raved about how great it was.  I also found articles in The Boston Globe and The Portland Press Herald written about the pizza slabs from the back room.  I can’t blame them.  Afterall, I’m sitting here writing about it now.  It’s one thing for me to write about it, but quite another to share it with the world.  Should I really publish?  I don’t have a choice.  Food this good can’t be kept a secret no matter the consequences.

What if you all go running to Portland for the world’s best pizza and I’m left staring at the folded paper plate in the window?  I’ve stood there before.  Trying to look as if I’m not ready to pounce on the first corner slab like a starved jungle cat.  Somehow I survived, but it wasn’t easy.  It’s not like sitting at a restaurant table and waiting for your entrée while eating your appetizer or drinking your cocktail.  There are no distractions here.  And then there’s the haunting smell of something wonderful baking in the oven.

Now, if I’m lucky, I’ll find an excuse to get myself to Portland soon.  I’ll wait for my pizza if I have to.  I’ll drive home and try to ignore the heavenly smell radiating from the pizza box.  This pizza gracing my dinner table alone will make the meal a special occasion.   For you oenophiles, I can simply say this:  my husband and I recently brought home two slices for dinner.  We also picked up a bottle of wine.  The wine?  None other than Chateau Montelena 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from Old Port Wine Merchants.  You might call it overkill.  I call it a well deserved reward for buying a delicious date night’s dinner for less than ten dollars.

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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2010/09/micuccis-portland-maine/