Friday, July 2, 2010

Perfect Cup 'O Coffee- Pictorial Tutorial

My love affair with coffee started when I was young. I think my first cup was around 12 years old. My dad made it for me the way his mother made it for him, which was this: lots of sugar, lots of milk and a little bit of coffee. This love led me through various jobs working in coffee houses, preferably the mom and pop places, intensifying and justifying my love for this most intoxicating bean.

Like so many foods and drinks, coffee for me equals memories. Its comfort. Its the quiet times in the house before I am pounded with the demands of the day; vivid memories of brewing coffee for my coffee house regulars and chatting with my parents at the kitchen table of my childhood home. All things I hold dear. I love talking with my husband in the mornings on weekends, as we sleepily sip our cups of dark, rich brew. Some of our best talks are over coffee.

My grandma was Neapolitan. If you  have ever had Neapolitan coffee you know this: it's very strong, very sweet and served in a small amount so one may drink it quickly, hence the name espresso. Traditionally they don't bother with the milk. But I like milk in my coffee.

What I want to do for you today is not give you a recipe, but a visual journey of the art of making the perfect (in my opinion) cup of coffee. When Anna, my grandmother's best friend's daughter (I know), showed me how to make it, it was, like most delicious things, done by "eye-balling" it. There are no measurements and honestly, it took me months to get the ratio just right to where it wouldn't spit and spray from the part where the top attaches to the bottom. It was always because I put way too much coffee.

I'm using the coffee pot I bought right there on the streets of Naples, some 13 years ago. I used a dark rich coffee (french roast or espresso roast works well), water, sugar and milk. That's it. I did heat the milk before I added it, until it was just bubbling. So, enjoy. I know I did.

P.S. What's with my glasses? I look like I'm the head of a family...fuh-getta-bout-it! Oh, and my cup- you're probably wondering what that is with the words "I wish I hadn't cried so much"- it's an Alice in Wonderland cup. I love and collect all things Alice in Wonderland. This cup I bought in Carmel, California in the most wondrous Alice in Wonderland shop, called the White Rabbit. Click here to see the site.

Shine On My Friends!

It's far from sunny here in Houston right now. It's pouring rain. The hurricane in the Gulf is stirrin' stuff up. The wind is eerily blowing and I have no intention of going anywhere today. I'm not complaining because that just means I don't have to lug children around, buckle anyone into a car seat or deal with meltdowns in Target. We're just going to make crafts, watch t.v. and cook.

Well, I am excited. I've received two Sunshine Awards recently from two stellar ladies. First award was given to me by Jaime, at Mangiabella, who is an amazing woman, full of life, joy and spreads encouragement and love to all who are within a mile radius of her. Stop by her blog and enjoy beautifully written posts on living life to the fullest and fabulous food.

Secondly, I want to thank Lisa, at Korean American Mommy, for my second Sunshine Award. We have bonded through our mommy experiences and yummy foods...this girl can cook! So please swing by her blog for an array of recipes, thoughtful musings on the joys of parenting and incredibly beautiful pictures!

Here's what you do:

1. Put the award on your blog and or/within your post.
2. Pass the award onto other bloggers.
3. Link to the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they received the award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link the person from whom you received the award.

Bloggers who deserve the Sunshine Award are listed below in no particular order:

Heather at Home: Made Simple- Well, firstly, she's my sister-in-law, whom I love, so that's a good reason right there. But as far as her blog goes, check it out for great, simple but delicious recipes with inspiring photos. Her "Green With Envy" post looks so good I just wanted to stick my face in it! (Creamy Jalapeño Cilantro Salsa)

The Cilantropist is a cheery, interesting blog on all things food. She is a scientist gone amateur chef, but there is nothing amateur about her food, photos or writings. Her curious mind mixed with her creative abilities makes for a good read and a spot of sunshine. One post I found extremely interesting was the one where she sprouts a tomato, gotta read this!

Bridget at Bake at 350, is a fabulous baker specializing in decorating cookies. Oh my! If you have not seen her blog, stop by and be ready to be inspired. If you can dream it she can make it into a delish sugary treat! My favorite has to be the Darth Vader cookies. If you have a son, husband, brother or possibly yourself, who is a Star Wars fan, well this is a must see/must bake for you.

Gwen at Simply Healthy Family, has an informative but light-hearted blog about family friendly foods and ways to go green. If your thinking of going green or want more info on the best ways to go about it, check out her blog! One the most informative posts on her site is 7 Common Foods You Should Avoid Like the Plague. Read through it, you might be surprised.

Lorriane at Lorriane Brown, is such a wonderful lady. I met her through the Real Women of Philadelphia contest. Her sweet spirit shines through her beautifully written poetry and fabulous recipes. Stop by her blog to be inspired and encouraged. Oh! and if you are looking for an awesome 4th of July pie, check hers cute!

Chef Dennis at More Than A Mount Full, has been such an encouragement. He was one of the first friends I had on and helped me navigate through the complexities of getting my profile set up, posting and tips on how to build a following. More than that, his food is divine. Excellent pictures, an array of various cultural foods and always creative. His last post for Caponata looks so good! I can't wait to make it.

And finally, Rick over at Bittersweet, well, what do I say? He is hysterical. I love his posts. Written in an honest fashion, no sugar coating...yet that's all he does, makes sugary desserts for us to drool over. He's blatant about his love of all things sugar. It's really hard for me to pick a favorite post of his, but I would have to say it's between Frozen Heart Ice Cream Lick and Stoner Whoopie Pies.

Everyone, copy and paste this award into your side bar - and pass this award on to others whose blogs you love and brighten your day.

Have a fabulous weekend, Foodies!
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