Posts Tagged ‘coffee


we’re going camping

So I am preparing chickpeas and hard-cooked eggs. (It’s less tragic if the eggs crack once they’re cooked.) We’re also taking pre-packaged lemon-spinach couscous (if there ever were a time for flavored convenience foods, this seems to be it), instant black bean soup, Spanish chorizo, saltines, granola, dried fruit, nuts, food bars, chocolate-covered coconut, blueberries, foil packets of nut butters, grape juice concentrate, some apples, a lemon, some salt, and ground coffee. I insisted that corn tortillas and nopales would be great additions to our stash, but saltines won out over the tortillas for some reason, and J-P inexplicably naysaid the nopales. (They’re flat, lightweight…) We’re only out for two nights, and we’ll be near Sausalito, but we’re still being very careful to cater to my tendency toward metabolic collapse.

This will be the first time we’ve camped since Labor Day weekend 2003, when we went to a star party in the Berkshires, where a bunch of astronomers had gathered to view Mars at perigee. It’s Labor Day weekend, we thought. How cold can it get? The answer was 34 degrees Farenheit. We had a tent but no sleeping bags, just blankets. By nightfall we were wearing every scrap of clothing we’d taken with us, and the Boy Scouts made a lot of money selling us hot chocolate and coffee all night long. When we finally decided to try sleeping, we kept each other half awake with our attempts to burrow under the other for warmth. At daylight, we emerged from the tent to run up and down the hill we were on in the sunshine.

We swore never to do that again until we were properly prepared for it, and now is the time. A little over a week ago, we went to REI for sleeping bags, a bigger tent, headlamps, and a camp stove (Jet Boil, a technological marvel with a French press attachment). This weekend, we explored Rainbow Grocery’s selection of dehydrated and instant foods. This afternoon, we bike to Bicentennial Campground in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area.


link round-up

More Questions of Authenticity and Fusion
Members of the Daring Kitchen take on Robb Walsh’s recipe for stacked green chile enchiladas. Australian suggestions for simulating tomatillos include gooseberries with sugar and green tomatoes mixed with tamarind paste, lime juice, and prune juice. Robb Walsh’s report on the results of the challenge links to recipes from London, the Netherlands, and Canada.

Taste of Beirut reminisces about a childhood favorite, chocolate salami: a French confection made from American and Middle Eastern ingredients and exported back to the Middle East. In which of those locations is it most authentic?

The National Museum of American History’s cafe celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May) by adding Asian flavors to the menu at each of its stations. You’ll find pizza with Asian plum sauce and black rice used in a recipe that actually called for purple rice, but the title of their blog post about it proudly proclaims the exclusion of one of the oldest Asian-American fusion dishes (one with a history similar to chili gravy’s): No Chop Suey Here.

Locavores Tackle Meaty Questions
Culling the pest population in a deer-hunting class (actually, a deer skinning and processing class) in Charlottesville. Thanks to Jon of Audrey and Jon for the tip.

Mission hipsters consume another kind of pest at a cricket- and mealworm-tasting.

More Things Hipsters Do
Sell coffee from a bicycle-mounted stall.

Sell seed packets (seed bombs) from old gumball vending machines.

Follow-up: More on Arizona, Tavern on the Green, BP
Arizona’s racial profiling law raises worries about this fall’s lettuce harvest in Yuma.

New York City has revoked Dean Poll’s contract to re-open Tavern on the Green after he failed to reach an agreement with the restaurant’s workers’ union. The city is looking for a new new operator.

It’s about time: the BP oil slick has made Cake Wrecks.


Morning task, morning snack

Pan dulce from Panadería la Mejor, coffee from Borderlands Cafe.


on cooking in California: part 5

There are also things we’re using or doing differently in California. Our Massachusetts winter staple, Annie’s macaroni and cheese, is still on the menu, and so is our old summer staple, salad. During Boston summers, we would eat a big salad and nothing else for dinner each night until the lettuces from the week’s CSA ran out. We would be sick of salad by September, and pining for it again by January. In San Francisco, fresh, local salad greens are available year-round, and we’re not getting a CSA, so the incentives have shifted. We’re learning the arts of the side salad and the salad course.

In Boston, our kitchen windows were often hung with bunches of drying herbs and chiles. Even though we live in a relatively fog-free part of San Francisco, the air is still usually too damp for that method. We’ve learned instead to spread herbs on cookie sheets in a 100-degree oven to dry. How long do we leave them? As long as it takes to forget them, then sniff the air and realize how odd it is the house smells so strongly of thyme, or sage, or rosemary…

Then there’s the matter of alcohol storage. In Boston, we kept the bottles in a large basket on the kitchen floor. It was known as the “booze bucket.” In San Francisco, we’ve gotten classy. Our living room has a built-in cabinet, and when the realtor showed us the place, J-P and I exclaimed over the “bar.” The realtor demurred, saying it was probably meant as a china cabinet. Whatever. It’s our bar, and all of our alcohol lives there. The former booze bucket now holds the recycling.

Coffee is different, too. Boston’s cold and our building’s poor insulation posed problems for keeping coffee warm. Busy mornings belonged to the old, cheap drip coffee maker, which of course had its own heating element. But for late-in-the-day indulgences, we used the French press, on the grounds that it was smaller and would impose limits on our caffeine intake that we couldn’t trust to our self-control alone. Our first solution to keeping French press coffee warm was to wrap the press in kitchen towels and try to drink the coffee before it got too bitter. Later, we got an insulated carafe, which worked much better on both counts. Right before we moved, John-Paul walked the drip machine down to the trash can for, as he said, “piddling on the counter one too many times.” Since then, we’ve been devoted to the French press and the kettle. Our San Francisco kitchen is often warm enough that it’s feasible to dispense with the carafe for warmth, though I still think it’s worth it for flavor.

Speaking of heating water in a kettle, please don’t get me started on the electric stove. I understand that it’s a practical choice in a city that once burned to the ground when its gas mains burst in a major earthquake. This stove even has a flat top, which means that theoretically it’s easier to cook Spanish rice on it than on our leaning, dented gas stove in Boston. (That’s true in theory only; in practice, it hasn’t worked out so well.) It isn’t even that we’ve burned anything on it, despite my fears in that regard–very well-founded fears based on an embarrassing adolescent incident that started with trying to heat tortillas directly on the heating element of the first electric stove I ever encountered. I had to get over before using the one in this kitchen. My biggest gripes with it are how long it takes to heat up, and the fact that there’s no clear indication (read: fire) of which element I’ve turned on. We’ve been here since last July, and I still sometimes turn on the back burner when the kettle’s on the front.

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