Grab hold of your cucumbers (but please don't grab someone else's without permission!), Kissers, and settle in for the scoop!
Bon Appetit are always looking out for their booziest readers. Check out the "Bloody Mary Bandit" - a slot machine-type contraption designed to fancify your standard Bloody Mary recipe so you can try a new twist on an old classic!
|Try it yourself over at: http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/bloody-mary-bandit|
Here's Daniel and Jessica observing the panache with which Anne sips that oh-so-fabulous Bloody Mary that Damian shook up just for her:
infamous Tomato Jam that we canned at the end of the summer during our jam-making jam session (see what I did there?) back in September.
William's famous Effing Good Cinnamon Rolls, albeit a gluten-free version to share with us. They smelled like heaven, even through the plastic. Don't fret - you'll see more of these up close in a minute!
pièce de résistance. She still had time to interrupt her serious work for a grin, though! ¡Qué pícara!
Built into the ground on three sides, the open side is covered year-round by a thick copse of trees that keeps out virtually all the light. All that protection from the elements keeps the temperatures in the shed moderately and consistently cool all year round--perfect for storing your wine!
James McNair's Pasta Cookbook, available on Amazon.
- ~2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
- 3 large eggs (at room temp, please!)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Meanwhile, Damian was busy mixing up and rolling out a gluten-free batch of pasta, using a special gluten-free pasta flour (Damian? Which one did you use? Let me know and we'll give them some link love here - it was tasty!).
Here, he's rolled the dough out and is cutting with a pizza cutter. What concentration!Et voilà!!
Without exception, everyone in attendance at Anne and Rick's house was happy to see Frank. And I mean everyone.
A "sauce" for our pasta awaited, a heady mixture of olive oil, red pepper flakes, anchovy, garlic, and spices...
Joyce had turned out quite a harvest of tiny thyme leaves...
Anne mugged for the camera (what a babe!)...
Tamara Murphy's (most recently of Terra Plata fame!) tips for egg poaching in her beautiful tome, Tender.
Rick had readied our egg-poaching mise en place, with individual eggs (courtesy of Coop Arcadia and Meg's Girlzzz!) awaiting their respective baths and shallow pans of hot water simmering on the stove.
We were nearly ready to eat! Rick and Damian made the plan: We just needed to simultaneously plate the salad, boil the pasta, and soft-poach the eggs all at the same time.
Chateau Rollat. Mikey said he was here on a super quick visit, so we were extra-tickled to see him!
We took a quick conversation break to say hello and visit, and in typical Kiss the Cooks fashion, more kitchen antics ensued. In Fernando's absence, Anne helped Shawn create a romantic "first family portrait." Ain't they sweet?
Into a pan of barely-simmering water, Rick carefully dropped an egg.
Shawn declared the fruit marinade delicious, and slurped up the extra straight from the plate.
Daniel watched us with amusement as we scurried around to get everything on the table at the same time:
We managed to get the salad and cinnamon rolls onto the table...
We were finally ready to plate up our main course! First, we tossed the cooked pasta with the aforementioned olive oil-garlic-anchovy-pepper flakes mixture.
There is a wacky mural in the roasting space, visible in the photo below. You can see that Jessica smiles next to the Pie in the Sky, relaxed. Poor Daniel, on the other hand, wonders what in the hell that tree up there is drinking, and why it looks so despondent.
Jake walked us briefly through how coffee beans go from this:
The first thing I can say is, WOW. I had no idea that coffee-roasting was such a scientific and intricate process! We had such an interesting afternoon, and we learned so much!
Adam, one of Rococo's owners (isn't he?), joined us about this point, and he gave us some more specific temperatures for these different stages. Adam told us that the "first crack" happens around 400 degrees, and reiterated Jake's statement that first crack is is called such because it sounds like popcorn! This is the process during which the beans swell and crack open along the seam, or butt, of each bean.
Jake pulled out some beans to let us listen to what the crack stage sounds like:
Here's a handy list of many of the different roasts that coffee roasters produce. I found this list on an Orlando, Florida coffee roaster's blog, The Weekly Roast. Check them out!
1. City/Light (first crack, a volatile sound of the beans cracking, has finished)
2. City+/Medium (shortly after first crack is complete)
3. Full City/Medium Dark (second crack is about to happen at any moment)
4. Full City+/Dark (the first few moments into second crack, a quieter snapping sound)
5. Vienna/Light French Roast/Very Dark (second crack is happening) – this is the darkest roast Weekly Roast offers (if we roasted any darker, the coffee would taste burnt and bitter)
6. French Roast/Extremely Dark (second crack is almost done) – Weekly Roast does not offer coffee this dark
We learned that coffees from different regions have different specific characteristics, similar to the idea of terroir in winemaking. For example, South American coffees are typically fruity and light-bodied with high acidity, typical of breakfast blends and other lighter roasts. Sumatran coffees, on the other hand, are more robustly flavored or earthy, with lower acidity and heavier body. These pair particularly well with chocolates.
Even more interesting, we learned that the darker the coffee's roast, the less caffeine it actually contains. He also said that, typically, Spanish and Italian roasts are even darker than French Roast, so have less caffeine. Perhaps that explains why I drank espresso all day long in Spain and could still go to sleep at night with no problem!
We also learned that coffee beans aren't really beans at all, but rather seeds of the fruit of the coffee plant. The fruit of the coffee plant is actually called a coffee "berry" or a coffee "cherry." Each coffee berry contains two coffee seeds (beans). The beans are covered by a tough membrane called silverskin, which is covered by a mucilage, which is surrounded by the coffee fruit, or berry.
The silverskin and mucilage must be removed before the beans can be roasted, and there are a few methods for doing this:
- Washed: Commonly used in South America, water is used to remove the additional layers from the coffee beans
- Semi-washed: Commonly used for coffee from Java/Sumatra. Partially washed, partially dried naturally.
- Unwashed or natural: Whole coffee cherries are picked and left to dry in the sun naturally, like a raisin. Typically these coffees have a more rustic flavor, more fruity.
Shawn borrowed Jake's ever-so-easy-on-the-eye manly strength to spin around this huge bag of coffee so she could snap a photo of it for Fernando, who if you recall, was MIA. Three cheers for el café colombiano!
Breakfast Blend, and one with their French Roast. He even presented a few treats to accompany our coffees!
Sundays are Caffé Rococo's re-stocking day, so pickings were slimmer than usual. However, many of us still found some goodies to buy - including a freshly-roasted batch of French Roast blend!
That wrapped up our visit and coffee roasting class. We bought our goodies and headed out.
We heart Caffé Rococo!
Many thanks, Caffé Rococo! We'll be back for sure!
Next up, Kissers, is another date change in February (per our recent annual meeting): Joyce and Anne will dazzle us with something on February 25 (changed from the 18th due to the holiday weekend).
Quick reminder of upcoming dates:
- March 17 (Shawn and Rick)
- April 21 (Fernando and Jessica)
- May 19 (Frank and Meg)
See you soon, Kissers - Enjoy the sunny day/Super Bowl/beginning of February!