Friday, April 26, 2013

Coffee & Coffee Makers

I don't drink a lot of coffee.  I'll have 1 - 2 cups during the week, maybe twice that on weekends.  If Laurie is out of town I usually won't make coffee at all, preferring a cup of tea.

In February our very reliable Black & Decker drip coffee maker finally failed.  The switched had been going for a while and for the last six months or so we needed an ice pick to push the "On" button.

We really like the insulated carafe style.  I couldn't find one like the one we had, but did find one we liked made by Zojirushi (on Amazon, of course).  Zojirushi is a Japanese company that got its start making Dewar flasks (I was hooked with that!)  The carafes must be excellent!

We got the unit in February.  It's a little cumbersome to line up the carafe beneath the coffee outlet, and the tank isn't as easy to fill, but it's pretty nice and makes a good cup of coffee.

Unfortunately, it started to leak.  I called Zojirushi and the sent me a UPS label to return it.  I sent it in a couple of weeks ago, they repaired it, and it's on its way back.

For the last couple of weeks we've had to use our French press.  I like a French press- it makes good coffee and it brings you back to the essence of what making coffee is.  But it only makes a couple of cups, you have to boil water, it cools down fast, the bottom third has a lot of fines in it, blah, blah, blah.

Hopefully we get our Zoj back for the weekend.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Age Your Steaks

We are fortunate to live close to Bunzel's, a butcher shop on 84th & Burleigh in Milwaukee.  We go there a couple of times a month.

When the have whole tenderloins on sale we usually get one and have them cut it up into about 6 oz fillets, wrap them in packages of two, and freeze them.

I always age them for at least four days when we're going to cook them.  Unwrap them, dry them off with a paper towel, salt them on both sides, and let them rest in the refrigerator, turning them every 12 to 24 hours.  I usually set them on some cut up carrots so that the underside gets some air, too.

The exterior of the meat will dry out, concentrating the flavor and allowing it to develop a great crust when it cooks.  Once you start aging your beef, you'll never go back.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bittman on Cooking

Mark Bittman had a good article in the April 18, 2013 NYT (read it here) discussing the value of cooking with Michael Pollan.  Now a dinner with Bittman and Pollan sounds like a lot of fun.

I really can't comment on the processed food that they are talking about.  We never buy it, let alone cook it. I'm not even all that sure what their talking about.  I used to look at what other people buy at the grocery, but with self-checkout, I don't have that opportunity any more.

Why would you buy jars of spaghetti sauce?  Red sauce is simple:

  • Saute onions (always in the pantry)
  • Saute some peppers if you have them
  • Toss in a Parmesan cheese rind if you have one (freeze them - they're useful to have)
  • Add some minced garlic (always on hand)
  • Add some canned tomato products (always in the pantry - crushed, diced, sauce)
  • Add herbs as desired (oregano, basil, thyme, salt, pepper flakes)
  • Simmer twenty minutes
You can do lots of things with that sauce, from simply putting it over spaghetti to adding cod or monkfish and cooking till done.

Cook your own food!  What could be better?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Last Day for Wnter Farmer's market

Today was the last day for the winter farmer's market at State Fair Park in Milwaukee.  We are there at least every other week from when it opens in November, maybe more.

Fortunately the Wauwatosa market opens on June 1st.  Our regulars will all be there:  our cheese-monger, our trout lady, our mushroom guy, our goat lady (her husband, at least) and our egg lady.

Our CSA deliveries shoud start mid-June.  I wonder how all the rain is affecting them?

Thursday, April 11, 2013