Thursday, January 31, 2008


I came across this picture while browsing on Smosch. Isn't it lovely? I haven't been able to make cappuccinos with the "fern" yet, but my friend, Jeff, and I are taking a course next month for espresso enthusiasts at Kitten Coffee in Brookyn.

The above picture is from a cafe in Sweden. My new favorite coffee place in New York (where they also make nice designs in their coffee) is La Colombe in Tribeca.

La Colombe

319 Church St.

New York, NY 10013

(212) 343-1515

Monday, January 28, 2008

Spaetzle love

After Tim came back from Berlin, he was obsessed with having spaetzle (an egg dumpling like noodle dish from southern Germany). But how are we supposed to make it without a spaetzle maker?! With a little innovation and effort of course!

Spaetzle is basically a doughy mixture of eggs, flour and milk which you then push through a colander/spaetzle maker/slotted spoon into boiling water. After reading some people's disastrous results with the colander, we decided to improvise and use our flat grater and just spoon the mixture on top and push the dough through with a rubber spatula.
Doesn't the spaetzle maker (right) look like a grater with a cup on top?

We used the recipe from Epicurious. It took about 4 to 5 batches before we got through all of the dough. It was a little difficult not to let the dough drip over the sides of the grater (I suppose this is where the cup of the spaetzle maker comes in handy) but it was worth it in the end! We browned some butter with sage and grated a bit of emmenthaler to go on top and sauteed some spinach as a side. Yum!

Spaetzle in Brown Butter & Sage (modified from Epicurious)

3/4 cup cold whole milk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
fresh sage - chopped (amount is up to you)
grated cheese (any kind you like - we used emmenthaler)

Combine milk, eggs, salt and nutmeg in processor; blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add flour and blend until batter is just smooth, about 30 seconds (batter will be very thick and sticky).

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Working in batches, pour batter through flat grater held above boiling water, pressing with rubber spatula to form strands. Stir gently to prevent sticking. Simmer until spaetzle float to surface, then continue cooking 1 minute longer. Make sure that spaetzle stay in water for too long, otherwise it will turn mushy. Using slotted spoon, transfer spaetzle to large buttered baking dish

Cook 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Throw in chopped fresh sage and cook for 1 minute longer. Pour brown butter sage mixture over spaetzle. Toss. Top with freshly grated cheese, salt & pepper to taste. Toss.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Siphon Bar - Japanese Design Mastery

Just read an article in the New York Times about the Blue Bottle Cafe in San Francisco acquiring this siphon bar from Japan to make brewed coffee. Check out this slideshow to see the owner, James Freeman, using the machine. What I admire is the patience and skill involved in the process. It also doesn't hurt that the siphon bar is a thing of beauty - even though I thought it looked like lab equipment at first - but perhaps it does require scientific precision to make a truly great cup of coffee.

Some excerpts from the article:

The secret is in how it’s stirred.

A siphon pot has two stacked glass globes, and works a little like a macchinetta, that stove-top gadget wrongly called an espresso maker by generations of graduate students. As water vapor forces water into the upper globe the coffee grounds are stirred by hand with a bamboo paddle. (In Japan, siphon coffee masters carve their own paddles to fit the shape of their palms.)

The goal is to create a deep whirlpool in no more than four turns without touching the glass. Posture is important. So is timing: siphon coffee has a brewing cycle of 45 to 90 seconds.

“The whirlpool, it messes with your mind,” said Mr. Freeman, the owner of the Blue Bottle. “There’s no way to rush it.”

Mr. Freeman said he practiced stirring plain water for months to develop muscle memory before he brewed his first cup of siphon coffee. Even now he starts every day with a five-minute warm-up. The evidence of good technique is in the sediment: the grounds should form a tight dome dotted with small bubbles, the sign of proper extraction.


“It’s kaleidoscopic,” Mr. Freeman said. “It’s forcing you to pay attention to every sip, because the next one is going to be different. I feel like when we serve it we’ll have to ask people to just pour it in their cup and smell it for the first minute or so.”

Monday, January 7, 2008

Which came first? How 'bout both at once!

Within the last couple of weeks, I've gone to a few of brunch places where the omelet special has chicken in it.

Now wait a minute.

As my friend, Laura, pointed out, this is really weird. Think about it. Why would you want to eat the mother wrapped up inside of the baby (or potential baby - which is even weirder)? The thought of it just makes my skin tingle....