Archives for posts with tag: Coffee

Brunch

Sunday brunch is the best. Breakfast foods are my favorite and Sunday brunch is the one meal of the week that I can really indulge my love of pastries, eggs, and pancakes. This weekend my friends Justin and Katie were visiting from Seattle and I invited them over for brunch. It was the perfect opportunity to make a big-ass breakfast.

On the menu were banana bread muffins, soft boiled eggs, with strawberries, blood oranges, and raspberries. I’ve had my eye on a recipe over at Pinch My Salt for cheddar and parmesan scones and used this brunch as an opportunity to try them out. Boy, oh boy they were tasty. Not surprising when the main ingredients are cheese and butter. Plus! The scones have my favorite hot sauce in them: Sriracha. Really, its a winning combination.

It was a lot of food… but hey, brunch counts for two meals. Between the muffins, fruit, and spicy cheese scones there was a good balance of flavors and the variety kept the meal interesting. Good job, me.

We all ate our fill and then took a nice long walk around Berkeley. Brunch with friends is really a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

Banana brunch muffin

Ingredients

I’ve been tinkering with a banana bread recipe and I’ve got it where I like it. There’s just enough fruit and veggies in it to make it seem like a nourishing breakfast item, but it’s still breakfast cake in its truest form. Here’s the recipe I used for my muffins:

Banana Brunch Muffins

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix in the sugar, cinnamon, egg, and vanilla. Then mix grated carrot, cranberries, and sunflower seeds.
  4. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.
  5. Add the flour, mix.
  6. Pour into a greased muffin pan.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The muffins are finished when the fork comes out clean.

Making coffee is a morning ritual I take a lot of pleasure in. Partly because I’m a creature of habit and enjoy the routine but also because I love the smell, process, and of course the taste. Most of us are accustomed to using the auto-drip coffee makers for their ease and ability to set it on a timer. To me, automatic coffee makers take the fun out of brewing coffee. Plus auto-drips (a least most of them) tend to burn the coffee and generally brew a less robust cup.

I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a coffee snob. I spent some time working as a barista and lived in Italy for a semester and if that won’t do it, nothing will. That aside, with a little extra effort and the right tools, you can have excellent coffee at home every day. As with any task, having the proper tool is vital to getting a good result. So I thought I would do an overview of coffee makers that brew a great cup.

french press coffee maker

Personally, my favorite way to brew coffee is with a french press. With the french press you pour the coffee and hot water into the the glass cylinder, stir it up and put the lid/plunger on top. After four minutes you gently push the mesh plunger down, which forces the grounds to the bottom. This method retains all the oils in the coffee which gives it a deep flavor.

Moka Pot coffee maker

The moka pot, also known as the stovetop espresso maker (even though it doesn’t actually brew espresso) is another great method. This kind of coffee maker is more popular in Europe than it is here in the US. It makes a relatively small amount of coffee that is concentrated and rich in flavor. For this method, you put pre-warmed water in the bottom section. The coffee grounds go in a basket in the middle of the maker and the whole thing is placed on the stove. As the water is heating, it pushes up through the grounds into the top section.

AeroPress Coffee Maker

Another brewer that makes espresso strength coffee is the AeroPress. The first time I had coffee made with an AeroPress, I was immediately impressed. The coffee is smooth and less acidic than normal coffee but has a really strong flavor. The AeroPress hasn’t been around for a long time; it was invented only 6 years ago. It is basically a large syringe. A small filter is put in the bottom, then the coffee and water are added. It only steeps for 10 seconds before you plunge it and force the coffee through the filter into your cup.

Vacuum Pot

The Vacuum Pot is a much more delicate way to brew coffee but some people swear by it.  The method is a bit complicated and the equipment is fragile but it makes excellent coffee. The vacuum pot is two glass orbs with the coffee in the top and the water in the bottom. As the water heats up, it is forced up into the coffee. You remove the pot from the heat source after all of the water is pushed into the top. The resulting vacuum that is created pulls the liquid back down into the bottom leaving the grounds behind. Once all the coffee has been pulled back into the bottom, remove the top with the grounds and pour your coffee!

pour over method

The pour over method is arguably the simplest way to brew a fresh cup of coffee. It’s cheap too. Most plastic cones, such as the Melitta cones cost under five dollars (of course you can spend much more than that if you are inclined). You simply place the plastic cone on top of your cup. You place a filter in the cone and add your coffee. You pour the water in two steps. In the initial pour you pour just enough water to saturate the grounds. After about 15 seconds, begin pouring the rest of the water, pouring it in a spiral motion to evenly saturate the grounds.

For more detailed instructions, Stumptown Coffee Roasters has a great step-by-step guide to brewing coffee. A few final tips for brewing: always use fresh water and freshly roasted coffee,  always grind your coffee to fit your brewing method, and don’t forget to pre-warm your mug!

Happy brewing!

Here are some illustrations of delicious things I’ve enjoyed recently. More to come!

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One of the biggest differences between living in small town North Carolina and Berkeley, California is the food. Obviously, there are huge cultural differences and the fact that I don’t have to own a car… but if you’re looking at day to day differences in how I live my life, it’s the food. My God, it’s the food. Anyone who knows me well will tell you, I am a hungry person. I probably eat 4 meals a day with a few snacks in between. My insatiable hunger is the butt of many good natured jokes and jabs from friends and family. Needless to say, food is important to me.

A little Bay Area Love for my family.

This year for Christmas, I brought home a taste of the Bay Area for my family. Freshly roasted coffee, amazing citrus, avocados, and pomegranates are all things that are hard to come across in our small home town. All of the fruit survived the journey and and everyone was excited to sample all the tasty foods. They especially loved the Satsuma Mandarin Oranges. I promised to send another package of the Satsumas after I go back.

Moving to Berkeley, the foodie capital of the world, was a huge improvement to my hungry lifestyle. The produce is varied and fresh, the restaurants are amazing, and there are Farmer’s Markets everyday of the week. I don’t know if I would call myself a foodie, there are too many snobby connotations. Okay, so maybe I’m a foodie, but only a slightly snobby one. I love good food and I love to share my culinary adventures. This blog is dedicated to my two loves, illustration and food. I hope to share good food and good art with you, my readers, my friends. Here we go!

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