Upping My Coffee Game

I’ve written about my pretty solid coffee habit before, and last summer I explored using a cold brew maker last summer. (Will it ever be warm enough again to bring it out again? Probably not.)

My dad has been getting into roasting his own coffee beans since retiring, and he’s long been someone who used a coffee grinder. He even went so far as to order me coffee specially ground for my french press. It really did taste much better. I know ultimately grinding your own beans tastes the best. But I’m just lazy/late/tired, etc. in the morning.

So what do I decide to do? I buy a hand grinder of course.

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I read about “the best” burr coffee grinders on Lifehacker recently. This hand grinder was both cheap ($30) and reportedly better than others because it uses a ceramic burr, so there’s no metal taste to the coffee. I actually think it’s the same brand as my cold brew maker.

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The results have been rather tasty. I still have to stick to my 4 scoops to one 12oz coffee recipe (the rules are LIES), but the flavor is great and it’s a little less silty than my normal coffee.

I read a review that states it takes “about 30 seconds” per cup to grind. Yea… about that. It takes me several minutes. I think I pulled a muscle in my back the second day using it.

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But still! 10 seconds at a time, right? (Hashbrown, no filter. Yes I’m obsessed with Kimmy Schmidt.) Eventually this coffee grinding thing should lead to some serious guns. It’s easy strength training! Next step is trying out some fancier beans. I bought the only beans I could find at Price Chopper to start, but now I’ll have to see what else is out there.

It’s a Hot One

There I was, minding my own business, and suddenly the summer showed up. More specifically, it showed up on the day I decided to push harder on my running attempts. At 12:30 p.m. I finished a respectable-for-me 2 mile run, and then returned to an A/C- and fan-less apartment after realizing the sun was trying to melt me. I spent the rest of the day chugging water and tomato-faced. Later, when I walked a few blocks to meet a friend I was still overheating and sweaty. It was a gross realization that it was indeed the emergence of summer. Sharing is caring.

But I can’t resist having a little fun…

Mini lives a life of unwanted photo-ops

Collin and I are not really big fans of humidity. I never experienced humidity most of my life and now I’m living through my fourth summer on the east coast, trying to survive. We’re still figuring out the A/C situation (weird sized windows, aversion to spending money, etc.), which is leading to us being somewhat overheated grumps. I believe the suggestion of moving to Alaska has been thrown around with increasing seriousness.

Anchorage, August 2010, cooler temperature memories

I’d give Alaska a chance. For now, though, I’m excited to be starting a job here soon. I went in for my orientation yesterday and start in two weeks. It’s definitely the biggest company and most straight-laced (i.e. business casual dress, formal policies and procedures for everything) I’ve ever worked for, but that’s not a bad thing. I like experiencing new work environments, and on the plus side, as always, the people I’ve met so far seem really nice.

Back to the heat issue, though, Collin and I had to take a night off from cooking with the stove or oven. We got crafty and just put together a big cold salad – it had chick peas, corn, fried peppers, olives, cilantro and other things I might be forgetting. I added beets to mine as well. We made guacamole, always delicious and some hard boiled eggs. Random, but good. It was extra refreshing with ice cold beers, which are a necessary staple of a hot summer.

Yes, that is our fancy set up with my iPad propped up against my Nike box and a half eaten pan of brownies. Tomorrow is supposed to bring the weather back down to the 60s, so here’s to hoping.

Experimenting in Food Blogging

I am a baker, not a chef. And I am lazy. This means that my meals are basic and my cookies are often break-n-bake. I will on occasion bust out my specialty cake. But as I begin my twenty-fifth year, I think I’d like to make a few attempts at acting like an adult.

I have a love affair with sweet potatoes. I usually just boil and mash them as I did before we got the new stove. Then I stumbled across this recipe from Martha Stewart. It’s rather simple, but a challenge to me and at least appears somewhat sophisticated. The recipe is for sauteed sweet potatoes with spinach. That’s a whole lotta nutrients right there.

Anyway, despite arctic temperatures outside (and yes, I’ve become a super complainer about this cold) I went to the grocery store to start this mission. Of course, what better way to start off the evening than with some bread and cheese?

Then add in some beers…

…and get ready for some serious cooking.

Collin was my lovely cooking-partner-in-crime. We started with skinning and cubing the sweet potatoes. Then we threw them in a giant Rachel Ray saute pan. (A lovely gift from Collin’s RH days — they published Ray’s books.) We added in curry powder, water and onions. Then we stirred and steamed. I think some of the chunks were too big, so they weren’t softening as quickly as the recipe indicated. Of course, recipes are never quite accurate, are they?

Once we finally got the sweet potatoes tender enough, we took them out and put in the spinach. Really, the cutting of the sweet potatoes and softening in the pan take the longest. Everything else is easy! Once that was taken care of we put it all together in a pot, added some balsamic vinegar and we were good to go.

Appearance = eh. Taste = win.

I’ve never cooked with curry powder before, and I have a bit of a reputation as having a low tolerance for spice, but it was really delicious. I think I may want to look for more recipes including curry powder and see what happens. However, my next task instead is going to be recreating a restaurant sandwich. A wonderful breakfast spot mere blocks away from our apartment, Milk Bar, has delicious sandwiches that I experienced for the first time last week. It included butternut squash… and of course so much more. Stay tuned!