Saturday, February 09, 2002
mr. right & i are nostagically watching goooold-fing-uh. . .
(even tho' recent events have made parts of this movie a little too uncomfortable to enjoy) and eating some baklava, when suddenly it comes to me: couldn't these delicious honeyed treats be improved by being dipped in chocolate?
just one edge? they're not too hard to make, but on atlantic avenue here in brooklyn there are numerous small middle-eastern pastry stores that offer delicious versions. . .it would be so simple to dunk a dozen in a bit of valrhona. . .
Friday, February 08, 2002
punk yoga -- does it exist?
i found out for myself yesterday at my regular thursday open class, when a subsitute teacher came in, doing an excellent henry rollins impersonation. lemme say it was different -- jason's an intense guy with a big agenda ready to take you on. call it confrontational relaxation. but his sanskrit was excellent and his goal was to slow you down. no jumpbacks allowed here. big change from the sweet, petite buddhist girl who normally taught that class.
what was he so intense about? flawless ujjayi pranayama, to give your yoga that flowing sense of effortless ease. if you feel like you're stuck in a yoga rut, track him down and let him kick your my-little-cuddly-yoga-routine butt.
and just to follow up on a topic i've already beaten to death here: abusive child labor in the chocolate industry. that mass-market candy bar you're eating may be made from cocoa grown and harvested by child slaves in the ivory coast. . .
Thursday, February 07, 2002
it's no secret that some of the world's best chocolate comes from paris. . .
specifically, i'm talking about la maison de chocolate, whose pastry chef robert linxe is widely regarded as being one of the best chocolatiers in the world -- right up there with brooklyn's own jacques torres. and now we have our hands on a version of linxe's own truffle recipe. make 'em and make 'em now, readers!
but since we've mentioned torres, we have to take a moment to note his chocolate croissants and his hot chocolate. i had the hot chocolate at the chocolate show last november; it is exquisite. the chocolate croissants however cannot be described. they are simply the best, best, best. better than in france.
they freeze well, so run down to torres' shop, buy a pile, freeze 'em, and warm 'em up for 7-9 minutes in your toaster oven. they'll be as good as new. and you'll be in heaven. . .
Wednesday, February 06, 2002
we talk a lot about chocolate here and perhaps we neglect cocoa. or perhaps not!
i have recommended valrhona cocoa here before, although my hot chocolate would now be, in fact, valrhona and milk or cream.
today the new york times points out exactly when you can benefit from using quality cocoa to great advantage in your cooking. . .
and more coffee news:
a cup of coffee in the morning has been proved to increase your memory all afternoon. . .
finally, another sobering reminder that starbucks is truly taking over new york: the city's second-largest coffee chain, timothy's, a canadian company, is closing all new york and u.s. stores. not that their coffee was any good either, sad to say.
can newer and hipper cosi sandwich/xando coffee combo stores stave off starbuck's total triumph? now that most starbucks are permanently implanted with bored, stay-at-home, stroller-pushing moms, the younger, better-looking and more fun crowd at xando's could boost growth.
the drawback of course -- xando's coffee is just as bad as starbucks. our cri de coeur: when will someone like david schomer open an espresso vivace here?
Tuesday, February 05, 2002
i love good health news:
new studies concur that coffee, if not actually beneficial, is at least neutral for your health in reasonable amounts. reasonable amount meaning 3 cups or less a day.
however, i will note that i personally find drinking more than 1 or 1-1/2 cups in the morning does affect my balance at a late afternoon yoga class. if i have a cup of coffee at say, 2 pm, i will find some balance poses like natarajasana (dancing shiva or "lord of the dance" pose), more difficult at 5:30pm. i'll wobble. but that's just me.
in more valentine's day news, gevalia suggests a lovely chocolate fondue party with coffee, candles and flowers for your beloved. splendid idea! just skip the stale, overpriced, pretentious gevalia "kaffe" and get yourself some caffe d'arte instead!
Monday, February 04, 2002
valentine's day is steadily creeping up. . .whether you do the american version (men give women chocolate), the japanese version (women give men chocolate) or my own version (everyone in the house brings home as much chocolate as possible), it's a day to look forward to. . .
i have mentioned cheese on rare occasions (here and here) but now there may be a new confluence of valentine's day and cheese.
frankly, i'm unsure what cheeses go with what chocolates and how they would all marry with what wine. . .i supose you could just serve champagne (here and here), which classically goes with everything. . .
Sunday, February 03, 2002
how far will a coffee fanatic go?
sometimes when i think i've gone off the deep end with my coffee, i go out into the big wide world and see that i'm not alone. there's more of us coffee freaks than meet the eye, dear readers! that placid looking person sitting next to you on the bus with their new york times correctly folded for tight public spaces could be a relentless espresso hound!
on this note, stopped by my neighbor's house to see his new mazzer mini grinder. now this is a serious commercial grinder that will definitely improve your espresso. problem: it's more than a foot and a half tall. it will seriously dominate your kitchen appliances. there are solutions: take off the 1/2 inch rubber feet; replace the lovely conical hopper with something smaller, say a pickle jar. toss the hopper altogether and just pour the beans you need right into the grinding chamber, placing a lid over the top while you grind.
needless to say, i was deeply skeptical of all these approaches. however, i was nearly converted by what i saw. first, the grinder is much lovelier than pictures would suggest. and second, the thing is unbelievably quiet. you can hardly tell it's running. my neighbor flipped the switch and if it weren't for the on light, i doubt i could have heard it over the polite jazz on his stereo. to reduce its size, he's using the dump-the-beans-straight-into-the-grinding-chamber method. seems to work for him.
now if i only had $375 to send to white eagle -- but alas! tax time comes a-creepin'. . . .still, for those of you who've planned your withholding more carefully and expect refunds, order now! the mazzer mini is highly recommended as the only grinder you'll ever need to reach the pinnacle of the perfect espresso!