Have You Ever Had to Make Up Your Mind?

May 5th, 2010
Auction Desserts 2010

Auction Desserts 2010

The text in the photo is hard to read, but it says “Not Your Mama’s Cupcakes… no offense to your mama!”. The cupcake flavors are “Jamaican Me Hungry” (chocolate cupcake, mocha mousse filling, chocolate frosting); “Color Me Caramel” (caramel cupcake / caramel mousse filling / vanilla buttercream); and “Lemony Entertain You” (lemon cupcake / cream cheese mousse / strawberry buttercream).

It was auction time again last weekend, and I agreed to donate a dessert. Pictures of the donated desserts are put out for silent auction, bidders bid for their table’s dessert that evening, and everyone wins. I couldn’t decide what to donate and I didn’t feel like I had a lot of time for the project. So, I decided on three kinds of cupcakes with three different fillings and three different frostings – apparently that’s what you do when you can’t make up your mind and don’t have too much time…

I actually came up with dessert concept and the “naming” of everything in a flash – my husband asks me where this stuff comes from and I just look at him, shrug, and say “It just pops out of my head.” I liked the concept (and the titles for everything) a lot more than I liked the idea of doing the work to make it happen – but happen it did. I was told that the three dozen cupcakes went for $250, which made me very happy and I decided it was worth it in the end!

As interesting as the cupcake project was, it’s not the only thing I wanted to write about today under the subject of having to make up my mind. I’ve made a few big decisions, and I wanted to share the latest. I’ve accepted an opportunity to work in marketing communications with a food-related company, and I’m really excited about it. It’s a full time position, which means I’ll be closing the doors of Just Specialties Fine Food and saying goodbye to our beautiful, easy, elegant chocolate kits and baking kits – five years after loving them into existence and shepherding them through the wily world of specialty foods. I’m really proud of what we built and how we operated – we were always quality driven and customer-oriented. I learned so much. We accomplished so much.

To paraphrase Ecclesiastes, to everything there is a season – food lovers can certainly relate to that. It was a very good season – thank you for being a part of it.

I will still be blogging here at Bake~Eat~Love – so please keep reading!

Have you ever had to make up your mind?

Best,

Cathy

Rosy Thoughts

April 19th, 2010

Rose's Heavenly Cakes

Rose's Heavenly Cakes - Ready for Duty!

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a Baker’s Dozen luncheon featuring cake maker and cookbook author extraordinaire, Rose Levy Beranbaum. This was Rose’s third visit with Baker’s Dozen, and it was really enjoyable. She is promoting her new book, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes. I have two of her previous books – she’s written nine of them! – that are rather dog-eared and well-used, as they should be. The Cake Bible was the first one I acquired many years ago, followed by The Pie and Pastry Bible. And now, of course, a copy of Rose’s Heavenly Cakes is sitting on my counter waiting to be transformed from its pristine condition into another lovingly well-used resource in its own good time.

Rose talked about the “behind the scenes” of working with publishers and bringing a book like hers to the shelves – it sounded like this most recent one was about 6 years in the making. Her work is meticulous, and she takes her responsibilities as a recipe writer very seriously. She would never want to leave a fellow baker stranded in the kitchen because one of her recipes was not perfect. She told how she felt when she was about to publish one of her earlier books, only to see another book that covered similar material published first. She was reminded at the time that everyone has a voice, and she reminded each of us of that very same thing last week. It’s a good reminder.

What I most appreciated was the love Rose has for baking and for fellow bakers. It comes through like a beacon in every recipe she writes and in every way she shares her knowledge and carefully developed recipes.

She reminds me why I am a baker – for the love of it!

Happy Baking,
Cathy

Caramel Kick #2

March 19th, 2010

Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream

Homemade Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream (covered with leftover English toffee bits!)

After my last post about English toffee, I thought that caramel sauce should be next. Both English toffee and caramel sauce (and caramels too, for that matter) involve cooking sugar to a certain degree of caramelization. Plus, caramel sauce is yet another (!) simple treat where the homemade result is so much better than what we can buy in the store. The same caution about working with hot sugar applies here, too…

Caramel sauce is made in two simple steps:
1) cook sugar and water to a light to medium amber color; and
2) whisk in 1 cup heavy cream and a little butter

Yes, that’s it! And, unlike the English Toffee, you don’t even have to stir! So, details…

Steps to Making Caramel Sauce

Water and Sugar in the Pan; Sugar Completely Moistened; Cooked to Clear Syrup

1) Put 1/2 cup of water in a large saucepan and add 2 cups of sugar. Pour the sugar on top of the water carefully so stray sugar crystals don’t land on the sides of the pan. With a spoon, gently mix the sugar and water together until all of the sugar is moistened – and continue to keep the sugar off the sides of the pan. This attention to the sides of the pan will minimize the chance of the sugar crystallizing, i.e. turning chunky and grainy. And what if sugar lands on the sides of the pan? Just wash it down with a little fresh water on your (clean) fingertips.
Steps to Making Caramel Sauce

Sugar Syrup Just Starting to Caramelize; Medium Amber Color; Cream Added

Steps for Making Caramel Sauce

Whisking in the Cream; Finished Caramel Sauce; Really Finished Caramel Sauce!

2) Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is clear and simmering (about 10 minutes – but you’ll have to watch it to know for sure). Remove the lid and continue to cook until the mixture is a light to medium amber color. Don’t stir the mixture at all! When it starts to color a little, you can slowly and carefully swirl the pan to help it color evenly, just don’t stir it – and be careful if you swirl it so you don’t splash yourself.

Once the mixture has cooked to a light to medium amber color, remove the pan from the heat and quickly pour in about ¼ of the cream. The sugar syrup will steam and boil fiercely when the cream is added, so don’t stand over the pan – stand back, continuing to pour the cream in ¼ increments until the cream is all in. Then, carefully whisk the sauce together, continuing to be careful because it will still be steaming. Finally, whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter (salted or unsalted is ok) and pour into a heat proof container. Cool, cover and store in the refrigerator.

The caramel sauce will thicken when it cools – just reheat it a little in the microwave to make it pourable. Serve over your favorite ice cream, on your favorite cake or with whatever else you like!

Let me know what you think!

Cathy

Oh, Sugar, Sugar…

March 12th, 2010

Finished English Toffee

English Toffee - Yum!


Oh, honey, honey… do you remember that song from decades ago by The Archies? Well, today I’m your candy girl and I’m serving up buttery English toffee with toasted almonds and chocolate. Making toffee is another recipe that is pretty easy with spectacular rewards for the effort – fresh, buttery toffee from your own kitchen and yet another way to impress your friends (how many of them are making toffee from scratch?!)

First, a cautionary note about toffee making: hot sugar can be very dangerous and must be handled carefully at all times, so this is not a recipe to make with little kids or even with little kids underfoot. They can eat it later though!

Making the toffee itself takes about 15 minutes then, once it’s cooled, about another 10 minutes to slather it with chocolate and more nuts. The basic steps are 1) melt butter and sugar together, add almonds or whatever nut you like; 2) cook to “hard crack” stage; 3) pour into a pan and cool; and 4) cover with chocolate and nuts. Without further delay… let’s make some toffee.

Steps for making English Toffee

Butter and Sugar in Saucepan; Stirring the Butter and Sugar Together as the Butter Melts; Puffy, Cream-colored, Cohesive mix


Steps for making English Toffee

Adding the Nuts; Cooking to Hard Crack Stage; Cooling in the Pan

1.) Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 heat proof pan (I actually use Pam) and set aside.  Put 2 sticks of salted butter (that’s ½ pound) and 2 cups of sugar into a large saucepan. Cook on the stove-top on medium heat, stirring to blend the sugar and butter together, making sure to moisten all of the sugar with the butter. Continue to stir, also scraping the sides of the pan to remove sugar crystals there. The mixture will change from a loose blend of sugar and melted butter into a somewhat puffy, cream-colored cohesive mix. Keep stirring, and when the sides start to turn a little brown, add 1 cup of nuts. Keep stirring.

2.) Cook to “hard crack” stage – this is somewhat fussy to describe, but it’s really critical to the outcome. Continue to stir the toffee. Although there’s no need to constantly stir, don’t walk away – keep watching what’s happening in the pan. Hard crack stage is technically about 300 – 305 degrees and there a few ways to tell when the toffee is there. Two of the best ways are 1) use a candy thermometer; or 2) carefully watch the mixture for the magic few seconds when it changes from a somewhat grainy, puffy looking “coffee with cream” color to a smooth, glossy, medium brown toffee color. If the toffee continues to cook much beyond 305 degrees, it won’t look too different at first but it will start to take on a burned flavor – so, the toffee will look great, but it might taste slightly burned. If it really cooks beyond this stage, it will start to smoke and turn black – and this can happen in about 1 minute.

But, it’s also really important to not cook it less than 300 – 305 degrees. If it’s not cooked to hard crack stage, the toffee will be grainy and soft – very un-toffee-like! Like I said, it’s fussy to describe “hard crack”, but the concept is pretty easy!

So, once the toffee is at 300 – 305 degrees or has just arrived at the smooth-glossy-medium-brown-toffee-colored stage, immediately remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the toffee into the prepared 9×13 pan. Cool on the counter or in the refrigerator. If it’s going in the refrigerator to cool, don’t put it in there right away – the toffee and the pan are very hot at this stage, so let it cool down a little on the counter at first. Once it goes in the refrigerator, it takes about 30 minutes to completely cool down.

3.) While the toffee is cooling, put about ½ – ¾ cups of nuts on a sheet pan and put them in the oven to toast. The nuts are done when they just start to become fragrant – this will take 10 minutes or less, depending on the oven. When the nuts have cooled, chop them and set aside for sprinkling on the toffee later.

4.) When it’s time to finish the toffee, melt your favorite chocolate chips in the microwave – milk or dark chocolate, whatever you like. For the best way to melt chocolate in the microwave, check out our instructions for chocolate ganache.

Spread a layer of chocolate on one side of the toffee and sprinkle with the chopped nuts. Return the toffee to the refrigerator for a few minutes to set the chocolate, then invert the toffee onto a sheet of wax paper or parchment and coat the other side with chocolate and more nuts. The toffee may start to break at this point, but it’s going to be broken into pieces anyway.

Break into pieces – I use the handle end of a heavy knife – and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Some nuts and chocolate bits will fall off when the toffee is broken into pieces – save those for ice cream topping or eat them just as they are.

Bowl of Finished English Toffee

Buttery, Crunchy, Chocolatey, Toasted Nutty

The toffee will be crunchy, but it shouldn’t be breaking any teeth – another benefit of cooking it to proper hard crack stage. It will definitely be buttery and sweet. And chocolatey. And toasted nutty.

Maybe next, we’ll do caramel sauce…

Enjoy!

Cathy

Polenta… and I Mean Quick!

March 2nd, 2010

Finished Polenta with Olive Oil and Parmesan Cheese

Soft and Creamy Polenta with Parmesan Cheese and Olive Oil

Someone asked me the other day what I put in my brown rice to make it moist. It got me thinking about grains – specifically brown rice and polenta. They are two of my “go-to” grains, for similar reasons, but not for the same meal! They both have satisfying texture and taste, they’re warm and filling, they’re healthful and easy. Count me in!

Polenta is corn meal, Italian-style. It can be served soft and creamy or firm and crispy. I usually serve it soft and creamy with a little parmesan cheese – it makes a perfect pair with something like Beef Bourguignon because the juices from the stew play so nicely with the taste and texture of the polenta. You can buy corn meal for polenta in the bulk section of supermarkets or in a pre-packaged bag labeled “Polenta”, which is just bulk corn meal in a bag labeled “Polenta”! I buy it in the bag because it has the recipe I like on the back, and the bag itself is thick and sturdy for storage. Plus, it’s a good looking bag! By my count, that’s at least two solid practical reasons to buy the bag. The third reason is just the kind of thing that probably makes my husband a little crazy sometimes…

Bag of Polenta

See? That's a Good Looking Bag!

The basic recipe is to bring 4 cups of water to boil, add 1 teaspoon salt, slowly whisk in 1 cup of polenta and keep whisking until it’s done. I find this takes about 5 – 10 minutes over medium heat. When it gets to the consistency I like, similar to porridge, I add 2 tablespoons butter and about ½ – ¾ cup of parmesan cheese (freshly grated – don’t even think about the green can kind). The recipe says to use a double boiler, which I never do; and it says it will take 25 minutes, which it never does. I use to wonder why my polenta cooks up so much faster than the stated 25 minutes, but I decided it must be because I serve mine soft and creamy. If I cooked it for the full 25 minutes, it would set up very sturdily and be perfect for slicing and then browning in a skillet. Mostly I don’t wonder about my polenta, though – I just eat it (and so does my husband, by the way).

And what about that moist brown rice? Talk about a simple, healthy and satisfying side dish… and it cooks itself! Add 1 part brown rice (not fast cooking, not par-boiled, not from a box with seasonings… just whole grain brown rice out of a bag, and I’m sure you can buy this in bulk, too!) to 2 parts low sodium chicken broth. I happen to use a coffee cup to measure (so 1 coffee cup of brown rice and 2 coffee cups of broth), but you can use a measuring cup if you’re feeling conventional ; ). Cover and simmer over the lowest heat possible. It needs to gently simmer, not boil. This lets the rice absorb the broth, rather than the broth just boiling off and leaving crunchy uncooked rice behind.

Check the rice after about 20 minutes to be sure the broth hasn’t completely evaporated. If it’s drying up, add a little more broth. Basically, cook it for about 30 minutes total, checking to be sure it hasn’t dried up and tasting it towards the end for tenderness. Once it’s tender take it off the heat, making sure there is still a little bit of broth in the pan – this is what keeps it moist and it will absorb as the rice sits. Add a little salt to taste (we have to make up for the low sodium broth!) and stir. The texture is al dente, like properly cooked pasta, and the flavor is mildly nutty. Start the rice first and it will be done just when the rest of your meal is ready.

Just one more note about Polenta with Beef Bourguignon. My favorite Beef Bourguignon recipe is from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. I was given this cookbook in 1991, when I got married, and later acquired The Silver Palate Cookbook by the same authors. I wanted to give my readers a link to this Beef Bourguignon recipe, but there doesn’t seem to be one available. In “Googling” for the recipe, I came across the news that Sheila Lukins, one of the authors, had passed away last summer. I was surprised and wanted to mention it here as my small tribute to someone I never met but from whom I learned to cook many fine meals.

Cook a great meal tonight for someone you love!

Cathy

Anticipating Cherry Blossoms

February 19th, 2010
Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo

Hanami - Cherry Blossom Time in Tokyo, Japan

When we lived in Tokyo, Japan, we learned about “hanami”, cherry blossom viewing – an annual tradition. Weeks in advance, estimates of when the cherry blossoms will bloom are published so gazers can schedule their viewing. Throngs of people descend on their favorite viewing patches, stake out their territory and picnic beneath the blossoms. It’s a beautiful ritual that signals spring – but it’s also fleeting, since cherry blossoms come and go very quickly. The story goes that Japanese samurai chose the cherry blossom as their symbol because cherry blossoms fall from the tree at the peak of their beauty… a reminder that life is fleeting. If you’re feeling philosophical, check out some thoughts on cherry blossoms, grace and dignity!

You can probably tell from the picture above that people are enjoying picnics and camaraderie beneath the beautiful trees. You probably can’t tell that they are actually in a cemetery – this cemetery happens to be known as a great place for hanami. This is some of what the surrounding area looks like…

Hanami

Hanami - Cherry Blossom Viewing in a Tokyo Cemetery

Hanami

Hanami - Cherry Blossom Viewing in a Tokyo Cemetery

At first, picnicing in a cemetery might seem strange – but on second thought, it seems just right. Sitting among your ancestors, enjoying a meal with the people you love – how perfect.

So what made me think about hanami in Tokyo seven years ago? On the trail near my house where I take my walks, the cherry trees are blooming. The pictures above from Japan were taken in April 2003, this one below in California was taken yesterday (February).

Cherry Blossoms Pleasant Hill, CA

Hanami - Cherry Blossoms in Pleasant Hill, CA

Just as in Japan, these blossoms are a signal of spring and renewal here, too. We had a few lovely sunny days with temperatures in the mid-60s, and it just makes me ready for the warmth. We always get a little teaser like this in February and, like the cherry blossoms, it’s fleeting. Today we are back to clouds and imminent rain, but I know we’re not too far away from sunshine, warmth and lots more blooms. Maybe this year we’ll have some picnics too, and we will most definitely have some cherries.

Hanami

Cherry Blossoms Today...

Fresh Cherries

...Mean Fresh Cherries This Summer! Photo from National Geographic, by Taylor Kennedy

Wherever you are, I hope spring and renewal are right around the corner for you, too.

Happy gazing,
Cathy

Strawberries Romanoff… mmmm

February 15th, 2010

Strawberries Romanoff

Strawberries Romanoff - Ready for Strawberry Season


Happy belated Valentine’s Day! While this recipe is a little too late for Valentine’s Day – I decided to write this post as I was making Strawberries Romanoff for our Valentine’s Day dessert last night – it’s in plenty of time for strawberry season. Strawberries Romanoff is a simple dessert, quick and easy, with big results. It’s made with fresh strawberries, orange juice, orange liqueur, sugar and cream, and its origins are uncertain – maybe it was created by French chef extraordinaire Marie Antoine Careme (1784 – 1833), or perhaps it was French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846 – 1935). I’m just glad one of them thought of it, and that I learned about it during my Australia cheffing days. I don’t have exact measurements for this “recipe” – it’s really up to you and your tastebuds, and how many people you are serving. There are three simple steps – first, marinate the strawberries; second, whip the cream; and finally, assemble – oh, then take the credit!

1. Marinate the Strawberries: quarter some strawberries into a bowl and add a little sugar, depending on the sweetness of the berries. Add a few splashes of orange liqueur (I use Grand Marnier), and then enough orange juice to almost cover the berries. Taste the mixture and make adjustments – if there is too much liqueur, add more orange juice, etc. Let the berries marinate for an hour or two.

2. Whip the cream: when it’s time to serve, add a little sugar and vanilla to heavy cream and whip to very soft peaks – in fact, they’re not even really peaks, they’re sort of pillowy, rolling hills. This step can be done at the same time the berries are cut to marinate – just keep the cream in the refrigerator until service and, if necessary, give it a few whisks right before using it.

3. Assemble: add a little of the cream to the bottom of a serving dish, top with strawberries and a little of the marinating liquid, then top with more of the cream and finish with strawberries and a little more marinating liquid.

This is a delicate, light (in taste and texture!) dessert that finishes off a meal with elegance.

I think all of February is the month of love, so make Strawberries Romanoff even if it’s not Valentine’s Day, and enjoy!

Cathy

Cakes I’ve Known and Loved (for the most part)

February 4th, 2010

Bountiful Life

Bountiful Life Wedding Cake

To commemorate my birthday (today!), I thought I would put up a gallery of cakes I’ve made over the years. Some are better than others and there’s a little bit of everything – buttercream, fondant, gum paste flowers, fresh flowers, marzipan teddy bears, marzipan fruits, chocolate cakes, wedding cakes and birthday cakes for little ones and big ones. Many of these were done before I had a digital camera, so the pictures had to be scanned into digital format. And, once I got better at making these cakes and owned a digital camera, I apparently decided to stop taking photos of them. I mean where are Gracie’s butterfly cake, and my mom’s 80th birthday cake, and Vi’s 90th birthday cake, and Maddie’s life-size 3D soccer ball cake?! Maybe they’re just legends in my own mind, but I recall that those were all pretty special.

Christmas Cakes

Christmas Cakes

The poinsettia cakes were made the Christmas after we moved home from Australia and New Zealand. All of my specialty cake making equipment and books had been stolen with the rest of our sea shipment. Yes, the shipment made it from the shores of New Zealand to California and onto the delivery truck, and then the truck was stolen about 30 miles from my house. After I stopped crying, I thought that making the poinsettia cakes for my neighbors at Christmas would be a good way to start re-collecting what I had lost. Can you imagine the looks on the faces of the shipment stealers, their mouths watering over dreams of stereo equipment and TVs, only to find baking dishes, cookbooks and gum paste flower-making equipment? Serves ‘em right, but I’m over it – I swear (well, it’s only been about 13 years – I might need just a little more time).

Wedding Cakes

Wedding Cakes!

I guess there was a purple and pink phase in wedding cake couture. The Bountiful Life wedding cake with marzipan fruits pictured at the top of this post was an original I first made in pastry school. I entered it into competition at the Sydney Salon Culinaire – a massive food show in Australia. The executive chef I worked for at the time was a big German man, and he couldn’t really feel the California vibe of that cake. Much to the surprise of lots of people, that cake won the silver medal going up against very traditional British-style (and beautifully executed) wedding cakes. Winning that silver medal was fun, but getting the cake to the competition in the back of a cab almost killed me.

Kid's Birthday Cakes

Cakes for the Little Kiddies


Birthday Cakes

... And Cakes for the Big Kiddies

For the record, I only spent a short time of my career (about 1 year) actually working as a cake decorator. These cakes were all made for friends and family. If you want to be inspired, check out the book Cakes in Bloom by Anna von Marburg – it’s incredible.

One last thought about that stolen sea shipment – we were still in New Zealand when we got word that the shipment was “gone”. My husband, knowing I was crushed, arranged for us to fly home via Sydney (that’s the opposite direction from California when you’re leaving from Wellington, New Zealand!). We had one day in Sydney to visit a few book shops and replace some of the special (to me) items I had lost. I didn’t have the Bountiful Life cake at my wedding – I was married before the “official” pastry phase of my life. But, as I take this birthday to reflect on the name of that cake, it fits.

Happy Birthday to all of you February babies out there!

Cathy

Do You Speak “(La Cucina) Italiana”?

February 2nd, 2010
La Cucina Italiana

Somewhere along the way, I wound up with a copy of “La Cucina Italiana” magazine. Then, I actually read it – that hooked me, and now I’m a subscriber. The magazine has been in print since 1929, and I can see why. Beautiful pictures, enticing recipes and, well, Italy! Apparently I have no Italian heritage, but I sure feel Italian when I eat pasta, slather the garlic around and drink Italian wine… I think something must be missing from the family tree.

For last Sunday’s dinner I made the cover recipe, Stufato di Vitello e Verdure (Veal Soup with Vegetables). The recipe is generously shared, along with many others, on the magazine’s website. The soup was hearty, flavorful and easy to make – even easier since I left out the last few steps of separating out the meat and vegetables, removing the broth to another pot, melting butter in the original pot and stirring flour into that, then adding the broth back to thicken and, finally, adding the meat and vegetables back to the thickened broth – phew! I was too lazy (and hungry), but I don’t think I suffered for it – in fact, it was so good I made a 2.5 times batch on Monday night for a group of 9 at the parish house.

This magazine will nudge me out of my regular patterns a bit – always a good thing. I’ve never cooked with veal stew meat before and I didn’t love the process of butchering it into smaller pieces. It was a lot like working with slippery chicken, only more slippery! Or like cutting silk fabric with a butter knife! Or like… well, nevermind. The veal was very tender in the soup, and I decided that the penance of butchering in the beginning had a nice reward in the end. My husband was ogling the Vellutata di Zucca con Cozze (Butternut Squash Puree with Mussels) picture, so I’ll have to try that soon. I also enjoyed the article about Brunello di Montalcino wines – except my husband now says the few Brunello bottles we have must age more before we can drink them. Hmmm… I may have to hide future issues until I can vet them properly – chopping the veal was penance enough!

Buon Appetito,
Cathy

Ode to My Bialetti, or… Latte, anyone?

January 28th, 2010

Bialetti Stove-Top Espresso Maker

Bialetti Stove-top Espresso Maker

I love my Bialetti! Some time ago, I was watching Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network, and she used a nifty stove-top espresso maker from Italy by Bialetti. It stuck in my head until one day last fall I was standing in line at Peet’s and my gaze fell to a display of Bialetti espresso makers – ah ha! I grabbed one along with a pound of Peet’s Major Dickason’s blend (and the free latte that comes with purchasing a pound of coffee – I love that!). With my Bialetti and Aerolatte frothing wand, I’ve been contentedly making creamy, foamy lattes in the comfort of my own kitchen ever since. I still enjoy a latte out – sometimes it’s just nice to have someone else make it for you! But for an everyday “treat”, I love these homemade lattes – and they’re easy!

Latte Equipment Deconstructed

Latte Equipment Deconstructed

The Bialetti unscrews into top and bottom pieces. Add water to the bottom piece, add coffee to the filter basket and drop that into the bottom piece, screw on the top and put in on the stove-top to percolate for a few minutes. In the meantime, heat some milk – I use a Pyrex measuring cup and the microwave – and then froth it up with the Aerolatte wand.

Frothing Milk

Frothing the Milk!

There are a couple of tricks to getting a good froth – don’t get the milk too hot and just froth the top inch or so. By the time the milk is heated and frothed, the coffee is ready. Pour some coffee into a cup, add some milk (holding back the foam with a spoon, just like a real barista) and then top it off with the foam – voila! A hot creamy treat made exactly how I like it for a lot less than $3.00 – clever girl.

Finished Latte

Latte, anyone?


Cheers,
Cathy