Monthly Archives February 2007

Coffee: The Brew

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In the previous (very long post) we talked about coffee history and chemistry. I think now we all deserve a warm soothing cup of coffee. Well some of you probably not, but I sure do. Making coffee might involved some simple steps but they are sure tricky and need helpful plans. I enjoy different kinds of coffee: espresso, greek (turkish), drip and frappe. But the most widely consumed by me and by most coffee drinkers is definitely the drip coffee. So that s what I am going to talk about. Drip coffee that is then...

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Disaster: The aftermath

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Well I have been puzzling myself all day (and last night for that matter) for what lead to the disaster. But before I start the “assay” of my conclusion I will need to explain why I am so upset. See at the place I went I have the nickname chef. Not that I am a true one, but I am sure a wannabe. There are therefore at least for me certain standards my food has to reach, to be considered successful. However many times I do not succeed and that ‘s fine with me. I just try to trace the reason for the failure and try next time to change the proportions of the ingredients, the baking method and any other minor adjustment to fix the recipe.

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Cinnamon Rolls

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Yesterday I was invited to a desert party for Valentine’s day. It was desert so I assumed (wrongfully as it was proofed) that the main thing will be chocolate, since there is all this philosophy about chocolate and love and yada, yada. Instead of repeating the same pattern I decided to make something different. I made (as you can tell from the picture) cinnamon rolls. There are a couple of reasons for that: 1) I love cinnamon (I dedicated a whole blog entry on that) and 2) there is something about the aroma of yeast that makes homes really smell like homes, nice and cozy. Good cinnamon rolls, however, although simple to make, for sure require time and careful steps. They can go from puffed to flat in matter of minutes. None of the steps requires any super talent or any excellence or even any skill for that matter. All of them though, require religious attention to the execution.

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Coffee: Before The Brew

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How many have you heard the expressions "I need coffee" or "coffee break"? Coffee Is the driving force for many people to leave their bed and start their day. The past few centuries and especially the last few decades, coffee became one of the most important components of the everyday breakfast. Coffee shops are everywhere and many of the are among the gourmet stores, making coffee one of the most popular beverages on earth. A simple looking beverage, but with science much more complicated than ever imagined.

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Cinnamon

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One of the most recognizable aromas is cinnamon. If you think of it is the only spice with pepper that has food named out of it, cinnamon rolls, Cinnamon Toast Crunch (cereals by General Mils), cinnamon swirl cake, apple cinnamon cake and so on... It is the only spice that has its aroma extracted and commercialized for room fragrant. It is also a spice that is very closely bonded to holidays. How many can imagine Christmas and Thanksgiving without cinnamon? Not many... I know. Not to mention all this cinnamon flavored gums. But have you ever wondered what makes cinnamon... well cinnamon? Before we get started with hard science stuff let 's see where cinnamon is coming from. Well cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka and the best cinnamon is still produced there. However the first reference to cinnamon was in the ancient China. A big difference between cinnamon and other spices that in cinnamon the flavor is not coming from the seed of a plant, but thin layers shaved of the bark of a small laurel-like tree; the (what else) cinnamon tree. The shaves are usually rolled to quills. There are two types of cinnamon you can find, the actual bark (actual skin) and thin layers that come out of the branch after the skin has been removed (picture above).

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