Cold foam milk

This past summer Starbucks rolled out a new drink, cold foam cold brew coffee. And although cold brew is not new, the cold foam is. Cold foam milk is a great addition to the cold brew, not only due to the contrasting flavors (sweet and buttery milk with bitter-ish coffee) and textures (velvet smooth foam and the contrasting fluidity of the coffee) but also due to the great visual contrast: black and white. Also being greek I loved cold foam as it is an integral part of the greek coffee culture as part of the iced cappuccino called Fréddo cappuccino. I always wanted to make some at home, alas my efforts were futile. The foam no matter how good it was falling apart leaving me with a soapy looking foam in a milky coffee in matters of minutes... but I finally cracked the secret. Venture with me in the science of making a great cold foam while understanding the basic science.

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Cold Brewed Coffee

The summer is around the corner, or maybe where you live it is already there... or it has always been there. The botom line is that the hot, steaming cup of coffee is not appetizing during this time of the year. You need something to wake you up and refresh you. The last 2-3 years a new caffeinated beverage joined the market. It is the "Cold Brew". It is a welcome alternative to the hot coffee and it is not iced coffee, hot brewed coffee that was chilled and served over ice.

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It’s been a while

The last post on this blog (before this oneI mean) was posted in March 18th 2015 and it was a cocktail (A Tsikoudia Cocktail: Bloddy Mario). Since then two years went by without any posts or updates. As a matter of fact the website went down for months before I figured out that there was a problem. Why? Well life happened. My job became much more demanding and the time required for the updates is not there any more. A recipe takes pretty much the whole day just to make it and shoot it. After that it is all the writing and editing. It is a two full days of work. Sharing my time between Boston, where I work, and New york, where my wife lives (yes! I also got married) really leaves not time for new recipes.

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A Tsikoudia Cocktail: Bloddy Mario (Mar-yò)

One of the most classic cocktails in the history of bar drinks is the Bloody Mary. It is a divine combination of ingredients not regularly found in cocktails and spirits that compliment the flavor and the textures. What are those ingredients? It is tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce with the clear and neat spirit of Vodka. It is one of the very rare savory cocktails that are combined to give a fulfilling taste. Vodka being clean taste companies with everything sweet, sour and salty.But it is not the only spirit that can be used. Tequila for example has many qualities that make it savory. We actually did the salsa shots a while back that identifies and compliments that particular quality of the Tequila. The substitution of Vodka with Tequila is actually called, brilliantly, Bloody Maria. Today we are combining another savory drink the Tsikoudia (raki) that is also savory and combines excellently with flavors like tomato and cucumber. The name of it? Bloody Mario, the Cretian nickname of Maria.

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The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria

If you follow the international food scene, probably you have come across the name Ferran Adrià. He is the chef of the restaurant "elBulli" that was the epicenter of the new gastronomic movement. elBulli (Catalan pronunciation: [əɫ ˈβuʎi]) was a Michelin 3-star restaurant near the town of Roses, Catalonia, Spain, run by chef Ferran Adrià. The small restaurant overlooked Cala Montjoi, a bay on Catalonia's Costa Brava, and was described as "the most imaginative generator of haute cuisine on the planet." The restaurant played one of the most important roles in the movement of molecular gastronomy. And yet the when you get his cookbook you are in for a surprise. The person who dazzled the world with the most elegant and sophisticated play of textures and flavors is presenting a very humble cookbook.

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Food for Lovers

First date. Always makes you both nervous and excited at the same time. And always the same questions comes up: Where to go,what to do, what to say, how long to stay… But eventually no matter how you see it, it seems that dinner, either as "just dinner" or as an event that follows or precedes something else (eg drinks or movie), is the most popular first date choice. And for a good reason too. It has several advantages: brings you close, you get to spend time doing something familiar to both and has a very specific duration 1-1.5 hrs. Deciding, however, on dinner as first date does not mean that you are done. Now actually comes the tough part. Where to go, what to eat, what to say. I am not a date coach or a dating expert. I am a foodie. Over the years I developed a set of rules that makes dining-out from a necessity to an experience.

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Sweeteners: Know your Sugar(s)

Sugar types: Raw sugar, partially refined, refined, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar.

The white substance that it's flavor has been coded on our DNA as the most desirable flavor, the last few years it has been blamed for every dietary disease. I am talking of course about sugar. The crystallized molecules of sucrose, that carry with them not only the sweetest flavor, but also the most densely packed energy. Energy that once was essential for survival, now is converted to undesirable fat in our waist and hips. In the vast world of diets, and nutritional information, many alternatives have been suggested as a healthier sweetness source. I am not talking about the aspartame, or the Splenda. Those chemical options taste horrible. I am talking about raw sugar, molasses, brown sugar and many more.

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Culinary Metrology

On cooking the primary reason for success is inspiration, in baking is measuring. By that of course I don't mean that measuring is not required in cooking, but deviation from the original ratio of ingredients can be forgiving. And equally when baking inspiration is a key but deviating from the recipe ratio even for very little, will immediately cause inconsistencies in the outcome or even complete failure. So at the early age of baking and cooking the ratio and dosing of the ingredients became very significant and the cooks or the housewife will employ their homemade measuring device that will ensure that the quality will be consistent. Nowadays one more parameter became important temperature! In the modern kitchen, there are so many ways to measure something that you must have PhD in metrology. Join me to navigate to the wonderful world of metrology. No PhD required.

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Greek Christmas Cookies: Kourampiedes

Every country or nation that has more than 50 years exposure to Christianity will have a special dessert that made exclusively around the Christmas time. Greece is no exception, and since it had embraced christianity for almost 2000 years the number of desserts for the occasion is huge. However, the one that is closer to my heart, because is delicious and also is what my grandma used to make every christmas, is the Kourampies (κουραμπιές, koo-ra-byies) that is a crumbly almond cookie dusted in powder sugar. Simple ingredients, humble cookie and big flavor. Although the Christmas reference of the cookie for most of the people comes from the white dusting of sugar, that resembles the snow, for me it is more the relation of the humble beginnings the cookies with the humble beginnings of the Messiah.

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The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique

The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique - Review

I used to say and I still do, that cooking in all its glory is 30% ingredients and 70% technique. The best ingredients can be transformed to crap with bad techniques and mediocre ingredients to gold with great technique. Imagine tiling your floors. You have no technique, but you did buy the best tiles at the store. How do you thing this will end up? Well not good... Same goes with other aspects of cooking, like let's say mixology. You start with the best spirits, nice shiny expensive tools, but you have no idea how to properly make a cocktail, or even worse you think you know, but you don't. Well, you need a guide for that. I know what you are thinking right this moment: 'Another bar book? Again?". Yes, but this is not the first time I write about bar books and try to convince you that this is the best one. All I have reviewed are amazing. Then what makes this one unique? Three things, the author, the content and the photographer.

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