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Cold Brew – done right

10 May

coldbrew IG

This is my third time posting cold-brew. So what? Let’s not call it repetitive. Let’s call it an annual tradition. Besides, things have changed. A new method of choice and new sweetener of choice.

Basic concept: let grounds steep with water for 24 hours. strain and enjoy.

Basic recipe: adapted from NY times.  Double/quadruple to your liking. I make for the whole week at once.

1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup ground coffee, medium/coarse grind
Add water and coffee grounds into a jar. Stir (shake), cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain twice- pouring through coffee filters or a fine mesh sieve lined w. cheese cloth.

New method: I used to use a mason giant mason jar for this task. But have discovered that a French press streamlines the process. Don’t have to deal with messy filtering. And can keep the grounds at the bottom- and it will continue to brew for as many days as it takes you to go through your brew [the longer it brews, the less bitter it tastes]. I bought a 51oz press and love it- holds about 5 cups water– with approx 1- 1/6 cup grounds. If you want to spice up your brew add a nice pinch of cinnamon and take seeds out of two cardamom pods and crush with back of knife- add to grounds. Can also add ground chicory. [these flavors also come out more the longer you brew]. *Also- just made cinnamon vanilla- add big pinch of cinnamon and powdered vanilla extract (haven’t tried liquid vanilla extract but should work too)

Some people like to call cold brew a concentrate and recommend recommend mixing 1:1 with water. PishPosh. I just add ice.

To sweeten:

Vanilla simple syrup
Simple syrup is just 1 part water to 1 part sugar.  Simmer, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Will keep for a week.  For vanilla flavoring, take half a vanilla bean, split that in half lengthwise.  Put in mini jar, pour warm simple syrup over. Cover and let that sit while your coffee is-a-cold-brewin.’ refrigerate.


my new jam is homemade condensed milk

recipe adapted from food52. Take 2 1/2 cups milk in small pot. add half cup sugar. notice the level it hits on side of pot. heat on medium until just steaming. reduce heat to low. and cook until milk is reduced by half. This is a bit of a learned process- the first time i did it – i ended up with dulce de leche. I think the eyeball reduced rule is better than any time estimate, but it takes me like an hour and 15 minutes.  take off heat. stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. pour in mason jar. according to food52 it keeps for up to 2 weeks.

yes, this is slower than the simple syrup. but it’s its fucking delicious. it basically tastes like melted vanilla ice cream. and it makes your coldbrew taste kinda like coffee ice cream. according to Food52 some people eat condensed milk on toast? you can also make it into dulce de leche on purpose. I was wondering myself if condensed milk for coldbrew was worth the effort. then i ran out of condensed milk- and went back for a day to regular milk and agave. one sip and i made my next batch of milk- absolutely worth it.



16 Jan

ginger lemon honey

When we got sick– my mom would make hot water with lemon and honey. Amazing how good– the simple things are. This takes the spice up on that home remedy– just a bit. Let’s call this a cold buster in a mug. * scratch that sentimental story– my sister said this was more something our Grandma would drink– out of those clear teacups, every night, and maybe it had something to do with weight loss? somehow the wires of our memories have crossed. but cold buster or weight loss, seems like a win win.

I drink this hot like a tea– but can also make extra- throw it in a mason jar in the fridge. boom- you got one of those $9 cleanse juice drinks. you could even add some cayenne in- if that’s your jam. or i’d prob prefer- cardamom- will give it a shot and get back to you.


Take about a 3-inch piece of ginger. Best way to peel the skin off? scrape a teaspoon down the side (learned that trick at ballymaloe and it works ten times better than any peeler or attempting with a knife). Cut ginger into dimes.

Thrown in a saucepan. Add two mugs of water. A rounded teaspoon of honey. Juice from half a lemon (that wooden reamer gets the most out of things). Add a pinch of turmeric. Turn on medium-high. Then i like to cover and leave on for at least 15 minutes?  bringing it up to a boil. the longer it goes- the more the ginger spicy it gets. Obvs- more honey if you like it sweeter- less ginger if you want it less spicy. 

That’s it. pour it in a mug. if you want to use a little tea strainer- can do. or can just avoid pouring the ginger dimes in your mug.

The ginger/turmeric addition is also inspired by Reed, who also– inspired this amazing purchase. Knife Sharpener & Honer. Do you know how much easier it is cut with sharp knives? This is probably one of these easiest- can’t fuck it up– methods.

Cold-Brewed Ice Tea

1 Jul

cold brewed ice t

i was in a w. village coffee shop— and saw Cold-Brewed Ice Tea… and though i am a massive proponent of cold-brewed ice coffee— i was like– wtf is this? an excuse to charge $4 a mason jar? but of course- then i looked it up- had to try for myself. and now i’m a convert. dammit. But I conducted a side by side test. On the left here… a cold-brewed Mint ice tea– on the right– I did a traditional- make hot tea, then chill over night. I endorse some experimentation in your tea flavors- I used both a green tea and a chamomile tea bags on the right. How do you make your ice tea? Next stop- i want to try the sun method– i heard it was popular among grandmas- leave tea and water in the hot sun all day?

cold-brewed ice tea
fill mason jar with cold water. add tea bag. cover and let sit in your fridge overnight.
the site with this “recipe” – the kitchn- says they like to have without ice diluting the flavor.
and on another note- also made this week- refreshing summer salad. Spinach Avocado Grapefruit salad. 

Minty Mojito

30 Jun

Happy Birthday Alice!!!  A delicious minty refreshment for a backyard bbq– to celebrate Alice’s bday and engagement! There are many ways to make a mojito. And the basis for this one actually came from some googling that led me to the website “Musing of a housewife.” She says the secret is mint simple syrup. I totally agree and thought that infusing the rum would be a nice touch too. This way– all the mintyness is already in the drink– and the crushed and muddled mint and ice in the glass can just be for extra effect (and presentation). If you don’t have time to do the rum infusing- you can just go w. the mint simple syrup. The mint infusions give the brownish hue.

For this recipe you need:
1 750ml bottle rum (silver)
2 cups simple syrup
1 dozen limes
1 bottle seltzer
2 bunches of mint

Mint infused rum:
Bottle of silver rum
Bunch of mint

Lightly crush mint (w. hands or frying pan) (i used 3/4 of a bunch to save extra for garnish). Put in bottom of a mason jar. Sprinkled w. a little brown sugar. Pour the bottle of rum into the jar. Closed lid. Shake. And leave on the counter for 2-3 days. (if u don’t have this long- just do it as long as you have). Shake once a day. Strain. Throw out mint.

Mint simple syrup
2 cups water
2 cups sugar (used 1/4 light brown, rest white)
1 bunch mint

Bring sugar and water to a boil, cook for 1 minute for sugar to dissolve. Add mint, turn off heat, cover and let sit. Sit at least 30 mins (preferably an hour) or I left mine several hours because was leaving the house. Strain and throw out mint.

I couldn’t bother with the math– so thought I’d make 6 cups total. If you want to make less- just keep the ratio. Pour all contents in giant jar (used empty Looza bottle). Shake.
3 cups mint-infused rum
2 cups mint simple syrup
1 cup fresh lime juice (don’t use store bought)

In glass, crush some ice (w. back of a pan) and muddle with some mint (can use a pestle). Pour in mojito concoction- top off glass with seltzer.

Homemade Gingerale

27 Feb

Homemade gingerale. Well, i sliced my finger slicing ginger. damn those mandolines. it is true what they say- that shit is sharp. And those little guard things don’t work for shit. But that aside, this ginger stuff is damn good. ginger syrup is super versatile. could be used to make gingerale, in tea, ginger lemonade (as martha stewart suggests) or in a cocktail that i love- the dark and stormy.  The proportions for this recipe were taken from martha stewart- but adapted after some internet reading. Martha just cooked for a few mins- turned off heat and let it sit for 30 mins. Whereas, the internet and i cooked it on medium-low for an hour. If you wanted to be hardcore, you can do some whole process w. yeast to get the carbonation- but I thought ginger syrup and seltzer was effort enough.

A complete aside: let’s talk about coffee storage. i used to grind my beans every morning. but then i got lazy. so i started getting them ground at the coffee shop– keeping the grinds in the freezer. Well, i read some article that said this was the wrong way to do things. Apparently best to keep them at room temperature. They keep for 2 weeks as whole beans and only like 2 days ground. Can freeze the beans that not using in 2 weeks— *chris- didn’t you just learn a trick to get the air out?* So i have reconfigured my coffee storage system. I bought two new stainless steel airtight containers. I keep both in the cabinet- cool, dry place. One full of beans. then every other day- i grind some beans, like 2 days worth- so i don’t have to do it in the morning. feels like it a tastier and more efficient way to go.  if anyone has further wisdom on the subject- would be glad to know.

Ginger Syrup:
3 1/2 cups water
6-inch piece of fresh ginger
1 3/4 cup sugar [i used half white, half light brown sugar]

To make ginger syrup:
Peel ginger and cut into thin slices lengthwise. Can then chop those into 1/2 in pieces. Add ginger, sugar and water to a small pot. Bring to a boil (sugar will dissolve) and then lower heat and cook on medium-low for 1 hour. Turn off heat and allow to cool. Strain out ginger- w. mesh filter, coffee mesh filter or cheesecloth. [I think this is one of those longer you have, stronger it tastes. but if you only had 30 mins to soak/cook– that’d be ok too- it just might be less potent?]

Martha says it keeps in an airtight container, refrigerated up to two months.

To make gingerale: mix ginger syrup with seltzer. Ratio can depend on personal taste and how strong your syrup is.  My syrup pretty potent and I used maybe 1/3 syrup to 2/3 seltzer. Squeeze with a garnish of fresh lime.

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