Friday, January 30, 2015

My year in coffee - Jan 30

Today we were able to make it out to a new place.  Sometimes it's hard to juggle schedules so we can't get anywhere with more than one of the kids.  Now that most of them are grown up they have lives and all of that.  Today we had kids #2 & #4 with us - also known as Bessie & Teddy.

Dan had heard of a new coffee place called Pirate's Bone.  It's on the corner of 59th and Holmes - well, two shops away from the corner.  Find that intersection and you can find the coffee place.

It was great

Inside it's like Pinterest come to life.  The owner makes most of the stuff from counters to furnishings.  He uses reclaimed items to do it and is a big believer in reusing and recycling.  

My camera was acting nuts, so I didn't get some of the shots I had hoped for.  There is some wonderful art on the walls and he brings music as well as local food trucks out.  The next time will be the 13th.  If you can make it - drop in.  The art is for sale and if my budget wasn't so tight this month I would have walked away with a couple of pieces.

This is what I had and it was heavenly.  Not overly sweet, not bitter.  Perfectly balanced.  

The beans are pan roasted and there are little touches that I really appreciate.  Like little wax seals with skull and crossbones.  I bought a bag of coffee to try tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to it.

The newest photo in my series - Bessie looking annoyed at coffee houses

She's not nearly as annoyed as she always appears.  It's a game.  :-)  Still, she is 15 and annoyed is something teens pull off pretty well. 

Visit Pirate's Bone  If you're not in KC you can buy some beans online.  They have great prices - especially for artisanal roasted coffee!  You won't be sorry at all!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My year in coffee - Jan 28

Wonderfulness in the  mail today.  I got a Hario Skerton grinder.  

I used to think my grinder did a pretty good job.  Now I know better.  The fine grind was so nice, smooth and even.  I've never had an espresso grind that nice.  The only problems were learning how to adjust it for the aeropress and pour over brewers.  I left it set on the size needed for my morning pour over.  One other problem which had nothing to do with this grinder and everything to do with the one I was using.  I tamped it too hard for my machine!  I used to have to tamp very hard to get a good shot.  Now I don't.  That's going to take some getting used to.

I did get a couple of shots and made a cappuccino.


I used some Ethiopian Sidame.  At least that's what it smelled like. I  forgot to label the jar after I roasted it so I was a little confused.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cucumber Lime Chicken & Black Beans with onions & Peppers

I found some chicken tenders on sale.  Snapped up a couple of packages.  Today I used the first one for our lunch.  

One of my cucumbers from the weekend was a bit soft.  Not super crisp for a salad but not bad either.  I decided to see what happens when you bake chicken with cucumber.  It was tasty.  And easy.  I'm a huge fan of easy.

Black beans are a mainstay of our diet.  I did these with some onions, peppers, lime, cilantro, ancho & coconut.  Adding the lime to the beans inspired me to put it on the chicken too.  It was one of those inspirations that worked well.  (unlike a LOT of the others)

Cucumber Lime Chicken

Preheat oven to 350

Put chicken tenders (however many you want to cook) in a baking dish
sprinkle with salt.  Not much, just a bit
chop a large cucumber up and put it over the chicken.

Bake covered until the chicken is done. How long depends on how much you cook.   Mine took about 20 min.  The cucumber loses a lot of water and keeps the chicken moist and tender.

Remove from oven and squeeze the juice from 1/2 - 1 lime (depends on how much you cooked) over the chicken right before serving.  I added lime garnishes for people to add a bit more lime at the table if they wanted.

138 calories per serving

Ancho Black Beans with Onions & Peppers

2 cups of dried beans soaked over night
1 large onion sliced into thin rings
1 large red bell pepper cut into bits.  You can dice it nice and even or slice it into rough squares like I did.
4 fresh jalapenos sliced
1 large poblano pepper sliced, chopped, diced - however neatly you want to do it
Juice from 1 lime
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon dried cilantro
2 tablespoons ancho powder
3 cups chicken broth
1 14oz coconut cream

Soak and drain the beans preserving 2 cups of the water if you want, otherwise you'll need a couple of cups of water

Add the stock, water, peppers, onions, lime juice and spices to the beans.  Cook until the beans and veggies are tender and soft.  Stir in the coconut cream and serve.  

77 calories per serving

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fast, Gluten Free & Easy Broccoli Soup

My daughter loves to snack on broccoli florets but then I am left with a bunch of stems.  I do what I can to find uses for them and today that was soup.  Today was such a gray day that soup was a perfect fit.


Stems from 2 large head of broccoli - or use the florets too if you want.  chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 poblano pepper chopped into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon course ground pepper
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
water for steaming

cheese, chopped green onions and ancho pepper for garnish

Steam the broccoli, onion & pepper until very tender.

drain and put the veggies in a blender.  Add the milk and broth.  Then blend the heck out of it.  I have a ninja blender and I love to ninja stuff.  Pour the soup back into the saucepan and add the pepper and salt.

Heat it up and cook until it's the consistency that you want.  Longer if you want it to be super thick, less if you don't.  We tend to go for less here.  Alternatively you could add a thickening agent like a bit of flour or starch.  I was going for simple, fast and gluten free,so we I didn't go that route.  

Serve with a bit of cheddar, some onions and a sprinkle of ancho pepper.  Paprika would work well too, but we put ancho on pretty much everything.

Ground Beef Coconut Curry with Peppers

I was looking through the cabinet trying to figure out what to cook and decided to use up some of the coconut milk sitting in the cabinet.  I still had lots of peppers from the market and ground beef, so those were going in.  I buy spices at the market and have accumulated quite a variety of curry types.  I decided to use some Thai curry for this, but any would do.  I also had a head of cabbage that really needed to be used.  Those were my starts and this is what I came up with.


1Tbsp coconut oil
1lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper (or any other color if you want), diced
1 fresh green jalapeno, diced
1 fresh red jalapeno (or another green if that's what you have), diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp fine ground pepper
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon tumeric
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 can coconut milk.  I used Trader Joe's. 
1/2 teaspoon ancho pepper (or other spicy pepper powder)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar if desired
Steamed cabbage, rice or anything else you want to serve it over.

Prepare the cabbage (or rice, or whatever)
Brown the beef in the coconut oil and get your veggies ready.  I don't add them first because I like them to retain some crispness.  If you want them to be cooked a bit more, then add them first for a minute or three before browning the beef.
Add the tomato sauce & spices.  You can grate the ginger directly into the skillet to taste or do it ahead of time to measure it.  Turn down the heat.  

If you want it a bit sweet/spicy then add the sugar.  It's not really necessary but some people like it.

Add the coconut milk and let it heat up.  Add the lemon juice and then serve over the cabbage.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Year in Coffee - Jan 21


Today I am finishing off my bag of Finca Chayote roasted by Oddly Correct.  It was a nice coffee.  Good feel in the mouth, bright acidity, a latent sweetness that kind of reminded me of grapes or maybe pineapple.  I wouldn't say I tasted cranberry, but I did pick up on a nutty taste.  This is over a month old and it still holds up as a great coffee.  

Oddly correct is a great place.  They are not open as late as many places, so you have to plan your visit, but planning for great things is an important part of life.  :-)  The smell of roasting coffee was a wonderful greeting as we walked towards the store.  The young man at the counter was super helpful and friendly which is important.  I have experienced too many people at coffee places that are aloof and so over it.  That annoys the heck out of me.  I also love the bags which feature artwork from the owner.  I believe they also print the bags on sight.

This mug is from Thailand.  I think it is my only one from that country, but I am not positive since I have yet to make notes on that sort of thing.  I used the pour over method. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My year in coffee Jan 21

Mystery blend again.  The Harrar gives it a nice spicy finish.  Another cup made in Japan.  I seem to have a lot of those.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My year in coffee - Jan 20

Today I'm drinking the last of my blend.  I'm going to try it again.  I liked it quite a bit.

coffee was looking at me this morning!

Monday, January 19, 2015

My Year in Coffee - Jan 19

More of my first blend to start the day.  A good compliment to my breakfast of fruit (along with a cucumber and 1 red jalapeno, but I suppose technically they are also fruit)

Then I went to Opera House to celebrate a friend's birthday. 

I had a Sweet Emotion. That's chocolate and caramel.  They don't overdo either flavor so it's sweet but not like someone poured a bag of sugar in to your mouth .  - Looking at you Starbucks  This is my go to drink when I'm here.  I'm sure the other ones are also good, but it's hard to motivate myself to try them since I know this one is wonderful!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My year in Coffee - Jan 18

My first ever attempt at a blend!

I combined some of my roasted beans and am pretty pleased with what I ended up with.

2 tbsp dark roasted Sumatra
2tbsp dark med bali blue moon
2 tbsp med costa rica
2 tbsp med Ethiopian harar

A spicy, very balanced cup.  Not overly sweet, not too acid.  A nice morning cup.  Went well with my morning fruit.

The cup was one I bought for the colors.  I don't usually add lightweight cups to my collection, but this one really caught my eye.  Just have to drink it fast before the coffee heat escapes.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

My Year in Coffee - Day 17

A cappuccino and blood oranges for my Saturday.

I  used a dark roasted Sumatran to make this cappuccino.  I'm not a huge fan of brewed Sumatran coffees, but I do like it as an espresso.

I can't say a lot about the coffee because it's mixed with milk and a hint of sugar, so it's just sweet and yummy.

Later in the day I decided I was the mood for a more dessert kind of thing.  I blended a banana with 1/4 cup of milk then added 3 shots of espresso.  To that I added 12 oz of steamed milk and topped with whipped cream.  Oh so yummy

Friday, January 16, 2015

My year in coffee - Jan 16

The coffee I'm drinking today comes to me from Israel.  It's the poas blend from Mae.

Nice cup.  Blanced and a bit nutty and warm.  bold, but not overly bold if that makes sense.

Picked up this mug at Big Lots.  I loved the colors.  I'm kind of into turquoise right now.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My year in coffee - Jan 15

Today I am drinking Timor that I roasted a few days ago.

I love this mug.  It has a 70's arts and crafts look.  I don't know much about it except that it was made in Japan.  

A full feeling coffee.  Kind of a bittersweet taste.  Not overly sweet, but just a hint.  Maybe a little nutty.  I did a medium dark roast and pour over for the brew.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My year in coffee - Jan 14

Ethiopian Harrar today - black in an almost delicate china cup.

Kinda spicy, not overly bold.  Really too sweet for me to add anything to it.  Just enjoyed the natural taste without any cream.  I roasted it towards the dark side, but not quite as dark as the photo shows.  Lighting was not my friend today.   You can tell from the coffee itself that it's a bit lighter.  It was warm spicy fruity cup that kind of lingered around after I swallowed.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My year in Coffee - Jan 13

Today I'm using the last of my Konga and reusing my mug from Bespoken Coffee Roasters.  This time I photographed the back to show it since last time I just did the front.

That was this morning.  For the afternoon I roasted some Mexican Robusta beans and blended them with some Ethiopian coffee.  Normally I let coffee rest a few days, but today it went from roast to grind in only a few min.  I still have some left, so I'll try it after 3 or 4 days too.  This is the first time I've roasted robusta beans.  It was strong with more bitterness than the others.  Not a bad thing, but there.  I didn't care for it black, but did like it with a tiny bit of cream/no sugar.  My blend was 25/75 robusta/ethiopian   I think next time I will lower that to 15% or maybe even 10% to keep the kick but not overpower the other.  Except for when I try it as a SO espresso.  That could be interesting.

Monday, January 12, 2015

My year in coffee - Jan 12

Almost two weeks into the new year!  That's hard to believe.  Time passes quickly - unless you are waiting for something of course.

I put a dark roast in the mug.  It's a rustic mug and seemed to just call for a strong coffee.  It was the dark Papua New Guinea that I used for cappuccino the other day.  This time I brewed it in a pour over.

Very tasty, but I did add some cream and sugar to it.  Not a lot.  As I drink more black coffee I want the sugar stuff less and less. I love the blue flowers on this mug and how they stand out against the earth tones.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

My year in coffee - Jan 11

Coffee and knitting.

Right now I am working on relearning the mobius technique for knitting a scarf.  It's been a couple of years and I had to look up how to cast on again.    I'm drinking more of the Konga from PT's.  Pretty  much the same notes as last time, but I'm trying to photograph my first cup of coffee every day this year, so here it is.  The mug is only 8 oz, so I had two got get me going.  :-)

Cucumber "Shushi"

I made these for the kiddo.  We had a good haul of veggies from the farmer's market and she really wanted some.  I think I got the idea from Pinterest a couple of years ago.  I don't remember exactly, however if I did then it's one of the few things I've tried that worked out!

So tasty and easy.  Just slice a cucumber, scoop out some of the middle and stuff with a very small amount of cream cheese and some carrots, bell peppers and the like.  Easy peasy.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My year in coffee - Jan 10

It was a cappuccino kind of morning!

I started with some beans that I roasted. From Papua New Guinea.  I went dark because I knew I was going to make espresso.  They did come out a bit uneven, but the taste was still good.  I'm playing with the so espressos right now.  It was strong and rich and deep with some remaining sweetness.  I didn't taste roast.  I hate to get carbon coffee, so sometimes I'm a little leery of dark beans.  For the milk I used unpasteurized, non-homogenized whole milk from a local farmer.

There is something very satisfying about a warm foamy cappuccino.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

My year in coffee - Jan 9

Today I had a Coffee from PT's at the Crossroads.  The barista suggested it to me since I love Ethiopian coffees.  It's a natural process Konga  

Super sweet with a bright, wine like tone.  I used the pour over method to brew it.  Very very little sweetener needed to for this one.  Black is best - for me at least.  I looked it up and most of the notes say things about fruit and wine.  I do get the wine and fruit, but when I open the bag,the first thing I think of is rich, dark chocolate.  Maybe gourmet raspberry chocolates.  This is a very good coffee and I'm going to miss it when I run out later this week.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My year in Coffee - Jan 8

Today I'm back to Costa Rica for my coffee.  This time it's a yellow honey process.    Machine A (Poppery 1) for a 5 min 50 seconds.  The time depends so much on the room temp, humidity and so on.  With this machine I usually go for between 5 and 7 min and sometimes 6 is dark, sometimes 6 min is 2nd crack.  Coffee roasting is as much of an art as a science.  Maybe that's why I enjoy it so much.

The taste was clear, bright and kind of nutty.  Darker nuts and again, lightly sweet.  I put the normal amount of cream in my daughter's coffee and she told me it was pretty sweet - bordering on too much.  I had cream in my cup, but only about a teaspoon.  I taste black (or reddish brown) in a smaller cup before I pour my drinking cup of the morning.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Year in Coffee Jan 7

Today is a great day for drinking coffee and working on an infinity scarf.  I made one for my oldest daughter and now her friend wants one.

The coffee is from Papua New Guinea and this time I roasted it in one machine.  Machine B - West Bend Poppery II.  It's an almond colored popper.  I have a white one too that's on loan to the kid.  It's my second favorite machine.  It used to be #1 until I got the Poppery 1.  That one wins because it has an ON/OFF switch.  Why they did away with that in the second incarnation I have no idea.

Anyway, the coffee is kind of nutty with kind of a chocolaty flavor.  Lightly sweet, I wasn't able to pick out specific fruits but overall there was a delicate sweetness.  Yummy.  Mellow is a good word for this one.  I drank it black because I found I didn't care for cream in the last batch.  Each batch is different though, so who knows.  It might have paired well with cream.  

These may all look the same to other people, but I look at the grids and can tell very a lot about which day it was.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Year in Coffee - Jan 6

I love this cup.  It looks like something I could draw.  Except that I can only draw super wonky stick figures and circles that look like ovals.  My drawing skills peaked sometime right before kindergarten.  But artistic abilities aside, this cup makes me smile.

Today I am drinking some coffee from Costa Rica that I roasted in my popcorn popper.  Machine A.  That's the original Poppery from West Bend.  I noticed a kind of sugary scent when I ground the beans.  Maybe a bit like when you open a bag of dark brown sugar.  Not strong, but there.  A brighter cup with a bit of sweetness which was balanced out by the acidity.  Kind of a nutty taste in there too.  Hard to pick between which nuts, not walnut, not almond.  Maybe something rainforesty like a Brazil nut.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My Year in Coffee - Jan 5

This year I participated in Third Wave Wichteln ( ) An international coffee exchange.  I was very excited to get a package from Tel-Aviv, Israel.  Danielle sent a nice note along with the coffee - two bags.  One that reminded her of home and one that tasted like when she traveled.  I started with the one that tasted like home.

It's the POAS blend from Mae Cafe in Tel-Aviv.

Nice balanced cup.  A little nutty with a pleasant aftertaste.  Not as sweet as many of the ones I have been drinking lately.  Warm and full.  A good match with today's cup which is a rustic flowered mug.  no markings on the cup, so I have no idea of it's background.

My morning routine.  Choose, grind, brew, drink.