Summer Coffee

It’s time for iced coffee.  I have all sorts of food and beverage rules for myself.  Drinking iced coffee comes with rules.  I can only drink it in summer, post Memorial Day.  I must have a straw, the cuter the better.  I don’t want whipped cream floating on top.  I really am full of idiosyncrasies. 

Most of the recipes on-line make huge quantities.  I don’t have storage for those quantities.  So, I start with ½ pound of coffee beans.  I only use Starbucks whole beans, preferably Sumatra.  I like to grind them myself in my handy KitchenAid Coffee Grinder.  I go for a very coarse grind, slightly above a medium.  This makes a huge difference when it comes to water absorption.

Put the beans in a large bowl.  Add 4 quarts water and give it a good stir.  Let this sit on the counter overnight, stirring occasionally.

The next day I get out my handy dandy strainer and line it with cheese cloth or an old t-shirt.  I run the coffee water mixture through the strainer into a clean bowl, trying to get as much of the coffee grinds out as I can.  I then transfer it to a large pitcher and store it in the refrigerator.

To make an iced coffee, I start with a large glass, preferably 20 ounces or so.  Snob alert:  I put in an ounce of whole milk for me and an ounce of heavy cream for G.  And yes, I do measure it out in a jigger.  If you like it sweeter like G and I do, now’s the time to add sugar or Splenda or whatever.  Give it a good stir.  Add at least half a glass of ice.  Next, 4 to 8 ounces or so of the coffee mixture.  Time for another good stir.  I serve this with a straw, just because I can.  Viola!  Your very own iced coffee.  You just saved yourself $5.00. Be sure and tell people what a coffee snob you are and how involved the process was and they will appreciate their beverage even more.  People are funny that way.

*****from the Recipe Box:

I like my coffee on the strong side, so adjust yours accordingly.

Last week, we had a 70 degree day, a 2 inches of hail day and enough rain to consider building an ark day. Hello summer in the Pacific NW!

I have a grandson who told me I was judgmental; he was right.

and remember: There are two rules in life: 1) Never give out all the information and 2)

Big kiss, Lynn

Bantha Balls

How excited are you? It’s time for “May the Force”. I could live to be 100 and I will still love Star Wars.

My boy JT is coming over to binge the movies with me. He’s taking the day off work, so you know it’s love on his part as well, if not for the movies at least for me.

G and I used to have big Star Wars celebrations with upwards of 40 people. Things have changed. It’s a big deal to come to the Island, especially when only one boat runs per hour. Damn you Covid.

This year it’s probably just going to be just the 3 of us, but we’ll have a good time regardless.

Right now, my menu includes:

Bantha Balls

Millennium Falcon Cake

Jabba the Hut Juice

The Bantha Balls recipe is pretty tame, but just picture the beast they came from.

2 pounds ground meat

2 cloves minced garlic

2 eggs

1 cup grated Parmesan

1 ½ tablespoons chopped parsley

S & P

1 ½ cups lukewarm water

Olive oil

½ cup panko or bread crumbs

Combine meat with garlic, parsley, cheese, eggs, S&P.

Blend in bread crumbs.

Slowly add water, ½ cup at a time.  The mixture should be very moist but hold its shape.  I use it all.

Form into meatballs.  And the easiest way to do that is to form the meatball mixture into a rectangle and cut it into squares.  You will get the exact number of meatballs you need and they will all be of equal size.

Fry in olive oil or bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes.

G is making the Millennium Falcon Cake. He’s not shared the recipe yet, so I’ll keep you posted.

The Jabba Juice is bottled and looks a lot like a Green River but is made by Jones Soda.

We’re starting with my favorite episode (A New Hope) of course. We’ll keep going from there. Pictures will be taken and there will be much laughter.

*****from the Recipe Box:

We used to have many dishes to chose from, but it’s hard to cook hors d’oeuvres for 3. C’est la vie.

and remember: If you love something, celebrate it, don’t apologize for the love. Life is short and it’s time to enjoy every minute of it. Big kiss, Lynn

Cheese, Please

Long ago, pre pandemic, G and I went to England. We both fell in love with it. One of the things we liked best were the cheese shops. There was one in the town of Bath that tempted us to come home, sell everything we owned and open a cheese shop here in western Washington.

At the time, you couldn’t find specialty cheese for love or money. We both love love love cheese, so I’ve been searching for one ever since. Yes, we have Tillamook and a fairly descent sharp cheddar, but I want more variety. We now have Beecher’s at Pike Place Market. I love watching them make the cheese in the front window. But, what was so prevalent in England, was knowledgeable staff. If you came in and ordered a Roquefort, they would ask if you’d tried a different blue.

I do not know my cheeses like I should. With the rise of the charcuterie plates, I need all the help I can get. I’ve started looking on the Island for cheese makers. G and I are still on lockdown to a certain extent, so we can’t go far. I’ve found a cheese maker specializing in sheep’s milk cheese. I’ve not tried it to my knowledge, but I like goat cheese. How different can it be? Well, I’ll know this weekend.

Glendale Shepherd is a cheese maker here on the Island specializing in sheep’s milk cheese. G and I are going to be taking a road trip to check it out.

*****from the Recipe Box:

What would you rather eat than cheese? Absolutely nothing.

Directions to the Whidbey Island farm:

After arriving on Whidbey Island via the Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry, travel north 1.5 miles on Highway 525. At the light, go south on Cultus Bay road for 3.5 miles, turn left on Glendale Road for 1.5 miles, turn right onto Roseberry for 400 feet and turn left and go through the Swanson Tree Farm gate. Stay to the right for ¾ mile (follow the signs) to Glendale Shepherd.

We thought it would be a little tangier like goat cheese, but it’s quite mild. The Blue was very good.

and remember: Never stop doing your best just because someone doesn’t give you credit. Big kiss, Lynn

Bar-B-Que

G has been jonesing for brisket. We’ve never eaten at a bar-b-que restaurant, but there have been a lot of shows on TV about them. Franklin Bar-b-que in Austin Texas looks to be the hands down favorite.

There aren’t a lot of options here on our island, like only one. So we drove up there to pick up some take out. I’m not a bar-b-que fan. I don’t like the smoky flavor the wood smoke adds. It becomes very acrid. G loves it. I’m also not a fan of fatty meat. G totally loves it.

I assumed I’d be happy with sides, but once you’ve tasted my family’s sides, you will become a very harsh critique.

G was happy with the brisket, but everything else tasted a little dry. I didn’t really like anything, but I didn’t really think I would. It’s a bitch being so picky.

G will probably pull out his smoker again and work on perfecting his brisket. It does make a good French dip or pulled pork sandwich. His recipe goes back a couple of years. He’s still tweaking it but if you like brisket, you will probably like his.

*****from the Recipe Box:

Just remember, I’m a very harsh critic when it comes to anything involving cow or pig. Give me a steamed clam or mussel and you’d see a totally different reaction.

This place was pretty busy, so it must be better than I’m giving it credit for.

We would probably be taking bar-b-que road trips now. Damn you Covid!!!!

and remember: Be mindful. Be grateful. Be positive. Be true. Be kind. Big kiss, Lynn

Bone Marrow Butter

G and I went out to eat for our anniversary 2 weeks ago. We never went out all that often before, but with the pandemic it’s been a truly rare occasion. We love ordering small plates so we can taste a variety of options.

What I truly find the most amusing about some of our selections is how I never would have eaten some of these things even 5 years ago. I’m the girl who used to put her hands in baggies to make hamburger patties. Things do change.

Lately, with my Food Channel viewing, I’ve developed a desire for French-type classics. We had Foie Gras, my love for chicken liver mousse continues to grow, we tried a pate maison (don’t panic, It was basically a chicken loaf). I’ve developed an intense love for charcuterie plates.

My biggest problem is sharing them with people. I have a small posse I feel comfortable hanging with, but they aren’t the most adventurous of eaters. I need people to share my new food loves with who also happen to be well vaccinated.

1 cup roasted bone marrow cooked and cooled

1 cup butter softened

Combine and blend well. Place in cellophane, wrap and place in refrigerator to firm up.

*****from the Recipe Box:

Slice some butter and put it on top of your hamburger or steak. It’s quite good.

Add some salt.

Your butcher will be ever so helpful with your marrow bones.

and remember: The cost of not following your heart is spending the rest of your life wishing you had. Big kiss, Lynn