Monthly Archives: November 2010

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I’m not sure what’s going on at the ‘bucks, but I haven’t been happy with their pumpkin spice latte’s as of late. My theory is that the drink got super popular and they cut costs by cheapening the pumpkin spice syrup…because something is seriously askew. Sugar substitute?? Perhaps it’s the unenthusiastic high school kid playing pretend barista that just can’t get it right??

Anyway, I’m not a coffee snob by any means, but over the years I got to liking this pumpkin spice latte – only to be let down on several occasions at a variety of shops, so you can imagine my frustration. It seems simple enough: robust espresso, undertones of pumpkin spice (i.e. ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon), and frothy milk with whipped cream and extra spice on top. Lately it’s more like: bitter espresso with a hint of pumpkin flavored robitussin – not cool. So I decided to take matters into my own hands – I mean how hard could it be to make a pumpkin flavored syrup?? Turns out it’s pretty easy.

Printable Recipe: http://bit.ly/aFTkpd

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

first things first – make a simple syrup by combining:
1C water: 1C sugar – heat over medium-high heat until all sugar is dissolved
than get some of that good ol’ Libby’s Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

~2 (heaping) T should do the trick

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

Spice mix: 1T cinnamon, .5t nutmeg, .25t ginger, .25t cloves

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

whisk everything together over medium flame – simmer for about 5mins

off the flame whisk in 1T vanilla extract

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

strain off the liquid – there will be some sediment in the bottom of the strainer just dump it

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

store in a mason jar…

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

or better yet – put it in a squeeze bottle…

Here’s how I make my coffee:
-add 1/4C milk to mug and froth until milk fills mug 3/4 of the way (http://bit.ly/cpSx2Y) OR if you’re a fancy pants with an espresso machine, steam your milk

-brew your espresso (single or doppio)

(working quickly now)

-add 1T pumpkin spice syrup to espresso and mix (you can always add more later)

-pour espresso into mug with frothed milk

-add a little sugar

-stir it up

-whipped cream (optional)

-sprinkle some spice on top

now go up to the barista at the nearest ‘bucks, put your hands at the side of your head with thumbs in your ears, wiggle fingers, stick out your tongue, then say “nana-nana poopoo, your pumpkin spice latte is stupid”

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Greek Lamb Souvlaki w. Grilled Flat Bread

This is rugged, rough around the edges, uncomplicated, and unpretentious – just the way we like it. It’s a meaty, roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty kinda meal. Every now and then it’s cool to delve into dishes characteristic of other cultures and try to eat as they would. Imagine living in old world Greece – where the lamb was slaughtered that morning, herbs were all picked fresh from the garden, and the dough rose on the counter under a cotton towel while tzatziki sauce was stirred together by a wooden spoon gripped by a rough and weathered hand. Meals don’t exactly come together like that in this house – but like I said it’s cool to imagine. Regardless though, this dish is money, and putting all cultural characteristics aside I think you will agree – this is damn close to authentic Greek Souvlaki.

p.s. I know this recipe is so far from something you would cook in fall/winter when everyone else is cooking with root veggies, making beef stew, and cozying up with hot toddy’s and apple pie…but when that inevitably gets played out and you start yearning to fire up the grill – you can break out this recipe and get your Greek on.

Printable Recipe: http://bit.ly/9WG5La

Boneless Leg of Lamb

grab the beast – trim excess fat – slice into big chunks

Cubed Lamb

season lamb with kosher salt and cracked pepper

Fresh Herbs

finely chop the parsley and mint

Marinade

time for the marinade – combine lamb, oil, vinegar, herbs, onions, and garlic in a Ziploc and mix it up

Marinate in Ziploc

cubes should be coated with marinade – now forget about it for a while

Grilled Lamb

grill lamb chunks over medium high a few minutes on each side – yard will smell like the San Gennaro feast

Grilled Flat Bread

my new addiction is grilled flat bread – take my recipe for effin’ Artisan bread http://bit.ly/cAF5yJ and instead of making a loaf you make a pizza round – brush it with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper – grill ~5mins each side – make some now…

here’s how I get down and dirty: grab some flat bread – slap on some tzatziki – pile on the meat – top with thinly sliced tomato, red onion, and lettuce – drizzle more tzatziki – finish off with a sprinkle of feta

roll up your sleeves and dig in!

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

What up people?, I’m back! Intended to take the summer off from blogging, but turned into half the fall too, my bad. No worries though, I had my sidearm locked and loaded to capture any impromptu cooking.

For a little summer reading I picked up, A Tuscan in the Kitchen: Recipes and Tales from My Home. Helped reinforce the idea that cooking is about creativity and the freedom to improvise, not necessarily exactness – unless you’re whipping up a souffle or something. So here’s to less measurements and more freedom, just don’t burn the garlic!

Moving on…let’s talk about this pasta dish I whipped up the other night. It just so happened that I had a ridiculous amount of cherry tomatoes lining my windowsill, ready to be used, and basil overflowing in the garden.

Let’s get to it.

Printable Recipe:

http://tinyurl.com/25u34gp


Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

ripe cherry tomatoes – slice in half – toss into a baking dish

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

tear up all of the fresh basil – toss half in with tomatoes

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

add in olive oil, sherry wine, garlic, s&p – mix it all up

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

roast @ 450F for about 30 mins Рstir a few times  so nothing burns

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

spaghetti will take about 5-7mins,  cook pasta when tomatoes are almost done

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

when tomatoes finish leave in roasting dish and toss in remainder of fresh basil and a handful of pecorino romano – drain pasta – save 1C pasta water – scoop pasta in roasting dish – mix it all up – you want it saucy, so if dry add in pasta water a lil at a time

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati
mix well – you wanna get all the sauce stuck on the pasta – serve with more pecorino romano and fresh cracked black pepper – if you have an aversion to tomato skin than pulse the sauce when it’s finished in a food processor or put it through a food mill – don’t ever say I didn’t try to help…

enjoy, this pasta is muy yum