When I told my mom we were going to have donuts and bagels at our post wedding breakfast, she responded sadly with “… but not gluten free donuts, huh?” My poor, sweet, wheat free mamma (and papa, and almost-husband) don’t have the luxury of going out to the local donut shop to pick up sweets for breakfast. (WHYYY doesn’t Babycakes NYC open up in my small ass-town?!?!)
I could hear that dream of having gluten free donuts being crushed in the the minds eye of the lady that gave birth to me when I responded: “No, mom, it’ll be pretty impossible to get donuts for us unless I make them myself.” Followed up with a good hard look at myself in the mirror where I pointed at my face and said “No donuts, Renee. Do not try and make donuts for everyone after your wedding. That would make you a fucking crazy person.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your kitchen could read your mind and make whatever sort of breakfast thing you wanted as soon as you wanted it? Would that be sort of dystopian-future scary? Maybe half scary half awesome. Like *bing* “Oh honey let’s go get our coconut bacon, avocado, and egg BLT’s on gluten free bagels! Hey KITCHEN ROBOT is coffee ready?! Oh what am I talking about, of course it is.” And then I would turn the wall television off, put on my scooter slippers, and set my window screens to “sunny with soft cumulus.”
At the time of my writing this my dishwasher is sloshing in the kitchen and the sky is grey, overcast, the birds making a hurrah outside, rousing their sleepy lovers to pack quickly for the oncoming journey South. Shoes lounge under my sofa and alongside the furnace. Scarves and silk kimonos flutter gently — hung across chairs — as the ceiling fan whirrs. The tables in my living room are piled high with kraft truffle boxes, tape-wrapped packages of lavender, baskets full of sparkly bracelets and capelets, and vases stuffed with heart-topped skewers. There’s a big pan of freshly ground chocolate in the kitchen. There’s a half empty bag of raw cacao beans slumped over on the counter, alongside the pan. And a forgotten bowl of almond butter cup filling reflects some of that silver morning light on its oily surface.
The wedding is coming up, and fast. It’s barely a week away now. I feel pretty good about everything, at this moment. There are things that need to be done, but nothing so stressful that it makes sense to worry. Mostly it’s fun things, like trying out a bunch of cheap bottles of wine from Trader Joe’s so that we know what to buy for the wedding. Or making truffles. Finalizing the seasonal flowers we’re getting. Or getting little thank you gifts for my mum, maid of honor, and amazing wedding coordinator slash very giving friend. It helps that Logan and I dove into this chocolate project so close to the wedding. Chocolate making seems to be both therapeutic and stimulating. We’re both calm and psyched.
Filed Under: Chocolate, Dairy Free, dessert, Gluten Free, Vegan Tagged With: almond, bean to bar, candy, chocolate, christmas, coconut sugar, dessert, easy, freezer, frolic chocolate, halloween, holiday, sweet
It’s October! Which means it’s finally appropriate to use the Jack-o-Lantern emoji in everything. And it means I can legitimately eat apple pie for breakfast with potentially less scorn than the rest of the year. I mean it’s not like apple pie season lasts forever.
I look out of my kitchen window in the morning while I’m grinding my coffee and watch orange leaves float down from the tall trees in our backyard. It’s still pretty green here, despite the slowly collecting pile of yellowing leaves and black walnuts at the edges of the streets. The ducks are still producing eggs late into their normal season. I can still buy tomatoes and eggplant at the farmers market. So I find myself lugging home a load of heavy winter squash while balancing cherry tomatoes on top — carefully so that I don’t end up with a stew of tomato guts at the bottom of the bag.
Roasting tomatoes gives them a whole new life. I love raw heirlooms in a sandwich or on their own with a bit of balsamic and salt, but roasting brings out their sweetness and adds a luscious, savory smokiness. Heirloom varieties taste amazing in this, but a good roma or new girl tomato prepared in this way can make a pretty stunning side dish as well. They’re naturally less watery and so instead of melting as heirlooms tend to do under heat, they soften but retain a firmness that’s a pleasure to cut into.
Let it be known. I AM NOT A COFFEE EXPERT. I am a coffee enthusiast, with a fiancee (almost husband in 3 weeks!) who is learning a ton about roasting right now. I learn a lot through him (i.e. reading his books when I’m bored). I used to work as a barista back in college. So I have some muscle memory for foaming milk and pulling a proper shot of espresso. By now I know the difference between the roasts, and I know which ones I prefer.
So, yeah, I’m not claiming to know the science behind the perfect latte foam. But in a lot of ways I feel close to expert on alternative milks, having given up cow dairy for various reasons in 2011. I’ve tried all the milks, and most of the brands. I’ve made most alternative milks at home. And I’ve tried all of them in coffee. So, as your resident-self-proclaimed-alternative-milk-pro here’s my judgement of non dairy milks from not awesome to awesome on the “is this going to be good in my coffee?” scale: soy milk, brazil nut milk, oat milk, almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk.
That’s personal preference, of course. I’m sure there are big advocates for soy in coffee — especially “soy creamer” products. But I’m talking about straight up milk, with no additives. The way you might make it at home — water + bean/nut/coconut blended together and then strained or pressed to get all of that good milky liquid out. All of those milks work in coffee, it’s just that some are richer, creamier, sweeter, and more flavorful than others. Which all in all makes a better latte or cappuccino. I mean, if your creamer isn’t best quality what’s the point of mixing it with great quality coffee?
I got this cappuccino machine recently (courtesy of Staples for National Coffee Day) and it’s been a real fun toy to have around the house. Logan had never had espresso before, or any drink with espresso in it. It was awesome getting to make his first latte for him. And being able to use a non-dairy milk that really acts like proper milk means he got to try something close to the real thing!
The natural sugars present in coconut milk combined with the protein and fat content make it a pretty good substitute in classic milk and cream coffee drinks. It’s not exactly the same — coconut milk is lower in sugar and protein and has a much higher fat content than whole milk. It steams and foams up differently than milk does, as you might imagine. However, you still get quite a nice micro foam — albeit that it’s a pretty dry foam like in skim milk. I used canned light coconut milk for this latte adventure (Thai Kitchen brand) so that may be the cause of the dry foam.
It practically doesn’t need to be said, but serving your latte with a big ol’ gluten free sugar cookie is always a good idea.
For National Coffee Day today I’m teaming up with Staples to give away about $600 worth of coffee goodies on twitter! There are three opportunities to win a Kurig or a Cappuccino machine plus lots of other coffee prizes. Check my feed at 9AM, 1PM, and 3PM and simply RT and respond to be entered.