Archive for the ‘coffee’ Category

Ah, summer.  You bring long days and balmy nights, but take away all the beach street parking.  A small price to pay for a season wherein ice cream is always appropriate.  A cone before noon?  Well, as long as it’s hot.

After holding off for long enough, this Sunday we got out of the water after a nice surf session and headed straight to Borders.  I have heard far too much about The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz to resist.  It delivers on being the only ice cream book I can imagine needing.  Lebovitz has thought of everything from goat cheese ice cream (don’t think I won’t be trying this one) to home-made fudge ripple.

Immediately after bringing this book home, Chris and I sat on our porch step, leafing through the possibilities.  We soon realized that the introduction of this book in my life has made this the summer of ice cream.  Luckily, my neighbor is out of town for the month, and her freezer is practically empty – instant ice cream storage!

Our first choice was obvious – Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream.  The downside of being the cook is that you tend to get scared by seeing the nutritional content of the ingredients.  I’m afraid that sweetened condensed milk falls into this scary category.  Try to not look too closely – squint your eyes while pouring if need be.  It’s worth it.


Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups (600 g) sweetened condensed milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups brewed espresso, or strongly brewed coffee, cooled

pinch finely ground dark roast coffee

Whisk these ingredients together, cool then freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.  Couldn’t be easier. 

This is the most decadent, amazing coffee ice cream I’ve ever tasted.  Of course, if you happen to have some homemade Texas Sheet Cake, it won’t hurt things.


Cue the gentle jingle of the ice cream van (ours has been playing Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer)…

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My friend Tam is multi-talented.  She makes awesome gifts, is an amazing massage therapist, can dye your hair perfectly every time, and now I’ve learned that she can also roast her own coffee beans.  What can’t she do?

We decided to have a DIY adventure day, wherein I’d give mozzarella another shot (don’t ask), and she’d try to roast some coffee beans that a friend brought her from Ethiopia.  I whipped up some ricotta pancakes for sustenance, and we were on the case.  After traveling all over town looking for a hand-cranked stovetop popcorn popper, we settled on this electronic version.  Spirits were high when the “Stir Crazy” started working its magic:

Excitement soon gave way to boredom, as the beans slowly turned.  It was riveting.

At some point, maybe 30 minutes later, Tam took some beans and ground them.  It was exciting, because the coffee smell really started to emerge (the raw beans, we agreed, smelled like dirt). 


This just seemed to be taking a long time, though, so we tried another way.  Good old fashioned elbow grease brought these babies to a beautiful, oily black shine in no time.  Tam stirred so fast that she almost made the spoon disappear:

Success!  We let these beauties cool down in a colander, then shook them free of the chaff that had separated from the beans.  I wish you could smell this next picture – a well earned cup of the best coffee I’ve had in a long time.  Thanks for an awesome Sunday, Tam!  Cheers!

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