I’m always looking for new and exciting ways of interpreting espresso so when I came across this post on a web site called Wizard Recipes for Roasted Espresso Balsamic Paint I took note. First of all who are these people that come up with this weird wild stuff. The only explanation is that they are culinary geniuses, groundbreaking recipe rogues. They are food artists and here is their recipe painted on blanched asparagus.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine the sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small pot and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the coffee and simmer for another 3 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place the asparagus in a shallow baking dish, cover with half the espresso balsamic paint, and bake for 5 minutes.
Use the remaining paint as a dip when serving.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup espresso or instant espresso powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
- small bunch of blanched asparagus
Un caffe’ espresso con l’aceto balsamico. That’s a mouth full – of flavor that is. I had to look and taste twice before I could wrap my taste buds around this cup of coffee. It’s called a cocchino, an espresso topped with whip cream flavoured with balsamic vinegar and strawberry syrup. All the ingredients must be top shelf to make this drink all it was meant to be and it was meant to be different and exotic.
I’m part Russian married to an Italian. I know what kind of combination that makes in a marriage but what type of buzz would you get from a coffee flavored vodka. So I bought a bottle of Stolichnaya Kafya Vodka, described as Russian vodka flavored with a blend of natural coffee beans and searched the web for drinks that used this double shot of espresso and booze. The mixology of the two resulted in some interesting cocktails with names like Puskins Milkshake and Cossack Coffee.
For me I think I’ll take my drinks one buzz at a time and use the rest of the bottle to make Black Russian Brownies.
Italians know Joe or should or should I say Giuseppe. What I mean to say is that Italians know their coffee. According to Italia Magazine, Italian moka pots are busily brewing nearly 70-100 million cups of Joe a day. That makes Italy numero uno in the world for coffee consumption.
Want to drink coffee like an Italian? Then choose an Italian roast, a variety that produces a coffee that is a rich brown color. Although darker in color, Italian roasts tend to be sweeter and less acidic and like all darker roasts have less caffeine as a longer roast depletes the caffeine in the bean.
Do you have your mask?
Today is Martedi Grasso (Fat Tuesday) and the perfect opportunity for you to assume another persona hidden behind the masks of Carnevale. Which would you choose?
The crafty hunchback Pulcinella with baggy white trousers and long nose that resembles a beak. Pantalone in his red tights and Turkish slippers, an indulgent vain-glorious old man with bushy eyebrows that peer at pretty women. Il Dottore, a pompous scholar from Bologna, a doctor of medicine or law or anything else he claims to know about, which is most things. Or Capitano Scaramouche a dashing,boasting, swashbuckling military officer, dressed in a cape, feathered hat and high boots telling extraordinary tales about how he single handedly beat a whole army of infidels.
I would be Colombina ( “little dove” in Italian) the lady servant. Somewhat lustier and more buxom than I, she is described as having a keen and active wit with a “functional intellect”, ever ready to help lovers. Not quite I but after all it is Carnevale.
Send a special message to the women in your life tomorrow. March 8th is International Women’s Day. In Italy they celebrate Festa della donna (Festival of the Woman) with banners and yellow mimosa. This time of the year, traveling in Italy, I noticed hundreds of bouquets of mimosa and banners everywhere. The Italians have always valued women and their role in society. Italy is like a great caldron of sensuality and emotion. History and art are sprinkled in for good measure and the outcome allows creativity to flourish and for women it allows their special talents to emerge. If the number of yellow-flowered mimosa I have seen in Italy during March is any indication of the esteem Italy has for its women than I think they are greatly appreciated.
Locavore – a term used to mean individuals who are interested in food that is locally grown in home gardens or local commercial groups.
Long before it first appeared in the 2007 Oxford American Dictionary, the word “locavore” was defined by the Italian sensibility for eating food from local producers. Their parents, grandparents, great grandparents and generations of ancestors knew that eating fresh food, locally grown was not only good for the body but good for the land. Sustainability was an inherent part of their culture and eco-consciousness was common sense. The oil from the olive, the wine from the grape, the tomatoes from the vine are at their best when the land is nurtured and cared for. From the land to the artisan’s hand controls the quality and authenticity of the product both of which are very important to Italians.
Buying food at the local market grown in the surrounding area is still a part of the Italian lifestyle. Italians truly value food and its preparation. They value the traditions and diversity of food based on the geography of the land and the cultural traditions of the region. It didn’t take a politically correct word, an underground movement or a celebrity chef to make them realize the importance of caring about the food they eat and where it’s grown.