Last summer cold brew coffee came into my life. At first I thought this was the hipster way of saying iced coffee, for fear that calling it iced coffee would immediately associate them with Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks and other main stream brands. While cold brew is kind of the hip member of the coffee family, it is actually different from iced coffee.
Here are the basics:
This is made by brewing coffee the old drip drip fashioned way and then pouring it over ice. There are slightly fancier ways of doing it (“by introducing hot coffee to ice drop by drop, the coffee cools faster and doesn’t melt as much ice. Contrast this with pouring an entire cup of hot coffee over ice at once: the ice melts quickly, along with the dreams of the poor sap who’s staring at a watery brew.”), but my guess is most places are either chilling regularly brewed coffee before pouring it over ice, or just adding a handful of ice.
Cold brewed coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cool or room temperature water. Course coffee grounds are usually steeped for a long time - for twelve hours or overnight, and then the brew is poured over a coffee filter to remove the grounds. It is usually served with water or milk added to dilute the brew. Cold brew is less acidic than regularly brewed coffee and can be slightly sweeter for that reason.
While some cold brew enthusiasts insist on special brewing contraptions, Smitten Kitchen posted a straight forward recipe for cold brew from the New York Times:
1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best)
1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.
2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.
Let yourself be drawn by the strange pull of what you love.
I have a deep love of Rumi’s writings and wisdom. He was always spot on.
I sometimes get asked for general health advice, like how much water to drink every day, good food alternatives to unhealthy options, chemical free body products, etc. so I thought I would put together a post from time to time about the healthy habits I’m beginning, or have been following.
1. A while ago I started drinking watered down apple cider vinegar for it’s numerous awesome health benefits, and I recently heard that it is good for an upset stomach. I usually drink mint tea for that, but this time of year it’s just too hot. I have to say I notice the apple cider vinegar works almost immediately. I use roughly 1 tablespoon of vinegar (go with Braggs, really) to a pint of water. It is supposed to be good for your skin, especially if you drink it first thing in the morning and don’t eat anything for 30 min - 1 hour.
2. I drink a lot of water. It is 90% of what I drink. There are a few ways to determine if you’re drinking enough. One solid school of thought (that makes a lot more sense than 8 glasses a day) is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. If it’s hot or you’re exercising a lot, you need more. You can also go by thirst. If you’re thirsty, drink more water. This can be surprisingly tricky though if you work or live in climate controlled spaces, in which case defer to the first method.
3. Runner’s World recently dubbed sitting the new smoking. This is a little ridiculous, but they’re not the first to point out the hazards of sitting for most of the day, over a long life, on our health. Apparently, getting up even for a brief period does a world of good, so I’ve been paying more attention to this, especially on days where I have a long commute. I’m one of only two people in my office who makes a point to go out for a walk every day. I try to get up from my desk at least once an hour, even if it is just to fill my water bottle. Have a quick question for a coworker? Get up and ask them in person instead of shooting them an email. Obvious, but often overlooked.
4. As of lately I have been devouring ripe, juicy watermelon. This is a deceiving fruit. It is packed full of good stuff and is 90% water, so it is great for hydration. I’ve been blending it in smoothies (if I add enough I don’t need to add liquid because of how much is in the watermelon) and making popsicles with it. It’s unbelievably refreshing, especially cold. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the people who stumbled upon and discovered watermelon. They must have thought they had died and gone to the promised land.
What healthy habits are you practicing these days?
In the garden
Everything’s growing: butternut squash, yellow squash, artichokes (!), calendula and nasturtiums (both edible), carrots, and sunflowers (which look more like sea creatures right now).
Gregory Alan Isakov
First, I would like to say this venue is incredible. It makes live music personal again. It brings you up nice and close to the band and let’s the sound fill every inch of space around you. It takes the music and makes it an experience again. The audience is able to focus on only the act, and forget the people around them.
I’ve said it before: Gregory Alan Isakov is one of my favorites. Luckily he isn’t so big that he can’t play small venues. He actually mentioned, before he started playing, that OLS was one of his favorite rooms to play at in the country. Once the show started he did a really nice job of mixing well known, oft played (and requested) songs, and new ones off his recently released album, The Weatherman. Sometimes an artist’s new songs can be jarring. These fit so snugly in next to the worn-in ones it was hard to imagine a time where they had not yet been written.
The band behind Gregory surrounded him like a warm blanket. He introduced them as his “best friends in the whole world” and there was true magic amongst them. They looked like they had just walked off the wheat field from a day of plowing, put on their Sunday best, picked up their instruments, and fell into tune. They were a little bit antsy with the PA system all around them, and on numerous occasions they opted for the “geeky folk” setting (as they called it), left their mics, and played acoustic at the front of the stage. It is hard to pull off in a room full of people, but they did it so well. Their enjoyment was infectious.
The show was inspiring. I can’t wait to lose myself in his new album and to see him again and again each time he comes to Portland. Thanks for a great show guys!
Picnic in the park
On the verge of a miracle
Do you see that? That is my pride and joy: an itsy bitsy artichoke growing. A little part of me didn’t think it was possible.
For those of you that don’t know I’m a little bit obsessed with artichokes. They don’t grow in Maine, they grow in California and in the Mediterranean. Right now there’s at least one growing in Portland.
In Tall Buildings - Gregory Alan Isakov
Here is Gregory Alan Isakov covering In Tall Buildings. This artist really knows how to pull the heart right from your chest and push it into place in the same moment. His music has an affect on me in ways that few artists do. Sometimes you listen to an artist because you like his or her music, and sometimes you you listen because it has a near tangible effect on you.
I would like to add to my recent post about storing fresh picked basil. There’s nothing you can do to keep fresh picked basil from wilting in the heat. Your best bet is to keep an eye on the weather and don’t pick it right before a heat wave. Otherwise, throw it in the food processor with some olive oil, parm, and garlic (or many other lovely combinations), and store it in the fridge or freezer.
If I read one more news article about how young women in college only want casual sex because a committed relationship prohibits their ability to do well in school.
Hillary started dating Bill while in law school at Yale.
Storing fresh basil
I’m going to let you in on a little secret I learned recently. If you have fresh cut basil don’t store it in the fridge. It doesn’t like the cold and it turns brown, a sad phenomenon I have fallen victim to too many times.
The basil in the picture was picked three days ago, and in a week it will still look and taste fresh. The trick is to put it in water and lightly cover it so that plenty of air can escape. If you have snipped whole plants you could put them in water the way you would flowers and cover the tops with a ziploc turned upside down.
This time of year I am just picking the bushy tops of plants so that doesn’t work so well. Instead, layer the bottom of a wide container with paper towels and sprinkle enough water to completely dampen them. Then spread the bail out over them, and loosely cover the container, leaving many areas exposed.
No more brown basil, I promise!
This week went by so fast it scared me. Thursday night, driving back from a long ultimate frisbee game, and summer was all around me. I realized the week was pretty much over and I had the desire to grab the air and pull it towards me like pressed cotton sheets in an effort to hold onto the time. Of course I wanted the week to end, who isn’t ready to shed work for the weekend, but when time goes by so quickly I feel like the wool has been pulled over my eyes.
Friday brought the sun, which always feels like a fresh start after a rainy, muggy week, and somehow that slowed things down a little. Welcome, Friday, goodbye to all the rest.
Rosemont Produce Company
I finally made it down to Crema last weekend, and after finishing my latte, writing for a while, and reading (sounds like a perfect, gray, Sunday afternoon, right?), I got to pop over to Rosemont Produce Company, which admittedly I had not been to before (I live on the other end of town). It’s a great little spot supplying lots of local goods, from produce, to cheese, to your favorite beverage (alcoholic or otherwise). I’m getting scapes in my CSA, but for those of you running all over town looking for some, here’s your spot. It is like a little farmer’s market! If you would like to visit yourself you can find them at 5 Commercial Street.