Sunday, January 30, 2011

2 for $1 Mini Cupcakes

Once again proving the theory that everything is cuter in mini. The bakery at my Whole Foods has started selling mini cupcakes and cookie sandwiches. This way I dont have to decide between chocolate and vanilla.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Harvest Roaster Visit

It's day's like this one that reminds me why I love my job so much. I got paid to take a field trip to visit my favorite local coffee roasters New Harvest Coffee in Pawtucket, RI.  Six of us from the store went. We spent the day with Todd and Brian showing us around and demonstrating a cupping for us.

 Part of their business is maintaining bar equipment and developing coffees for baristas to use. They ended our visit by making us all drinks. I have to say Brian won me when he grabbed the whole milk without asking (for anyone who hasn't spent some time behind an espresso bar the fattier the milk the creamier and sweeter the foam will turn out).

Todd (on the left) and Brian (on the right) conducted a blind cupping for us. Cuppings are the traditional way to taste new coffees. Since you're brewing directly in the cup without any sort of filter you get all the tasty coffee oil left in. They gave us a single origin from each of the three main growing regions (Africa, Central America, and the Indo-Pacific). I was a little bit rusty but was still able to determine the regions correctly.
 This is where they store all their green beans. I have a slightly bizarre love of the smell of burlap. In fact that mixed with the coffee roasting in the next room had me considering moving in.

This is one of their two roasters. This one was "Wolf Bain" I believe, the other was "Cupcake".

They were some of the nicest nerdiest guys I've met working in coffee. It doesn't hurt they're producing some of my favorite coffees to drink at home. I'm kinda partial to their Rwanda coffee but if the cupping taught me anything it's that I need to start exploring their other regional offerings.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nigella's Chocolate Banana Muffins

I am notorius for buying a bunch of bananas and then forgetting they exist. I like to tell myself it's my subconscious requesting banana bread. I just happened to be flipping through my new Nigella Lawson book Kitchen which just so happens has a recipe for "Chocolate banana muffins".

The batter ends up looking like pudding. It's thick and sticky and VERY promising. 

Now I have to admit, I should have been tipped off by the fact that they're "muffins" and not "cupcakes" but I was expecting something slightly more decadent. These are light and taste only slightly of chocolate.The consistency is very nice and they're very moist. I'm definitely going to give these another go, but I think I'll add something to the batter like chocolate chips or dried cherries or both! For now I'm sprucing them up with a little mascarpone and sour cherry spread generously slathered on.