Friday, October 12, 2007

Mini-Recipe: Cinnamon-Hazelnut Caffe con Panna

I'm loath to call this a recipe, since it's simple and not particularly unexpected, and the instructions are just "best practices", not required procedures. That said, it was so delicious and satisfying that I just had to post it.



Cinnamon-Hazlenut Caffe con Panna
Serves 1 as a beverage or a dessert

Ingredients:
1 rounded Tbsp hazelnut-flavored coffee beans, ground
8 fl. oz. boiling water
1 fl. oz. unsweetened heavy cream, whipped (appx 1/2 cup whipped if made with a nitrous oxide whipper*, or 1/4 cup if whipped manually)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
sugar, to taste


Instructions:

Prepare the coffee: Place the ground coffee beans and half the cinnamon (1/8 tsp) in a french press coffeemaker. Add boiling water, and put the lid on the coffeemaker. (Do not press the plunger yet.) Allow to steep 4 minutes, or until the coffee reaches the desired strength. Press the plunger to strain out the grounds.
(Alternatively, prepare the coffee using the method of your choice, adding 1/8 tsp cinnamon to the ground coffee beans.)

Assemble: pour the coffee into a coffee cup or mug. Sweeten to taste. (If your're drinking this as a beverage, use less for a slightly-to-moderately sweet result. If this is your dessert, use more to make it very sweet.) Top with whipped cream, and sprinkle with remaining 1/8 tsp cinnamon.


Variations:
This can be done with a variety of coffee flavors and spices. Vanilla coffee with pumpkin pie spice is particularly good. Also try unflavored coffee with a mix of cinnamon and cocoa. I've also done it with cinnamon and chocolate syrup.


Notes:
The quality of the ingredients really matters for this recipe. Choose a good-quality, flavorful coffee. I like the smoothness of Eight O'Clock (correction: Chock Full O' Nuts) coffee, but if you like a bolder, harsher coffee, honor your own preferences. This recipe would also be delicious with 2 fl. oz. espresso substituted for the prepared coffee. You could use sweetened whipped cream if you really want to, but I think that sweet coffee with unsweetened cream gives a more pleasing contrast. Try it both ways and see which you like best. I recommend using home-made whipped cream (made in a nitrous oxide whipped cream maker*, or by hand using a mixer or whisk), rather than commercial canned whipped cream. The commercial kinds contain stabilizers and sometimes preservatives, and I don't think they taste as good.

Do not, under any circumstances, substitute a "frozen whipped topping" like Cool-Whip. It will not be the same.



* Disclosure: the Amazon product links go through my affiliate account, meaning that if you click to those links and then buy them, I will receive a commission. (As of this writing, I haven't received any amazon commissions at all.) I only include links for products I have tried myself, but if you're uncomfortable accepting a recommendation when there is profit involved, then just go to amazon.com (or elsewhere) and search for the item, and I won't get the commission. That's okay. :)

Whip It Review

I'm not kitchen gadget fanatic. For one thing, I enjoy the process of cooking, and prefer to do most things by hand. Saving a few minutes is not worth sacrificing the kitchen's sensual experiences:
- slipping the skin off an onion
- the squeak of a knife sliding through mushrooms
- the swampy resistance of stirring bigos
- the aroma of toasting shrimp shells
- the fleshy "give" when poking a perfectly rare steak to gauge doneness

For another, our stuff-to-space ratio is high enough that anything we store in our kitchen needs to earn its keep.

The George Foreman Grill* is facing eviction. Don't get me wrong; it's a perfectly good appliance. It just doesn't produce the kinds of things I want to eat right now, and doesn't enhance the experience of cooking.

The Whip-It* whipped cream maker, on the other hand, has been granted an indefinite lease for prime real estate in the refrigerator door.


This product is fantastic. It uses charger cartridges* to inject nitrous oxide gas into heavy cream. The gas-injected cream is stored under pressure in the canister, and so it doesn't actually whip until you dispense it, when the gas bubbles distributed throughout the cream can expand. (Similar to the bubbles in carbonated beverages.)

Because the prepped cream doesn't actually "whip" until it's dispensed, it can be stored up to 14 days in the refrigerator, vs. the day or two fridge life of home-made whipped cream. The other benefit is serving size. Although the whip-it does inject a full pint of cream at once, you can dispense as little as you want at a time. It's difficult to manually whip less than 1/2 cup of cream at a time, and I haven't been able to get less than 1/4 cup to work at all.


Other benefits:

- the cream is perfectly whipped; you won't accidentally whip up a batch of butter

- cream made in the the whip-it has about twice as much volume as manual beating. The packaging says 1 pt. of cream makes 4-5pts of whipped cream (vs. the 2 pts you get from manually whipping 1 pt. of cream), but I also confirmed this with my kitchen scale this morning. 2 Tbsp (1 fl. oz.) of fluid heavy cream weighed 30g, and 30g of whipped cream was over half a cup (4 fl. oz.) This means that the same-sized puff of whipped cream is both fluffier and cheaper!

- you can use the sweetener of your choice, or make unsweetened whipped cream (my preference)

- you can add flavorings to your whipped cream to make mousse-like desserts (cocoa, amaretto, etc.) I haven't tried this yet.

- you don't need any preservatives or stabilizers



The only downsides are:

- it isn't dishwasher-safe. The canister needs to be washed after each batch, and the nozzle and tip should be washed after each dispensing (otherwise you get crusty bits of cream). However, it's not a hassle to wash.

- you need to keep buying nitrous oxide chargers. These run 60-70 cents each when you buy the 10- or 24-packs, but can also be purchased in larger quanitities for a larger discount. It's still much cheaper than commercial whipped cream (and better-tasting). And, by volume, it's even cheaper than making the cream yourself, since you double the volume of whipped cream you produce, and the charger is cheaper than the amount of cream you save.


Coming soon: a mini-recipe!

* Disclosure: the Amazon product links go through my affiliate account, meaning that if you click to those links and then buy them, I will receive a commission. (As of this writing, I haven't received any amazon comissions at all.) I only include links for products I have tried myself, but if you're uncomfortable accepting a recommendation when there is profit involved, then just go to amazon.com (or elsewhere) and search for the item, and I won't get the commission. That's okay. :)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Recipe Reference: Buttered Radishes

As you may have noticed by now, I really like food, and I really like to talk about food. Every so often, however, I run across my heart's words in someone else's voice. So without further ado, check out Orangette's post on Buttered Radishes.

Then (if you don't already have some left over from my roasted radishes recipe) run to the market and buy some fresh radishes (the kind with the tops on, not the bagged ones) and the best butter and salt you can get your hands on.

Trust me on this.

Looking for Savor Lightly? You've found it!

If you were looking for Savor Lightly, welcome to my new home, Omnivory!

I started this blog while on a diet, but I no longer espouse that lifestyle. So I've removed reference to fat/carbs/calories, etc., and am focusing more on good food. So whether you're on a weight loss program or not, happy eating!