October 2011 Archives

Replacement Milk Frother

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If you're going to make cappuccinos at home, you're going to need to froth some milk. The steam pressure on most home cappuccino machines is so weak, you're not going to get great foam that way. And if you're using an Aeropress or a stovetop Bialetti Moka pot, you don't even have that option. A couple years ago, I picked up a Bodum battery-powered milk frother on sale at World Market. It was alright, although it ate batteries constantly and the frother arm kept getting bent. And then I broke the beaker. I went to the store to see if I could find a replacement beaker and ended up getting a Bodum manual milk frother. It's great! If you start with cold, whole milk it just takes a few plunges to foam the milk all the way up the beaker. And then you can toss the beaker in the microwave for 30 seconds to heat it up for a cappuccino. I love my frother! And then I broke the beaker. Before I went back to the store, I thought I'd see if we had any glasses in the cabinet that would fit the frother. Our normal drinking glasses are too skinny, and pint glasses are too angled. But then I found a glass that fit just perfectly: Replacement milk frother glass A "Great Muppet Caper" collectable McDonald's glass from 1981. I'm never going to stick this family heirloom in the microwave, so I pour the foam into a Pyrex measuring cup to heat up. And I want to replace it, before I once again break the 'beaker'. But it's a great stop gap. Replacement milk frother glass

Fixing the Mix

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As I've said before, I love popcorn. But I don't usually like strongly-flavored popcorns. Cheese popcorn, in particular, I'll always give a miss. Except when it's in The Mix. I'm sure it's not unique to here, but I first encountered The Mix as a Chicago thing. We have a number popular popcorn chains here, Garrett's and Clark's Nuts come to mind, and they all have The Mix—half caramel popcorn, half cheese popcorn. There's something about the combo that takes it to a warm, fatty, sweet, crunchy new level. My brother was visiting a week ago and came home from a day out touristing around with a big bag of Garrett's Mix. But, tragically, whoever had filled the bag had not done a very good job and it was at least 3/4 cheese, with all the caramel at the top. We ate as much mixed as we could, but then were left with a half-bag of just cheese popcorn, which my brother left behind when he went back to Texas. I was about to throw it away when Erica asked if I'd make some Cayenne-Caramel Popcorn. Not only would I, but I'd Fix the Mix! Half-bag of Garrett's Cheese Popcorn Our Cayenne-Caramel Popcorn recipe is from Smitten Kitchen (Erica tells me she has a cookbook coming out soon—looking forward to it). It's pretty much just standard caramel popcorn with a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper added, and it's very fast to make. But the pepper really takes the flavor up a level and it's proven to be a holiday dessert party favorite. And, I mean, Erica and I can eat an entire batch in no time flat. So, I whipped up a batch of C-C Popcorn and took a portion out to mix with the left over cheese popcorn. The only downside to my homemade caramel popcorn is that I don't achieve the smooth coverage of individual poppedcorns that you see in Garrett's popcorn (they use big tumblers to coat their corn—I use two spatulas frantically racing the cooling caramel). So I had to smash up the chunks a bit. Cayenne-Caramel Popcorn Verdict—Success! Spicy and cheese is a great combination, if pepper jack has taught us nothing else, and so the sweet, spicy, cheesy mix is best of three worlds. I don't know if it's worth going out of my way to buy cheese popcorn to make this mix, but it's great to keep in the back of my head for all those times (?) I end up with a random bag of leftover Garrett's.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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