I Can Do It Myself! - Learning To Cook Blog at Allrecipes.com - 297952

Learning To Cook

I Can Do It Myself! 
Feb. 21, 2013 4:35 pm 
Updated: Feb. 28, 2013 7:06 am
I'm sitting here this evening considering how I do things and how fortunate I am to have the time to do things the way I want to. I'm having a rare third cup of coffee, and I know that I will pay for it. But it is so good! This morning my first cup was a Brazil Cerrado DP Fazenda Aurea, which I had roasted yesterday to a Full City+ roast. It was a bit fruity and had a creamy mouth feel. Later in the day I made a cup from a Honduras Organic bean from the Marcala-Cocosam Co-op, Marcala being a region of Honduras and Cocosam the actual Co-op. I roasted this yesterday as well. It was bright and sweet. This evening I have mixed the two roasted beans in a roughly 50/50 mix with maybe the edge going to the Brazilian bean. This is a very good cup of coffee. It's quite well rounded, sweet but not cloying. Pre-cream it had a wonderful floral and fruit note that nearly convinced me to go without the cream.
I don't know much about the various coffee regions, but I have learned that I prefer the very coffees that I originally thought I would hate. I do prefer the Central American beans for their brightness and clean flavors. Some African beans are also quite good, but most of the Indonesian coffees seem to have a funky earthy/dirt flavor to them. Coffee is a taste that you develop a liking for. I don't know too many people that simply like coffee the first time they try it. I would argue vehemently that I am not a coffee snob. Yes, I do like good coffee, but I can drink instant in a pinch. It's just that, when I shell out good money for coffee, I want the coffee to be very good. Roasting green coffee beans gives me a level of control over the quality of the bean and the roasting process.
Tomorrow I plan on seeing if this blend I have made will make a good espresso. I sure hope so. I haven't made espresso at home in a long while, and I'd like to give it a go. I wonder where She Who Must Be Obeyed hid the machine?
Late this morning I made a second batch of Ricotta Cavatelli. I wanted to see if a bit more flour and 15 minutes of kneading would make the dough a bit more like it's supposed to be: soft, not sticky, and smooth. I added all the flour I dared and it still never got to the soft but smooth stage. I shaped the Cavatelli on a pastry cloth, which did help the process quite a bit. The Cavatelli just weren't shaped quite right. I'm going to try making it without Ricotta cheese next time. Also, according to most sources, I should be using half semolina and half AP flour.
A few months back I made some apple cider. I don't drink much anymore, but I love making my own cider, mead and beer. Truthfully, I haven't made beer in ages. I stopped when I had little ones running around the kitchen. The thought of 5 gallons of sticky, boiling liquid falling on an inquisitive child made me rethink brewing. That stuff is like napalm! One year I even freeze distilled some of the mead. Then I found out that it was illegal to do that. Been clean ever since! By the way, it was the most wonderful tasting stuff ever! Think honey brandy.
I can't help myself. I've always been like this. If there is a harder way to do something, chances are you'll see me toiling away at it. Why go to the produce market when you can grow your own perfectly good vegetables? Why not make your own beer? Coffee? If I can figure out how to do it, I would grown my own coffee! If I ever get my acreage I am going to grow, not only hops (easy to grow!) but also the barley. Why not? I want to start learning to make cheese as well. I already do some fermented vegetables, but maybe I should try making yogurt as well. It is so simple to do. I haven't made sausage in a while, nor bacon. Next year one of my projects is going to be building a small cold smoker. Small is a relative term seeing as it will still be a walk-in smoker!
I think it was sometime last year I started to think about making my own ink, and quill. My wife is pretty sure it is a disease or mental illness that I have, but she loves me anyway.
Feb. 21, 2013 7:11 pm
Lots going on in your head, Doc! What kind of coffee brewer do you use? It seems that you are plenty wired with all the stuff running through your head. Musta been more than three cups.
Feb. 21, 2013 8:24 pm
You are an interesting man, Doc. I love reading about your ideas but I suspect your better half wishes she were just reading about them. But then again, they keep you off the streets, LOL! Have fun, that's what life is for.
Feb. 21, 2013 8:53 pm
Hey Mike. I think what you might be referring to is what I like to call diarrhea of the mind! Yes, a lot of stuff does run through my head. It may be why I never have gotten really good at any one thing. I just have so many things I want to learn to do.
Feb. 21, 2013 8:57 pm
My darling wife is safely ensconced behind ice walls some 1200 miles away from me at the moment. I think she'd actually like to have me there, so that's a plus! As far as staying out of trouble goes (staying off the streets) do you think I can manage that with all of these thoughts running through me noggin? :)
Feb. 22, 2013 3:09 am
Interesting blog! I hated coffee 15 years ago, but then the ladies at work showed me how to drink it - LOTS of sugar and LOTS of cream. I slowly weaned from the sugar, but still put a dab of cream in my coffee. I still thank them for making me grow up and drink a "big girl's" beverage in the morning.
Feb. 22, 2013 4:30 am
Mother Ann, my dad would give me a splash of coffee in my morning milk. He probably only did it a few times, but it must have made an impression on me. I have loved coffee from that moment.
Feb. 22, 2013 5:41 am
Hey Doc I'd let you borrow my espresso pot,but your to far away,i never use it i just keep it cause it was my mom's.My dad drinks his in one of those tiny espresso cups,imange this,tiny little cup,2tsp.sugar,the spoon almost stands up in the cup.Maxwell house is my choice.Goos luck with your pasta making.
Feb. 22, 2013 7:52 am
I have two means of making espresso. I have my Machina from Italy, and I have a Delonghi espresso machine with milk frother. I've never made good espresso with the little aluminum pot, but I know a lot of Italians certainly do! I'll figure it out someday!
Feb. 22, 2013 8:59 am
I have drank coffee since age 4. That is when I was weaned from my Mom, or so I was told!!!! I would not drink milk then so my Mom would put half coffe and half milk in my cup with some sugar and I would drink it. I still love my coffee, but without the milk. I do still have to have sweetener of some sort.
Feb. 22, 2013 10:56 am
Char, sounds like they really wanted you to drink milk! Coffee would do it for me alright. I rarely have sweetener in my coffee. I'm one of those people that likes the bitterness (to a degree) and half and half is enough to cut the bitterness for me. I do like using coffee instead of water in my hot cocoa mix. That is kickin'!
Feb. 23, 2013 9:40 am
no you can't.
Feb. 23, 2013 12:44 pm
If you learn to make cheese will and yogurt will you also learn butter and maybe cottage cheese. I live on 4 acres and we grow vegetables, Christmas trees. We are talking about chickens, Bill thought a cow would be useful I not so much because I am not milking it.
Feb. 23, 2013 1:18 pm
Cottage cheese should be fairly easy. Alton Brown did it on an episode of Good Eats. Maybe instead of getting a cow you could find something to trade with a local farmer? I envy your acreage, but hopefully, I'll be landing on two acres soon. Not really suitable for animals due to township constraints, but will allow a good sized garden and orchard.
Feb. 23, 2013 1:19 pm
patty, thanks for your kind comments and continued support!
Feb. 23, 2013 3:27 pm
you know what doc, i get the whole killing me with kindness stuff that you are doing. it's not working. you aren't the bigger person that you want everyone to think you are. what you are is appalled that you have come across someone who is not a fan of your folksy, schmaltzy, boring blogs, and tells you so. you are so used to being fawned over, and ooh and aahed by everyone who responds to you that you find it hard to believe that there is someone out here willing to say how they feel about your blogs that is less than flattering. why should everyone that responds to your blogs have to say something that is flattering? why is it that if someone responds how they feel about what you write that is outside the confines of popular opinions, everyone gets bent out of shape. i'm as entitled to give my opinion as you or anyone else is. i'm sure i'm not the only one who feels your blogs are long winded and stupid. the problem you have is that i am the only one who is willing to say it. i have no problem calling a spade a spade. if someone isn't writing how wonderful and enlightened you are, you and your fan club can't handle it. i give an honest opinion, and because it goes against the grain, i get attacked and called names by your fans. why? is everyone who reads your stuff supposed to be enthralled with you. god forbid someone doesn't like what you write. is that it? do you really think i am the only one who has read your dribble and thought the same thing? i'm just the only one who has said what i think. and when i am attacked for having a difference of opinion by your minions, you eat it up with a spoon, letting them do the dirty work for you. and then you write something "magnanimous" so all your "friends" can say you are the bigger person. what you are doc is a fraud and a hypocrite. i have seen people like you my whole life. you act like you are above it all, while secretly enjoying people ganging up on someone who dissents from the popular opinion. are you all that fragile? why does any criticism bring out the bully in all of you? i've read the responses. you're all real charmers.
Feb. 23, 2013 5:30 pm
patty, I don't see myself as the bigger person. If I did I wouldn't write things like "Someone needs a hug," or post the recipe for that Dear Person." BTW it's drivel, not dribble. I have a fair control over my saliva.
Feb. 23, 2013 5:44 pm
patty, I just went over several posts and no one in any of the comments called you names. They did comment on behavior, but since you were being vile, I think that's fair game. Even the word Troll is more a comment on behavior rather than name calling.
Feb. 25, 2013 5:49 am
I'd really like to try roasting my own coffee. You've inspired me!
Feb. 25, 2013 8:00 am
Thanks Sherilynn. It really isn't that hard to produce some pretty good coffee by roasting it yourself. It is easier to do with special equipment, but I've heard of people using a hot air popper for roasting coffee. It does take attention to detail and patience. SweetMarias is the resource I use and they have a good line of equipment, green coffee beans and they are a wealth of information.
Feb. 25, 2013 8:06 am
First of all, wow. Why would someone take the time to read your blogs if they profess to hate them so much? I personally like to read the musings of a rambling mind having one myself! : ) I love coffee. My favorite if Ethiopian Harrar...lovely chocolatey-berry flavor and so smooth. I do use a touch of sugar and a bit of cream in mine, but that's one I think I could drink black. And the freeze-distilled mead...sounds yummy!
Feb. 25, 2013 12:32 pm
wisweetp, It strikes me as odd also, that a person would go out of their way to inflict themselves with a writing style they don't like instead of just ignoring it. Coffee is your friend!
Feb. 28, 2013 7:06 am
Whoa! Somebody's got "anger" issues. I don't always comment Doc, but I do read and LIKE your blogs. Keep them coming. And, ignore this patty person. She's got problems.
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Doc Simonson

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About Me
I'm old and smelly, kinda like a really good salami with that really nice white mould all over it.
My favorite things to cook
Meat, carbs, meat, carbs, meat, carbs and did I mention meat?
My favorite family cooking traditions
Drop a plate of Pierogis and sausages in front of me and watch my eyes glaze over in pure joy.
My cooking triumphs
Schweinebraten mit Knoedel und Krautsalat. Also Edel Hirsch Gulasch was very nice. I make killer Spaetzle and Knockerl also.
My cooking tragedies
There aren't enough electrons in cyberspace! :) Actually, the tragedies usually involve well intentioned creativity out of control.
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