Monday, March 26, 2007
Seems fitting for a gloomy Monday doesn't it? Two great things to start the day off right.
First off, please excuse me while I take a minute to rave about my Nespresso D90 Espresso machine. A couple of months ago, I sampled a shot from one of these machines at Bloomingdales and I was hooked. The coffee was excellent, and the machine reminded me of something I saw in Paris years ago - when these things were still years away from hitting the U.S. market. The deal on Amazon was an open box machine for about 1/3 off the price and no tax (the same way I got my KitchenAid mixer!) I was a little worried that it was too good to be true, but I've had no problems. I use it every day at work - usually to make a double and sometimes a triple if it's a particularly rough day! The only drawback, is that you have to order the capsules from the Nespresso website, and they are .49 apiece. I don't consider that to be too bad, since I would probably order 2-3 bucks worth of coffee a day if I had to go downstairs or to a coffee bar, and Extraordinary Desserts - the only place within striking distance for a good espresso - charges about $4.00 for a double. (I know!!)
I've also been meaning to post about this recipe for one of my new favorite things to make at home. I've become a huge fan of Orangette since I first ran across it last year, and I've found lots of great recipes in Molly's trove titled "Les Recettes d'Orangette." One of them is a recipe for homemade granola, based on the recipe from Rancho la Puerta, a famous spa just south of the border here. It's crunchy, not too sweet and very satisfying - a perfect breakfast.
The first time I made it, I didn't have exactly the ingredients on hand that were called for, but I did a little substituting with pretty good success. I've found that the real trick is to bake it for the right amount of time - too little and it won't get crunchy - too long and it tastes a little too "toasted." My oven is famously unreliable, so I usually get some burned edges no matter what.
Since the first effort I've tried a few variations and they've all been good. I've added chopped candied ginger, tried slivered and sliced almonds (the sliced are crunchier) substituted agave nectar for some of the honey and varied the seasonings a bit. I also like to add a cup of dried currants. Surprisingly they don't dry out too much in the long baking time. I've been trying to figure out how to get more orange flavor into it - despite the addition of orange zest, juice and even a little orange oil - it seems to disappear. Still I keep trying, and I like that each batch is a little different from the next. It's really good with Trader Joe's organic plain yogurt, or milk.
Molly's original version and the method can be found here.
Enjoy and Happy Monday!