Coffee Revisited

For my faithful readers, you'll remember when I did a review of the Aeropress, a revolutionary coffee maker from Alan Adler, an engineer/inventor from Palo Alto, CA. Well I wanted to do a follow up on the product, now that I have been putting it through its paces for the past nine months.

Am I still in love? Yup! I am...

I have been taking the Aeropress on the road to all of our conventions. I have a small box that contains the following:

  • a compact hot pot - boiling water in less than three minutes
  • an electronic instant read thermometer with an alarm
  • the Areopress
  • pre-ground coffee of choice
  • insulated mugs

Works like a charm and we always have excellent coffee to get our day jump started. And trust me - we need it after four hours sleep (if we are that lucky!)

Occasionally, we will invite people up to the room to have a quick breakfast and Tony, the wag that he is, likes to show the plunger assembly to folks and ask them the following:

What do you think this piece of equipment is?

a) A artificial inseminator for hippos

b) A coffee maker

c) A penis pump

Once people find out its a coffee maker, not only are they relieved, they are all intrigued as to how it could possibly work. I think we have made a couple of converts among the magicians who wander the lecture circuit like lost souls.

So how is the press holding up to almost daily use and abuse? Pretty damn well. The stopper still maintains a tight seal, the plastic the press is constructed from still looks a lot like it did the day I opened the box. I will need to break down and buy a new set of filters soon - but other than that, I have to say I am impressed with the quality of manufacture.

Another thing I learned about this press - you really need a burr grinder to get a fine enough grind to give you the optimal flavor and strength. I have been stopping down the local coffee shop and getting a week's worth of coffee pre-ground. I am currently looking into getting a burr grinder for the home so everything will be fresh.

So my conclusion is: Yes it is still worth a $30 investment - so what the hell are you waiting for? Go buy one - NOW!


I am Turkey - Tom Turkey


Tom Turkey is firmly trussed up and placed on a platter. A large man with a sharp knife is standing nearby, using his steel to hone its edge to razor sharpness... A femme fatale approaches the hapless bird...

"At last Tom...I have you where I want you..."

"Rosie...I should have known...Do you expect me to talk?"

No, Tom...I expect you to feed a party of six then make delicious leftovers..."

End Scene

Can you tell I went to see the new James Bond movie? If you haven't seen it yet - go right now. I have always been a big fan of the Ian Flemming books and this movie goes right back to what made those books exciting when I read them all those years ago. It even makes up for Moonraker - well, almost. (Quick trivia quiz: What famous children's book did Ian Flemming pen?)

So after Tom got done feeding us for Thanksgiving, his bones sat in the fridge waiting for me to make a huge pot of turkey broth. For me, the leftovers are better than the dinner - mostly because it means I can relax and enjoy the food. My post thanksgiving feed usually includes a huge pot of turkey potato soup. But not this time!!

In a diabolical twist, I decided to make...


Yes, something that broke with tradition for two reasons. One, because the soup had noodles in it and two, because I had the energy to make homemade noodles to put in it.

Homemade noodles are extremely easy to make. They also require you to have the forearms of Popeye. The dough is very stiff and if you are not used to putting your arm muscles to good use on a regular basis, you can find it a little tiring. I figured it was a fine way to burn all those Thanksgiving day calories.

Homemade Noodles

5 cups of all purpose flour

6 eggs

5 T butter, melted and cooled

(Yup - only three ingredients)

Measure flour onto a clean working surface and create a well in the center.

Place eggs and melted butter in well.

Start working the eggs and butter into the dough.

Keep adding flour from the outside edge of the well until all the flour is incorporated into the dough.

Knead the dough until it holds together. It SHOULD look like this.

Divide the dough into manageable portions and start rolling out the dough. Use either a rolling pin and your mighty thews or a pasta roller. You may have to roll some and then let the dough rest, as it will be fairly springy. You want the finished sheets to be between an 1/8 and a 1/4 of an inch thick.

(I make mine 1/4 inch. I like substantial noodles. That's how I put hair on men's chests. And some women's too.) Lay out the sheets and allow to dry somewhat. Either pasta drying racks or just regular cookie racks can work.

When dry to the touch, roll up the sheets and cut into 1/8 to 1/4 inch strips. Uncurl the noodles and allow them to dry some more. You want the surface to be dry so they don't stick together. Once again, if you are lucky enough to have a pasta drying rack, use that. I just put mine on a cookie rack and tossed occasionally to circulate air.

In the old days, you could dry these completely and then store in a cool dark place. My mom used to take her tea towels outside, cover the clothesline with a layer, hang her noodles over the lines, then cover with another layer of towels. They would bake hard in the summer sun. Me? I bag them up and freeze them if I am not using them right away. Use in about 3 months.

Note: you can cut these into 2" squares and make what are called "slip dumplings". They take forever to cook, but man are they awesome. I have been told it is a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe.

Rosie's You Can Only Die Twice Turkey Noodle Soup

4 Quarts of homemade turkey stock, unsalted

1 pound of carrots, sliced into 1/4 thick rounds

1 pound of celery, slice into 1/4 thick pieces

2 large onions, cut into large dice

4T butter

Half a batch of homemade noodles

Several big handfuls of chopped turkey

Salt, pepper to taste

Herbs (I used some dried thyme, bay leaf, sage and parsley, but anything you like can go in)

Note about the stock: I threw everything but the kitchen sink into the stock when I was making it - carrots, onions, celery, parsnips, parsley stems, fresh thyme, a couple dried hot peppers, peppercorns - everything except salt, that is. Taste your stock and season accordingly!

Melt butter in a large soup pot and saute the onions and celery until onions are translucent. Toss in carrots and saute briefly. Add stock and bring to a boil. Toss in noodles and dried herbs, salt and pepper. Cook until noodles are done. Toss in the already cooked turkey just before you are ready to serve.

That's it!

You can also buy Mrs. Reams egg noodles in the freezer section if you don't want to mess with making your own noodles. Of course, you won't burn off any calories that way.


The Spice is Right IX - Warm me up baby - It's cold outside...

Hello Folks!

Way back when, I agreed to help my fellow Ohioan, Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries host her fabulous monthly event – The Spice is Right...

Barbara has her hands full with the latest addition to her family – if you haven’t had a chance to ooooo and ahhhhhh, stop by Tigers and Strawberries for your cute baby fix!

This month’s challenge is: Warm me up baby! It’s cold outside…

When your drab mid-winter dinner needs a little fire – who is there help you out?


When you are sitting on the couch all bundled up against the cold –who is there to warm you up?


When you mother-in-law is knocking at the door – who is going to save you?

Spice! That’s who!

As the mercury plummets, and the snow flakes flutter, those of us here in the northern hemisphere need all the help we can get to chase away the shivers – whether it is the palate searing heat of a chili pepper, the scent of cinnamon and cloves warming the cockles of your heart (what the hell is a cockle anyway?) or that blast of fiery aerosol propellant into your mother-in-law’s eyes…ummm well..that warms my cockles just thinking about it…

So all you civic minded folks out there - have some pity on us poor winter bound souls - send in your best “warm” recipes…

Email me your name, a link to the post, and any unposted photographs you would like me to use in the round-up at rosieinthekitchenATgmailDOTcom by midnight on December 15, 2006.

I stole these rules from Danielle over at Habeas Brulee – who has generously hosted the round up the preceding two months…

In Barbara’s own words (with some edits by Danielle), here are the general rules:

1. Email me your entry with your name as you want it to appear on the round-up, the url to the entry and any unposted photographs you may want me to use, on or before the 15th of every month so I can do an efficient round-up post. Your post can occur wherever you like in the month–I don’t care when, just send it to me on, by or before the 15th at helgardeATgmailDOTcom rosieinthekitchenATgmailDOTcom. Include a link back in your entry to this post announcing “The Spice is Right” so that if other folks read it and want to play, they know where to go to find the rules. One entry per blogger, please. If you have no blog–email me a photo and a description and I will include you in the roundup anyway. (Or, be like the rest of us food-obsessed geeks and start a blog!)

2. Your entry should include some background about the spice you have chosen to highlight. Whether this is something you learned from books, or that was passed down from your grandma or is from your own experience, tell us about it. Tell us why you chose this particular spice to highlight on this particular month. Describe how it tastes, and why you like it.

3. The recipe does not have to contain only the one spice you are posting about, however, the flavor of that spice should predominate. Say, you have chosen cardamom, and want to post an Indian dish featuring it. You could choose kheer–Indian rice pudding–which is predominately flavored with cardamom, which is fine, but you could also choose sindi elaichi murgh– a dish which has other spices in the masala, but the cardamom flavor soars above the other flavors, supported by their presence.

4. Finally, the definition of a spice that we will be using for the purpose of this event is as follows: “Any aromatic substance, fresh or dried, that is derived from the root, rhizome, bulb, bark, woody stem, flower, fruit or seed of a plant that is used to flavor foods.” You will notice that I left out soft stems and leaves–that is because those are herbs. I didn’t want to step on Kalyn’s toes with her Weekly Herb Blogging event at Kalyn’s Kitchen. I am also not counting minerals, such as salt, as spices, though we may have a special “salty” edition of the “Spice is Right” challenge someday in the future.

Baby I knead you...

I love making food for my friends - it gives me a chance to make food I wouldn't normally have time to make PLUS I rest comfortably knowing that my bachelor friends got at least one good meal that week.

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but I game with a group of guys every other Friday.

"Game? Game? Game isn't a verb!" I can hear the peanut gallery now...

Oh but it is...to those of us who are geekie enough to own tons of war games, card games and board games. We are very active - especially when we are whippin' ass and takin' names. And none of that Monopoly crap either! I've got a Ticket to Ride baby!!

I had a chunk of beef in the freezer - A huge piece of cow leg - about 11 pounds worth. What the heck was I gonna do? Why the hell did I buy it? Sure it was a good deal. At $1.29/pound, how could I leave that cryopaked beast unwanted in the meat cooler? It would make one hell of a pot roast...maybe I should grind it up for some lean beef...

Then it hit me - Beef!!!

Chicago-style Italian Beef

For those of you who haven't had one of these awesome sandwiches - tough luck. It is kind of like a french dip - but not really. The beef is roasted in a small amount of liquid until medium rare, then cooled and sliced paper thin. When ready to serve, put the meat back into the broth and warm. Pile high on a good crusty bread and garnished with giardiniera . If you like, you can then drown you sandwich in the juice and slurp away.

We will occasionally head up to Wholly Joe's to partake of Beefs here in town. According to Debbie, who has family in Chicago, Joe's does a pretty decent job on the beefs and Chicago dogs. I had never dared to try Beef at home, but what the hell!

So here it is - my half assed attempt at Italian Beef

11 pounds beef roast (It was a boned out steamship round - but any nice piece of roast will do)
2 packages of onion soup mix
Enough oregano to coat the outside of the roast
6 or 7 peeled cloves of garlic, slivered
Pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
A couple shot of Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups water, approx

Trim any fat and connective tissue from the outside of the roast. Poke little holes all over the meat and insert slivered garlic. Put the roast in a roasting pan and coat with the pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with the onion soup mix and then add water until it is about 1/3 of the way up the side of the roast. Seal the pan with foil and bake in a 300 degree oven until "Medium Rare" - an internal temperature of 130 to 140 degrees. Take the roast out of the oven, let cool to room temp and then refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the roast from the juice and slice thinly - the thinner the better. If you have an electric deli slicer - go for it. I had a hubby with some free time and a really sharp knife. Reheat the juice and add the sliced meat back to the liquid. I held mine in a crock pot on warm for several hours while serving and it worked out great.

Now, here is the crux of the matter. I could not find good rolls. Either the breads were like hot dog buns or too much like dinner rolls. I decided that my friends deserved the best dammit - and if I put them into a serious food coma I had a passing chance of beating them at boardgames that night...

So I pulled out one of my all time favorite books - Bread in Half the Time by Linda West Eckhardt, Diana Collingwood Butts. This book is all about cheating - it allows you to use your microwave and food processor to make bread quickly. (It also won cookbook of the year back in 1991.) I used their hard roll recipe - it calls for a pizza stone and a spray bottle. If you don't have either - go get them now!

If you are a baking purist - avert your eyes now.

For those of you who are not that virginal, feast your eyes on this!

Yup - real rolls - with real crust. Best thing is - I parbaked them on Monday and then wrapped and frozen them. Friday morning, I took them out, let them thaw and then refreshed them on my pizza stone in a 450 degree oven for a few minutes.

Bingo! Food comas all around!

Take that, you damn male gamers....



Ok..Can't leave the computer unattended

Can't trust the hubby.

Can't trust the kid.

Damn conspiracies - just because you are paranoid....

Whether the old man likes it or not...there will be shaped cookies. It's expected, hunny. And don't you dare blame your expanding waistline on the fact you feel obligated to try several of each shape.

So...Cookie Mavens...

We had a new addition to the group this year - Lily, Debbie's brand spankin' new granddaughter. She is all of two months old and was passed from person to person like a hot potato.

Here is Gail playing Grammy to our lil sweetie.

Here is the proud Grandma making sure we don't drop the baby on her soft spot.

Once again we went for Chinese buffet. This year we went to the Super K Buffet out on W. Broad. I will adhere to the old saying - If you can't say anything nice...

The reason we were out on the West Side?

To hit the Restaurant Depot for supplies!!

Tony wrangled a membership for me as a present - if that ain't a show of affection I don't what is...
"Here sweetie - buy all the chocolate you want wholesale!"

Here is me buying an 11 pound bar of Callebaut bittersweet chocolate - a whole 33 bucks!!!
Hot damn!

We also picked up a bunch of coffee syrups, 25 pounds of flour and 30 pounds of sugar. I am going back in a couple weeks for the butter.

I will keep you informed as to our progress - it's gonna be a busy busy two months...


Brrrrrrrr....It's getting cold here and everyone knows what that means...

The Cookie Mavens are back in action!! (Cue the theme song!!)

First of all, for anyone who hasn't read last year's cookie adventures, start out with
the rules .

Second of all, be careful who you try this with - not eveyone is cut out to be a Cookie Maven. We gals have cast iron constitutions, hardcore baking chops and a hatrd of skinny people. Plus, after working together for eight years, we are a team that has been hardened in the twin fires of planning and execution. And we are insane. That helps too.

We had our first meeting last Sunday - that first meeting always starts with a review of the previous year...
Our conclusions?
  1. We made too damn many cookies. Again.
  2. While people SAY they like gingerbread men - they lie. They like looking at gingerbread men, not eating them.
  3. People really want chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodles - but they can kiss our butts. Added snickerdoodles to the list of forbidden cookies just to piss off a certain assistant manager.
  4. We need to eat fewer cookies and give more to others. Our waistlines will thank us in January.
Wait a minute - I'll be right back..someone is at the door... (hold music)

Hi - This is Anthony, Rosie's husband. I got our daughter to knock at the door - that will keep Rosie busy for a moment.


Gotta go...



So while life has been spanking my ass - I got the urge to make lots of food...

Must be a response to the stress - I want to eat lots of really good cold weather food and then sleep it off, only to rise and repeat.

The first thing on my list was home fried chicken.

I just want to go on the record as saying that KFC sucks ass. Back when I was a kid it was still acceptable - but now? I think the Colonel is whirling in his grave like a dervish. I think I can hear him - kinda sounds like a high speed drill gone haywire! If I am forced to eat commercial fried chicken - we head over to Popeyes. Get the spicy.

My fried chicken has evolved over the years - from my mother's recipe (which was O.K. - hence my love of the Colonel's bird) to something I am proud to serve to family and friends. That meant eating a lot of O.K. fried chicken until I hit on the perfect recipe.

There are a couple of items you must have to make really good fried chicken. The first is a good cast iron pan. If you didn't inherit one or more - then get on Ebay and buy one. The new ones - especially the preseasoned ones - just don't seem to be as good. The newer one I bought about 5 years ago just won't hold its seasoning. The older Wagner I inherited from Mom still performs beautifully after 40+ years of service.

The second thing is the right sized pieces of chicken. While everyone loves breasts, the ones you pick up at the groceries are DDD size. It's like being set up for disaster. If you cook the breasts until the outside is brown, they are underdone inside. If you cook the breast through, then the outside layer of meat is dry and the crust almost burnt. Smaller pieces that will finish cooking through by the time your crust is done is crucial. I tend to cook a lot of thighs and legs for that reason - and debone the breasts and make strips from them. It's not as good as being on the bone - but it does mean the crust isn't compromised.

I bet you can't guess what my secret ingredient for making the coating is? Yeah - it shows you read my Spice is Right entry. Seasoned Salt, plus black pepper and cayenne pepper. Mixed with some flour - I have found it is the perfect coating.

The wet part of the equation? Eggs, milk and hot pepper sauce. I know some people swear by buttermilk. I tried that - it was OK. The best thing about it was the thickness of the liquid. The viscosity kept a good layer of liquid on the chicken without being too wet. But - I don't always have buttermilk on hand, so I decided to try sour milk. (For those who don't know what sour milk is, it is whole milk that has had vinegar or lemon juice added to it so it will "clabber". My mom used to use it all the time when buttermilk was called for - and I have seen references to it in older cookbooks. I have a feeling it was a practice that has fallen out of favor, but one that seems to be well worth reviving.) The sour milk was acceptable, then I saw someone on TV do a recipe that involved using hot sauce as the wet ingredient. BINGO! Most pepper sauces are made mostly of vinegar so, milk + hot pepper sauce= flavor and thickness. I always add egg - no reason - just have and it works for me...

Measurements? Ummmmm.... I don't measure stuff too much. Making fried chicken is a zen kinda thing - I go with what feels right. I know that does those of you looking to make fried chicken no damn good - but there it is... I would say for the wet ingredients that I take a cup of milk, an egg and 1/4 cup of hot sauce to make a small batch. For the dry, I would say a cup of flour is seasoned with two tablespoons of seasoned salt plus generous shakes of the cayenne and black pepper, maybe some garlic powder if I am feeling frisky.

Method - Rinse the chicken pieces parts in cold water. Trim off any excess fat, especially on the thighs. (If you are using leg quarters, get the kidneys out of there for Pete's sake! They can make the whole thing bitter...Yes it means sticking your finger into a recess and digging out chicken guts - stop being a sissy and just do it!) Mix the wet ingredients in a fairly large bowl. Several pieces of chicken can be put in at once. Put your flour mixture in a big ole zip lock bag. The routine goes like this - Dip, pick up and let drain for a second and then put into the flour bag. Shake vigorously until well coated. Some people like to do this ahead and let the coated chicken set for a few minutes - others like me just toss it into the pan.

The cooking medium - I usually put in enough oil to come about half way up the sides of the chicken. It's OK - you won't die from using that much oil. Honest. Heat that oil up until it is good and hot. The chicken should sputter when you put it in - almost like you are doing a deep fry in a shallow pan. DO NOT PUT A LID ON THE PAN!! (I was reading the Amateur Gourmet lately and he said his chicken did not come out crisp. It is because he put a lid on the pan. The lid traps escaping moisture and that is bad. If you are worried about spatter, get a splatter screen. It is a flat mesh disc with a handle, sort of like a a flattened strainer. Moisture escapes, oil doesn't!)

What kind of oil?? I generally use a nice all purpose veggie oil. My ex-mother-in-law swore by shortening though - I think lard would be great, but I do not keep it in my kitchen on a regular basis. No butter though - it burns too easy.

Let your chicken set undisturbed in the oil until the crust is brown on that side and then using tongs, gently turn. Keep this up until all sides are brown. Test the chicken for doneness. I poke it with a knife and watch the juices. I tried measuring the internal temperature with a instant read this last time and 150 degrees Fahrenheit seemed to do the trick. If it is not done, rotate chicken to least done side and cook a little more.

When a piece is done, transfer to a rack set over paper towels and drain. My mom used to set the stuff right on brand new brown paper bags. Repeat until all the pieces are cooked.

If you are doing a large batch of chicken, you may need to change out the oil a couple of times. Once the oil gets full of bits of flour, it will start to burn and leave a nasty taste.

A note on storage - the crust is going to get soggy over night in the fridge. I've never found a way to make sure it doesn't - but it still tastes damn fine for breakfast!

That's pretty much it. Now get out there, buy some legs and get to practicing...when you're finished, let me know and we'll have a fried chicken showdown.