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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

sour cream and coffee

Treasured commenter Robin P. reminds us all that sour cream and coffee are essential to life. Say, that reminds me: commenters, please bear in mind, "it's your [comments] that make the show go." (That's stolen from a local radio show.)

Sour Cream
Sour cream makes everything better. Robin suggests putting it on "toast" and "jam or preserves." Of course we wouldn't recommend doing that since toast + jam is death to a neodepression eater (kindling carbohydrates stoke hunger, ramped up hunger --> increased food expenditures, increased food expenditures--> no money, no money --> starvation, starvation --> dEaTh). However, sour cream is an early-depression essential, and it brings us to an important tenet:

Some Luxuries Are Essentials!

It seems counterintuitive, but it is true: some expensive food items are absolutely necessary to successful depression eating, especially in the early days. Sour cream is one of these. Why, I have 1/3 of a pint container in the refrigerator right now, and I use it nearly every day. Here's the basic recipe:

Any vegetable or bean
olive oil
sour cream
an exciting spice

saute onions in oil til translucent
add vegetable either before or after onions depending on its cooktime
when stuff is done, add sour cream and butter to taste ("to taste" will = buckets of both at the outset, dwindling to smaller and smaller amounts as you get used to this cuisine/as sour cream and butter disappear from the national larder. YMMV, of course, especially if you acquire a blackmarket cow.)
Add your exciting spice. It could be curry powder if you like that, or marjoram if you like that, or maybe you like chipotle and chile pepper.
Stir and eat hot. MMMmmmmm!

Robin P. also mentions "single-pour coffee." I'm assuming that's your Melita filter coffee? This is my method:

Fill mug, dump mug in kettle. Crank burner.
Grind up pricey beans.
Put ground beans in melita filter baskey over cup.
Water is boiling; dump over coffee.
It drains directly into cup.
Is good.

Filter re-use is possible. Scroungy kitchen re-uses you may not have considered: that's another post. Have to go eat free shrimp. Free food: that's yet another post.


Robin P said...

Oh, yes, butter AND sour cream! That is king's fare, tis! Beef stroganoff! Noodles!

My coffee is similar to your, Om Nom, but I remove the water from heat to have the water slightly below boiling temp. I use an instant meat thermometer that fits neatly into my tea kettle spout. 205 degrees F is about right.

Then I use A LOT of coffee for only 4 five-ounce cups of coffee. I use 3/4 of a cup of coffee, or 6 eighth-ounce 'coffee measure'spoonfuls worth for this amount of liquid coffee.

I use expensive beans as well. I love Starbucks. Some coffee lovers will call me a heathen, but the Starbucks tasters and my taste buds simply agree. Once you've found that combo, there is no use fighting it. It is just like reading movie reviews. Once you've found a reviewer you can trust, you have the dope you need to figure out whether to spend the money on the flick (coffee).

I pour half the water through (after pre-heating the pot or cup with a spot o'hot), only once. I do it carefully, in a procedure. First, I pour in the center of the ground coffee, then, when the filter cone is about 3/4 full, I begin pouring around the edges so that more of the water runs through more of the coffee. The grounds tend to pool at the bottom of the cone, which is what I want.

I use the second half of the hot water to dilute my coffee concentrate after waiting for the cone to completely drain. I even press the walls of the filter paper down to get all the coffee out of the grounds.

And voila! When I am finished, I have the sweetest, most flavorful coffee this side of Shangri-la! The only sweeter way (less bitter) to make coffee also produces weaker coffee: the cold-brewed coffee method. I have tried it, and don't like it as much.

Recently, I also tried using a decent Braun coffee maker to make 'the same' coffee. But it wasn't the same! Continuous extraction of the coffee by hot water pouring over the coffee brought out objectionable elements in the coffee, in my opinion. So I went back to my trusty Melitta plastic cone method, complete with my obsessive-compulsive touches. I called it single-pour, or single-extraction because a small amount of water runs through the large amount of coffee in one pour.

I will admit that my method IS expensive, and a bit labor-intensive. A coffee-drinking homeless person could easily re-use my grounds (twice even) and say "What's the problem with these grounds?" My method is one of my few indulgences. Until I tried the Braun coffee maker, I was not aware of how attached I had become to my particular Melitta method.

Such is being a human, and a particular sort of human at that.

Nom, nom, nom! said...

Oh, yeah, that sounds about right. I'll have to have Juan do it, though, because I can't go through the ticky agony of pre-heating the cup and measuring the water temperature, and I know myself: I'm just not the type to take time to dilute, I just pour the whole kettle of water first down the center and then around the sides in one sleekly choreographed go. Your way does sound preferable because the grounds don't "steep" while you wait for the whole ketttle of water to drain through. So less bitter.

OTOH, maybe less strong! Ay, there's the rub! For from that cup of joe is born the day once we have shuffled off the balm of sleep. There's the respect that makes calamity of changed routine!

So I hope you appreciate the fact that I'm taking a big risk when I say that I'll commit now to having Juan do the coffee your way tomorrow morning before he draws my footbath. He'll probably know from watching you, but I'll have him study the instructions beforehand in case he's forgotten old ways in his new, more STRUCTURED life here with me.

(Another horrifying admission: after I make the first cup I grind additional coffee and ***throw it on top of the old, wet grounds and make a little thermos.*** That is SO not single pour. I hate admitting to this practice, but I think you know that I am all about the truthtelling.)

"...tried using a decent Braun coffee maker to make 'the same' coffee. But it wasn't the same!"
WORD! UP! Coffeemakers SUCK!