‘Net Nibbles and Iced Coffee
And so it begins. Apparently the weather decided it was okay to shoot the temperature up to the mid-90’s as soon as the calendar flipped to June…to which I say, ugh. Seventy degrees F is about as high as I like it to go, particularly when I know the weeds are already taking over our community garden plot and therefore much of our weekend will be spent digging them up (along with trying to get the rest of our plants in the ground.)
The one upside of the stinky hot weather is that I can guzzle iced coffee – yum – and I’ll share with you the new way I tried making it, à la Lynne Rosetto Kasper of The Splendid Table.
But first, wanted to share a few links and stories that sparked my interest this past week. A nibble of the internet, you could call it.
The Great Sunflower Project – you’ve probably read about the current plight of bees and Colony Collapse Disorder. So much of our food supply depends on pollination from bees, so this is an issue I’ve been interested in following. You can help track bee populations by participating in the Great Sunflower Project — sign up on their web site and they’ll send you a free packet of sunflower seeds; plant them in a pot on your patio (they’re the 3 foot high kind) or in your garden, watch them for 30 minutes on a few designated days during the summer, and report online how long it takes 5 bees to visit your sunflowers. I just signed up this week. Easy! Grow a lovely pot of sunflowers! And, best of all, you’ll be helping researchers understand more about bee populations and the challenges facing them.
Buy Local Honey! On another bee-related note, an interesting article on Slashfood about why you should spend more money on locally produced honey rather than buying cheap industrial honey (but really, I think this idea extends past honey; supporting your local farmers is just a good idea all around!) We’re lucky to have a few great honey producers around the Ithaca area; I just purchased some fall flower honey from Waid Apiaries at last week’s farmer’s market, and the taste really is different — this honey is beautifully floral, just lovely! Check out this honey locater to find a local producer in your area.
Sushi Bowl! Heidi Swanson over at 101 Cookbooks posted her Sushi Bowl recipe this week; her book Super Natural Cooking is a recent addition to my cookbook library and this recipe is, so far, one of our absolute favorites! It’s like a deconstructed sushi roll (sans raw fish) — it’s a delicious cool meal for a warm day — and I’m making it again for us this week. Mmm, can’t wait.
The craziest waterslide I’ve ever seen. This last link is totally unrelated to food, but worth passing along — I happen to really love waterslides (what I wouldn’t give to have one in my backyard on a hot day like today), and apparently there’s one in Germany that is…well, you’ll see. Crazy! (Note: I also do not speak German, so I have no idea what they’re saying.)
Now, onto that iced coffee: do you listen to The Splendid Table? It’s a weekly radio show on NPR, hosted by Lynne Rosetto Kasper, dubbed “the show for people who love to eat.” Yes, that is me. Lynne has a great personality (and a lovable cackle-y laugh) and fills the show with interesting topics and interviews related to food, eating, culinary history, food politics, recipes, etc. Really entertaining, and I always learn something new; I highly recommend it. You can either subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, or you can listen directly online, at splendidtable.org. Anyhow, she spoke of a method awhile back to make a good, strong iced coffee base (eliminating the problem of pouring hot coffee over ice to cool it down, and diluting the coffee subsequently in the process.) I tried it this past week and am loving it — we’re keeping a pitcher of the base in our fridge all summer, I can tell you that. I love the idea of having iced coffee at the ready whenever the mood strikes.
Here’s the directions:
- Combine 1 pound ground coffee with 11 cups water in a large bowl or container (I halved these amounts.) Let the mixture sit 11 hours (i.e. overnight.)
- The next morning, strain the mixture to remove the grounds; you’ll be left with about 6 cups of very strong, espresso-like coffee (of course, halving it, I got 3 cups.) Transfer this coffee base to a pitcher or other container and store it in the fridge.
- When you’re ready to make iced coffee, dilute some of the coffee base with water according to your taste — I found that for one serving, I liked a 1:2 ratio of coffee to water (so, I combined 1/4 cup cold coffee with 1/2 cup water, added cream and sugar to taste, and poured it into an ice cube-filled glass.) So refreshing.