07 March 2014

Cooking Ottolenghi

It seems I've remembered that I have blog. For those (small amount of) followers out there who keep tabs on me, you may have noticed a few posts appear this week. They're new but backdated - I found a bunch of old drafts in the queue that I never published because I was waiting for photos, but never got around to it. No more waiting - just publish.

To swing the pendulum the other direction, this post has many photos! I've been working my way through Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem cookbook over the past few months and posting pics of the adventures on Instagram. Here's what I've cooked:

Mejadra - Eh. Two hours for lentils & rice? Not worth it, to me.

Root Vegetable Slaw - Only used beets & carrots because I don't love kohlrabi (Here's the deal. A lot of people will say you can't truly test a recipe if you don't make it exactly as written. But, I find that BS. If you don't like an ingredient, there is no need to cast off an entire recipe or suffer through it. Just swap, sub, or omit!).

Spiced Chickpeas and Fresh Veggie Salad - I was particularly pleased with this one as it came out just like the photo in the book. Add labneh for a more robust meal.

Shakshuka - Eggs in tomato sauce. Yes. Do it. For dinner.

Spicy Beet, Leek & Walnut Salad - I want a do-over on this one. I liked the beets and it photographed well, but it wasn't my favorite. I'm not sure why.

Clementine Almond Syrup Cake - This cake is tops! It is one of the first recipes that caught my eye when I first checked out this book from the library. I'd been waiting for an excuse to make it, then waiting out a no-sweets period. Note that I didn't use clementines as the store didn't have them, but I subbed in Valencia oranges.

04 March 2014

Ode to Bibicaffe

Any of you who know me in real life know I’m always super- caffeinated – an addict of the bean.

A double-espresso over a hint of water or ice is my go-to drink, though I also enjoy an occasional sweet treat – maybe a caramel macchiato or iced vanilla latte or mocha. On tired days, I’ll hit up the French press for a real jolt.

I first attempted to get into coffee drinks in college (how trite) during late-night cram sessions for finals. Rather than focus my mind, one particularly potent espresso shake left me jittery and nauseous and up all night – not so good for studying.

During courtship with my now husband, we spent a lot of time in cafes -- he a barista wooing me first with steamed milk, then slowly working me into espresso masked by rich caramel and thick foam.

I’ve long pegged Nate as the one who really got me hooked on the taste of coffee.

But I recently remembered. Long before college, long before Nate, there was Bibicaffe.

Do you know it?

I first tried these at the Nordstrom espresso bar at Northgate mall in Seattle on shopping trips with mom (I’m sure she needed a break from my tween angst and wanted a cup of coffee). I always used to get Italian sodas – fruity flavors like raspberry. You know the ones: a stiff pour of thick, sweet syrup, a splash of soda water, and cream over ice.

Bibicaffe was the more graduated version – an Italian coffee “soda” of sorts. It came out of a chic small glass bottle. And, like its fruity counterparts, was served best when poured over a tall cup of ice and topped with a heavy hand of cream. It was a delight. I thought it was a Nordstrom exclusive (much like those chewy Nanaimo bars).

Once I graduated to hot coffees and lattes, I forgot all about Bibicaffe.

Until we moved into our house in Seattle’s Maple Leaf and discovered CafĂ© Javasti. There in the refrigerator, amidst the buttery rich house-made pastries, were bottles of Bibicaffe. I later came to discover that the founders of Javasti met in their days as Nordy’s baristas – so it only makes sense that they would bring this treat to their shops.

In recent years, Bibicaffe began disappearing from Javasti. I finally found some, to purchase by the case, at Seattle’s PFI in the Sodo district.

I'm jonesing hard for a Bibicaffe. It’s all I can think about. Anyone know where can I source this locally in LA?