This is grounds for celebration! Tee hee….
So a very exciting milestone last week, I bought organic coffee! This may not seem like a big deal, but the organic coffee was my major holdout. Back in Portland when I didn’t have such a closely monitored food budget, I bought organic coffee to the tune of $8/week. $8/week! With inorganic coffee from Safeway, my coffee budget was $10/month. Even though I wanted badly to buy organic coffee, I couldn’t think of a way to do so without breaking the bank…. Until now.
But first, why is organic coffee so important? Number one, nonorganic coffee is one of the most heavily treated foods in the world. It is bad for the environment, and also bad for the underpaid farmers who grow and harvest it. Second, nonorganic coffee is a sun loving hybrid. Forests are burned, the local environment stripped of its natural pest defenders, and the coffee planted in a huge monoculture. This, of course, leads to more pesticide to be used as bug control, more run off because the soil degrades in fertility, etc. Organic coffee is the original shade loving coffee bean, and grows best when under the cover of natural forest. It coexists with the natural birds, plants, and fauna, and thus is much more environmentally friendly to both the local environment, and the farmers who harvest the beans.
Okay, so how did I figure out how to use these awesome beans more efficiently? The first thing I had to do was invest in a coffee pot. Plain and simple, brewing a big 12 cup pot of coffee requires less grounds than brewing individual cups with a cone filter. But what to do about the weaker taste? I like strong coffee!
When coffee is brewed conventionally, it passes through the grounds and coffee is made. The more grounds it passes through, the stronger the taste and the higher the caffeine content. Another way to make the coffee stronger is to expand the amount of time the water is exposed to the grounds. So, if you want less grounds, expand the time.
I’ve found the best way to do this is to make your coffee in a pot, and only use the coffee machine for the filtration process. Boil a coffee pot’s worth of water. Add your grounds. Stir and bring to a simmer for at least 5 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT! I’ve done this method before and cut the simmer short and the results were very watery. After 5 minutes your kitchen should smell very strongly like a coffee shop. For best results, simmer for 10 minutes. Then take the pot off the burner, and let the brew sit for 30 minutes or more, until all the grounds sink to the bottom. Using a ladle, ladle the coffee into the filter of the coffee pot, and let gravity take its course. I make one big pot, and it lasts me for almost a week. At this rate, $8 worth of coffee will last me about 3 weeks. Not too shabby!
This Week in Updates: Napa, Petaluma, and lots of ice cream
I feel so disoriented. The coast guard sent me to Unit Health Promotion school in Petaluma CA (about 1 hour from Napa), and Jesse came too. So what did I do while learning about healthy diets and exercise? Um, ate lots of ice cream, drank wine, and lost lots of sleep as I tried to go to class, work out, and talk to Jesse until we both fell asleep? So, I did pass the course, but now I’m not sure if I just came back from vacation or school. At least I got to not only get a Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Core Sunday, but I got to try the local ice cream too, Honeymoon Ice Cream. So, not as many chewy toppings as I like, like my B&J, but for such a simple flavor (I got Chocolate Laurel…. what does that even MEAN?) I got quite a lot of flavor! I would totally recommend it, especially for those who like uncomplicated ice cream.
The restaurant we went to was called Torc, and while the serving sizes were very small, Jesse and I both rate it a 5 out of 5. The service was fantastic, the wine was awesome (and they didn’t complain when I asked to try 3 different kinds… including one that cost $24/glass), the dessert was so good that I actually stopped talking, and the pasta handmade. My photography wasn’t that great because I could barely contain myself, and wanted to get back to eating!
After coming back from all this craziness, I did pretty freaking well in my grocery shopping. Not that much produce, since I wanted coconut milk, but lucky me Jesse left a sweet potato and I have TONS of tomatoes to eat up outside in the garden. I can’t wait to try and make some coconut, pumpkin lattes!
The Recipe: The Easiest Fresh Garlic Pasta
Sometimes the simple things are the best things. I never really bought plain pasta without a packaged sauce before, or at least some grated cheese. This is a way to easily have tasty pasta, without muss, fuss, or pre-packaged ingredients. Fresh garlic is about $1 a head, or 20 cents a close, so it is totally worth it. And the tomatoes are either cheap, or free if you have your own garden. Just these two fresh ingredients, plus salt and pepper, make an amazing tasting dish. To add an extra health factor, add some spinach leaves.
1/2 package wheat pasta
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
Boil the pasta and drain. Set aside. Chops and mince the garlic, and saute in olive oil. You’ll know it is done when it smells heavenly. Chop up the tomatoes and add to the garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to look saucy. Add the pasta and stir. Salt and pepper to taste, and you’re done! Enjoy.