Sunday, July 31, 2011

Iced Latte

iced latte, b&w

My parents have been retired four years now, since the moment I graduated high school and their nest was finally empty, of both myself and my brother - at least periodically, with both of us away at school, supposedly becoming grownups. With the house de-childrenized and their new found release from the workforce, my parents hardly wasted any time before planning trips across the globe, to the United Kingdom, Portugal, Egypt and - rather to my surprise - Las Vegas. So this summer, in their usual retirement glory, my parents went away for the month of July to gallivant around Turkey and Greece. And so I found myself an independent once again, adult responsibility dropping on me out of the sky like Dorothy's house from Kansas.

Not to say that I was crushed by this turn of events (I should really cut this metaphor short) - on the contrary, I looked forward to feeling independent again. And also to being able to have the entire kitchen to myself. And to be able to leave my laptop and my (somewhat unwieldy) speakers out on the dining room table without fear of their being moved or tinkered with, and of course having the freedom to blast music from said speakers with abandon. I had free reign of the household - and it was awesome.

Life without parents also meant, however, that I had to walk the dog and water the garden daily, but these things made me feel like an adult. Sort of. There I was, out with the dog at 7 a.m., dressed and, well, mostly, awake, thinking, "Look at me doing adult things!" and then nearly falling over because I'd gone to bed at 1 a.m., having resolutely stayed up to finish making whatever cookie-like concoction my brain had been possessed by, whilst also watching five episodes of The Mentalist. I embrace adulthood in stages.

So, while living alone forced me to wake up earlier and do more adult-like things, I never did get around to posting here, despite constantly coming up with post ideas and resolutions to make a post - all in my head of course. I blame tv. And internet browser tabs.

My lack of posting has also to do with the fact that I've had an unfortunate lack of success in the kitchen. From dressings to muffins to ice cream - there always seemed to be something off, or something missing. But there was one thing I came to depend on during the month of July, when temperatures were reaching heights rarely seen in my neck of the woods, and every shift at work left me soaked and sticky with sweat: iced coffee.

Now, I did give up coffee briefly. But several weeks after doing so, I said to hell with it. And then I came across this post about iced coffee by The Pioneer Woman, was intrigued and curious to try it out for myself. I didn't want to use regular ice, though, because if there's one thing I can't stand it's watery coffee. Plus, I was (am) still not eating dairy, and avoiding sugar for the most part, so I decided to freeze almond milk in ice trays. Genius! When I blended them with the cold-brewed coffee, it created a refreshing latte, which was perfect for those hot, dry days. And, given the way the weather is heading again, I'll probably be dishing out the dollars for another bag or two of dark roast to make some more.

Iced Latte
This is a cool and refreshing way to take your coffee that just requires a little planning ahead, but you can always double, triple or quadruple the recipe to make enough to last you weeks, or even the whole hot month of August.

1 cup Ground Coffee Beans
4 cups Filtered Water, at room temperature
Cheese Cloth or Nylon Straining Bag
Mesh Strainer
Makes 1 litre.

Milk (almond, cashew, soy, cow, etc.)
1 or more Ice Trays
Sweetener (honey, agave, sugar, stevia) to taste

1. If using whole beans, grind them fine, about the same as you would for a drip machine. Place the ground coffee in a large bowl or container, then pour the water over it and stir.

2. Let the mixture sit for at least 8 hours or over night.

3. When your coffee is brewed, after at least 8 hours, set a mesh strainer over another bowl or container and line with several layers of cheesecloth, or use a straining bag if you have one. Pour the coffee mixture onto the strainer and let it drain. Squeeze the cheesecloth or strainer gently to get the remaining coffee out - but not too hard, or you'll just get coffee silt.

4. Transfer brewed coffee to a pitcher or dispenser and store in the fridge.

iced coffee, the early stages b&w blending, b&w

5. At this stage, you can do what you like with your iced coffee - pour it over ice, add cream and sugar, sweetened condensed milk, whatever your heart desires, but here's how I like to prepare mine: pour almond milk (or another milk of your choosing) into an ice cube tray, and freeze. (I make both my coffee and milk ice at night so it's ready to go in the morning).

6. Get your blender out. Pour in your brewed coffee, about 1 cup, then add 3 cubes of frozen almond milk and sweetener, if using. Blend on high for at least 30 seconds. Serve immediately and enjoy.

latte bubbles

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