It’s time to get back into this whole writting thing..

Ok nerdlings, I know you’ve been wondering what that emptiness you’ve been feeling lately is, and I think I have it figured out…it’s me, duh…I know i’ve been major awol lately (a grand total of 2 posts in all of 2015!), but to be honest with you…

i miss you let’s get back into this whole thing, mmmkay? Great..

ok…so where do we start? how about an ice breaker post, like on something we can all admit we love…

coffee morning illustrated caffeine

(secretly I’ve been spending the whole year searching for the appropiate gifs to attach, and I think it’s obvious that I..

the office nbc office andy nailed it…)

 – hey nossi! way to still be weird!! we barely even noticed you were gone!!

aww, you guys

stop ben stiller zoolander bashful derek zoolander

ok, i’m done…moving right along

So as I’m sure you remember we’ve already covered coffee … twice…but to recap for the sake of, whatever the opposite of brevity is, the coffee that we’ve all come to love is a “bean” that’s more like the seed found in a cherry-like fruit. The bean is then dried, fermented, roasted, ground, and brewed. There are so many variables that can affect the final product, that it can get confusing, so let’s go over the stuff that actually you have control over.

1) The beans – As with any food, quality deteriorates over time, and obviously the fresher and better the bean, the better the coffee (there’s actually a caveat to that statement…coffee beans are actually not at it’s best right after it’s roasted, and that’s because after roasting there’s a lot of gases [carbon dioxide being the most abundant] that still needs time to dissipate out, and if brewed right away can give an off flavor..)… So its always best to buy whole beans, and grind yourself (more on that in a second).

What kind of bean you get, I feel like, is where it can get mostly unnecessarily confusing. Roast of said bean aside, (which we’ll also get to shortly, Dr Impatientpants, geez…), there’s the actual type of bean. For example kona bean or blue mountain, or Ethiopian yagachurra are all names of famous beans known for distinct qualities (ok, I made up that last one), and sure they might be great and all, but I’m inclined to opine that the subtle nuances that differentiate between one bean and the next are of lesser importance than freshness, roast, and brew method. That’s not to say they’re not important, but it’s not the most important thing to look for. Also a lot of times they sell these high quality beans as part of a “blend,” and there’s no way to tell what percentage is high quality bean, and what is some other random bean. That’s not to say all blends are bad, but make sure it’s from a reputable roaster.

2) The roast – in order to get the dark color which is characteristic of coffee, can we please have Monsieur Maillard come back from his long hiatus? Don’t know what/who I’m talking about? Well its time you open your eyes bruhhh, and maybe read like one other post on this here fine establishment.. (Maillard = browning {which is not the same as caramelization}..which we’re not going to get into here..)…but how long you roast it will make a difference for coffee beans. To keep this brief – light roasts are obviously roasted the least amount of time, and will allow you to taste more of the coffee notes that are unique to the individual bean. Dark roasts (also known as Italian/french/vienna/espresso roasts) are as dark and shiny as they come, and will have mainly roasted-y flavor, and very little flavor of the character of the coffee, and are great for espressos. Medium roasts try to toe the line between the two.
The roast type you want is mainly whatever your preference is. Personally I used to love medium roasts, because I’ve felt that light roasts didn’t give me enough in the way of oomph/flavor, and dark roasts were too much. But nowadays I lean towards lighter roasts (partly because of the newer way I’ve been brewing, namely an aeropress, which if moshiach doesn’t come before I’m done this “short” diatribe, I might get around to talking about!).

3) the grind – there’s two ways of grinding your beans, the wrong way and the right way. The wrong way is to put it in a “spice grinder,” which similar to a food processor has a whirring blade on the bottom of some sort of bowl, and chops up the coffee bean into random sized chunks. The issue with this method is the non-uniformity in the grind size, which since we’re doing some sort of extraction of flavor, the variables that effect that are mainly: time, temperature, and surface area. The surface area of the coffee is dependent on the size of the grind, and if when grinding the coffee the beans are not uniform in size, then some beans will be under-brewed, and some over-brewed. However, if you were to use a burr grinder, which is essentially two inverted cones on top of each other, it dictates exactly how large the grind size will be. Which brings us to the last point –

4) the brew method – as Harold McGee says in On Food and Cookin there’s no one way that will brew the perfect cup of coffee. Each different method has it’s pros and cons taking into account different variables. Like for example – a French press allows you to take advantage of the amount of brew time, and obviously the temperature, but grind size is a little tricky. A pour over (like a Chemex) can help with the grind size problem, but time will be harder to control.

Then there’s the Aeropress. The aeropress is basically a combination of a pour over and a French press, and it kinda looks like a very large syringe with a filter attached to it’s end. The nice thing that I’ve found is it allows you to control all of the things we’ve talked about. There are really two ways of brewing with an aeropress, the regular way, and the upside down way. Here’s a step-by-step rundown on how I do things in my backwards world.

I like to start my aeropress upside down, with the plunger on the bottom. I add my coffee (obviously i weigh my coffee and weigh my water…there’s absolutely no other way of having consistently good coffee every day without doing that, and I’ll range from a 15:1 water:coffee ratio [for lighter roasts] all the way up to a 22:1 [for medium roasts).  wpid-wp-1447724767602.jpg

The next step is what’s called blooming the coffee ground, and that simply means adding enough hot water to just moisten the grind by adding about double the amount of water than grind (so in our example, 48 grams), and letting it sit for about 30 seconds. This starts to pull out the remaining trapped gasses in the beans.


Once that’s done, fill the rest of the aeropress with water*, and let it seep. I usually seep the grind for around 4 minutes (but again, since time is one of the determining factors, upping or downing [??] the amount of time will affect the end results).

*can we pause for a second and talk about water temperature?? So you know how temperature is one of the factors that affect the overall extraction? Well coffee needs to be brewed no more than 190-200 degrees because it will extract too many harsh flavors; Water boils at 212 degrees, so basically water that’s just boiled is not what you want. What I do is boil water and let is sit for about 15 minutes, or if I’m in a hurry, I take a page out of Sh’miras Shabbos K’Hilchasa, and use a k’li sheni [ie – I pour the really hot water into another cup, wait about a minute, and use that water]. Along those lines, we’ve done cold brewed coffee [which again, lower temperature, means longer brew time], and I’ve even attempted “warm brewed coffee” where I brew the coffee in a sous vide machine at about 100 for a few hours…the coffee was similar to cold brewed, with a little more oomph….


Then, I’ll put the paper filter on the filter doo-hickey, and screw it on; Turn it right side up, and press the plunger down, gently…it should take about 1-2 minutes to express all that beautiful brown elixir.


Once that’s done, then you top off the brew with hot water to come to your total. So in our example, we have 24 grams of coffee grind, if we’re going to go with a 15:1 ratio, we’re going to need 360 grams of water, but the aeropress can only hold about 250 grams of water, so I add the additional water after (in this example, the additional 90 grams). Now you might be thinking, but won’t that dilute the coffee down? The answer my friend is, no. So for once in your life, just please trust me.


Now you can brew it the normal way, where you put the filter on first, put the coffee grind, pour your water, and then attach the plunger and push the brew out (and top of with water)

Hard to tell, but this is the other brew method, where the plunger goes in last

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to, pretty boring right? Sooo…yeah, this was fun…maybe, um, we can do this again sometime soon?? I’ll call the shadchan.

Vietnamese Ice Coffee Pops – Kosher Link Up. Blog swap, Plus a Giveaway

Hey friend, guess what…it’s another kosher connection link up thingy that we do every month. And would you believe it if I said it’s the one year anniversary of the whole Kosher Connection Link ups? Of course you would believe me, it would be weird of me to lie like that…anyway, in celebration of the whole shebang, we’re doing a blog swap and of course giving out prizes. I guess let’s start with the prize details (because we know that’s really why you’re here)


Ready for a fun giveaway to celebrate one year of Kosher Connection? We are giving away two prizes from Emile Henry. A Bread Cloche valued at $130 and a 4.2 qt Dutch Oven valued at $170! Use the Rafflecopter below to win- you can enter up to 23 ways! Two winners will be chosen at random.

bread cochle index_emile_lp

Contest Fine Print:

The contest winners will be contacted via email. They will have 48 hours to respond before other winners are chosen. This contest is open to United States residents over the age of 18

Now to the blog swap. So we were all assigned another persons blog, and given the task to recreate something they made. I was assigned the difficult task to try and recreate something from the fabulous website by Hindy G – Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker, which if you’re reading this blog and you haven’t been over there, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Anyway, you might not know me that well, but if you’ve read the blog more than zero times, you can probably guess how good I am at making decisions. Well needless to say, trying to decide what to make from the myriads of awesome stuff on Hindy’s website was an attempt in futility . Just look at all the awesome stuff on her recipe index. Add to this confusion, the fact that it’s nearly as hot as the surface of the sun in my apartment, and I pretty much had to hone in on something that wouldn’t fry my brain any more, so the oven and stove were off limits. At first I wanted to make her homemade KitKat bars, but my doctor asked me not to. So I had to settle for some sort of frozen concoction. After perusing the few recipes listed, I knew is had to be Vietnamese Iced coffee popsicles. Why, you ask? Well mainly because, I like coffee, and it didn’t require too much work.

Confident Cook’s Vietnamese Iced Coffee Pops

There are different ways of getting your caffeine fix with iced coffee, and the Vietnamese version really is just adding sweetened condensed milk to the coffee instead of milk and sweetener. When it comes to making the actual coffee, Hindy used some espresso, but I decided to go with my cold brewed coffee, because I love me some cold brewed coffee.

I ground up some fresh beans, and placed in my french press, poured in water, allowed it to seep overnight, and filtered out the grind.

Mixed the coffee with some sweetened condensed milk to taste (you will probably need less than half of the can)

and poured it into the ice pop molds

I placed them in the oven at 350 for 100 hours, and then barbecued the ice pops over indirect …just making sure you’re paying attention…I placed them in the freezer, d’doy, and when frozen I ate them.

All right, so now’s the part where you want to know how they were right? Well, here’s the thing, this was possibly a last ditch attempt for me to like ice pops. There’s something about eating an ice pop…or let me rephrase that, because you never really eat an ice pop, in fact you never really do anything to an ice pop…you lick it? And then invariably you try to eat it…it’s just, in my humblest of opinions, not really the best vehicle for jamming food down my gullet. Now don’t get me wrong, I ate it, and enjoyed it, but I just don’t understand it…Anyone else out there in internet land understand where I’m coming from? Now one possibility where I went wrong was with the amount of sugar. Since the final result was mainly iced coffee, and a little condensed milk, it was for all intents and purposes, water, which means the final pop, was more like an ice cube than an “ice pop.” I didn’t really measure how much condensed milk I added, but I don’t think I could have added more, so if I make these again, I would probably add some simple syrup to boost up the sugar content, and make more of a slushier ice concoction. Just a thought.

Ok first thing first – don’t forget to head on over to all of the other amazing websites to see what actual talented people do by clicking on the link right below.

And as for the giveaway that we had mentioned above, click on this link to enter, a Rafflecopter giveaway…however if that doesn’t work, just  head on over to, and enter there.


Vietnamese Ice Coffee Pops

adapted from Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker


  • 1 batch of Iced coffee (you can follow my instructions on how to make cold brewed, or you can just make a large batch of coffee)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk


  1. Once you have your cold coffee, it’s just a matter of pouring in enough sweetened condensed milk to taste (I used maybe less than half of the can). (Now as a side point, the way I measured how much coffee I would need, I have 6 ice pop molds, and measured how much liquid one held, multiplied that by 6, and then subtracted a little to compensate for the milk.)
  2. Pop it in the freezer over night, and then enjoy.



In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a tad awol lately. Now, it’s not because I haven’t been cooking and taking pictures, but to be brutally honest with you, I kind of forgot how to blog. You think it’s easy being a world renowned blogger? Well, it’s not. Truth is, I started feeling a lot of pressure to have these super awesome posts, that I ended up not posting anything…and that’s how I found coffee.

Ok that’s not true, but I wasn’t really sure how to end our little therapy session, and I’m still a little rusty in the intro part…gimme some time to get back into the thick of things.


Also, as I’m sure you no doubt noticed, this is part of this month’s Kosher Connection Link Up, on the Best Food I Ever Ate…I know, coffee? The best food you ever ate? Totally weak sauce, but to be honest, I’ve never had a “best” food. I always hated that question. I like everything, and I especially like coffee, so coffee it is.

Anyway, on to coffee.

I am crazy about my coffee. It’s the one thing that I consider myself a real snob about. When people start to tell me about how passionate they are about their coffee also, all I have to say is “I grind my coffee every morning, and I weigh the beans and water out, on a scale.” Now, iI’m not necessarily proud of my weird obsession, and it’s not like it’s a competition of who’s the craziest about their coffee (although if it was, I would win some weird pretentious hipster prize, like a handle-bar moustache, or maybe a gift card to urban outfitters, or something like that), but that’s how much I love my coffee. There really is a difference between bad, mediocre, good, and great coffee, and I’m here to tell you that you can learn to love your coffee too.

Let’s start from the beginning. Coffee starts out as a fruit that kind of resembles a cherry, with a “seed” on the inside. That seed is then fermented (in one particular weird example, this takes place in the stomach of a small animal known as the civet, and the seeds are then harvested from the fecal matter of the civet…yay science!), then they’re dried, and finally roasted. Depending on how long they’re roasted for, the beans go from light to medium to dark. As the beans roast, they darken with a little help from the Maillard reaction (remember Monsieur Maillard from famous applications such as Toast – a lifelong obsession with coloring bread, and of course who could forget: Browning Meat – making meat taste better, and NOT because I seal in juices!) and will start to develop it’s characteristic flavors. Generally speaking, medium roasts are the best full flavored, combining coffee and roast flavors well; Whereas with dark roasts, you only taste the roast, and not the actual coffee.

There’s also the whole thing about where your beans come from. There are a whole bunch of places that grow coffee (Fun Fact – Hawaii is the only US state that grows coffee), and it’s hard to say which one is better, but famous coffees to name just two from the many are Blue Mountain from Jamaica and Kona from Hawaii. That being said, it’s pretty rare to get these coffees without it being a blend with other varieties, or without costing a ton of money. And to be honest with you, I think it’s better to buy fresh coffee, and grind it yourself daily, than to buy a fancy pre-ground coffee…but that’s just my opinion, man.

Ok so now that you’ve procured your coffee, you want to brew it, so you can get it into your gluttonous face correct? Well, we have to talk science for just one second, k? Your cup o` joe is what it is because it extracts all of it’s super goodness out of the ground beans, and the whole process of extraction is about a few things 1) time 2) temperature 3) particle size, and each one is dependant on the other, so if we increase one we decrease the other.

To get the right particle size, we need to grind up the coffee beans. There are two ways to grind up the beans. You can either use a spice grinder, which is like a mini food processor, and has a blade whirring around on the bottom. Or you can use what’s called a burr grinder, which is like two cones inverted into one another, and you can control the amount of space in between. The main difference between the two is a burr grinder has much better control over the size of the grind.


When does this matter? Well the size of the grind is what determines the surface area of the coffee that’s in contact with the water, which will extract the goodness out of the coffee, and that gets into the two other components, time and temperature.


Let’s say you wanted to make your coffee in about 15 seconds, you would need a really small grind so there is more surface area in contact with the water, so you would need a really really small grind, and a very high temperature; so high in fact, you would need to boil the water under a lot of pressure, so the temperature of the water can be higher than a measly 212 (-ish depending on where you are), so you can really get the water hotter, and by doing all this you would have espresso (which is also why a really good espresso machine costs a lot of money). Now on the other end of the spectrum, what if you wanted to make coffee that would sit over night, and brew for a really long time. Well you have to use a really large grind, and cooler temperature; and there you have cold brewed coffee.

Ok, so now that we’ve covered the basics, and pretty much lost any semblance of an audience (Hi mom and dad!), let’s get into how I make coffee pretty much every day; The drip method. It’s a really simple way to make one cup of awesome coffee (and not a whole pot of crappy coffee).


It starts with grinding your beans, to a medium consistency (not the smallest, but also not the biggest), a scale (yes, a scale for making coffee…I know you think I’m weird, but you’re weird also), water that’s just under a boil (optimum temperature for making coffee is 195-205, and water boils at 212, so boil your water, and let it sit uncovered for a 2 minutes or so). The rest is pretty simple.

Gather your drip cone, and paper filter, and wash it out with some water (there might be dirt and particles in the paper, that if you’re going through the trouble of making awesome coffee, what’s another few seconds to make sure it really is awesome). Then place it on your cup, on the scale, and tare (zero) the scale.

Place you coffee grind, and since we’ve established I’m a certified weirdo, I have a chart that I wrote down exactly how much water correlates to how much coffee grind. (In case you’re wondering, by weight the ratio of coffee to water is 1:22.26…did y’all know I was this OCD?)


I then pour a little of the water just to moisten the beans, and let it sit for 30 seconds or so. This is called “blooming” the coffee, and starts the process of releasing the essential oils from the beans.


Then I pour the remainder of the water, stir with a spoon, and allow it to finish dripping.

DSC_4866 DSC_4867
DSC_4870 DSC_4872

I then pour in a splash of whole milk (sometimes I even go for an even smaller splash of half and half), and that’s it. I know it sounds complicated, but it really is a simple process.

Questions? Comments? Just miss me so much, that you want to chat? Well I’m back baby, and the phone lines are open, so comment away, let’s talk food.

I know there’s a lot more to talk about in regards to coffee. Like, what’s the deal with a French press? The newfangled aero press? What about the chemex system? Well, it’s too much to get into, but ask away, and I can pretend like I know what I’m talking about.

Are you really still reading? You must be super bored at work, well since you’re so bored, as usual check out the other posts as part of the Link Up, by clicking on the funny frog guy on the bottom here.

Iced Coffee


You might be thinking to yourself, a post on iced coffee? Really?

Well in answer to your question, yes. For two reasons. One – after the last two posts, I figured I had to tone it down a bit, and two – the real reason – if you’ve ever made iced coffee at home, you’ll most likely know, there’s a lot to be desired. I’m talking about a really good, smooth, tasty, another adjective, and just plain old awesome cup of iced coffee, and if you’re not sure what that is, well I beckon you to make this iced coffee, and then you will know, and you will thank me, and all will be good.

Coffee beans come in two basic varieties, Arabica and Robusta, the former being regarded as the better of the two. Coffee is really a fruit, that looks a little like a cherry, and has a “pit” on the inside, which is it’s bean. The bean is removed from the fruit, allowed to dry and ferment, and then they are roasted. The roast, which can range from light to medium to a dark roast, is based on how long it’s roasted for, and what the color appears like afterwards. Personally, I always go for a medium roast, whether I’m making hot or cold coffee.

If you’re making coffee, and I’m talking about real coffee, with real coffee ground, not the instant stuff, what you’re essentially doing is extracting flavors that are in the ground up coffee by means of hot water. From a chemistry stand point (seriously? again with the chemistry? Did you not learn your lesson?) the extraction happens because there are flavor/aroma molecules that get “soaked” up by the water, and like most chemical mumbo-jumbo, this whole shebang happens faster in hot water. However you don’t want every last flavor molecule extracted out of the coffee, because there are some bitter and astringent flavors in there, so the trick especially with making hot coffee is finding the right temperature, the right grind size, the right amount of time water and coffee are in contact…But since the title of this post is “iced coffee” we’re not going to get into hot coffee now! Onward to iced coffee.

In regards to extracting the flavors, the whole chemical reaction can and will take place in cold water, but it just takes longer, a lot longer…Instead of 4 minutes, more like 12 hours.The nice thing about cold brewing your coffee is that it doesn’t extract all those harsh flavanoids, and hence therefore it will be awesomely tasty! And gregarious! And voracious, definitely voracious. What I’m trying to say is, this cold brewed cup of coffee will be like no other cup o` joe you’ve had before. It will be a little sweet, a little fruity, and not as harsh as regular coffee.

The grind size of the bean also makes a difference, but I understand not many people grind their own coffee, and to be honest it will work with whatever grind size you use, although it might be better with a finer grind size. And as for proportion, different places will say different ratios of coffee grind to water, anywhere from 1:3 to 1:4 coffee:water is fine. I use 1 cup of grind and 4 cups of water.

I find that the easiest way to make this is to put a cup of ground coffee in a French press, and 4 cups of water


mix it all up, and set aside for anywhere from 8-24 hours.

This is what it looked like the next day


Now probably the most important part is to make sure you get rid of all of the grind. By pressing down on the plunger, it will remove most of it, but it won’t remove all of the grind, so to do that, I pour it through my drip coffee filter.

Like so:


You’ll notice, it’s not going to be really filtering out that much, and you might be thinking to yourself, what’s the big deal? But take a look


That would have been in your coffee, and that my friend is not good eats.

Now all you have to do is pour over ice, and enjoy the realization that for probably 1/10th of the price of an iced coffee, you have just made one that’s 100 times better.


Do you really need a recipe for this?

Fine, but only because you asked nicely.

Iced Coffee


  • Finely ground medium roast coffee ~1 cup
  • 4 cups water

Special Equipment:

  • French Press
  • Drip-style coffee filter, with paper filter


  1. Put coffee grind and water in French press, and let seep overnight, or up to 24 hours. It can be in your fridge, in your counter, in your dishwasher, or washing machine, or under the sink.
  2. When ready, push down plunger in French press, place paper filter, in um your filter, and pour coffee over the filter.
  3. Pour over ice, and enjoy.