Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Coffee Break: A Brief Intermission



Sometimes, before noon, I drink coffee instead of wine. Such a day was yesterday.

My husband was out of town, and I found myself batting my lashes at our Italian stovetop coffee maker. Shh..... When he's here, we normally use the big American coffee maker (well, he does, because I am physically incapable of making coffee in this contraption), because he wants at least 2 cups to boost his morning properly, and our size of Italian coffee maker only makes 2 cups at once. I know, the horror. Using the American ensures that he and I can enjoy more than one cup of coffee, each, without having to clean the Italian maker. Who can clean before their second cup of coffee?



So I decided to embrace the morning as my own, make coffee in my favorite coffee maker, and cook my first batch of steel-cut oatmeal. Damn that oatmeal is good. While I waited for the nutty, rich, grains to cook, which generally takes 30 minutes, I read Saveur magazine's latest issue, devoted entirely to breakfast. Get this issue. It's awesome.

In honor of my breakfast and a discussion shared among friends recently at Bay Wolf's 33rd Anniversary Double Duck Dinner regarding the proper way to make Italian maker coffee, I'm sharing my coffee and oatmeal methods. Feel free to share your methods too.

Italian stovetop coffee for one: Using the circular air vent within the coffee maker base as a marking point for a full base of water, fill the base halfway. Put the maker's coffee strainer on top. Fill the coffee strainer insert halfway to the lip loosely with medium to finely ground coffee.



I like fair-trade and Peet's blends myself. Screw on the top portion of the maker, put on flame or burner and bring to a boil so water will start begin percolating. Let bubble and percolate until all no water is remaining in lower part. Drink with half-and-half or milk.



Steel-cut oatmeal for one: Bring 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup milk to boiling in a small saucepan. Add 1/4 cup oatmeal (I swear that this is all you need). Add a pinch of salt. Lower heat to simmer and cook oats for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Oats will should firm once finished. Top with a touch o' milk and fresh fruit. In winter, cook the oats with dried fruits such as dates, apricots and raisins. Eat while reading Saveur's breakfast issue.

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9 comments:

doggybloggy said...

there is everything way too good about this.....

A Few Reservations said...

Sounds like heaven.

Kian said...

I love steel cut oatmeal. I guess good breakfast takes time to make.

danpetroski said...

Love my "macchinetta." I prefer Illy fine ground espresso when using this perfect device. As I learned in Italy, you must not wash said coffee maker, it must be seasoned over time. I.e no dish washer and soap, maybe once every ten to fifteen uses. Looking forward to tomorrow's double shot.

Kirstin said...

Doggybloggy & A Few Reservations- It was a great breakfast, maybe I'll share more.
Kian- Maybe steel-cut oatmeal is the braised meat of the breakfast world. Can't get much better than that, unless your husband makes you a breakfast sandwich (http://vindelatable.blogspot.com/2007/10/breakfast-wines-because-its-before-noon.html).
Dan- thanks for the advice, I've only tried making coffee in this machine American style. Is it most often used for a large cup of espresso-like coffee in Italy?

redman said...

a few years ago I gave one of these to my brother for his birthday. A year later I was visiting him in Arizona and got the sense that he hadn't used it yet. In my exuberance I loaded it up, put it on an open flame, and then went into the other room. Twenty minutes later, no coffee sounds. Turns out I ran it without water. It literally melted onto his stove. The handle turned to a puddle, and the metal on the inside cracked in half. Great gift, huh!

Lori Lynn said...

Please pour me a cup too.

danpetroski said...

Kirstin, it is only used for espresso in Italy.

Kirstin said...

Redman-
That sounds like my attempts at making coffee in a cofeemate.