Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Great Coffee Storage Debate

Mmmm coffee. There is absolutely no better way to start a day. And it is the greatest drink to share with a friend in the afternoon (unless you're getting the party started early with some mid-afternoon brewskies).

Coffee is a part of my morning meditation. Even the smell of coffee makes me smile and wakes my brain from a dreamy haze.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm a coffee snob. But I'm definitely picky about what coffee I drink.

In general, Starbucks coffee doesn't impress me. It's not bad but it's also not amazing. So not worth the price for me. This opinion was only further solidified after living in Guatemala. Guatemala has GREAT coffee and numerous different coffee shops on every corner. None of them are Starbucks. Yup, Starbucks does not exist in Guatemala. I would also venture to say that Starbucks would FAIL in Guatemala because the coffee chains that already exist in the country are so much better.

When I buy coffee for making at home I usually go with one of two options: (1) Mayorga coffee - a local company (DC area) that is all about socially conscious coffee production. Oh and their coffee is excellent. Their tagline Good Coffee. Good Karma makes perfect sense. (2) Trader Joe's coffee - weird psuedo-hippie grocery store with a free trade angle as well. Not only do they have a wide variety of types of coffee from different regions of the world, all their coffees are extremely reasonably priced. Oh and I can use their coffee grinder for the appropriate courseness/fineness for my drip coffee maker or espresso maker.

Once I get the coffee home, the real question becomes: How do I store coffee? My roommate in college put hers in the refridgerator. Another friend hides his in the freezer (I must mention that he drink Folgers .... I'll leave it at that). My mom keeps hers on the counter next to the coffee maker.

Who is right? I've heard some wild tales about how refrigerating your coffee sucks out all the flavorful goodness. And I've hear that putting coffee in the freezer makes the grounds take on the taste of the frozen shrimp piled next to it (or whatever you keep in your freezer). Oh the horror!

I try to keep my coffee in a cool dark place in my kitchen (and easily accessible so I'm not Angry-Kelly in the mornings). This seems reasonable enough for me. But since I LOVE coffee beyond description, I figure I need to know the right way to do things...

How do you store your coffee? And can you point me towards a coffee expert?

(I think I know my next book genre obsession)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Light Bulb! aka Realizing the Obvious

Ugh I'm so stupid sometimes. I've been looking for something to write about (not just on this blog but as a topic to focus on in order to improve my writing) and also for an area of interest to explore in terms of career potential. I've been super distressed about not being able to figure something out.

Ding! Hello, Kelly. You work in a restaurant, you're dating a culinary manager, you love grocery shopping, the highlight of your days off is cooking, you watch food related TV shows, you search the internet for recipes for fun, and you (semi-recently) read a book about food and history that left you giddy.

Write about food, silly girl.

Now I just need to tell myself that all it takes is passion. Because I'm far from the expert on food. I'm definitely a cook-in-training who ends up eating some botched recipes (ideas for cooking always sound better in my head....). And I'm definitely not rich enough to eat at super fancy restaurants all the time to do research on foods. I've thought about culinary school, but decided it wasn't for me (as much as I enjoy the restaurant business, I don't want to cook all day for streams of anonymous customers. I want to cook for ME damnit!).

On top of it all, I dislike the word foodie. First of all, no one seems to have the same definition of the word. Secondly, it just sounds obnoxious.

I like food. I like smelling food. I like eating food. I like cooking food. I like the feeling of peace I get when chopping vegetables for soup. I like the way flour feels when you stick your hand completely into a fresh bag. I like watching Anthony Bourdain travel around the world eating and talking about nonsense. I like Top Chef as well as Worst Cooks in America. I like to read about food on blogs. I like to read about food in books (the book that made me giddy is this one). I like to look at pictures of food. Z and I go out to restaurants on our days off together - not because we're a boring couple, but because we LOVE food (oh and we cook together on occasion as well). I like the fact that Hamburger Stroganoff brings me back to my childhood, the thought of French Onion Soup brings me immediately to a tiny condo dining room with deep red walls belonging to one of the best cooks I know, the smell of corn tortillas takes me to Guatemala, and the taste of an empanada transports me back to Chile (provided awesomely in the DC area by Julia's Empanadas).

All this leads to the question: How am I not supremely fat?

Just kidding. The real question is: How can I learn more about food (other than experimenting in my closet-sized apartment kitchen) and discover my food destiny?

Oh great, something else to stress about now!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Are Pies The New Cupcakes?

Cupcakes have been the "it" dessert for a while now. Cupcakeries have sprung up everywhere, producing little cakes with picture-perfect frosting swirls and charging outrageous amounts for these bite-sized desserts. There is even a reality show about a cupcake shop in my own backyard.

So the question now is: what is the next big thing in fashionable desserts?

Answer: Pies.

Or so I heard a while back from a completely forgotten source. Or maybe I just dreamed it. Perhaps it is actually my own theory afterall!

So in an attempt to not miss the wave, I'm going to give pie making a try.... this could be disasterous....or hilarious.... or maybe, delicious?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sick Day

My head is pounding, I can barely swallow, my whole body hurts. And yes, I'm whiny.

Conclusion: being sick sucks.

And I have to work.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Vicious Cycle or How I've Frozen Myself into Inaction

I've been researching a lot lately. I'm discovering a large range of things I want to try out - new hobbies, old hobbies, career options. And I'm excited about them all.

However, I can't start any of them.

Why? Because my apartment is messy. My messy apartment is a mental roadblock to everything else I want to do. It's also my excuse for NOT starting some of these things (because sometimes new things are a little nerve-wracking. And so my fear has created this thing to prevent me from doing something new). But I don't like cleaning, so I put it off by doing more research about things I want to do once I've cleaned my apartment. Oh. My. God. I'm psycho.

I've trapped myself in a self-made vicious cycle. I have frozen myself into inaction.

Wasn't one of my resolutions for this month to clean-up and maintain? Oh yes it was. But I hadn't done much of that until my fit of anger last night. Apparently angry energy makes me a cleaning machine (this is not a good sign, methinks!).

Within 45 minutes my apartment looked MUCH better. So hopefully I can use this cleaning-fit as an example of how easy it is to just DO IT.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why am I SO Angry?

I'm angry.


But I don't know why.

It's my day off and I SHOULD be relaxing. Well I guess I did relax earlier. I woke up late (well that's normal... haha - oh yeah oops, what about my sleep patterns improving again.....), I drank coffee and read, I went shopping for kitchen toys (my new favorite things to buy), and then went grocery shopping (which is, oddly enough, my favorite type of shopping).

And then I got angry when I came home. I felt like I had wasted my day. I never see my friends anymore. All I do is work, come home, hang out with Z, and grocery shop. God, it sounds like I'm having a midlife crisis and I'm not even 30 yet!!!

Even though I have quite the social job - being a bartendress means constantly conversing with guests and whatnot - I still feel disconnected with people. I love (most) of my guests though. They are hilarious and talk about interesting things (or they talk about boring things which ends up being hilarious because it's SO awkward). But talking to my customers at my bar while I'm working does NOT equal a social life.

I'm bad at making time for people, I admit it. I usually blame my weird restaurant-job schedule but that is just a wimpy excuse. I could definitely do better about making plans with people.

And then I wouldn't be so ANGRY! And I would have other things to talk to Z about. Since usually I just bitch about work ---which usually just leads to an unnecessary argument about nothing.

I should figure out what activities prevent me from angry episodes like this one.... hmm.... ideas?