Archive for September, 2009


Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2009 by aliaalafaireet

I love coffee. I good cafe au lait is like dipping into a hot bath after a cold difficult winter’s day when your hands and feet are red and blotchy and your muscles ache. I have only a  little luck creating a coffeehouse quality au lait at home, but here are a few tips I learned from a competitive barista named, oddly enough, Joe.

1: Hava a warm mug, this is best done by putting the mug in hot water, and quickly drying before pouring.

2. Heat the milk around 150 degrees, a magic barista wand is needed to create that perfect “steamed” milk, so just don’t worry about that.

3. Invest in some good coffee for your cafe au lait, it ends up being cheaper than buying them all the time.


Lonesome food

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2009 by aliaalafaireet

Despite contrary belief, cooking when you’re upset is not relaxing. Confining yourself in a room full of apathetic fruits and vegetable gives you no place to hide, and no comfort of friendly rationalizing words.  Did you ever read that book Like Water for Chocolate? I find the idea of the cook’s emotions being transmitted upon the eaters very intriguing. I don’t believe that the passion for a cook has for a lover is going to make an eater ride of naked on a soldier’s horse, but certain emotions do produce certain types of food.  Food made in anger is aggressive and confrontational. Happy food is subtle on soft on the palette. Food made from sadness or loneliness cannot be described so easily or with such delicious adjectives. Since Tim left I find myself raiding the sub-prime produce at the Root Cellar, saving somewhat spotty, but perfectly edible food from a) the compost bin, and b) horrible feelings cause by rejection. I decided to make some soup out of a recent harvest of slightly squishy yellow squash. I make soup a lot when I feel lonely; I think subconsciously I assume soup will cure any ailment, physical or mental. I sautéed the squash with onions, curry powder, salt, pepper, and a dash of chili powder. Then I let the squash simmer in 2 cups of chicken broth for about 15 minutes. I finished the soup with a can of light coconut milk and ladled some out for my two sisters and myself, and ate. Cooking when upset is not relaxing but at least I felt full, which is a bit of comfort I suppose.   bloggy 015bloggy 016bloggy 017bloggy 018bloggy 020bloggy 014

The “language” of baklava

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2009 by aliaalafaireet

Before Tim left we made baklava. My friend SJ offered to give me a ride out to his place. I sat in outside the library waiting for her in the middle of a nice breeze, worrying. I hadn’t made baklava in over a year. I ran over the steps in my mind. Right before baking you cut the upper layers into diamond shapes.  “Why diamonds?” I wondered. Baklava is not the only Arab-type food cut into diamonds. American baked goods are often cut into squarish rectangles.  From a practical standpoint it really isn’t easier to cut things into square or into a diamond. It’s purely inclination. So what would cause this type of cultural inclination on the portioning of baked goods? Being a French major, language immediately popped into my head.  If you were to draw a rectilinear shape around a letter in Arabic script it would resemble a diamond, and if you were to do the same to a letter in the English alphabet you would get a square or rectangle. Interesting…  

The Laguage pf Baklava is also and excellent food based memoir by Daina Abu-Jaber.bloggy 002