What We’re Reading: A How to Make Risotto Guide, Best Food Blogs, Coffee the Right Way, Al Dente, Puntarelle

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spinach risotto
spinach risotto

Gilt Taste – An article entitled “how to make rockin risotto” documents the process of making rice in the Italian style, though the author goes overboard suggesting you use a diagram to note the doneness of the rice and use whipped cream to give the rice a light and airy consistency (our view: you don’t need the whipped cream if you make risotto in the correct manner).

Saveur Magazine – A great contest allowing food fans to select their favorite “best food blog”; we hope you nominate a site (if it’s ours, we would be honored!).

National Coffee Association – You’d be surprised how many folks drink bad coffee even with the best intentions.  The best methods for making coffee at home include: grinding freshly roasted beans just prior to serving, getting water to the correct temperature and using good equipment like a French Press.

NY Times Dining & Wine – How many of you decant wine?  We try to remember to do so, when appropriate, but we usually don’t (diving right into a tasty bottle whether it’s meant to be consumed straight from the bottle or “opened up” for a few hours).

The American – In Italia – The concept of “al dente” is thrown around like it’s founded in some epistemological truth and while some pasta should certainly be cooked “to the tooth”, it’s not necessary to cook all pasta in the aforementioned manner.

Aglio, Olio, and Peperoncino – We’ve never cooked puntarelle, or the sprouts of chicory, but they look delicious.  The following is a great recipe from a even nicer Italian food blog.

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  1. One can’t emphasize enough the importance of water temperature for proper coffee brewing.  And the key point with that is that 99% of automatic drip coffee makers are well below the 195 – 205 degrees you need for proper extraction.  If you don’t have a BonaVita or a TechniVorm, most likely you are not brewing at anywhere near the proper temperature with a drip maker.  If you don’t want to spring for those makers (~$150 and up), get an electric kettle or just use water 30-60 seconds off the boil, and stick with the manual pour-over methods (there are many varieties) or press pots (a.k.a. French Press).  

    For wine, we like to use a pour-over aerator.  It’s less mess than decanting, and you can do it glass by glass.  It aerates the wine instantly and includes a filter to remove sediment.  But it’s a nice way to be able to enjoy your red wine immediately after you pop the cork.  And takes up much less room than a decanting vessel.

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