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Alert! Latte!

19 Apr

A very specific group of potential readers may recollect a joke that this title is based on.  Namely, “ALERT!  WAFFLE!” – a phrase that was coined on a think/dance collective tour of the midwest and refers to, what else, waffles.  We would (for some reason) announce this boldly when the waffle machine would ding in the lobby of the hotel while we breakfasted.  I’m sure we were a real treat to fellow hotel patrons.

Anyway, what I’m here to tell you might not change your life the way it’s changed mine, but I think it’s still worth sharing:  I have discovered a way to make a perfect latte at home.

In the May issue of Martha Stewart Living, there is an article about a day in the life of food editor, Lucinda Scala Quinn that reads like a strange series of facebook updates.  I particularly cottoned to a tidbit I read about Ms. Quinn making herself a cappuccino in her kitchen each morning.  I assumed that since she’s probably very fancy, she probably has an even fancier machine to achieve this am cap, but NO!  A small seed of hope began to unfurl in my latte-loving heart.

Upon further reading, I discovered that she brews espresso on the stove and then (this is the awesome part so get ready) she heats some milk in a cup and, using a whisk between her palms and moving her hands back and forth to swiftly turn it, she froths the milk.  I suspected that, like most helpful tips in MSL, this would probably completely backfire in my apparently success-averse hands.

But the seed of hope remained and for several days, I pondered these things in my heart.  I was so intrigued by the potential to enjoy my all-time favorite treat at a fraction of the cost and with no fancy equipment, that I tried it.  While this usually results in my cursing Martha Stewart and her awful enticement of my hope and subsequent despair, this time was different.  Liz: 1, Martha: not this time, jerkwithexcellenttaste!

I first tried the Quinn Method (a genius deserves her due) a few days ago with whole milk.  That did not work.  The milk did not really foam nicely.  But then, I remembered from my barista days that it was always easier to make a good stiff foam with skim milk, even when I was using the industrial steam wand.  When I applied my whisk with vigor to a microwaved cup of skim milk, magic began!  Foam!  Legit foam began to multiply in the cup!  I seriously cannot remember the last time I was so excited.  I completely understand if you need to get up and try this without delay.  The rest of this post isn’t as good as your homemade latte will be, so go with my blessing!

Anyway, upon having this ecstatic success, I brewed some espresso using my aero press, and poured the milk and foam on top.  It was a revelation of such magnitude that among my first thoughts was that I should share this with the good people at TCoWHRN.  I hope you enjoy!

P.S. another hot tip – if you don’t have a thing that makes espresso, you can easily just use brewed coffee and have yourself a steaming mug (or bowl in the french style) of cafe au lait.

Best Wishes – Advice About Food

26 Oct

I was recently invited to participate in one of the Chicago dance community’s very coolest events, Poonie’s Cabaret.  Poonie’s is a dance and performance variety show curated by the truly hip Jyl Ferhenkamp and held at one of my favorite venues for dance, Links Hall.  As an audience member, I love Poonie’s because I get to see lots of really great artists in an evening, often showing new works, works in progress and pieces that are amazing, but that don’t fit within the rigid format of an evening-length dance concert.  I also get to see up and coming artists who might not otherwise have the resources to produce their own work.   Jyl is up-to-the-minute on top of what’s happening in the dance scene and is a really gifted curator.  And all of this is in addition to saying the word “Poonie’s” over and over again.

I have been attending Poonie’s performances since before I lived in Chicago and remember very distinctly thinking to myself “Man.  If I ever got invited to participate in Poonie’s, I’d really feel like I was part of things here (cue cloying day-dreamy look).”

Anyway, here’s what I made.  The piece is called Best Wishes – it’s improvised movement (me), improvised music (Matthew Joynt and Nathan Sandberg), and a text I wrote that is advice about food culled from my considerable musings on the subject.  All of the advice is directly related to things I have witnessed/experienced/imagined.  Nathan generously donated his time and skillz to record my god-awful voice reading the “advice” and I sometimes spoke them aloud live along with the pre-recorded audio.  I hope I get the chance to re-work this piece and perform it again sometime as I had a really great time working on it and performing it.

Hard At Work

25 Oct

This is what I decided to do while Ida was napping today.  I’d say that I’m not proud of my behavior, but that would be a lie.  Also, you’re reading Megan’s awesome reporting on Chicago Muckrakers, right?  Okay.  Just checking.

*Hint – you’re going to want to hit up the “comments” section for my special contribution to the world.

F*#&ING Fiber Arts

20 Apr

I have always maintained that if you’re not swearing while you’re sewing, you’re probably not doing it right.  Some people say that the secret ingredient in really excellent food is love (these people have obviously not encountered the perfection that is the egg mc muffin which is primarily made of sadness), but in sewing, I find that the secret ingredients are usually sass and fuckwords.  Holding firmly to this conviction, I contemplated naming my sewing “company” (because, let’s face it – sewing a few dozen pairs of baby pants for a craft fair does not make you an entrepreneur….) motherfucker inc. as I focused mostly on products for small children.  I ended up going with Meatloaf Sewing Co instead, but the fact remains – any fabric craft that goes down at the JS compound is fueled largely by foul language (and, indirectly, the aforementioned mc muffins).  That’s why you can imagine my delight upon discovering this little ditty via a pastor friend of mine who makes some seriously badass quilts (I’ve discussed how much I love my church family, yes?).  My birthday is in february.  Just in case you were wondering…