Coffee vs Espresso

Espresso is strong black coffee—i.e., no dairy added—that has a unique brewing method. Espresso is made by forcing steam through finely-ground coffee beans. Like regular drip coffee, it can be made from any type of coffee bean, though generally a blend is used to create optimal flavors. Regular drip coffee — a.k.a., filtered coffee or pour-over — is made by pouring water over more coarsely-ground, roasted coffee beans in a filter.

This comparison examines the differences in brewing method, flavor, caffeine content, acidity and health effects of espresso and drip coffee.

Brewing Methods

In order to be made into coffee, the whole coffee bean must be ground. Most ground coffee is for brewing in a home coffeemaker. In automatic drip systems, the beans are ground to a medium coarseness. Hot water drips onto the ground coffee and extracts its essence through a filter. The grounds are discarded after use. Coffee can also be boiled or placed in a percolator for brewing, and numerous other brewing methods exist, including single-serve coffee systems, like the Keurig, Tassimo and Nespresso. Some brewing methods, such as using a French press, don’t filter the coffee through paper, instead allowing the coffee to keep its natural oils and much of its natural body.

Espresso is an alternate brewing method. Very hot water under pressure is forced through finely-ground, compacted coffee for 20-30 seconds. The result is a beverage that is thicker than normal coffee. In addition, froth is formed on top of the beverage. This froth is called crema. The crema is the result of emulsifying the oils in the coffee into a colloid. Crema should be a dark mahogany color, with small bubbles of gas released during brewing. The presence of light-colored spots in the crema suggests the pull (a term used for making espresso due to the first esspresso machines relying on the barista to pull down a spring-loaded lever that controlled the pressure of extraction) went on too long, and the absence of crema indicates either a poorly-brewed shot or that the coffee beans lost their sugar and fat during processing.

This video on YouTube provides an overview of espresso vs drip coffee machines and their brewing methods.

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Kitchen Shortcuts and Tricks

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Ginger can be tricky to peel with all its bumps and irregularities. Rather than using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, reach for the spoon. Scrape it against the skin and it’ll come right off, following every contour and minimizing waste.

I keep a small handled-strainer in my tool crock next to the stove so that I can quickly cut a lemon or lime in half and squeeze it directly through the strainer into the pot. Much easier than picking out seeds afterwards! Oh, and you do keep a crock full of common tools by the stovetop, don’t you?

When working with beginning cooks, the most common inefficiency I see is in task planning. Say you’ve got four onions that need to be peeled, finely diced, and transferred to a large bowl. If you do each of these steps to each onion one at a time, you spend a lot of time moving back and forth between the board, the compost bin, and the bowl, picking up and putting down your knife, and mentally preparing yourself for the next task.

Instead, work like a factory: start by cutting off the end and splitting all of the onions. Next peel all of the onions. Then make all of your horizontal cuts, followed by all of your vertical cuts. Finally, transfer all of your perfect dice to the bowl and clean down your board and countertop before you move on to the next task.

Apply this kind of thinking to all of your tasks and you’ll find that the time you spend in the kitchen will not only be more efficient, but also neater, cleaner, and more organized.

Source: http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/08/24-essential-kitchen-tricks-and-tips.html

Love the sear of a stainless skillet but not the way peppers can start to meld to the bottom midway through cooking? A little more oil should help. But don’t just pour it over the top of the food or you’ll end up with a greasy, soggy mess. Instead, use a metal spatula to loosen the vegetables or meat and push them to one side of the skillet. Then tilt the pan so the empty area is over the heat. Add the oil to the empty area (1 or 2 tablespoons should do it) and let it get hot before moving the food back. The heated oil on the hot pan will create a slick, nonstick surface, guaranteeing a surefire sauté.

Sitting with a bushel of beans and carefully pinching the ends off each one can be quite relaxing—if you’re sitting on a porch swing on a lazy afternoon. But if you have a cluttered countertop and 15 minutes until dinner, try this technique instead.

Step 1. Line up the stems. The beans’ tough, knobby ends need to go, but the other ends (the skinny, tapered tips) are tender and perfectly fine to eat. Sort the beans so that the stems all face one direction. Scoot a handful against your palm so that they’re even.

Step 2. Using a chef’s knife, cut off the knobby ends with one slice.

Source: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-techniques/kitchen-tips-techniques/trim-green-beans

Proper Equipment makes backpacking worthwhile

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Have family in the Rocky Mountains in Montana gave many opportunities to go backpacking and camping. I have to say that some of my earliest trips left me wet, cold, and in need of some advice when it came to the art of backpacking. Since you have to carry everything and everything out you have to invest in the right equipment. I had help from a professional fit me with my first backpack. I did a whole lot of day trips to learn how to maneuver with the pack and also how to increase the weight that I was able to carry and balance.

Eventually I thought I was ready for an overnight. I had a tarp and felt certain with my sleeping back that was all I needed. The weather took a turn for the worse and ended up with a ripped tarp, a wet sleeping bag and a lesson learned. When I got back to the house it was a hot shower then I began to read every backpacking tent review I could get my hands on. I was determined I would never spend another night like that again.

After I gather my information from the reviews I headed back to my friendly sporting goods store. I may an informed choice. I brought my backpack along to make sure it would be something I could handle. I also realized that my hiking boots were not top quality. So I made the investment for a better better pair of boots.

I am grateful for those who take the time to share the things they know about equipment in the way of a review. It is not easy when you are beginning with a new sport to make all the decision and have the right finances to get what you need. Save yourself some time and misery and get the right “stuff” first. When you find it be kind and let other people know about it.

Best places to pitch a tent in U.S – GREATIST