Coffee Liqueur Recipe

My latest liqueur infusion project, if not my absolute favorite, is possibly the most “me.” The inspiration actually came from a scholar in my field who stayed in our apartment during a conference last year. Learning of my love of coffee, she suggested infusing Sambuca with coffee beans. The thought was appealing, but I’m not crazy about the anise flavor in Sambuca, so I didn’t try it.

The seed was planted, however. I started thinking about what liqueurs would pair well with coffee. I’ve always loved coffee and orange together. Back when I was in high school Starbucks used to have a Mocha Valencia Latte, which was the only thing that would make me pay the prices of a Starbucks latte. My first thought was Grand Marnier, but given the cost of Grand Marnier and the fact that this was a total experiment on my part, I went with its cheaper little sister, Triple Sec.

I bought about two cups of whole bean coffee. I went for my favorite locally-roasted, super-dark roast (also fair-trade certified). Because if I’m going to go low-end on the booze, it’s important to be as pretentious as possible about the coffee. I bought a 750ml bottle of Triple Sec and poured roughly half of it into a mason jar with half of the beans, then put the other half of the beans in the bottle with the remaining liqueur. A lot of recipes online for making coffee infused vodka suggest using ground coffee—I didn’t do that, because it sounded like filtering would be a pain in the ass. If you do use ground coffee, it will infuse faster. On the other hand, it infuses quickly regardless, so there’s really no point in grinding if you ask me.

And that’s it. Store the jar and the bottle somewhere cool and dark and taste it every day. Like I said, this infuses fast. I waited forty-eight hours to taste the first time and it already had a good coffee flavor. At that point it was orange with a hint of coffee and I was looking more so for coffee with a hint of orange, so I left it in longer. After four days it had the flavor I wanted, but I didn’t have time to strain it, so it sat another day and a half.

The end result in amazing. It’s like drinking a good dark roast coffee, but then you get this hint of citrus at the end. Excellent for sipping. It’s very popular with my friends (I’ve gone through two bottles). It also makes a nice addition to desserts. My roommate added it to the filling for her Yule Log (she uses the French name I can’t spell and am too lazy to look up). I’ve added it to trifles with delicious results. And, of course, it goes nicely in coffee.

Coffee with a side of Snark

Would we drink coffee with Joan Rivers?

Kristy: I’m going to cautiously say, I think so. Let’s be honest, if in real life she was much like her television persona, she wasn’t a terribly “nice” person. That said, anyone who’s read my twitter feed knows I love cattiness more than I should, and Rivers could do catty like no one else. I suspect that coffee with her would include some hysterical people watching commentary, but there’s no way I’d get out without being on the receiving end of a barb or two. So it all comes down to whether my skin is thick enough. Judge me if you must, but I watched Fashion Police on a semi-regular (emphasis on the semi) basis and enjoyed the hell out of it, both for the fashion and the snark. Rivers’s humor crossed all kinds of lines to the point it was sometimes downright offensive. I actually appreciate that she never apologized, even though there were times she offended me. Humor often pokes at sites of discomfort and social anxiety; that’s why it’s awesome–it allows us to say things we can’t say and talk about things we can’t talk about. I’d actually like to talk to her about her philosophy of humor. Wikipedia tells me she had degrees in English Lit and Anthropology, which basically makes her right next door to a folklorist, so she might actually have some knowledge of humor theory.

I think the bottom line is, that I would like to have a cup of coffee with her because while there were times I didn’t necessarily like her, I respect her. I think we’ve discussed on this blog before the fact that it’s much harder for women to be funny than for men. Rivers was very much a pioneer in that area–she was the first woman to host a late night talk show, and sadly not many have followed after her. I’d love to talk to her about her thoughts on women in comedy today. Have we made progress? How do we make more?

I’m really just afraid of what she’ll say about my hair.
Cammy:  That’s simple:  I’m in.  That one may shock a few of you, dear readers, but I, oddly enough, have no hesitation.  I know going into this that I’m toast.  There really is no way I could avoid the fashion skewering, but knowing that going in, I’m okay.  And yes, she’s probably going to say something offensive, but then that frees me up to do the same.  Knowing she’s not “nice” and never has been, there is nothing to lose here at all.  It boils down to this: she’s funny, and she’s clearly smart.  And funny, smart people are exactly who you want to have at the table in the coffee shop, watching the patrons and letting the comments rip.  While I wouldn’t mind listening in on Kristy getting her to talk seriously about women in comedy, I really just kind of of want to let her do her thing: make me laugh.  And maybe my far more grievous fashion violations will draw away any fire about Kristy’s hair.

International Morning Show Jealousy

Some people have very strong opinions about religion.  Or politics.  Or food.

I have strong opinions about morning news shows.  Mock if you will, but I more or less hate all humanity before I’ve had my 20 ounces of coffee or it’s past 10:00am.  I have patience for almost nothing, my temper is short.  In this state, it’s playing with fire to subject me to crappy morning news programming.

Now, obviously, here in the states you have the potential for morning news show offensiveness at both a local and a national level. While I have plenty to say about local morning news*, my issues with the national morning news programs have been going on for longer.  Oh, sure I have fond early-childhood memories of Good Morning America way back in the Joan Lunden days, and I still have a soft spot for the old CBS This Morning jazzy version of “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning.”  But it all went pear-shaped when GMA took a nose dive, CBS destroyed their morning show and all that was left standing was NBC’s Today.  Maybe could have made it through with NBC’s offering, except that at the ripe age of 15, I came to loathe Matt Lauer with the fire of 1000 suns.  That sentiment continues, in force, to this day, no matter how much coffee I’ve had.

So, I’ve been adrift.  I’ve tried going back to the other networks–GMA has shown some improvement, but they aren’t there yet–everything is too forced and carved out of cream-cheese.  I even tried cable (Robin Mead on Headline News with her valley-girl inflection is only a hair more tolerable than Matt Lauer being arrogant). I kept looking for the morning news program that did what I needed it to do:  give me enough information about world events to avoid being a total nitwit in the conversations before the morning stand-up meeting, and not give me another reason to hate the world before I get to my desk.

And finally, at long last, in December 2010 I found the show.  It didn’t just meet those basic criteria, it went above and beyond.  It is the morning show of my dreams.  It not only didn’t offend, it actively highlighted everything that I hadn’t even realized was wrong with every other morning news program I’ve ever seen.  This show brought the thing that matters most:  The Funny.

Unfortunately for me, it’s Australian. Read the rest of this entry »

Living with a Hippie Cat

Note: This post was actually written several months ago, but I don’t think it was ever posted. A few thing have happened with my fuzzy friend since then. Rest assured he’s fine, but now requires gold-plated food. I found this post amusing in light of that.

My cat Wash spent some of his kittenhood living on the mean streets of our hippie college town. I’m actually convinced more and more that he spent that time eating out of the dumpsters of the ultra-hippie co-op grocery store near where he was found. It’s the only way I can find to explain his strange tastes in food.

I know lots of people who adopt stray animals have problems with them expecting/wanting table scraps. But usually they want scraps of… well the sorts of food that pets eat. Chicken. Dairy products. Bones. Wash, on the other hand, wants basically anything. My roommate and I spend a lot of time yelling “_______ is not for kitties!” at him. Some examples from recent weeks:

Garbanzos. Garbanzos are actually one of his favorite foods. At first when he was going after my roasted garbanzos I thought it was because they are round and roll and he thought they’d make good toys. That might be true, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t like to eat them. I was making chickpea cutlets the other day and he was obsessively trying to get at the empty can so he could lick the chickpea residue out of it. He also enjoys hummus and curried chickpeas.

Brussels sprouts.

Kale. (another of his favs)

Serrano chilis

Almond milk. I once gave almond milk to friend of the blog Bridget’s cat (I just let her lick my cereal bowl because she’d been begging me to the whole time I ate.) She made this weird disgusted movement with her tongue then glared at me for fifteen minutes for obviously trying to poison her. Current roommate did that with Wash and now he’s obsessed with the stuff.

Pita chips. Well, any kind of chips really. Just about anything made with grain.

Vital wheat gluten. Seriously.

Coffee….or Carménère

Would we have Coffee With….Chilean President Michelle Bachelet?

Cammy:  Sure.  I mean, every-friggin’-where but here, gals are getting the top political job.  It’s almost getting to be old-hat.  Almost.  But even if we’d crossed into old hat territory, I think it would still be worth it to have coffee with Bachelet.  For one, thing, mad respect to a woman who has a medical degree and success in politics.  That pedigree puts her into that category with Angela Merkel (physicist) and Margaret “The Lady” Thatcher (chemical engineer) (could that be why we haven’t had a female president yet?  Should we be tapping the science department instead of the law department or wherever the fuck we’re getting the female set in US politics?  Me?  I’m hoping for a Computer Science Gal.  Preferably NOT me).  And then, well, she was tortured and exiled.  Even though she tends to play her torture down somewhat (generally pointing out that others suffered far more), doesn’t change the fact that she was tortured.  That puts her into a very unfortunate, and limited circle of world leaders, and I don’t think there are a lot of other girls in the club with her.  There is no way that cannot result in some serious insight and unique viewpoint on things.  Not saying I’m likely to agree with her politically, but I don’t agree with a lot of people politically, so it’s not like that’s a coffee-killer.  And if we can pull together a special bonus round, I want coffee with Bachelet AND Merkel.

Kristy: Definitely. As Cammy said, she’s got to have a fascinating life story, and I would love to hear her tell it. I would like to hear also what she thinks we’re doing wrong up here in los Estados (or what they’re doing right down south) that has enabled women to have more success seeking executive office. Besides her lack of a Y chromosome she has a couple of other factors that would make it harder for her to get elected in the US: she’s an open agnostic and she’s separated (for those not in the know, divorce was only legalized in Chile about ten years ago, so most people just stop living with their spouses when things go bad). I’d like her take on whether that’s a sign Chileans are just less uptight, or were those things she had to overcome. I’d also like to chat about relations between Latin American nations; she’s had some issues with Peru, Bolivia, and Cuba, does she have any thoughts on those? (other than simply telling Peru their maps are wrong)

Cammy:  And seeing as both Kristy and I are fans of a good Chilean Carmenere, I think we opt for wine over coffee here….

In the Storm: The More Serious-er Sharknado

Guest Post from our Loyal Reader, Mary reviewing the summer action flick Into The Storm which opened last weekend:

Yes. I spent money on this movie.  Yes. I spent money on this movie the weekend that it opened.  Yes. I spent money on this movie the weekend that it opened and pulled Cammy and a local friend into the funnel cloud of summer blockbuster cheese Read the rest of this entry »


I declared this weekend Gedeck-Fest! I wound up having an impromptu marathon of Martina Gedeck movies the other day.  Who is Martina Gedeck?  She’s the first German actor or actress I could name (truth be told, the total number has grown to a whopping two–I can also name Sibylle Canonica*.  I’d have 3 if I could ever remember the name of the chick from Run Lola Run–she’s been in plenty of other stuff, including The Bourne Identity, but I can never remember her name for more than about 5 minutes.  No commentary on her skill, only on my crappy memory).

Out of the 5 of you here, I’m sure at least 3 of you have seen Mostly Martha.  This means you’ve seen Martina Gedeck.  She’s Martha.

Gedeck-fest did not actually start with Mostly Martha.  It began by accident when I finally decided to watch Night Train to Lisbon.  It looked interesting, and I recognized her name on the summary of the cast.  At this point, other than Mostly Martha, I’ve only seen her in one other film, The Baader Meinhof Complex, which was disturbing, but good.  Still, two movies with good performances was enough to give her street cred with me.  The scales were tipped and I opted to give it a shot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Computer Drama Part 2: Chrome Shiny Chrome

I had resisted the idea of the Chromebook when I originally heard of it.  I applaud any alternative operating system just on principle–competition is healthy–but the idea that the thing would be largely useless unless connected to the internet was kind of a deal breaker.  I was going–or planning to go–enough places that didn’t have reliable wireless internet so, yeah. Notsomuch.

But that was a while ago.  My situation–and Chrome’s–has changed.  It was time to revisit this.  So why was I willing to shuck out for what amounts to a low-end laptop that is limited on program choices? Read the rest of this entry »

Computer Drama: Part 1

My Asus EeePC Netbook (named Inara–all my computers get a name) had a pesky power problem.  For over a year, she has had to be plugged in to operate.  You unplug her and just like unplugging a desktop PC from the wall–she dies.  Even a new battery didn’t help.  This would have been a much bigger deal if I’d been traveling with her more, but those days are over.  She could stay plugged into the wall and still be useful for paying bills while I watched TV in the living room. Read the rest of this entry »