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.

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.

Gedeck-Fest!

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 »

My Sacrifice for Lent

So, it’s Lent.

I’m Lutheran, which means Lenten sacrifice is not required (those of you who have survived the gauntlet that is Lutheran Confirmation are probably mumbling some variation of “sola gratia, sola fide” right now, <cough>ThisIsMostCertainlyTrue<cough>).  It is–at best–an interesting relic of our Catholic roots maintained as a cultural practice, not an integral part of our theology, and–at worst (to those really hard-core right-wing-y type Lutherans)–a papist heresy in which no good Lutheran would partake.

I like cultural relics and being heretical to crazy right-wing-y anti-Catholic Lutherans (seriously y’all?  You’re going to alienate our fellow sprinkle-not-dunk people?  You may as well put your beer down and go hang out with the boring t-totaling set), so I usually make some wacky attempt to give something up for the season.

This year I picked something half seriously….and I am failing like mad.

I am trying to give up swearing.

Yeah, my co-workers laughed hysterically, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Ukraine

In theory I should leave it to Kristy, who actually took Russian, to offer commentary on the Ukraine but A) she’s busy dissertat-ing and B) This commentary is going to be far from scholarly and well informed.

Mostly this is just me wanting to express the fact that someone needs to make me a Yulia Tymoshenko action figure.

 I believe that, in the market for world leader action-figures, this would be a must-have for anyone’s collection.  Her Heidi Braids of Doom intrigued the hell outta me even before she was tossed into the hoosegow for alleged misuse of power.  It absolutely did my heart good to see that hair-do emerge again from what I am sure had to be a prison exactly like that used to hold Magneto in the X-Men films (those braids are not to be underestimated).  I will grant you, that even with the braids she is still a semi-rouge, minor side-kick in the pantheon of world-leader super-heroes and heroines.  I mean, she couldn’t take on like, Angela Merkel and the Mom Look of Great Disdain (really, this is the action figure I want most of all–even more than Yulia and her Heidi Braids) or Steven Harper and the Eternally Un-Muss-able Molded Ken Hair of Unshakeability or Mario Monti, the Not So Secretly Argentinian (yes, being an Argentinian is a super power. Just ask one).  Still, that doesn’t mean she couldn’t get a great story arc in the comic.

Of course, then you have to have your counter-part “bad-guy” action figures.  Putin being, clearly, the Cobra to our G-7*  Joes comes without a shirt, but with minions, including several disgruntled Georgians (yeah, remember the part where this has happened before?  I keep picturing Georgia trying to float messages across the  Black Sea to Ukraine that read “Welcome to the club, Bitches.”–except the Russian Navy keeps intercepting them and re-placing them message with “We don’t Miss South Ossetia at all!”).  Oh, and the completely rogue element of a Kim Jong-un who comes with tacky outfits and his mini basketball signed by Dennis Rodman.

Seriously, I did have an minor crisis as I’ve watched this unfold because I saw a few parallels to the Texas Revolution and I was suddenly left wondering if I was supposed to be siting with Putin in this game.  Thankfully, I walked through the details and realized that it was possible for me to continue to Remember the Alamo without having to support Russian Imperialism.  I briefly thought about sharing that entire comparison and contrast here, but then I realized that for the most part, only Texans would care and to the best of my knowledge, none of the five of you reading this are Texans….

So, in the event that we are about to get our Cold War back again, I’m gonna go watch The Hunt for Red October and maybe some of those  old episodes of MacGyver where he had to build a blow-torch out of a bicycle to save the environment and escape the Eastern Bloc at the same time….

 

 

Behold, the Power of the Keyboard

I’m not about to claim this as a reason for my continued lapse in posts, but I will admit that it has probably impacted something about my posting, if only certain typos.

I had a really rotten keyboard.

At some point in the past 5 years (yeah, that long), I wound up with an old, very basic, very non-responsive keyboard attached to the computer from which 75% of my posts came (now 100% because the tiny tiny laptop known on my network as “Inara” shuffled loose the electro-magnetic coil about a month ago and because Asus no longer makes netbooks exactly like her, I am in ponder mode on her eventual replacement….but that’s a topic for another post).  Honestly, the thing had keys that you had to pound to get a letter to appear (even after I cleaned the dust out).  The keys themselves were very shallow and had a poor feel–when you hit a key, you didn’t always have the feeling you’d really hit much more than the surface of the desk.  I lived with it, because, well, my work keyboard was only marginally better and I spend a lot more hours of the day with that machine than this one.

But, last week I carried a box down to the basement (yet another topic for yet another post) and as I made room on the shelf, I stumbled on a half empty box….half empty but for some very serviceable keyboards that I remember having liked (if you are looking shocked at my having a lot of random keyboards in a box in my basement, clearly we’ve never met in real life…I also have boxes of hard drives, video cards, network cards.  If you’re picturing me with horn rimmed glasses you’d be wrong…but if you’re wondering if my Slashdot number is lower than yours, there’s a good chance of that).

So, I brought the old keyboard upstairs, and swapped it for the brick that had been masquerading as an input device.

Cue the chorus of angels.

I’m half tempted to carry this thing back and forth to work.  It’s not that it’s the best keyboard ever, but it’s been this highlight of how sucky my old one was and how much nicer it is to work with an input device that responds appropriately.  I actually want to spend more time working on the computer than I used to.  All of the posts I’ve been scribbling in notebooks for the past months I’m actually willing to type.  I had no idea the amount of reluctance that old thing was causing in my getting things that final step from analog to digital.

It’s not going to cure my posting problems (one day there will be a post about that.  One day),  and it sure won’t cure all my typos (or my grammar and spelling issues) but it sure as heck isn’t going to make it any worse.