Coffee cachet, hot or iced, by pound or cup
Baltimore, culinarily a fairly civilized place to begin with, has just become more so with the arrival of the Coffee Cafe at Drumcastle Market, in Towson. It's a truly European-style coffee bar, serving various kinds of coffees and coffee beverages, both hot and iced, plus breakfast breads, pastries and cake. The shop also sells a dozen or so kinds of gourmet Arabica coffee beans by the pound, which you can buy already roasted -- or you can have them custom-roasted in the shop's hand-roaster while you wait.
"I felt that I could provide something that everyone would appreciate," says proprietor Peter Nobel, who was born in Hungary, grew up in Montreal and met his wife, Brooks, a Baltimore native, when both were living in Toronto. "Say you like Mexican coffee, which I have roasted right here, but you like it lighter. You can sit down and have a coffee, and I can do that for you."
Or, you could call in an order on your way home, and Mr. Nobel will have your coffee "roasted and ready" for you to pick it up.
All the coffee beans are roasted on the premises, and Mr. Nobel says no beans will be sold that have been roasted more than 72 hours before. There's a coffee club -- buy six cups and get the seventh free -- and a coffee bean club -- buy 10 pounds and get the 11th free.
The Nobels had been thinking for some time about opening a "coffee cafe," and decided that her home town was most promising for a new venture. They moved to Baltimore just last August, and when the opportunity arose to join Wernig Country Meats, Debbie's Inside produce, and the Flower Market at Drumcastle, they took it. The cafe opened May 19.
Among the specialty beverages are espresso, cappuccino, cafe au lait, hot chocolate, tea, iced cappuccino and iced cafe au lait, plus "Hungarian fruit sodas," which are made of flavored syrups and soda water.
If the fear of making some horrible faux pas keeps you from enjoying wine in a restaurant, Glen Ellen Winery & Vineyards has come to the rescue with a new booklet, "Wine Without an Attitude."
The guide takes a humorous look at people's wine fears and BTC offers common sense advice for dealing with them. It's "a riddle" to winemakers why so many people are intimidated by wine, the booklet begins: "True, wine is great stuff. But so's pastrami. So's a medium-rare filet mignon. We think wine should be approached like any other food that you like . . ."
Among the chapters: "Chapter 1, How wine's mystique thing happened; will make you rest easy after you realize there's no reason to be intimidated"; "Chapter 6, Wine and the waiter; the real truth about wine buying rituals and how to sit back and enjoy them"; and "Chapter 8, Furthering your wine experience by adding a little jargon; just enough wine words and grape types to make you feel comfortable."
For a copy of the booklet, send a $3 check or money order for postage and handling to Glen Ellen Winery, P.O. Box 52770, Dept. RB, Phoenix, Ariz. 85072.
Summer storms that blow through leaving canceled events and toppled tree limbs in their wake often leave whole communities without power for extended periods. One of the primary concerns when the power comes back on is the family food supply. Did the meat in the freezer survive? Or should it be tossed?
The answer, published in the Journal of Food Science, comes from an Ohio State University professor who conducted experiments to measure the number of microbes present in meat, a measure of spoilage, at various stages of thawing. According to Herbert Ockerman, a professor of animal science, "After 36 hours in an unplugged freezer, previously well-frozen beef and pork are of questionable quality and should be thrown out. By then, the number of microbes per gram has reached approximately 1 million." Fresh, normal meat usually has about 100,000 microbes per gram, and is considered safe, Mr. Ockerman says.
Mexican food is what's hot
Tex-Mex and Mexican foods are "hot" items these days. The folks who make Sargento cheese products have some ideas for entertaining using these festive foods. Suggestions for a buffet include cheesy corn chowder, Guadalajara shrimp, and fajitas with grilled vegetables. For a "Fiesta Brunch," the menu might include huevos rancheros tostadas, fire and ice sausage, and rice bake and tortilla cheese soup. All the recipes plus some suggestions for accompaniments are in a brochure called "Mexican Menus." For a copy, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-sized envelope to Mexican Menus, Sargento Cheese Co., 1 Persnickety Place, Plymouth, Wis., 53073-0350. Here's a sample recipe:
Huevos rancheros tostados
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/3 cup prepared salsa or picante sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or thinly sliced green onions
4 large eggs
butter or margarine
6 6-inch corn tortillas, crisply fried, or 4 prepared tostada shells
1 cup (4 ounces) Sargento Shredded Cheese for Tacos
Combine tomato sauce, salsa and cilantro; heat in microwave oven or in saucepan on top of range until hot. Fry eggs in butter sunny side up; place one egg on each tortilla; top with sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.
As a variation, spread tortillas with refried beans before topping with eggs.