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Some coffee tips

  1. Favorite Beans
    Here in Edmonton, I’ve found that Rogue Wave Coffee offers the freshest roasted coffee – you just need to let them know in advance when you want to pick up your beans.  The result is coffee that has been roasted in the past 2-3 days. Coffee this fresh should be allowed to rest a little longer to ‘de-gas’ – otherwise you may find your coffee to have a somewhat metallic taste. The package their beans in paper coffee bags to facilitate the degassing.

    The next freshest beans I’ve found are also roasted locally, by Transcend.  I go to their main shop is on the southside, a block south of Argyll Road, just east of 99 Street.  They also have a location next to the Garneau Theatre on 109 Street – parking can be tricky there sometimes.

    I prefer medium roasted beans - they'll be the color of milk chocolate, and won't be shiny (or oily)
    I prefer medium roasted beans – they’ll be the color of milk chocolate, and won’t be shiny (or oily)

    At 3 Banana’s in Churchill Square, you can get Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso – bought a bag the other day for $22 for a 454g bag.  These may not be quite as fresh roasted as the other two unless you catch them on the right day.

  2. Favourite Brewing Methods
    When brewing coffee, I either use my espresso machine, an Aeropress, or more recently, a Hario manual pour-over.  Using the espresso machine is pretty awesome – I can have an Americano in less than a minute. A latte I can make in about 90 seconds :)Lately I’ve been really enjoying the manual pour-over.  It takes a little more time – about 5 minutes tops for a mug.  When I’m camping, I pack Aeropress to make coffee.  These are sold at Transcend (and other places around the city I’m sure).  These make very good coffee!  I just have to grind my coffee a little coarser than what I use in my espresso machine.
  3. Grind beans yourself
    Don’t buy pre-ground coffee.  Buy beans and grind them yourself.  Use a quality burr grinder, manual or electric.  Check out the coffeegeek and home-barista forums for recommendations, and buy the best you can afford.

Here is my current coffee set-up – yes, it might be bit excessive, but it’s been an investment that has been serving me well – even after almost 8 years!
coffee_nirvana

Thanksgiving 2014

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, and Tracey wasn’t well for the past week – so I took on the task of getting groceries and cooked dinner for 14.

On the menu:

My daughter helped with some of the vegetable prep, and both kids helped with cleaning the main floor, rearranging the living room, and setting up the additional table and chairs.

I’ll add some links in a bit to the different recipes I used!

It was actually pretty fun – had things coordinated pretty good I think – but I think we need an additional oven to make things a bit easier ;^)

New project in the backyard

bricksPicked up a number of fire bricks, and some insulation brick, in preparation for building a pizza/bread oven in the yard.
Not sure 100% exactly what style I’m going to build – brick or cob/earth oven – but I came across this deal that was difficult to pass up.

With what I have here, I should be able to have a cooking surface almost 36″ in diameter. If I decide to go the brick oven route, I can get more of the fire brick – shouldn’t need any more of the insulation bricks.

Found an article on building a clay wood-fired oven – the approach used for the base may not be as permanent, but I like the simplicity. The materials are largely from a building supply – so pretty easy to get hold of, at a price.

Here’s my list of stuff I’ll need to buy:

  • done – 30 fire bricks ($36)
  • done – 30 insulating bricks ($30)
  • 20 cinder blocks (abt. $60)
  • 5kg pail of cement (abt. $17)
  • 6 bags of jointers sand (abt. $66)
  • 175kg clay
  • wheelbarrow

UPDATE : 2015-07-21
No cinder blocks used – just built up the base with urban rubble, sand, and some concrete.
Materials used so far:

  • 10 bags of play sand (40 lbs. each) – used this in the base, filling in space between the rubble.
  • 12 bags of jointers sand (80 lbs. each) – half was used for the dome form!
  • 3 bags fire clay (50 lbs. each) – ran out while doing insulating layer – so getting a couple more bags.
  • 2 bags cement – used this on the top of base, then layered jointers sand, insulating bricks, and kiln bricks

Here’s the list of other tools/equipment I’ll be using:

  • tape measure
  • large tarp
  • old kitchen knife
  • 5 gallon pail(s)
  • newspaper