Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bialetti Espresso Maker

My husband wanted an espresso machine for Christmas.  I was utterly mystified by the number available - from Mr. Coffee's version to vintage Gaggias.  I read all the reviews.

Pod or no pod? Coffee/espresso combo? Was a milk frother important?  I had no idea other than feeling that it had to be Italian-made.

Before I spent the big bucks on a machine, I decided to spend under $30 on a stove-top Bialetti.   It's made in Italy, looks retro and sleek, and has a cute mascot on the front.  Plus, you can get it at Target.

What a great cup of espresso!  Dark, rich, and fast.  The unit is fairly easy to clean, doesn't take up space on your counter, and looks cool enough to leave on your stove top.

So, if you are interested in dipping your toe into the world of espresso, this is a cheap and satisfying way to go.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

My favorite Christmas song of all time is "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire."  When I lived in New York,  I loved getting roasted chestnuts on the street corners.  So, when I saw that Trader's Joes had whole Italian chestnuts to roast yourself, I was excited.  The little buggers are slippery, making it difficult to cut an "X" into the flat side - and a few had no flat sides.  Of the whole lot, about seventy-five percent had already gone bad - it is a rather soft nut seemingly prone to mold.  So, after roasting, we only culled about 10 good nuts.  They popped open, cream colored and wrinkly, but tasty.  Santa approved as an accompaniment to frosted sugar cookies on Christmas Eve.  Buon Natale!