For some time, I have been complaining that cappuccinos have evolved into something I call “latte-ccinos”, which is a drink that is somewhere between a latte and a cappuccino. Good to see that the New York Times has a piece on it highlighting the sad state of North American coffee and in particular the sham cappuccinos now commonly served.
But what is a true cappuccino? As the Times points out, there is a debate about what it is:
There was a time when cappuccino was easy to identify. It was a shot of espresso with steamed milk and a meringue-like milk foam on top. … “In the U.S., cappuccino are small, medium and large, and that actually doesn’t exist,” the food and coffee writer Oliver Strand said. “Cappuccino is basically a four-ounce drink.” … Others cling to old-school notions of what makes a cappuccino, with the layering of ingredients as the main thing. “The goal is to serve three distinct layers: caffè, hot milk and frothy (not dense) foam,” the chef and writer Mario Batali wrote in an email. “But to drink it Italian style, it will be stirred so that the three stratum come together as one.”
I agree with Strand: a cappuccino should be a small drink and the espresso, milk and foam proportional.. If you want a bigger drink, get a latte. And if you want a true cappuccino, find a good Italian establishment — in Toronto, Grano’s makes a superb one — and get your fix there.
For more on this, see: Is That Cappuccino You’re Drinking Really a Cappuccino? – The New York Times. The photo above is a link to that article.
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And as you can see from this: Italy’s dietary guidelines actually say pasta and cookies are food groups in Vox. Depending on where they originate, food guidelines are often very different. There is some overlap (which isn’t surprising), but there are just as many differences.
If you are confused as to what you should choose, try going with Sweden’s (below): it seems the most sensible.
You might be surprised (or you might not) to see that much of what top chefs have in their fridges is not all that different than you. If you are skeptical, you should check out this book: Inside Chefs’ Fridges, Europe. Top chefs open their home refrigerators. from TASCHEN Books. If anything, your North American fridge may have alot more in it than the typical smaller European icebox.
The book is worth a look: besides the peek inside, their is also recipes and other things of interest.
If you enjoy lamb, this recipe for lamb shanks braised in coffee with ancho chile and other great flavouring sound great. Not too hard to make, either. See this link, Coffee-Braised Lamb Shanks – David Lebovitz, for the recipe. (Check out the other recipes on the site, too. Lots of great things there.)
Risotto had (has still?) a reputation of being difficult. You do have to attend to it, but otherwise it is quite easy. If anything, I find tending to a risotto relaxing, slowly adding to it, stirring it, tasting it. I highly recommend it.
If you haven’t made it, or you want some new ideas, here some recipes to get started. I really liked this Caprese risotto recipe.
A small tip: when adding the garlic, I also added some diced red onion and sliced cooked sausage. I also used spicy vegetable sauce instead of tomato juice, and around 1 tbsp of dried basil as I was adding the liquid.
Here’s a number of other risotto recipes I came across that look appealing: Classic parmesan risotto, Seafood saffron risotto with fennel, Porcini-mushroom risotto, Cheat’s orzo risotto with olives and feta, Asparagus and brown-rice risotto
And if you have left over risotto, then you want to consider making this: Crispy mozzarella risotto cakes
The web and food are made for each other. There are countless links to recipes, essays, reviews and photos of food. Out of all that, here is a small handful I found interesting over the last few months of surfing around. I hope you find one or two or even all of them interesting. Enjoy!