Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Sharing My Addiction

A quick addendum to yesterday’s rant, then I am going to move on. My husband noted that it was hysterical that both parties did what government is supposed to do, which is come to the table, hammer out details, and reach a compromise that is most beneficial to their constituents, only to come out on the other side and find NO ONE is happy. It is true and it is sad. I think the point I really wanted to make yesterday and wasn’t able to because I ran away with my writing was that I believe our government, and I mean both sides, has painted itself into a corner that there is no getting out of without some serious pain. Pain now or pain later is the only question. I am not yet either for or against this plan, I just see the reality of it will mean. President Obama’s deal is designed to bring the pain later. And honestly, the largest part of me is totally okay with that. I don’t want my taxes to rise. I don’t want the long term unemployed to lose their only remaining safety net. So, for now, kicking the can down the road is the most attractive option. It just means pain later. My prayer is that we will get smart thinkers who can get us out of the hole we have dug for ourselves between now and when the chickens come home to roost. And on that note, I am moving on.
That is a homemade latte. Actually, I confess it is more cappuccino-esque than a latte, but I’m working on that.

I have gotten addicted to large, sugar free, non-fat caramel lattes from Shockoe Espresso, and will fall back on Starbucks’ Skinny Caramel Macchiato when not in Downtown Richmond. There are all kinds of good reasons to down a latte post-gastric bypass – they are high in protein. For every ounce of milk in your drink, you score a gram of protein. A 20 ounce latte usually has about 16 ounces of milk, so, call it 15 grams of protein (I tend to round down protein estimates to fall on the safe side). When sugar free and non-fat, they are not terrible sources of calories and really, they are very worthy calories; skim milk is generally 10 calories per ounce; so 160 calories for the milk, a few more for the sugar free syrup – that’s not so bad. Milk is of course a great source of calcium and other vitamins and minerals that are good for you. If cow’s milk isn’t your thing, they have soy milk too. The caffeine is a good thing as far as I am concerned; your mileage may vary based on your surgeon’s requirements. There is decaf too. The large size can be so filling that I often treat it as a meal.

There is one major downside. Whether they come from Shockoe Espresso or Starbucks, my favorite drinks run right about $5 a hit. There was a point when I was buying 2 or 3 a week. A WEEK. I am trying to dial it back down to 1 a week now, but it is still taking a toll on our budget, so that is where the homemade version came in.

I don’t have an espresso machine, so I have to do the best I can with what I have. Here’s my recipe for the drink above.

– 3 shot glasses of water
– 3 rounded teaspoons of instant espresso powder
-16 ounces of milk
– 3/4 shot of sugar free caramel coffee syrup
-Smuckers Sugar Free Caramel Sauce (for drizzling on top to make it divine)

I start with putting the milk into a sauce pan on the stove and get it heating on medium heat. Then I measure the three shots of water into a larger glass and put it in the microwave for a little over 60 seconds, until I can see it boiling. I pour the syrup into the Very Large Mug (VLM). With a wire whisk, I whisk the milk briskly to produce a large quantity of foam. Once the water is heated, I add in the three teaspoons of instant espresso, stir very gently, and pour it into the bottom of my VLM and go back to whisking the milk. I keep whisking until I am content with the temperature of the milk and the amount of foam. I don’t heat the milk too much, maybe on the high end of warm, but short of really hot because the espresso is quite hot and there is no reason to make the drink too scalding. Once the milk is ready, I add it to the VLM and use the whisk to reserve the foam for the top. Then I drizzle the caramel sauce over the foam, ala Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.

I worked as a barista for a hot minute at a Joe Muggs Cafe inside a Books a Million. I warned them when I started at Books a Million that I did not want to work the coffee bar, but within a week they put me behind the bar, which I ran for a few days, and then they decided I should manage the bar (with no pay increase, though). I promptly gave my notice and got the hell out of retail. However, I have never forgotten my exposure to the coffee bar, and that all came in handy when I decided to try and save myself from the dreaded $5 drink.

Obviously, the strength of the espresso, the flavor of the syrup, and everything else about it is to your taste. My first drink was not nearly strong enough. My second one could have doubled as paint thinner. I am finally getting the flavor right; now I just need to get the consistency of the milk better. I am not a fan of the foamy cappuccino style drink. I prefer the creaminess of the steamed milk latte with just a light, smooth foam on top, but I haven’t yet been able to achieve a foam that is creamy enough for my taste, but sturdy enough to support a little caramel drizzle on top. I do like playing mad scientist in the kitchen though, and if I figure it out (without a milk steamer) I will certainly let you know.