Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to Make a Latte

For my 30th birthday, my husband bought me an espresso machine so I could make my very own lattes at home!  I do not make these daily, but it is very nice to have the option when you're craving one!  I wanted to give a sort of "how to" recipe for making a latte since that is the overall title and inspiration for this blog. 

You will have to convert this according to your own espresso machine, but here is the overall idea...

3/4 to 1 cup Milk
Flavor of choice

Pour 1 to 2 ounces of desired flavoring into a 12-16 oz. cup.

Tamp the ground espresso into the portafilter firmly and lock it into the group head on the espresso machine.  Start the shots.

Pour the shots of espresso into prepared cup.
(This is a photo of the espresso brewing.  When brewing is complete, you pour the shots over your flavoring.)

Fill the metal pitcher with 1 cup milk, or 3/4 cup if using a flavor.

Place thermometer securely inside the steel pitcher.
(As you can see here, I don't normally do this.)

Steam milk between 155ºF and 165F. It will scorch above 170ºF.

The steam wand should be inserted diagonally just below the surface of the milk.
(This will help you get the thick foam you desire.)

Pour steamed milk over espresso.  Do not let your shots sit very long before pouring steamed milk over them.  The steaming process should be done accuratly, but quickly.  When pouring use a spoon to regulate the flow of the foam. Make sure no foam enters the drink until you are about 1/4 in. from the top, where you can remove your spoon. The result should be a nice brown foamy top with a small white foam center.

For an added touch, drizzle chocolate or caramel on top of the foam.  Or, add whip cream to the top for sweeter sipping.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pistachio Salad

When I was a little girl, I'd ask my mom to make "green stuff".  This wonderful salad (as they call it), is wonderfully refreshing.  So if you're looking for something green to mix up for St. Patrick's Day, here is a quick, easy, and delicious treat!

1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
2 (3 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed in refrigerator
1cup miniature marshmallows

In a large bowl, combine the pineapple and dry pistachio pudding mix. Fold in thawed whipped topping and marshmallows until well mixed. Refrigerate until chilled and serve.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Spring is in the air, and I am a big lemon fan.  Here is a wonderful way to sweeten up the delicious lemon flavor for your dessert this week!

1 box lemon cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 (16 oz.) box confections' sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13" pan with non-stick cooking spray.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well.  Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside.  Using the same bowl and electric mixer (no need to wash), beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs, lemon flavoring, confectioners' sugar, and melted butter.  Mix well.  Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly.  Bake for about 40 minutes depending on your oven.  The center should be a little gooey.  Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.