Sunday, May 30, 2010

Diane Wilson Exposes Spill Baby, Spill BP

This lady has been my heroine since the 90's.

Simple Sushi (Korean style - no raw fish)

This will be in Becky Holm's Douglas County News:


Bento Box Lunches - Simple Rolled Sushi by Larisa Sparrowhawk
Sushi is made with short grain sweet brown or white rice, made with more water than usual so it will be sticky like the rice ball recipe last week. Add a dash of salt and a small piece of konbu seaweed if you can find any. After cooking, add 1 tablespoon brown rice and 1 tablespoon rice, coconut or white vinegar per cup of raw rice. (Do not leave it in an aluminum pot after this or the aluminum will leach into the food.) Let the rice cool.

Lay one sheet of toasted nori seaweed on a bamboo sushi mat or wax paper. Wet your hands. Spread a layer of rice about 1/4" thick on the 2/3 of the nori sheet closest to you, leaving about 1/2" margin around the sides. Smear umemboshi plum paste, wasabi paste, American brown mustard or white horseradish sauce thinly across the rice. Lay thin pieces of desired fillings (see suggestions below) across, going past the rice to the side edges of the nori. Smear a little water on the uncovered edge of nori farthest from you. Start rolling the nori up and away from you, pressing tightly with your fingers until you reach the wetted edge. Firm the roll with your bamboo mat or wax paper. (A bamboo mat will make a nicer looking roll.) Lay the roll aside a moment for the nori to soften before cutting into five smaller cylinders with a very sharp, wetted knife.

Suggested fillings:
a) a smear of American brown mustard, ham, egg pancake (see the rice ball recipe), spinach
b) white horseradish sauce, shredded leftover roast beef or pork, julienned red bell pepper, scallions
c) umemboshi plum paste, julienned carrot, cucumber and snow peas
d) wasabi paste, julienned carrot, cucumber, avocado strips and a sprinkling of sesame seeds
e) light miso paste, pea, buckwheat or sunflower sprouts,shredded leftover dark meat chicken, julienned radish
f) umemboshi plum paste, shredded beef marinated in mirin, soy sauce and sake, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, scallions
g) white horseradish sauce, smoked trout (Sunrise Asian Grocery in Eugene has good prices), julienned cucumber, scallions,
h) any julienned veggies you have - experiment and have fun!

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Oregon's Vehicle Fee and Gas Tax Hikes

This isn't about food, although it could potentially have an affect on food prices in stores.  It's about politics, my second biggest interest.

I am both a paid and volunteer petitioner for a campaign to bring Oregon's vehicle fees and taxes to ballot.  I sent the following op ed piece to Eugene's Register Guard and will send versions with less Eugene/bike path commentary to another eight or so papers tonight. 

You may have noticed petitioners at gas stations in Portland, Eugene and Roseburg and wondered if they were protesting the federal gas tax increase to pay for the BP oil catastrophe.
Despite the coincidence of timing, the petitioners are addressing vehicle fee and fuel tax hikes in Oregon. In May, 2009, the Oregon Legislature quietly passed HB 2001, the largest increase in vehicle registration fees, over the road fees and fuel tax in state history. The Bill is called The Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act, a warm and fuzzy title for a bill that will cost us all money now, but will provide temporary construction jobs beginning 2013 and 2014 after two or three years of traffic and alternative use studies.

Registration fees for non-government vehicles increased by 59-104%. Over the road fees for commercial truckers increased 24.4-24.6%. The state gas and diesel taxes will also increase by 25% by January 1, 2011. HB 2001 also allows Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Lane and Marion Counties to raise registration fees beginning in 2013.

Truckers and industries dependent upon them are especially burdened by these fee and tax increases during a recession. Already struggling businesses are likely to close. Retail goods and groceries are likely to become more expensive.

A loophole in the Oregon Constitution currently allows the Legislature to raise these fees and taxes without a public vote. Campaign to End Highway Robbery, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Silverton, filed an initiative petition (IP66) to require legislators to put all proposed vehicle fee and fuel tax increases in excess of 3% to a public vote, retroactive one year to include HB 2001.

When legislators have to explain plans to spend tax and fee increases, they generally spend less and distribute revenue more fairly. A thorough reading of HB 2001 shows the representatives and senators who sponsored the bill strongly favored their own districts. Although the entire state will have to pay increased fees and taxes, the Portland metro area gets an enormous chunk of the revenue. Budgeted plans for Portland total $548 million out of $943 million. Portland's population is approximately half of the entire state’s, so on the surface, that would seem almost reasonable. However, the bill's other projects planned for Portland do not yet have estimates, including a bridge over the Willamette, traffic and emissions reduction studies and bike paths. Representatives Edwards and Hunt and Senator Starr, all sponsors of the bill, happen to live in the Portland metro area. Two other sponsors, Representative Berger and Senator Courtney, are just outside Portland in Salem.  Another sponsor, Senator Metsger, serves Clackamas County east towards Hood River; his district will also benefit. 

Moreover, the remaining money is not shared equitably. Although all coastal residents who use motor vehicles will have to pay increased vehicle fees and taxes, the only planned improvement to Highway 101 is at the junction of Highway 6, which goes to Portland. Highway 101 is a major tourist attraction as well as an often used route from Washington to California; it is riddled with potholes and needs guard rails in many places to prevent errant vehicles from plummeting down cliffs to the ocean. However, the only repair, aforementioned, is in the district of Senator Johnson, a sponsor of the bill.

The following counties will receive no benefit from the tax and fee hikes: Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, Polk, Benton, Curry, Wasco, Gilliam, Wheeler and Josephine Counties.

One of the sponsors of HB 2001, Representative Bentz, serves the very desolate Baker, Malheur, Harney and Grant Counties, with a combined population of only 49,000 people. Bentz secured 15.5 million in road (as opposed to highway) repairs; another 15.5 million in additional repairs is under consideration. On Chandler Lane alone, Baker County will receive 4.5 million dollars worth of repairs. Compare that with areas in which no one sponsored the bill, like Douglas County (population 104,000), which gets the shoulder on I-5 widened near Sutherlin for a truck climbing lane, at a cost of 4.1 million and will share some sort of improvement (10 million) on curvy portions of Highway 42 with Coos County.  Not surprisingly, Douglas County Representatives Hanna and Freeman and Senator Kruse all voted against this bill. 

The Eugene/Springfield metropolitan area, with 350,000 residents, seven times more than in Representative Bentz's entire district, will receive only improvements to Beltline Highway at the junctions of I-5 and Delta Highway. The State wants the Eugene/Springfield metro area to conduct alternative land use studies and present findings to the Legislative Assembly by July 1, 2013. The goal is to "accommodate planned population and employment growth while achieving a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less". Before you start envisioning a glorious future for Eugene with a subway, The Departments of Transportation and Land Conservation and Development intend to provide "technical assistance, grant support and guidance" but Eugene is to raise funds to pay the bulk of the expenses. Graciously, the State says that the Eugene/Springfield metro area is not required to complete these planned projects if adequate funds are not raised. The likely result is another bike path situated where no one will use it for commuting.

After disparaging bike path plans twice, I should probably state my own political views. I consider myself a libertarian environmentalist. I visited Congress the first time when I was only eight years old, lobbying to save the 804 trail in Yachats from casino development. Since then I have written thousands of letters and hundreds of articles in defense of sustainable communities and farms. I believe locals are better stewards of the environment than multinational corporations or governments will ever be. I am in favor of road improvements and bike paths, but I believe the public should be consulted regularly in the planning and budgeting. Town hall meetings are an excellent way to learn where the worst intersections are, where bike paths are needed for commuting (rather than recreation) and how much we are willing to pay for projects. I suspect that the lawmakers who place bike paths in lovely park settings are either thinking of photo opportunities or have never actually ridden a bike to work. Especially in urban environments where cars parallel park, biking is very dangerous. A person in a parked car could open their door at any second, sending a bike flying into the path of a moving vehicle. Drivers are nervous trying to pass bikers on crowded streets.

Commuters want bike paths located in congested areas to increase safety for both bicyclists and drivers, to encourage green transportation and to reduce competition for parking. At least one major north/south road and one east/west road downtown and by University of Oregon should have bike paths. Roads with wide sidewalks decorated with large ornamental planters are an excellent first choice; planters can always be relocated. A second choice would be to replace some parallel parking spaces with bike lanes and racks. Construction can move one block at a time to disrupt traffic as little as possible. The increased visibility of store windows and signs and the ability to attract perhaps ten cyclists to park in front of a store or restaurant where previously only one car could park should more than make up for the inconvenience of construction to existing businesses.

While collecting signatures on the petition to bring fuel tax and registration fee increases to the ballot, I have repeatedly heard Lane County residents express anger over frivolous projects that waste vast sums of money. Pretty, rather than useful, bike paths are frequently mentioned, as is the plan to rename Beltline Highway exits. Voters are willing to accept the current state fuel tax of 24 cents per gallon, which is 4 cents higher than average, because Oregon does not have a sales tax. However, nearly everyone feels that raising taxes and fees during a recession is a bad political move.

Lawmakers, we live here, too. We pay your salary as well as the funds you use for your projects. We demand the right to participate in planning how our tax and fee dollars are spent. We will prove it by collecting more than enough signatures to bring HB 2001 to ballot.

Larisa Sparrowhawk

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bento Box Lunches - Part 1, the box and rice balls

I vividly remember lunch in elementary school and summer camps in the 1970's. Almost all the kids had healthy but "boring" lunches or unhealthy but "fun" lunches. There were many complaints and trades. Now I know better, but I used to send my kids to school with a granola bar, an apple and a cube of cheese. I was sure I was doing the right thing, but whenever I opened the door to their rooms, I was shocked to find Mountain Dew cans and empty candy bar wrappers. Japanese mothers know how to make their children eat even the good stuff!

First, you need attractive packaging. I know of at least one Eugene Asian food store that carries bento boxes in bright colors and/or animal shapes; so does To see one shaped like a panda, view ; Archie McPhee in Seattle sells 1950s American style lunch boxes in a pirate themes (; you can also purchase a pirate stamp to use on toast. Maybe you have your own old lunch box in the attic or can buy one used and paint it (use enamel and only paint the outside).

Inside the box, arrange small amounts of several differently colored items. If you use an American box, you will also need a smaller, resealable Tupperware-type container inside. Popular items are sliders, meatballs on rice, donburi, vegetable sushi, flavored rice shaped like animals, omelet rolls, coleslaw, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, orange segments, tiny containers of pudding, green vegetables seasoned so many kids will eat them, cooked apples, sweet potatoes, pineapple rings, pineapple coleslaw with yogurt, red bell pepper strips, potato salad, little sausages and cucumber slices.

Flavored rice balls with treats hidden inside are very popular in bento box lunches. For centuries, the Japanese used exclusively sweet brown rice, which is naturally sweet and sticky, but now they use primarily white rice and corn syrup. Sweet brown rice is available in some health food stores. You can substitute short grain brown rice. White sushi rice with a little honey will also work. I am giving directions for brown sweet or short grain rice cooked in an electric rice cooker. If you use white rice, use a little less water. If you boil it, use more water. You are looking for a slightly gluey texture, where the grains easily stick together and pack well in your hands. This takes approximately 2 3/4 cups water to 1 cup brown sweet rice and a pinch of salt.

Popular treats to hide are chunks of ham or pineapple (or both); shredded carrot/raisin slaw; pickled plums; shredded beef stir fried with green onions; smoked salmon; and dried apricots. Depending on what filling you use, flavor your rice with a little cinnamon and honey; garlic, ginger and soy sauce; 5 spice powder; or curry powder. Wet your hands. Pick up a handful of cooled rice, pack it firmly into a ball, push an indentation in it with a thumb, insert the treat, close up the hole and then roll the ball in sesame seeds if you like.

Outer roll treatments are often decorative. Cut a sheet of nori (sushi wrapper) in strips and press the strips into an x on top of the rice ball. Or cut nori in a circle, cut an x in the center, press the nori onto the rice ball, pull up the edges of the x and sprinkle sesame seeds or dulse (a red seaweed) there. You can also make a very thin egg pancake to use as a wrapper. Beat one egg thoroughly, add a dash of salt and pour into a very hot, lightly oiled (peanut or sesame are best) non-stick skillet. Tilt the skillet so the egg is very evenly and thinly distributed, cook until just set, lift and flip over carefully and cook for just a few seconds on the other side. When the pancake is cooled, you can use it to wrap the rice ball in, tying it with a ribbon or a wilted green onion top.

Once you get the basic technique down, you can make little rice ball geisha dolls (with nori and egg kimonos, seaweed or egg hair, currant eyes, etc.), bear and cat heads and other fun shapes with your children! Save your pink pickled ginger from take out sushi for decorative noses, ears and lips! Amazon sells rice molds and also little stainless steel molds for cutting out egg, carrots, ham and other items to use as decorations.

Next week: simple, rolled vegetarian sushi!

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Paella Peppers


Paella Peppers by Larisa Sparrowhawk

If you crave paella, but don't want to spend $25 to feed a family of four, this recipe provides all the flavor for very little money if you find red bell peppers on sale. Cut 8 red bell peppers in half, lengthwise and remove seeds and stems. Dip quickly in boiling water, about half a minute each to soften the skins.

Cook 1 1/4 c. brown rice until tender in the juice from a 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes and the juice from a bottle of clam juice plus 1 3/4 c. chicken broth. Season with 1/8 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/2-1 tsp. turmeric and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Mix in 1/8 c. drained diced tomatoes, a thawed 4 oz. package of frozen salad shrimp, 1/2 c. diced leftover chicken, 2 diced scallions and a small can of clams if desired. Stuff this mixture into bell pepper halves, sprinkle with paprika and bake at 400 degrees until lightly browned. It's not traditional, but you may wish to sprinkle the tops with parmesan cheese before baking.

These also reheat nicely for lunch at the office.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Reminders of the Nazi Occupation

This article was published in VICFA Voice, a newsletter for Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association and has been reprinted dozens of times for VICFA’s marketing purposes. United Caprine News also printed it in 2005.

Reminders of the Nazi Occupation
By Larisa Sparrowhawk

Mary Van der Woude-Hill and James Hill are preserving many acres of Fauquier County farmland and recently restored a beautiful 1800’s house on one of their two properties. They raise attractive heritage breeds of poultry, cattle, goats and sheep on pasture. They do not grow any genetically engineered crops or spray pesticides that might drift onto nearby properties or pollute streams. So why is Virginia taking them to court?

When I drove up, a half dozen floppy-eared Nubian goat babies stretched their necks out of the first paddock fence to watch me get out of my truck. I let the kids nibble on my fingers a moment before knocking on the door. Mary invited me into the living room, where we admired two new goat kids in a wooden box next to a cozy woodstove. James sat down next to them and the kids busied themselves for the next hour and a half trying to climb out of the box and into his lap.

Mary grew up on a farm in Holland during the Nazi Occupation. Although she came to America in 1953, when she was 20, she still has an endearing accent. I was surprised to learn the Hills were in their seventies since they look and work like they are much younger.

Mary met James in California; they married and moved to Virginia to start a farm together. Mary bought some dairy goats, milked them and learned to make cheese. After several years, Mary started selling cheese at Archwood Greens Barns, a Sunday farmers’ market in The Plains.

The Hills researched Virginia state milk processing requirements and spent over $23,000 constructing a state approved building separate from their farm and home. It has heat and air conditioning, stainless steel sinks and counters, concrete floors with drains and a refrigerator dedicated to milk products. The Virginia Department of Agriculture (VDACS) now wants Mary to use a specific pasteurization machine that costs $8,000.00, heats the milk up to 165 degrees and requires a minimum of seven gallons of milk to operate. With only six does, Mary would have to store her milk longer than she likes in order to acquire enough. She showed food inspectors two alternatives:  a stainless steel pasteurizer designed for small dairies and her own stove. She asked, “Why would I buy an $8,000.00 machine when it does not heat to the temperature I need to make my cheese – 185 degrees?” For years, she has achieved excellent results with a stove, a stainless steel pot and a good thermometer.

Virginia food inspectors have listed her lack of an “approved” pasteurizer as a violation every time they have made a report, even though a scientific test that checks for pasteurization proves Mary is heating the milk to a temperature above the legal requirements. If the new and more restrictive regulations VDACS is pushing at the General Assembly become effective, neither Mary’s method of heating the milk nor the building in which she processes it would meet requirements.

In 1999 two food inspectors arrived at the Hill’s doorstep – with an armed sheriff! Mary was immediately reminded of growing up in Holland when Nazi police showed up unannounced to terrorize the citizenry. She asked why the sheriff was there and was told “to protect the inspectors”.  She reminded them of the Fourth Amendment, which states, in full:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers
and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported
by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched
and the persons or things to be seized.

Since the inspectors did not have an appointment, the Hills did not allow them into their house. The sheriff threatened them with a misdemeanor, but he and the two inspectors left.

A few days later, the Hills received a letter from VDACS asking them to explain themselves. An attorney who offered to represent the Hills pro bono arranged for the inspectors to return at an appointed time and was present when the inspectors returned. The inspectors spent four hours searching the milk processing building and the house, even opening the bathroom medicine cabinet!

The attorney required the inspectors to buy the cheese at market prices, to take one sample for the Commissioner of Agriculture, one for the state lab and to leave a sample for the Hills so they could have their own tests performed. The inspectors sent the cheese by UPS in a little cooler without dry ice to the state laboratory. If the shipping had been delayed, would the cheese have failed inspection? Fortunately, the cheese was frozen, arrived adequately chilled and passed testing with no findings of pathogens, filth or bacteria. The cheese also passed a subsequent inspection.

The Hills are not against inspection per se. They have never turned away an inspector who had an appointment.  They point out that other states allow small farmers to register with their state’s department of agriculture. The farms are inspected either by appointment or when there is a complaint. Twenty three states allow sales of uninspected, unpasteurized milk or milk products at farms and farmers’ markets. Virginia, however, is extreme. In Virginia, although police need a search warrant to come into the home of a drug dealer, VDACS inspectors often come to homes and farms unannounced.

VDACS has initiated prosecutions in Virginia Court against three other families who refused to allow warrantless inspections of their homes. All of these cases were thrown out on the refusal charge, but are pending on other Fourth Amendment Constitutional issues.

In 2003, inspectors showed up unannounced at the Hill’s during breakfast once and also during a birthday party for a grandchild.  The Hills refused entry both times. Then someone tipped them off that the Hills were hosting a program for sixteen children from Wakefield School on July 9th at 10:30 am. The inspectors arrived that morning, again without an appointment. Mary said they were busy with the children, but the inspectors insisted there would be an inspection that very moment. James told them they were trespassing so they left.

Shortly thereafter, the Hills each received a summons saying they had violated three inspections requests. They were summoned to General District Court October 9, 2003 before Judge Foley. There was no court reporter present. This particular judge normally handles small violations like traffic tickets, not Constitutional issues. When the Hills quoted the Fourth Amendment, the judge told them to stop “hiding behind the flag”. He entered the Ruling of the Court on the back of the original summonses. James Hill’s ruling was “Not Guilty” and Mary’s ruling was “Guilty of _____”. It literally had a blank line, as if he needed time to think of a verdict. James was fined $314.00 and received a 30-day suspended jail sentence. Mary was fined $250.00 with a 30-day suspended jail sentence.

Christine Solem, a small farm activist who co-owns a goat dairy in Charlottesville, was present to assist the Hills.  She recommended they appeal immediately on the grounds that the Hills had a Constitutional right to refuse entry from inspectors who had no warrant. The Hills obtained copies of the summonses and appealed before leaving the building.

At the Hill’s Motion to Dismiss hearing on January 22, 2004, they were shocked to discover that someone had used white out to change James Hill’s verdict to “Guilty as Charged”! Their attorney, Norman Lamson of Charlottesville, told the appeals court judge that a higher court cannot legally change the opinion of a lower court, nor can a lower court change the opinion of a higher court. Judge Parker said he himself did not change the record. However, he refused to admit anything was wrong.

The Hills later learned a court clerk had changed the summons without consulting any judge. The Hills decided not to pursue the matter since the judge said he would hold an evidentiary hearing which would prove James had been found guilty.

At the Motion to Dismiss hearing, the first step in the appeals process, the prosecutor asked Mary, “Are you aware that contaminated goat cheese can kill people?” Mary did not know how to answer; if she said yes, it would sound like an admission of guilt, but if she said no, she would sound ignorant. She was silent.  Later, she wished she had said, “Not on my farm! We are inspected!”  There have never been any complaints of people becoming sick after eating their cheese.

Judge Parker denied the Hill’s Motion to Dismiss. With the financial help of Christine Solem, the Hills' attorney filed a Writ of Prohibition, which, if granted, would have blocked, on Constitutional grounds, any further proceedings in the case. The writ was denied the day before the trial, and the Hills went back to court on April 8th.

A VDACS employee who had bought cheese from Mary “undercover” at the market testified at both trials. The purpose of his sting operation was unclear, since the Hills were never legally prohibited from selling their cheese. Mary indignantly told me later, “They act like I am selling drugs or prostitution!”

The prosecution asked Mary, “How did you learn to make cheese?  By trial and error?” Mary answered yes, although what she meant was over the course of years, some learning in Holland, some here in the States, many total years before she sold even one ounce of cheese. The prosecution loved her partial answer and implied that her customers had been lucky to survive.

Legal precedents exist for finding the Hills not guilty: The United States Supreme Court ruled in Camara v. Municipal Court of the City and County of San Francisco, 387 U.S. 523 (1967), that a person may not Constitutionally be convicted for refusing to allow inspectors into their residence without a warrant. In Christine Solem’s Declaratory Action in Albemarle Circuit Court, Judge Paul Peatross enjoined VDACS agents from entering her property for an inspection without a warrant.  The Hills were convicted of refusing to allow inspectors in, a "crime" with no victim.

I called Mary the day they lost their appeal to ask how she was holding up. She sounded dejected. Her health had been shaky of late.  She was tired of expending so much effort fighting for her way of life, only to lose repeatedly. The only good news was that the Circuit Court reduced the fines to $100.00 each and dropped all jail time.

“So now,” Mary sighed, “We just sit and wait for them to show up again, those rude inspectors, interrupting our breakfast and prowling through our stuff.”

The Hills are considering appealing the decision on the Writ of Prohibition and the Circuit Court Decision.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Homemade bread, dogs and math

I am scheduled for an entrance exam for college next week and I'm dreading the math portion.  Despite the fact that I have held various bookkeeping type jobs over the years, I was never even an average math student.

Somehow, maybe because I am easily distractable, thinking about the exam reminded me of a dog named Molly who lived with my parents at their house in Virginia.  Molly was a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, a curly, wrinkly, worried looking little thing.  (To see what she looked like, click here:

Molly rarely left Mom's side and Mom babytalked to her in a way I found silly (even though I now do it to a little rescue dog of my own).  Mom fed Molly commercial dog food, gave her scraps after she was done eating her own meal AND regularly made "dog stew" out of leftovers .  This dog was NOT mistreated.

Mom was an excellent baker and made Dad two loaves of whole wheat bread every Sunday.  While the bread cooled on the counter, she also cooked a large beef roast.  She cut the bread into 10 pieces and the roast into 5 pieces.  Dad would take these downstairs and sit in front of the tv to watch the news while he made sandwiches to take to work during the week.

Periodically, Dad would be annoyed because Mom "couldn't count" and only gave him nine pieces of bread!  Mom is a retired teacher, and no matter what you think about public education these days, she could most certainly count to ten.  (In fact, if we looked alike, I'd wonder if I could bribe her to take the math test for me.)

Mom thought Dad was mindlessly eating a piece of bread while he was watching the tube.  This went on for months. 

I was living two hours away when the Mom suddenly "forgot how to count". 

I came to visit on a Sunday and wondered why there were crumbs all over the closet floor in my old bedroom. 

Dad is now deceased.  I enjoy the memory of his face when I asked him who had been eating in my bedroom.  He looked puzzled a moment and then he laughed.  I suppose he never accused Mom of being unable to count again.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Kiosk Coffee at Home, Part Two

The first part, published in Becky Holm's Douglas County News, can be seen a few posts back if you click on the column to the left. 


Kiosk Coffee at Home, Part Two by Larisa Sparrowhawk,

Last week we tried several blended coffee drinks using frozen bananas, cream and coconut cream. A reader suggested I try yogurt, so I fiddled with various combinations but unfortunately was not pleased with them. It takes a LOT of additives to sweeten and thicken a drink blended with yogurt to rival $4.00 coffee confections. One and a half frozen very ripe bananas per tall blended drink provide a lot of sweetness and creaminess for only 120 calories, eliminating or nearly eliminating the need for any additional cream or sweetener.

Today we will try both hot and cold drinks.

When I was in college in the 80's, I had a roommate who had visited Italy. When everyone else was drinking powdered Lipton ice tea mix, she and I felt soave, indeed drinking strong coffee on ice.

Italian Vanilla Iced Coffee
Stir 1 tsp. instant expresso, 1/4 tsp. vanilla and 2 tsp. brown sugar per two cups of strong hot coffee. Refrigerate. Pour over ice cubes, preferably made of coffee. Stir in half and half if desired.
Black Forest Coffee
Stir 1 tsp. chocolate coffee syrup and 2-3 tbsp. black cherry juice concentrate (available in the natural food section of Sherm's or at natural food stores) into a mug of strong, hot coffee. Stir in 2-3 tbsp. half and half or float 2-3 tbsp. cream from the top of a can of coconut milk on top of the coffee.

Cafe' Mexicano
Stir 1 tsp. chocolate coffee syrup, 1/4 tsp. brandy extract and a shot of Tabasco into a mug of strong, hot coffee. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Middle Eastern Coffee, Iced or Hot
Mix 1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and cardamom per 2 scoops of coffee grounds before brewing. Serve coffee hot with honey if desired, or refrigerate and pour over ice.

Middle Eastern Blended Coffee
Blend 2 cups of the above refrigerated coffee with 3 frozen overripe bananas and 2-4 tbsp. of cream from the top of a can of coconut milk. Serves two.

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