February 24, 2014


Sometimes we'll buy food that we don't really know how to use: a new vegetable, an unpronounceable spice, a strange cut of meat. We research it when we get home, then make a plan based on whatever else we have at hand. I think it stresses Micah out sometimes!, but it also breaks up the monotony of our meals, and makes me feel like I'm on Chopped or something. Sometimes, you just need to spice things up in the kitchen... terrible pun intended.

On a much smaller scale, I recently bought whole coffee beans instead of ground. Usually I buy them at a local coffee place and have them coarsely-ground for our French press... but that's not really in the budget right now. So when I found some nice-looking whole beans at Kroger, I was completely unfazed by the fact that we don't own a coffee grinder. I got home and promptly started Googling things like, "grinding coffee beans blender processor totally okay" and fell into a deep coffee-snob rabbit hole of the preferred methods for grinding (and storing, and preparing) coffee. I now know way too much about the friction heat caused by different processors and grinders, and how they affect the beans' oils, and how beans should preferably be ground or crushed rather than cut.

I also found out that a legit way of grinding beans is to use a mortar and pestle, which (drumroll) I happen to have. So romantic! Such a pain in the ass! Potentially worth it though! The next morning, I tried it out. It was easier and took less time than I thought it would. I had a lot of control over how coarse or fine the grind was, and the smell was amazing, and the coffee was amazing. So much more muchness than the pre-ground stuff we'd been used to... I also just felt super-cool using a mortar and pestle.

It might not be an ideal long-term solution, but I've decided to embrace and enjoy grinding our coffee beans this way. I love recipes that take a long time, or have a long-winded process... or maybe I'm as committed to my coffee as Micah is to his biscuits. A new personal goal of his has been to perfect a from-scratch biscuit recipe. He's slowly becoming a Southern grandma – and I love it. These were buttermilk biscuits; perfect with hand-crushed, French-pressed coffee before a sunny Saturday full of antique and thift-store shopping. (No really, we did that - I'm not just continuing the grandma bit. He also made a pitcher of sweet tea yesterday. I can't wait to marry him.)