Monday, July 21, 2014

Gulls & Home

Our going away party: One year ago today!

I sat on the balcony at usually the time where the sun blazes right into my eyes, but today it's different. The sky was prematurely grey with clouds looming over the mountains in the distance where the sun typically retreats behind every night. There was a patch of a brilliant yellowish pink that peaked out a bit in between the mountains and the clouds, and I knew that somewhere in Washington someone was getting a view of a beautiful sunset.

A sunset from the balcony, on a much more impressive day

Without the fantastic display of colors to distract me, I watched the seagulls, whom I'm convince have houses on every roof in Victoria. Some glide lazily along their way before they flap briefly before touching down on the Tudor-styled building across the way, and others flap rhythmically, as if unable to catch a break in the wind. I now love being surrounded by seagulls; they remind me that we really are living in a shore town. Usually I only heard their calls about twice a year when I went down the shore in Jersey, but now I hear them every day.

Sunrise at the Jersey shore, 2010

The beach here is so different. There's no mile-long stretches of umbrellas, dozens of happily screaming children, or people battling the waves at the end of summer for hours. There's no boardwalk, no "Wildwood '04" hoodies, no loud rap music played for the singular pleasure of teenagers. No, here there's little waves with patches of rocky shores mixed with kelp, drift wood, and rocky formations. A beach comber might find about a dozen or so wanderers like themselves, or perhaps an avid reader plopped on a make-shift driftwood seat. When I used to see straight lines, now I have diagonals.

Dallas Road beach in Victoria

There's only ten days until Jon and I leave our rocky shores for smooth, sandy ones. Ten days until we leave our temporary home temporarily to remember what we little details have forgotten. The unfamiliar has become so common place here so quickly, only within a year, but I now long to see something that is known deep within my bones, and is burrowed in my heart. I love living here, but it's time to visit home.

Bay-side sunset adventure.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Easy Cold Brew Iced Coffee

Fuzzy Mmmmm!

Whoops-- it's been way too long since I've blogged! Sorry about that, everyone (all five of you, I assume). Today I have a tried and true recipe, and my first liquid recipe: Cold Brew iced coffee! And perfect timing, too-- it's been quite warm here and boiling on the East Coast! So turn a blind eye to your hot and steamy coffee brewer and set your sights on some delicious, bold, and refreshing coffee!

Cold Brew has been a happening buzz word in the coffee world, but few people really know the difference or why it's making such a big hit in cafes. While I don't know the exact science behind the perks of cold brewed coffee, some things make sense to me: making a large batch of concentrated coffee is a lot less messy than overflowing your coffee brewer, cold things should be made cold (I'm guessing on this one), and making a batch of concentrate will also help your coffee to have a full flavor, rather than just pouring some coffee over ice and severely watering it down in the process.

This blog was partly inspired by one of my favorite bloggers who featured a how-to on cold brew, but she made it *way* too complicated! So here's an easy recipe for you readers!

Happy family of ingredients with our local star, Discovery Coffee!

Wet, vaguely messy ingredients. 

Stir, baby, stir!

Drain, baby drain!

Draining part deux.

Voila! Done.

4 Cups cold water
1 1/3 Cups ground coffee (medium-fine, as for a regular brewer)

1) Add coffee to your container of choice (large Mason jars work great, but any sort of pitcher is fine).  I spooned most of my coffee into the jar to make a bit less of a mess, but you could use a funnel. Add the water and stir until well combined. I used a spoon stick to create less of a mess.
2) Cover and leave out for 8 - 12 hours at room temperature.
3) Using either a cheese cloth, fine dish towel, or nut milk bag (as pictured), drain the grounds from the coffee twice. First, use a large-ish pot to pour the contents of your brewing jar through the draining device of choice. Then, drain again into the initial container of choice for safe keeping for up to a week in the fridge (see photo "draining part deux").

For making coffee!
As a reminder this is a concentrate, so you don't want to drink this stuff straight-up unless you have a stomach of steel. 

1) I use one part coffee concentrate to two parts cold water, but that can be adjusted per your preference.
2) Add sweetener (I use honey because it dissolves easily in cold water) and preferred milk if desired.
3) Add ice cubes and sip happily, hopefully in the shade with a good book.

Yummy in my tummy!

Recipe via Red Book Magazine.