Saturday, November 1, 2008

Coffee Tasting in Door County

At Door County Coffee & Tea Co., coffee tasting is a diversion enhanced by a custom 'placemat' complete with mock coffee stains to mark cup placement. During our visit we tried four brews, from mellow Breakfast Blend to robust espresso - accompanied by homemade biscotti. What a great way to start the day!

Vivacious owner, Vickie Wilson, opened the company 15 years ago. Today, Door County Coffee & Tea Co. receives 14 palates of green coffee beans from around the world, every two weeks and then Wilson and her employees roast approximately 2,000 pounds of beans each day. Half of the coffee they sell is flavored; in fact, the company offers more than 80 flavors that range from Cafe Mexicano to Cherry Cream.

But there's more to Door County Coffee & Tea Co. than coffee (and tea). Sample their mouthwatering pastries, delicious soup, or a hefty sandwich, and browse through the gift shop full of locally produced sweets and savories, gardening paraphernalia and cocktail napkins. Then buy some freshly ground coffee as a stimulating souvenir of a pleasant visit.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Warm Apple Cinnamon Compote

Bored with my typical breakfast and wanting a new recipe to share, I created a healthy combination of fall's best apples, natural sweetener, fiber, and protein. It was filling and full of flavor.

If you're not a big cinnamon lover like I am, back off the amount by about 1/2 a teaspoon - but the honey does do a good job of counterbalancing this big flavor. There will also be leftover warm topping so feel free to add more to each serving.

Warm Apple Cinnamon Compote
serves 2

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups thin-slice apples with skin on
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Melt butter over medium high heat. Add apples and coat thoroughly. Add honey and coat again. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until soft. Add cornstarch and stir until liquid thickens, 1-2 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and combine thoroughly. Remove from heat.

Warm topping:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oatmeal
2 tablespoons walnuts, broken in small pieces

Melt butter over medium high heat. Add oatmeal and walnut pieces, turn and cook on low for five minutes.

To serve:
2 teaspoons raisins
1 teaspoon honey

For each serving, place 1/2 cup of apple mixture in a small bowl. Sprinkle with one tablespoon warm topping and 1 teaspoon raisins. Drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon honey.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Remembering Washington's White Tiger

I was sad to learn the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, in Washington, D.C., had to euthanize its only white tiger early this month. Taj apparently had significant trouble walking, due to terrible pain resulting from osteoarthritis that was diagnosed several years ago.

A popular fixture at the zoo since 1986, he was a joy to watch when we encountered him during a family trip with young cousins in tow, not long after he arrived. And, when Taj leaned against a tree in his enclosure so he could scratch his torso, the kids squealed with delight as my camera captured his antics.

I'm sure the National Zoo and its patrons already miss him .