French presses are perfect for strong coffee lovers

A French press is perfect for those us of who, like me, love a good cup of strong coffee to get their day started right. French presses produce a stronger flavored coffee because, unlike paper filters, their metal filter screens do not absorb the coffee bean’s oils. That remaining coffee oil makes your morning brew taste that much more robust and full bodied, and that’s why French press coffee has been a favorite among coffee lovers for a good long time! 

French Presses are from France, Right?

We don’t know exactly how long people have been using French presses, or exactly where they were invented. Given their name though, you’d think it’d be pretty safe to assume they were invented in France right? 

Not so fast!

While it is possible that a rudimentary version may have come from France, the first patent for a coffee press that resembles the ones we use today was actually filed in Italy in 1929. After making several updates and modifications, a Swiss designer named Faliero Bondanini filed an additional patent in 1958 and went on to produce his press in France under the name Chambord. That’s likely why we know this simple, user friendly coffee brewer as a “French” press.

The Classic Chambord:

Some presses are now made with ceramic or stainless steel brewing vessels. The glass Chambord style is a real classic. It’s still the mostly widely known, popular style 60 years later. The Chambord’s glass vessel, metal lid and plunger, and round handle is all synonymous with coffee presses in general. The well-known Danish company Bodum eventually bought the rights to the name and factory. They went on to make it one of the most well recognized home-brewing coffee makers in the world.

User Friendly Coffee:

No matter what the origins of the French Press are, their simplicity and ease of use is their greatest appeal. All these years later, they’re still popular all around the world! They require no disposable filters, no electricity, and no scientific know-how. Just add coarse coffee grounds and hot water, stir, & wait four minutes. Then press down the plunger and pour out a perfect cup of boldly flavored coffee! It couldn’t be any easier!

To see a French press in action and learn more about how easy they are to use, please watch the video tutorial below. 

Bittercube Blackstrap Bitters

Bittercube’s Story:

Bittercube Bitters were created in Milwaukee, WI, in 2009. They make all their bitters by hand. All flavors feature naturally sourced ingredients, and never contain any extracts or oils. The process is different for each of their bitters, with batches going through various phases on their way to completion, taking anywhere from two to five weeks depending on variety.

Bittercube has grown from humble beginnings, starting with one gallon jars of bitters and growing to now producing batches in large maceration barrels. No matter how large the batch though, the careful handcrafted process has stayed the same.

Blackstrap Bitters:

Bittercube used two different types of molasses to create their Blackstrap Bitters. Double A grade and a Blackstrap for a robust, full-bodied molasses flavor and aroma. They also feature notes of clove, sassafras and sarsaparilla. 

They’re ideal for rum and whiskey cocktails, especially cocktails featuring robust, strongly flavored spirits. They’re also great in warm or hot cocktails, and fall or winter cocktails. These rich bitters sit perfectly atop egg white cocktails and provide intense aroma and visual appeal.

Lost in the Blue Light

1 oz. Apple Brandy
3/4 oz. fres lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. Ginger Liqueur
3 dashes Bittercube Blackstrap Bitters
top with 1 oz. Cava

Combine Apple brandy, lemon juice, simple syrup, ginger liqueur, & blackstrap bitters in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake until frosty and strain into a flute glass. Top with cava and garnish with a lemon curl. Enjoy!

Salad spinners can do so much more than just spin salad

The salad spinner is an ideal tool if you’re trying to get in shape for the new year. A salad spinner is anything but a one trick pony though. In addition to helping you wash and dry delicate leafy greens for salads, these handy tools can be used for a variety of kitchen tasks. 

Clean herbs & braising greens

You can rinse, wash, and spin fresh herbs and hearty braising greens dry in a salad spinner too! Use it exactly the same way you would with more delicate salad greens. 

Clean other veggies

Craggy vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower can be difficult to clean and dry because of their irregular shape. Leeks are notorious for being filled with sand and dirt. They can be a real pain in the neck to clean, and even more annoying to dry. Use your salad spinner bowl to soak and wash these veggies (repeatedly in the case of leeks) and then spin them dry as usual. 

Dry pasta

Pasta needs to be dried well for dishes like pasta salad or baked pasta casseroles. This way you won’t water down your dressings or recipes. This can be especially challenging with tubular pastas where water may get trapped. With a salad spinner you can remove the water from your pasta without fear of smooshing or breaking it. 

Rinse and drain canned beans

If you don’t have a colander handy, the one built into your salad spinner is perfect for rinsing and draining canned beans. You can even spin heartier beans dry to remove every last drop of moisture. This is perfect for roasting crunchy chick peas for snacks or salads! 

Remove moisture from grated veggies

Grated zucchini for quick breads or muffins, or grated potatoes for latkes or hash browns can release a lot of moisture. It’s important to squeeze most of that moisture out before cooking so your recipes don’t turn out rubbery and watered down. You can even use your salad spinner to drain moisture from salted eggplant slices or spiral sliced veggies.  

Clean delicate berries

Fresh berries are usually too delicate to be spun dry. You can still use your salad spinner though! Gently wash your berries in the spinner bowl, then drain them with the colander insert. 

Strain seeds from canned tomatoes

All you need to do to remove the seeds from canned tomatoes is break them up a little with your hands and give them a few spins. 

Defrost frozen foods

Your salad spinner is perfect for draining the moisture from frozen shrimp as it defrosts, and then spinning them dry just before you put them into your shrimp cocktail. You can also spin out the excess moisture from frozen spinach too!

Proof yeast doughs

You won’t need to do any spinning here, but the clear bowl of a salad spinner is the perfect vessel for keeping an eye on yeast dough as it rises without having to lift the damp towel from the top of the bowl. 

Wash delicates or dry swim clothes

Our last tip doesn’t even involve food, but a salad spinner is perfect for washing delicates at home, or for helping get the moisture out of wet swim suits. Just be sure to wash the spinner well before using it again in the kitchen!