Roasted by Social Coffee & Tea Company on January 6, 2014
Sampled 10 days after roast – Review by Wayne Kwok
Living in Toronto, we’re a bit divided on coffee. From my observations, most Torontonians prefer roasty and bittersweet European coffees. The third wave specialty coffee movement (popular on the west coast of North America, Australia, and Scandinavia) sees coffee as an artisanal product. Beans are roasted lighter to allow the drinker to appreciate the subtleties of flavour and the distinctiveness of a varietal in a particular growing region.
As a roaster, Social Coffee & Tea sits on the progressive end of the spectrum. Farmer’s Collective Organic Espresso is obviously intended to be brewed in an espresso machine, but it also makes a decent drip-filter coffee. This seems to be Social’s attempt to appeal to those who like their coffee a bit more traditional. “Nice” seems to instantly come to my customers’ minds when they drink it. I agree. It’s like that reliable friend who would rather be described as pleasant than exciting. Even someone who believes espresso should be a party in your mouth will occasionally appreciate something smooth, mellow, and sweet.
Not everyone likes big, bright, fruity espressos. This one sits on the fence. It’s definitely not a wild west coast espresso, nor is it a dark and roasty European. Nothing about it smacks you in the face. There’s a subtle brightness in the beginning followed by strong nutty notes, ending with hints of bakers chocolate. It has a very mellow and balanced taste and mouthfeel—so balanced that Social says you could trust it to run a nation.
Using the same beans, I also made myself an Americano and a drip-filter style brew using an Aeropress (a full-immersion brew method like a french press, but the liquor is pressured through a paper filter). As an Americano, the cup I had was a bit brighter, sweeter, and fruitier with much more of a roasty, candied nut taste. The Aeropress brew was a bit flatter all around.
In a latte, the milk really brings out the aroma of hazelnut. If you like nutty aromas, you won’t be disappointed.
If you’re someone who just likes a pleasant cup and isn’t looking for green apple and tea rose flavours in their espresso, this is a great everyday blend.
CHICKEN (or Turkey) MOLE
Chicken or Turkey parts, 3/4lb per serving (bone in)
Oil or lard Water or broth
1 Garlic clove per leg
Salt to taste
Mole sauce (1/4 cup per leg)
- Brown the chicken in the oil.
- Add the water and garlic, using enough water to come halfway up the side of the leg…about 1/2 cup per leg, up to about 1 cup.
- Cover the pan.
- Poach for 10-15 minutes at medium heat.
- Mash the garlic and add the mole sauce, stirring until it is smooth and creamy.
- Cook for another 10 minutes at a low heat.
- Serve with rice, tortillas, or salad, or all three.
Please go to this link to read and try Glen Synoground’s excellent Southwestern Breakfast Tortilla Bowls, pictured here .
In this section we present recipes on a larger scale, either to be cooked for a party, or to be canned, frozen, or packaged for later use.
I’ve loved mole sauce since the first time I tried it, and the best I’ve ever tasted was in a cantina in Blaine, Washington, just across the border from Canada. My mom had taken me there for lunch and while it was a simple restaurant, the food was stellar. I have tried for years to reproduce that sauce and with this combination, believe that I have hit the jackpot. For my own most recent batch, I rendered the pork fat off of the rind of some double-smoked bacon, gaining particularly delicious results.
The recipe I based this on claimed it was for 12 and at Mexican restaurants it’s true that the dish usually has a great deal of sauce, but I prefer a slightly less wasteful plating, so for me, 1/4-1/2 cup per serving is plenty.
Chocolate Mole Sauce – 20-40 servings
2 rounds of Mexican chocolate
1 cup of raisins
1/4 cup lard
1 cup pork or chicken broth
I Spanish onion chopped
1 cup Almond meal
1/4 cup Sesame seeds
1 Pinch Anise seeds
10 Coriander seeds
Soak the peppers in enough hot water to cover them until they are soft.
I render my own lard from the skin of double smoked bacon that my butcher sells and use the broth from that as well in the blender.
Fry the onion and tomatillos in the lard until they are soft
Using a blender, food processor, or food mill, grind all the ingredients into a smooth paste. Use as much hot (boiled) water as required to achieve a thick milkshake texture.
Salt to taste
When this is made, prepare a cupcake tray with paper liners (the liners prevent flavour transfer to the metal). Fill the cups with sauce then freeze. After they are removed from the pan, store them in ziplock freezer bags. This gives you 30-40 portions of approximately 1/4 cup. Each is sufficient for one serving.
Three Bean Chili
This chili is one of my most popular recipes. Not only is it the most often requested, but as a regular table item at parties ‘back in the day’, I can remember regularly hearing people being told when brought as guests that “You absolutely have to try the chili…it’s the best!” It’s also one of my personal favourites, which currently, I like best with eggs as breakfast, or
Stage One Ingredients and Method
- 1Lb (dried) Kidney Beans
- 1Lb (dried) Pinto Beans
- 1Lb (dried) Turtle Beans
- 2 Garlic bulbs
- 1 Chopped Onion
- 2 Dried Chilies
Cover with water and cook at 250º for 6-8 hours
Stage Two and Three Ingredients and Method
- 6 Garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1 1/2 Onions
- 3-4 Chilies of at least 3 types [I like Banana, Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, Jalapeno and Mulatos]
- 3/4 cup of Olive Oil
- 2 x 26 oz can Whole Tomatoes
- Chop 1/2 of onion,
- Mince 1/2 of garlic and chilies
- Stick a knife in the can and roughly chop tomatoes
- Saute onions, garlic and peppers with oregano
- Add to beans along with 1/2 of the tomatoes
- Cook covered, for another 6-8 hours.
1. About hour or two before serving, use the remaining ingredients add to chili and cook uncovered
Dan Barber’s excellent TED presentation on fish farming looks at the problems of the industry and at a revolutionary fish farm in Spain that could point a new path forward.
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I’ve loved oatmeal all my life, the creamy texture of it set off against crumbled brown sugar, melting into the cream poured over it. Sometimes I’d add cinnamon and apples, or even get the seasoned instant in a pouch variety…it was all good. Unfortunately, my body and mouth are in disagreement on the topic and my body won. So, no more oatmeal.
I don’t generally enjoy foods that are made to simulate the flavours of others. Rather, I look for combinations that give me similar sensations on eating. I’ve tried, but did not enjoy rolled quinoa…too gummy. I tried a few things and this is my favourite preparation. Succanat is a sugar cane product made by drying cane juice. If you don’t have succanat, use maple syrup if you have it (but at the end) or brown sugar.