No Barista Can Do It Better!

i promised last posting to reveal the favorite use of air in the “food world” and here it is: cappuccino! (yes it’s a beverage but as you may remember from one of my first postings, coffee is the most important thing to “pass the portals of my lips.” and for me, it’s more than a beverage—it’s my daily breakfast.as i reflect on my restaurant and home cooking experiences over the past 40 years i am struck by the fact that in the beginning most if not all of the best dishes had to be made by a chef. gradually this changed as the best ingredients became available to the home cook and more recently the best equipment as well. it’s a sad irony that people seem to be cooking less at home now that they could make the most delicious and nutritious dishes to their own taste. i honestly think my husband is torn between envying the control i have over what we eat and enjoying almost all of it! coffee has been the last bastion of “better consumed out.” it was never as good at home because cafés have a faster turnover and for coffee, freshly roasted and ground is an imperative. then along cake illy and nespresso with stunning and efficient hi-tech machines and equally if not more important, high quality coffee vacuum sealed in individual packages. but i still had to go OUT for a good cappuccino. two guys from the UK came up with aerolatte—a terrific battery operated foaming device so effective it was immediately knocked off with lower quality by another major company. the original model was far better and easier to use than the foaming devices on even the most expensive cappuccino machines because, for one thing, the aerolatte did not introduce any steam into the coffee during the foaming process. my one problem with this hand-held device was that it necessitated my running back and forth between the microwave to heat the milk, the coffee maker, and back to the microwave to retrieve the milk and foam it before the coffee cooled. not enough calories burned to counteract the teaspoon of sugar i added but still….agitation was not the way i wanted to start the morning (foaming is another thing.) finally nespresso introduced the foamer of my dreams: the aeorccino. it makes foaming the milk so perfect and so easy that it has served to increase my coffee consumption by double. it is a stunning stainless steel little ‘pot’ with non-stick lining and a two magnetic little devices—one a coil which fits on the bottom to foam milk for cappuccino and the other that fits onto the top for making latte. the pot sits on a small plastic base that plugs into an electric outlet. (my base was a little wobbly so i stuck a few small layers of masking tape under it on one side to steady it and it has stayed securely in place for months.) to become the barrister barista of your dreams, you simply pour milk (i use whole milk but 2% is fine too) up to the mark, cover it, press the button, and in seconds have perfectly foamed milk—the thickest finest foam ever. caffeine has little to no effect on me but i’m happy to report that both illy and nespresso produce decaf pods that are as delicious as the caffeinated variety. yes, the aeroccino may seem expensive at $80, but it pays for itself in a matter of weeks when you consider the price of ordering cappuccino out! to view the aeroccino go to www.nespresso.com and select all accessories.