Collectives and Channeling

I woke up the other day feeling not quite ready to brave the gloomy day that greeted me outside. So, I did something I rarely ever do. I turned on the tv. Not neflix, not hulu, not a dvd. The real, live public broadcast tv. As I surfed my way through morning cartoons and infomercials, I stumbled upon good old WTTW, Channel 11. And what did I happen upon, but an episode of Wisconsin Foodie. I can't even quite pinpoint what it was that made me stop, but I'm sure glad I did. The particular episode I caught featured the Underground Food Collective. After doing some research online, I was hooked. Just reading their about us section, speaks to the very core of what it means to me to be a "foodie."

Our training and travels give us a sense of the possibilities for food. This is more than just recipes; it's about how food is experienced and enjoyed. We carry these lessons with us as we cook.

Food isn't about how renowned the head chef is, or how many of the dishes are sprinkled with novelty, high-priced ingredients. It's about the experience of sharing food, gathering around a table, and working together to create something - a dish, an atmosphere, and orchestrating an evening - that someone else is going to enjoy. These guys get that. And for that, I applaud them.

After my "underground" discovery, I headed to a source of Chicago-style inspiration, Ipsento Coffee. A while back I had bought a bloomspot for a free coffee class there and I headed over to try my hand a pulling shots and steaming milk. My first attempt had too much channeling (it's an "espresso" term, don't worry about it) and was pretty awful. But my second shot, paired with some steamed milk, made my very first latte one to be proud of (even if my attempt at latte art left something to be desired. ("Well, it looks like... something. At least your lines are symmetrical." I'll take it for a first try.) At my day job, I witness the orchestra of making an espresso-based drink multiple times in a day, so it was nice to get my hands dirty and try it out for myself. Kind of like playing "queen" for a day - well, yesterday, I got to wear my barista hat (who needs tiaras, anyways?).

After a night of "coffee talk", I went home determined to finish out my day with something sweet. I had peanut butter on the brain for some reason. Probably because I was salivating over the Nutella specialty drink at Ipsento - and what goes better with Nutella than some peanut butter? Eh? So I set out to make the Momofuku Milk Bar peanut butter cookies. I've only made two of the cookies from their recipe book so far, but I haven't been disappointed with either one. This peanut butter cookie has that special Momofuku twist. Before making your batter, you make a quick caramel and peanut brittle (probably the easiest peanut brittle I've ever attempted! - caramels really aren't as scary as you think people) that gets chopped up and mixed into the batter. Genius, right? Like, why didn't I ever think of that - genius. I know. My mind was slightly blown as well. And the result was just as impressive. I had one at lunch today and I haven't been able to shake thinking about when I can have another. Can tomorrow come already?

While I wait for tomorrow,  and dream about peanut butter cookies, share with me what has inspired your inner foodie lately, dear reader!

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