Friday, February 23, 2007


Thought we would share this recipe for St. Patrick’s Day

"A very easy, very good tasting bread. Best if made the day before, or several hours before serving."

Original recipe yield:
1 - 9x5 inch loaf


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/3 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup butter, melted


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

You thought $5 a cup of coffee was pricey? Welcome to the world of upscale home coffee

In an era when $5 fancy coffee drinks are the norm, a growing number of people are willing to invest $1,000 or more to make the perfect cup of coffee at home.

Seduced by the gleaming, multi-levered, counter-hogging machines that have begun crowding catalogs and showrooms, more people are willing to spend more money (sometimes significantly so) in pursuit of that perfect cup of Joe.

Consider this the centerpiece of the consumer revolution in coffee. A generation ago, a cup of coffee meant a bottomless mug at the diner, an over-boiled brew from the home percolator, or even — shudder — a spoonful of instant.

Today, it's not uncommon to find homes better equipped than their local Starbucks. And sensing a trend, the kitchen products industry has worked hard to make sure big spenders have plenty to spend it on.

For example, offers a combination coffee and espresso "center" with multiple heads, plumb-in filtration, a volumetric pump and integrated burr grinder. And all for a mere $3,500 or so.

Even bargain-driven retailer Target offers several $1,000-plus machines on its Web site.

And people are buying them. Sales of coffee and espresso machines costing more than $100 jumped by 42 percent during the past year, according to consumer research firm NPD Group. The year before, the growth was just 10 percent.

High-end machines are experiencing similar growth. At Internet kitchen goods retailer, sales of espresso machines costing $1,000 or more increased by 56 percent from 2004 to 2005, says spokesman John Gabaldon.

Experts say the trend is a confluence of several long-developing factors in the coffee industry, including the introduction of specialty coffees to the East Coast in the '70s and '80s by coffee pioneers such as George Howell.

On the West Coast, the tech-driven culture of the 1990s helped give rise to coffee bars. And across the nation, Web forums such as and helped create communities of aficionados.

All that buzz led to the production of bigger, better and more meticulous machines, creating the perfect partner for tech-savvy, coffee-drinking consumers.

Out of this caffeine-driven frenzy arose a passionate subgroup — espresso drinkers.

Roasting their own beans