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Monday, October 29, 2012

Cottage Small Coffee Roasters... Local and Fresh!

About four years ago, Josh and Genevieve Moore decided to start roasting small batches of coffee for their own consumption. Drinking coffee all the time, and wanting to learn more about coffee, Josh had been reading and studying about different home roasting techniques. The couple had even been part owners and operators of a coffeehouse, which they frequented as customers. So, it only made sense to make the next step to try some home roasting.

At first, the batches were small, and just for Josh and Genevieve to enjoy, themselves. Josh began to increase the batch sizes enough for close friends and family. Next, the batches grew even more for gift-giving. Everyone who was lucky enough to get gifts from Josh and Genevieve really loved the quality and freshness of the coffee. It went over so well, in fact, that the Moores decided to try to sell their coffees. Already being regular customers of the Webb City Farmers Market, where fresh and local are key, it was the ideal venue for the newly formed Cottage Small Coffee Roasters.

Josh Moore of Cottage Small Coffee Roasters selling some of their
locally & freshly roasted coffees, at the Webb City Farmers Market
The couple makes a great team at Cottage Small Coffee Roasters! Josh roasts, packages, and sells the coffee, while Genevieve is the mastermind behind all the computer work, for the company. And when the weather is nice, you will get to meet Genevieve, as she helps Josh sell at the Market.

Genevieve says that roasting coffee can done in a number of ways, using a wide array of techniques. With a sufficient heat source, the challenge is finding a technique that consistently and evenly roasts the beans. Josh uses a modified bread machine for their coffees. The initial setup was not terribly expensive but as Genevieve reminds us, “the home roaster is a constant game of trial, error, and upkeep!” (On a personal note, I think they have it perfected!)

Coffee grows best along the Equator, so you will find most coffee varieties from countries that fall within that region. Cottage Small tries, each week, to have two continents represented. Some of the countries of origin they roast are Guatemala and Panama in Central America, Colombian and Peru in South America, Tanzania and Ethiopia in Africa, and Papua New Guinea and Bali in Indonesia. There are many, many more, and what they offer depends on what the supplier has in stock, that week. Being a conscientious company, all the coffees are organic, fair trade, and/or grown on a COOP; and all their packaging is recycleable!

Cottage Small used to label their coffees simply as light, medium, and dark roasts. There are many degrees of roasting within each of those broad categories. Now, Cottage Small categorizes their coffees as City (the lightest), City +, Full City, and Full City +, which is the darkest.

Genevieve reminds us that there are many more interesting and important facts about coffee to learn, and the most important factor of coffee is freshness.

“Coffee tastes best within two weeks of roasting. After that, it begins to get stale. Any coffee you buy in the store is roasted months before you get a hold of it. We roast our coffee the week we bring it to the market, so it’s always fresh.”

And I challenge you to try their coffees against your favorite store-bought variety. From the second you push that button on the grinder, your nose will tell you a major difference. As the coffee brews, you'll also be able to smell and see a difference. And of course, the taste sets Cottage Small apart! I tend to use mainly a French Press for my coffee brewing, and drink it black. This is a great way to get all the subtle nuiances of the coffee variety.

Cottage Small Coffee Roasters sell their coffees at the Webb City Farmers Market on the first and third Fridays of the month, during the winter market schedule. You can pick up an 8 ounce bag for $7.50, or two for $13.50. Usually, they also have a pot of one of the varieties brewed, so you can sample for yourself.

This is exclusively the only coffee I will brew and drink! Josh roasts each coffee variety in such a way to exemplify the notable characteristics of each type of coffee bean.

Check them out on Facebook, watch for updates, and give them a “Like” at Cottage Small Coffee Roasters. And it just so happens that this coming Friday is the first Friday of November, so you can find Cottage Small Coffee Roasters at the Webb City Farmer’s Market, at their winter location of The Clubhouse, 115 North Madison, in Webb City. Get out there and grab some local, freshly roasted coffee! And be sure to tell Josh you heard about them from Frank About Food!

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Frank Quickie: Pumpkin Dip

I had this on my mind, today, as I was thinking about what to take to a Halloween party, tonight. During the fall, you might be invited to several parties around Halloween or Thanksgiving. And often, you're at a loss for time, and ideas on what to take. An old standby that we like to make up that is fairly inexpensive, fast & easy to prepare, and is always popular is a pumpkin dip.

This is a very basic recipe, and is great served alongside gingersnaps and graham crackers. Be sure to have the cream cheese softened, to facilitate a smoother, creamier consistency.

This is a great serving idea, in the pumpkin. This, however, is a borrowed picture and not my own!
Pumpkin Dip
8oz. cream cheese, softened
2 C. powdered sugar
15oz. can solid pack pumpkin
1 Tblsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tblsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. frozen orange juice concentrate

1.  In a medium bowl, cream the cream cheese and powdered sugar together, until smooth. 
2.  Gradually add the pumpkin. 
3.  Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and orange juice concentrate, until smooth and well   
4.  Place into serving vessel and chill before serving, at least one hour. 
5.  Serve with graham crackers, gingersnaps, and/or any other item you would prefer. 

Makes approximately 4 Cups of dip.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Great Halloween Idea!

My wife wanted to do some Halloween themed baking with our son (aka: my sous chef). She looked around online and found a great idea and recipe for Night Owl Cookies. The recipe was on the M&M'S Bright Idea website, and not my own. It's a great Halloween project for your youngsters! And they are delicious! I recommend you giving it a try!

Below is a great picture taken of my wife and son's version of the cookies, and the recipe, reprinted from the website. In her version, she used peanut butter M&M'S... a very nice blend of flavors with the cashews and cookie.

Night Owl Cookies

1 roll (18oz.) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1/4 C. flour
1/3 C. cocoa powder
20 whole cashews
1/4 C. vanilla frosting
1/4 C. chocolate frosting
1/2 C. peanut M&M'S, in fall colors (orange, yellow, brown)

  • 1. Divide the sugar cookie dough in three pieces. Knead the flour into one  piece of cookie dough until smooth, set aside. Combine the remaining two pieces of cookie dough and knead in the cocoa powder until smooth, set aside.
  • 2. Roll the lighter colored cookie dough into a 1-inch round log about 10 inches long, and move it off to the side. Roll out the chocolate cookie dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10 x 4-inch rectangle. Place the light colored log of cookie dough on top of the chocolate rectangle. Wrap the chocolate cookie dough completely around the lighter colored log. Pinch edges to seal and roll the log smooth. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • 3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the cookie log into 1/4-inch slices. Place 2 slices, side by side, on sheet pans. Press a cashew into cookie at the point the slices touch. Repeat with remaining cookie slices. Bake for approximately 8-11 minutes, or until cookies are just beginning to golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • 4. Spoon the chocolate frosting into a resealable bag and snip a small corner from bag. Using the photograph as guide, pipe eyelashes. Spoon the vanilla frosting into a separate resealable bag and snip a small corner from bag. Using the photograph as a guide, pipe dot to secure candies. Add the M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies for eyes.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Frank About Food Update

Well, Frank About Food is now on Facebook!

I'll utilize the page to let people know when I make new posts over here, and also for posting links to lectures, videos, articles, pictures, websites, and anything else related to food and drink, that I think are useful, interesting, entertaining, or that you might really enjoy.

If you are on Facebook, head on over to the Frank About Food Facebook Page to give the page a look, and click the Like button. Do you have friends, family, coworkers on Facebook, whom you think might enjoy the page? Well, urge them to take a look and "Like" the page.

Keep your eyes peeled... you never know what all I might post up over there! Thanks for all your continued support; without you, I'd just be talking to myself!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Frank About... Reiter Oktoberfest 2012: Food Wrap-Up

This past Saturday, the third annual Reiter Oktoberfest took place at das Reiter Haus, in Joplin, Missouri (my home). What I'm speaking about is the annual German heritage celebration I've put on for three years, now. I always hold it on the first day of the actual Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. It's a very food-centric celebration. I want to do a little wrap-up of the event, including highlights of the menu, and perhaps include a few German inspired recipes you can try yourself, at home!

I decided to keep roughly the same menu plan that I adopted last year, with a few slight variations. Appetizers this year included pretzels served with a special cheesesauce made of melted Velveeta and 3/4 of a bottle of Mother's Brewing Company Imperial Three Blind Mice! It seemed to be a hit, a log of Braunschweiger, a selection of German and Swiss cheeses, including Limburger, Emantler, and Gruyere, and my take on bite-size Zwiebelkuchen, an onion tart. The crust for these little goodies is nothing more than refrigerated canned pizza dough. It is rolled out thinly, and circles cut with a tin can. Then, the circles are placed in the bottoms of a muffin pan, and topped with a filling of sauteed onions, bacon, caraway seed, eggs, and sour cream, and baked. There were NONE of these leftover this year!

The main portion of dinner was made up of some great side dishes: delicious pickled beets from the kitchen of my mother-in-law, Diane; a marinated cucumber salad and a red cabbage dish I made from recipes by Chef Stephen Block from his website; Brussels sprouts with bacon, which is a German variant on the Italian classic Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta; a hot German potato salad, which is from a family passed recipe in my wife's family; Spätzle which are small flour dumplings, sautéed in butter and breadcrumbs; and a German rye bread, prepared graciously by my friend Julie. The main dishes remained unchanged from years past. I beer-braised bratwurst and finished browning them in the oven on a bed of Bavarian style sauerkraut (Bavarian style just infers a seasoning of caraway seeds). The other main dish was the star of the show, this year. Jägerschnitzel is a pork loin slice, which has been pounded thin and tender, breaded and fried with a simple coat of eggwash and breadcrumbs. The prefix Jäger- refers to "hunter" or "forest". -schnitzel simply refers to any meat pounded and fried with a breading. The hunter or forest part of this fritter comes from the sauce you serve alongside. This sauce is a savory, velvety creation of sautéed shallots and wild forest mushrooms in a brown sauce herbed with thyme leaves, and made creamier with the addition of a whisk full of sour cream. This pan emptied the quickest of all the offerings!

Dessert did not come from my kitchen! Apple and cherry strudels were purchased from Black Forest House Bakery, in Carthage, Missouri. They sell their delicious offerings at the Webb City Farmers Market. You can find more information about Bert and Daffol Ott's business through this Joplin Globe article. And a wonderful German Apple Dessert was provided from the kitchen of my friend Meredith. Again, none of the desserts were leftover by the end of the night.

Here is a collective picture of all the beer offerings from the evening:

A very special thank you to Brian & Joleen Durham from Piney River Brewing Company in Bucyrus Missouri for donation a case of their wonderful beer, Old Tom Porter. It was a perfect fit with the cool, Autumn weather, and the food selection. Also a huge thanks to Chef Stephen Block for donating autographed copies of his cookbook, Recipes from a German Grandmother, as door prizes, for the second year running.

Chef Stephen Block included some Oktoberfest tips and history, with a little feature on yours truly, in his latest newletter here!

Below you will find my adapted recipe for the Zwiebelkuchen in a small portion format, perfect for appetizer serving. Pros't!


Zwiebelkuchen is primarily served in south central Germany, around the Swabian region, in the fall. During the harvest season, small winemakers will host tastings of their new (or "green") wine in their barns or garages for anyone who in interested in stopping in. With these glasses of "green" wine, wursts and these onione pies, zwiebelkuchen, are served alongside.

2 lb. white or yellow onion, sliced or diced
2-3 Tblsp. butter
3-4 slices bacon
8 oz. sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-2 Tblsp. flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. caraway seed
1 can refrigerated pizza dough

1.  Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray.
2.  Over medium high heat, place the butter into a large sauté pan. Once melted, add the onions, cooking
     until translucent and tender.
3.  While cooking the onions, unroll the pizza dough on a clean countertop or large cutting board. Roll it to 
     about ¼" thick. Let sit until onions and bacon are done, as it will try to shrink back when cut into circles,
     unless it rests.
4.  Fry the bacon in a skillet until brown and crisp. Drain, chop, and add to the onions.
5.  Add the sour cream, eggs, and flour to help thicken the water put off by the onions. Then, add the
     caraway seed and salt.
6.  Place the filling in a food processor and pulse, just enough to chop the onions down to a fine mince. This
     will make the small portion easier to bite.
7.  Using a metal can, or round cookie cutter, cut circles from the rolled out, slightly dried pizza dough.
     Place a circle into the bottom of the muffin pan wells, slightly pushing the edges up the well, just slightly,
     to form a very short crust up the sides.
8.  Top each dough circle with approximately 2 Tblsp. filling.
9.  Place into oven for 12-14 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned, and the filling is set.

Frank's Notes:
1.  This recipe should yield about 24 appetizers.
2.  Serve with a nice German or Austrian white wine, or Märzen style beer.