Total Utilization.

With summer in full swing and waistlines toning, a lot of fruit is sure to be in your diet. Farmers markets galore, super sales on blueberries and memories of cherry-stained faces always come into mind this season.

The only issue with all this healthy-yummy fruit in our diets this season is spoilage! It happens to all of us; the best of us. Last summer when I was working at a restaurant, the pastry chef at the time loved peaches and he left them out one night too long and they completely rotted! What a waste of resources and money.

But fear not, my friends. It is very easy to keep the spoilage from dampening your summer days and keeping you from cleaning out that refrigerator door at the end of the week. Just follow my easy, thoughtful tips and I guarantee you will not only save loads of money, but you will have more to go round!

Tip 1: Freeze you assets!

Don’t you just love berry season? I believe I’ve mentioned my love for it once or twice before. It is the best time of year! I always get super excited whenever I go to the farmers market and see the plethora that the Connecticut and New York vendors have to offer. I usually end up buying one (or two, or four) pints too many and they start to get over-ripe before I even get the chance to eat them.

All you have to do is freeze them! If they are blueberries, strawberries or the like just give them a quick rinse and pop them into the freezer. Put them in cakes, sauces, smoothies, pancakes, or stew them together and let them thaw when your having a craving. They macerate beautifully this way. I personally love to cut up strawberries and freeze them for a cooling snack. Yum!

Tip 2: Banana-rama

Bananas spoil so quick, but are oh-so essential to the healthy persons diet.

If you have ever been to a marathon they tend to have them by the hundreds lined up and ready to go. They are the perfect super-fruit; Full of complex carbs, simple carbs, fiber and potassium.

Instead of tossing those browned nanners, peel and freeze them. Add them to your next batch of oatmeal cookies, zucchini bread or, again, a smoothie. There are some great vegan ice cream recipes that can be made with them as well! I personally love them dipped in extra dark chocolate with some crushed peanuts and a little sea salt.

Tip 3: Someone say sangria?

With Labor day coming up, I am sure your getting ready to host or attend a fantastic soirée. If not, this is a great idea to start off any meal as well.

Simply take your fruit that your trying to use up, frozen or not, and add it to some wine and brandy; presto! Sangria is born. There are hundreds of different ways to make it, and usually none wrong. Add what you like, to taste. I always make mine with frozen blueberries, raspberries and leftover cherries. I love adding pear brandy and an inexpensive vino verde or cabernet sauvignon. Yum.

Tip 4: Soft peaches equal a yummy dessert.

Have some peaches begging to get tossed? Fear not!

Peel those beautiful babies and put them into a blender with:

1 part water

1/4 c of lemon juice

4/5 sprigs of mint

Add agave or simple syrup for added sweetness.

Freeze to make a granita (comb through it with a fork every half hour)

Churn it in an ice cream maker

Or, even easier: Ice pops!

 

There are endless things you can do with all that extra fruit so next time you veer away from it; think about the endless possibilities that await and all the money you will save by using it.

 

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Portland Coffee: The places to go.

Portland, the land of amazing baristas and roasters. The kings and queens of the syphon method. The royalty of the kingdom of caffeine….okay, I’m sure you get it now.

Earlier this year there was a Barista competition to pick the top Northwesterner and Devin Champman of Coava Coffee won both the Brewers Cup and the best Barista of NW, followed closely by his kin of Portland from Stumptown and Sterling Coffee Roasters; amongst other North Westerners of the Pacific region.

A shot of the Baristas awaiting their scores for the top barista in the North East. Katie Carguilo of Counter Culture Coffee (third barista in) was the United States winner this spring in Portland.

Portland is a beautiful, relaxing city. Much closer knit than Seattle and it is big on charm. Lots of romance and passion can be seen on the streets. As well as some dizzying characters. You can feel the beat of the city through every unique pull of espresso and every ripple of frothed milk.

If your staying in the heart of the city, near the realm of food trucks lies an experience known as Public Domain.

Here, the baristas are very captivating. Lauren and Jon were sweet and knowledgeable. Gave great recommendations for other local shops too. Each has a different organizational process of pulling espresso. Every adjust to the machine was like watching ballet. Each having their own march; own speed and timing. The hand-pour of Burundi was delightful as well. Black, no sugar was its best form. Serious notes of cacao and very ripe berries.

At Coava, I received nothing less than the best hospitality, as well their Rwandan espresso was my favorite amongst all that I had on my Northwest trip. Serious spice notes emerged, as if cinnamon and cardamom were roasted with the beans. The baristas were particularly warm here, even though it was seven and they had just opened their doors.

On that note, I digress to say that there is a large market of early birds in Portland that are being missed. I had been traveling that area and had to skip a few watering holes for the sheer fact that baristas seem to not be early risers. A factor that I believe should be re-considered. If your main business is coming from charismatic coffee,  it’d be smart to be open when people are craving it the most.

Heart Roasters have a really beautiful space. The charming baristas look as though they emerged from the 1940’s. I kept my eyes peeled for Tennessee or perhaps Hemingway would pop in for a cappuccino. Mine, made with their house espresso blend and almond milk, was grand. I personally highly recommend trying the almond milk. I think its very unique and is compatible and complex with the espresso, contrary to what many think in the industry. It has a pronounced creaminess when frothed that is unexpected.

Barista in the Pearl District is a fun shop. To forewarn you, cell service there is minimal so be aware of where your going before you head that way.

Service is great and very quick. The cappuccino was delightful.

There are many shops that I did not get the chance to experience, as well an espresso truck that vested interest. Below is a few shops that I had on my radar, but didn’t visit.

Sisters Coffee Company

Albina Press

Water Avenue Coffee

Clive Coffee (a really interesting retail store!)

Cheers!