Saturday, August 6, 2011

Homemade Coffee Creamer and San Elijo

Birthdays are special and growing up my Mom made every effort to make sure that my sisters and I had amazing birthdays.  She orchestrated fantastic pool and beach parties, made amazing homemade cakes and organized unique games to keep the kids busy.

I remember one year she made a pink Barbie cake, layers of pink frosted cake with a Barbie sticking out of the top - I think the cake was suppose to represent her dress.  I also remember her greasing up a watermelon with Crisco and throwing it in the pool and we had to heave it out onto the deck, which sounds easy enough right?  You try it...slippery little sucker.

This year some of my wonderful friends joined me at San Elijo to celebrate my birthday with cocktails and crudite (which included homemade cheese and brew!), a beautiful sunset and late night smores.  I'm a lucky girl.  Inside my birthday card, Dad wrote "Last one before the big 4-0!" and included a tissue. And to that, I said bring it!  In this 39th year, I have grown and become more of the person I want to be and I am grateful for the journey thus far.
A few friends and I enjoying a beautiful birthday sunset.
Before the invasion of corporate coffee, Nicoletti's Coffeehouse on the UCSB campus was the spot to grab a cup of joe.  Most afternoons I would get a mocha and a slice of zucchini bread (umm ... hello freshman fifteen).  After paying dues working at other food service places on campus (such as the food truck before trucks got all gourmet), I finally got the opportunity to work at Nicoletti's.  Thus began my love affair with coffee.

As an addict of the processed coffee creamer, I thought I would never find an alternative that would satisfy my desire for a rich creamer until I came across this recipe on Deliciously Organic. Since I am trying to eat fewer processed foods, I thought I would give Carrie's homemade creamer a try.  I admit at first I wasn't crazy about the homemade creamer.  It lacked something ... although I could never put my finger on what was missing. I went back to the processed stuff once and realized how fake tasting it is and since then my love of the homemade creamer has grown and become a full-fledged affair.
Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer

1 cup organic heavy cream
1 cup milk (I use Trader Joe's Grain Milk, but use whatever milk you like.  If you like super creamy creamer, then I encourage you to use whole milk)
4 Tablespoons of real maple syrup (I prefer Trader Joe's Grade B dark amber)
1 vanilla bean

1.  In a medium saucepan, warm milk and whisk in maple syrup.  While the milk simmers, split vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds and add to milk.  Whisk again to distribute the seeds throughout the milk then add the vanilla bean to the milk.

2.  Turn off heat and cover and steep for 30 minutes.  Pour creamer into glass jar and refrigerate for up to 10 days.