Sunday, March 11, 2012


Sometimes, getting up from the kitchen table to make your wife one of her favorite treats -- in this case, a cup of cinnamon vanilla black tea topped with a mixture of milk and maple sugar frothed into foam with an Aerolatte® -- can bring extra benefits (beyond the gratitude of said wife).
I usually sit with my back to the window outside of which is Jeannine's bird feeder, so most of the activity out there goes unnoticed by me. But today, after I had prepared the beverage described above, and was handing it to Jeannine, I noticed a flash of muted red outside the window. 
It was a female cardinal… and just as I was reaching for my camera, she flew away. But then an even brighter male cardinal flashed into view… and stayed long enough for me to snag a couple of halfway decent shots through the window. 

I like these little moments of serendipity. -- PL


Mark H said...

Those are some beautiful pictures Pete. Even though these where shot through a window they still look great. It just gave them a softer quality. I like the first shot. If I did not know any better I would swear he was posing for you. Thanks for sharing. Have a good one!

Mark H said...

Pete, would you mind sharing the tea recipe with me? I often share your blog postings with my wife; she enjoys your photos as much as I do. I shared with her this posting and, after she read the first paragraph she stated that she would like to try some "cinnamon vanilla black tea topped with a mixture of milk and maple sugar frothed into foam". That is her kind of treat too! I ordered an Aerolatte this morning. I understand that I will need to get some cinnamon vanilla black tea, although I'm unsure what brand is the best, I usually just drink "Black Pearl" and "Earl Gray" tea myself. The part I’m really unsure of is the milk and maple froth. Do I just put maple sugar in milk, steam it, then use the Aerolatte to make it into a frothy foam? How much milk and maple sugar should I use? Sorry to bother you with this. My wife is very tolerant of my geekiness and, for that; I should make her a treat. Thank you for any help you could be with this Pete, I appreciate it.
By the way, she loved the pictures of the male cardinal too. She is more of a nature lover than I am.

PL said...

I wouldn't mind at all. The tea is from Trader Joe's, and the maple sugar is some granulated stuff my wife got me for Christmas (though I suspect almost any form of maple syrup would probably work).

Basically, after I pour the boiling water into the mug with the tea bag (leaving enough space for the milky foam -- I usually only fill the mug about two thirds of the way), I put about a level teaspoon of the maple sugar in the bottom of another mug, then add some milk -- usually about a fifth of a cup or so. You should probably experiment with quantities, so you can make it to your (or your wife's taste). Also, different types -- and even different brands -- of milk work differently for this next step.

Using the Aerolatte, I start foaming the milk. This also helps to dissolve the maple sugar into the milk. The foaming process involves putting the Aerolatte's wire whisk head into the milk and holding down the power button. I usually move it up and down in the milk, as this seems to help with the foam-making. It tends to work pretty quickly -- I never spend more than a minute or two doing this step. A half inch of milk will generate about two inches of foam. Then I just pour it into the mug of tea (first taking out the tea bag), using a spoon to get as much of the foam out as possible.

The foam won't last a long time -- it starts to return to its original state pretty quickly -- but you should have several minutes to enjoy it. I have experimented a little bit with warming the milk up first, to see if that helps, but it doesn't appear to. Maybe chilling it more would help -- I don't know. Perhaps there is another ingredient you can add to produce foam which will last longer, but I don't know what that might be, or even if it's necessary. My wife seems to like it the way it is.

Have fun! -- PL

Mark H said...

Thank you for the reply Pete. I think I will try some maple syrup in the milk. My wife Sarah has a couple jars of fresh syrup that her uncle just brewed up. We sometimes have the maple sugar but, my wife tends to use it up quickly when making her baked goods. We will have to get some of Trader Joe’s tea next time we shop there. We don’t go as often as I would like because the closest Trader Joe’s is in Shrewsbury, which is almost an hour long drive for us. There is a great little Mom and Pop health food store one town over in Brookfield. They tend to carry an assortment of organic teas that are pretty good. I will have to see if they carry cinnamon vanilla black tea. If not, I could probably flavor the tea myself using a touch of cinnamon and vanilla extract. I’m looking forward to playing around with the Aerolatte. I think I might try to make cappuccino with it. It looks like a very neat a convenient little gadget. Again, thank you for the tips, I appreciate your help. I will let you know how it turns out.
Have a good one!

Mark H said...

Hey Pete,
I received my Aerolatte in the mail last Friday. It works great without making a big mess. I tried out your "cinnamon vanilla black tea with a maple sugar foam" recipe and, my wife loved it. I also have been making her Cinnamon and Vanilla Chai Tea with the maple froth. That one seems to be her favorite. As for myself, I have been enjoying a simple latte made with coffee, lowfat milk, mixed with a little cinnamon and organic sugar. I am surprised at how good the Aerolatte can make low fat milk into a froth. With cleanup being so easy I have been frothing almost every cup of tea and, coffee my wife and I have. (I’m sure you understand how it is easy to play with a new gadget a lot when you first get it.) Fortunately, because this new gadget makes treats that my wife really enjoys, she does not seem to have a problem with it. I just figured that I would drop you a line to let you know it worked out great for me.
Thanks again Pete, Have a good one!