Milk texturing gone right, Food Network, yuzu

Yesterday contained a revelation. I worked my first full shift with Arthur at the cafe where he showed my very quickly, a technique for texturing that he learnt in Australia. See, Arthur’s milk is always ridiculously glossy and smooth, no bubbles, even in low fat milk, and it’s as sweet as can be. That, and one of my regulars who brings in Lactaid milk for us to steam said that Arthur’s milk, in relation to mine was always “creamier”. That and Arthur always got the volume of this customer’s milk just right with no left overs. I always had about a half ounce or more in the bottom.

Apparently in my self-taught ways, I had never really learnt the proper texturing method. I always had decent milk, but it was never the best, especially with low fat and soy milks. As soon as I was told the new technique, I had the beautiful milk I had been lusting after.

It’s simple: keep the tip shallow, surf gently near the edge of the pitcher and let it roll. See… I thought I had been doing that, but the new way is infinitely better. I don’t really have a video setup, so anyone curious can email me and I’ll try to describe it better or, better yet, come into the cafe on the weekend and I’ll demonstrate. I love it.

Also, I am addicted to the Food Network. Iron Chef America (I’ll explain) must be the best program on television. Now, I feel I have to justify favoring the American spin off of Iron Chef. It’s more competitive and it’s less campy than the Japanese original. Seeing food of that quality is quite spectacular.

Food of that quality rarely reaches this poor barista’s palate (well, maybe if he saved more). However, during the family visit that I mentioned in my previous post about Vancouver restaurants, we managed to eat at 3 places: Go Fish!, the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company and Vij’s.

Holy crap, Vij’s is amazing. The service there was exceptional, beyond any restaurant I have been (and I have been to a few acclaimed spots). Vij and his team do a phenomenal job to make you feel welcome. The little things like immediately serving chai to those of us waiting in the rain for a spot in the restaurant before they open (they don’t take reservations, hence the line up). The food was incredible too. It being an Indian restaurant, you might expect a dish or two to be quite spicy, but everything there was expertly spiced so that enough heat was provided without any sinus action. Everything was solid.

I’ve added a secret weapon to my arsenal of ingredients for cocktails. Any of my readers ever hear of yuzu?

It’s a Japanese citrus, described as being somewhere in flavor between a lemon and a grapefruit. I’ve added a bottle of the juice to my pantry. It’s good stuff. It’s salted though, and I only ever seem to find the salted variety when hunting in Japanese markets. That salt though seems to help cut the acidity in more citrusy drinks (my drink of choice is the caipirovska, the vodka variant of the caipirinha – whole lime, sugar and cachaça shaken with ice).

Here’s my current cocktail:

Citrus-mint caipirovska

  • About 1 tbsp of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of yuzu juice
  • 1/2 lime, quartered
  • 1-1 and 1/2 tsp. castor sugar
  • 2 oz vodka
  • ice

So, chop that mint, add the yuzu and muddle for a bit. Add the lime (I’ll sometimes use the whole lime if they’re on the small side) and drop the sugar on top of the lime. Muddle more, but be gentle, as muddling the lime too much will bring out the bitters from the rind. Add the vodka on top (my preferred is Luksusowa, a Polish potato vodka that is without a doubt the best vodka for the sub-$45 price range). Add ice and shake. I shake a lot so there is some dilution and breaking of the ice cubes. Pour into a rocks glass and garnish with a sprig of mint. It makes for an interesting drink.


7 Responses to “Milk texturing gone right, Food Network, yuzu”

  1. 1 Cachaca Dave March 4, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    I do believe the drink is spelled caipiroska. Hummm I’ll have to try this out with cachaca and see how it comes out, it sounds tasty.

  2. 2 Cachaca Dave March 4, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Wow too bad you’re based in Canada, would have loved to send you some Mae De Ouro cachaca to play with. 😦

  3. 3 Barrett March 5, 2007 at 2:10 am

    I love when I get the order for… something fruity, whatever the bartender wants. I’m also in love with blood orange right now. Such a deep colour, it’s really cool.

    a couple ounces of blood orange juice
    1 oz dark rum
    1 oz cointreau

    strong, but tasty! I made that after being requested a rum based drink. What do you think of Ketel One? It’s only $37.

  4. 4 Chris Owens March 5, 2007 at 4:48 am

    Hey Peter,

    I would love a more detailed explanation of this milk texturing technique you speak of. I’m always looking to improve.

    Take care,
    Chris Owens

  5. 5 tkc March 5, 2007 at 6:03 am

    I am with Chris, would love a more detailed explanation of the milk technique!


  6. 6 conrad March 10, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    i don’t know any shop owner who would fault you for wasting a half ounce of milk per drink. from what i’ve seen, that’s pretty good. how much do you have leftover for macchiattos?

  7. 7 Peter March 10, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    Hey Conrad… the reason why we were trying to get absolutely no waste for that one drink was because the customer brings in his own milk… so he sees it as a waste if we don’t “return” all of his milk back to his drink after steaming. Normal milk waste applies to all of my other drinks (though zero waste would be sweet).

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