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Food & WineFood & Wine


   Coffee price drop hurts farmers
Whether you drink $3 lattes from a coffee kiosk or brew your own from cheaper canned grounds, the retail price of coffee has not changed dramatically for several years.

Forces in chaotic coffee market
Here's what some companies are doing to help


Laurie Daniel
Sheila Himmel
Table Matters


Coffee price drop hurts farmers
Whether you drink $3 lattes from a coffee kiosk or brew your own from cheaper canned grounds, the retail price of coffee has not changed dramatically for several years.

Let a machine make your bread
The time has come for me to swallow my pride, along with a whole mess of crumbs. I have become a bread machine convert. For years, I couldn't understand why anyone would want one, or why anyone would need one of these bulky, boxy contraptions. Not when there was so much fresh, delectable bread easily available. Not when I could readily pick up pugliese, ciabatta or three-seed sourdough at the neighborhood bakery or market.

The Odd Couple of French cuisine
Last year, peripatetic French superstar Alain Ducasse stormed New York with his extravagant, not to mention exorbitant, cuisine. This year, he is crossing the pond with Françoise Bernard, the doyenne of easy cooking. This culinary Odd Couple teamed up to write ``The Good Cuisine,'' a ``simple to spectacular'' study of 52 of the most popular ingredients in France by a master chef and a quintessential French home cook.

Wine business runs in the family
Michael Martini grew up in the Napa Valley winery founded by his grandfather, Louis M. Martini, working there after school and in the summer. In 1977, he graduated from the University of California-Davis and returned home to work alongside his father, winemaker Louis P. Martini.

Hospice du Rhone. Weekend package sold out; tickets available for Friday's library tasting ($50) and Saturday's grand tasting ($65). California Mid-State Fairgrounds, Paso Robles. (805) 784-9543 or www.hospicedurhone .com.

Mint chutney wakes up lamb
Asparagus may introduce spring, but mint screams the word. The perennial herb is among the first edible greens out of the ground each year, and it is rampant enough to be considered a weed by those who aren't fond of it. By now every decent seller of vegetables is loaded with fresh mint, and the home cook's only decision is what to do with it.

Cinnamon rolls best when really fresh
Mercury News Cinnamon rolls just out of the oven can be intoxicating. You certainly shouldn't drive while eating one -- maybe not for up to an hour afterward.

A guide to help your road food adventures be good ones
This spring and summer, when you're hitting the road, don't forget to pack ``Roadfood.'' Nobody knows how to satisfy those road food cravings better than Jane and Michael Stern, authors of more than 20 books about the United States. First published in 1977, the original ``Roadfood'' became an instant classic. Now, the book (Broadway Books, $17.95) has been redone with more than 250 new listings and updates of old favorites.

Here's what some companies are doing to help
Here's what the largest U.S. coffee companies and some of the most visible specialty companies are doing to help coffee farmers: Folgers, the United States' largest producer of conventional canned coffee, gave $1.5 million in January to TechnoServe, an international non-profit group that works in coffee-growing countries. Folgers does not sell fair trade coffee; the company, a unit of Procter & Gamble, has said it prefers to support education programs, build and remodel schools, and donate computers...

Forces in chaotic coffee market
The coffee crisis emerged from a brew of, among other things, bad weather, overproduction and fierce competition in one of the world's most globalized markets.

Tres leches cake crowned with triple dose of flavor
Isn't ``more is better'' the basic principle behind the best desserts? That's why, I'm afraid, I am hard put to resist dessert carts that include combinations of sinful, triple-chocolate creations. What I can't understand is the need for the raspberry sauce that invariably accompanies these delights.

Pastel de tres leches (three-milk cake)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan. In an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, combine egg whites, baking soda and salt; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2-3 minutes. Add yolks and beat until completely combined. With mixer running slowly, add sugar until combined. Remove bowl from mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold in butter.

Traditional white bread (2-pound loaf)
Makes one loaf Place ingredients in your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Snap baking pan into place. Close lid of machine and plug in power cord. If you have a choice of settings, pick ``Basic'' cycle and ``Medium'' crust color. Press ``Start.''

David SooHoo's bao
Makes six buns While dough rises, prepare filling: Make gravy by combining water, rice wine or sherry, oyster sauce, hoisin, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar in top of a double boiler. Whisk in flour. Place over simmering water and, stirring constantly, cook until thick and smooth. Gravy should have the consistency of mayonnaise. Remove from water bath and cool in refrigerator.

Apple mirin cups
Serves 8 Using 8 small microwavable bowls, place 1 sliced apple in each. Add 1 pat butter, 1 tablespoon mirin, a dash of cinnamon and 1/2 tablespoon raisins to each dish. Microwave on high, 4 apples at a time, for 5 to 7 minutes or to desired tenderness. Serve with chilled raspberry sake or plum sake.

Mirin is a favorite Japanese flavor enhancer used traditionally in marinades, sauces and glazes, though it can also be used as a sweetener in desserts. Since mirin is a sweetened version of sake, reduce the amount of sugar in any recipe when using mirin.

Udon noodles with Japanese clam sauce
Serves 4 To make udon noodles and clams: Prepare udon according to package directions; drain and reserve. In a separate steamer pot, add clams and sakes. Cover and steam until clams open.

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