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How to make a perfect cup of coffee using the Aeropress


-Casey Klekas

The word addict, as in “I am a coffee addict,” comes from the latin word addictus, meaning “to surrender” or “to pay religious devotion.” My girlfriend has helped me explore new ways of devoting myself to the coffee bean. She has opened me to newer and more elaborate rituals of transforming those roasted seeds into a subtler and more intricate cup of coffee. For instance, she bought me an Aeropress, a plunger of a device that combines the advantages of the French press and the espresso machine—all for less than thirty bucks.

The Aeropress is a cylinder of two inches in diameter, five inches in length, with a screw on cap at the bottom for a paper filter. You’re supposed to put two scoops of ground coffee inside the tube with the filter locked on. You fill it half full with water, wait thirty seconds, then “press” the plunger device to push the liquid out of the grounds, through the filter and into the waiting cup below. This normally gives you a double shot of espresso, which you top with water for an Americano, or milk for a latte. I have experimented with countless techniques for using the Aeropress and have come to accept a variant of the “inverted method” as my favorite. Here’s what I do (at least three times a day):

I heat the water to just below 200 degrees F. Water should never be boiling (212 degrees) when it hits the coffee or else your liable to get stuck with a burnt flavor. If you’re using an electric kettle, let it sit for a minute after reaching boil, or if you’re as sick as me you’ll use a thermometer for perfection.

Put the plunger bottoms up and place the cylinder just over the lip of the rubber, so as to get the same water tightness as the regular method. Take a rounded scoop of medium ground coffee and dump it into the tube (use the funnel that it came with).

Pour the water so it just barely covers all the grounds, then let it sit for thirty seconds or so in order to “bloom.” Blooming is when the coffee puffs up and releases CO2 at its first contact with hot water. It’s important to let the CO2 escape now rather than slipping into your cup.

Stir with the paddle-thing it came with, then fill to an inch below the top of the brewer. Or fill then stir. Just make sure it is stirred and filled, ok? We wanna get all the coffee grinds soaking, alright? Mmkay.

Let it sit for one minute or more, but not more than two minutes because you’ll be flirting with bitterness. While you’re waiting, put the filter in the cap and rinse with your hot water. You want to rinse the filter so as to get rid of any papery flavor, unless you are one of those who liked to eat the paper as much as the cupcake. I am guilty of doing this well beyond my adolescence. Rinse the filter over the cup you’ll soon fill with coffee. You want to avoid any big temperature jumps so as not to stifle the potential flavor of your (Roma) beans.

Pour out the water in your cup, screw on the filter, then carefully but quickly flip the whole brewer on top of your mug. Press until you hear the hissing of the last bits of liquid being squeezed out of your grounds. Sometimes I press all the way, but you’ll get a “cleaner” cup if you don’t.

Fill another half of the mug with water, let sit for a minute, then pour it on your keyboard, I mean, all over your pillow—no wait, just drink it. Drink it with your mouth. Open your lips and start to suck. Once the liquid fills and scolds your entire mouth, then swallow…

On Trend: Smoldering Eyes

-Rache’ll Brown

Nothing is worse than a girl in a beautiful outfit with terrible makeup. It’s like baking a cake without adding the frosting: just wrong. Without well-done hair and makeup, a look is nothing. A beautiful outfit is just that if every aspect of the overall image isn’t polished. The right makeup adds a necessary touch that makes the biggest difference. When I wear a smoldering eye on a night out, I feel invincible: I know I look good from head to toe, and my confidence shows. This look is something I struggled with because I was afraid of messing it up, but with some practice I’ve finally gotten it down.

First of all, gather all needed products: eye primer, black gel eyeliner, pencil eyeliner or cream shadow, black powder eye shadow (matte or shimmer, whichever suits the occasion), a dark brown matte eye shadow (or any other desired shade, preferably dark and matte), a highlighting shade, eyeliner (I prefer gel with dark looks), and mascara. As for tools, I recommend a flat shader brush, a pencil brush, two blending brushes (one to apply crease color, one strictly for blending), and an angled eyeliner brush (but this only applies if using gel liner).

I always start by applying moisturizer and foundation, but I hold off on concealer and other face products until the eyes are done because darker colors tend to fall off the skin and create a shadow under the eyes. Next, apply primer all over the lids and smooth out evenly. Take the dark matte shadow (I prefer brown) and blend it into the crease for a transitioning tone.

Then, with a clean finger, press the gel liner, pencil or cream shadow from your lash line to the crease, but don’t bring it all the way into the brown. It’s perfectly normal for this to look messy because it will be blended out later. Take a flat shader brush packed with the black shadow, tap off the excess, then cover the black base entirely—it should be darkest near the lash line, fading up to a less intense color meeting the brown.

Finally, take a clean blending brush and make windshield wiper motions in the crease to create a gradient with the brown and the black. Clean up the fall-out under the eyes, apply concealer, and set with translucent powder. Apply black eye shadow with a pencil brush on the bottom lash line, then apply eyeliner to the upper waterline and lash line. To finish off, highlight with a light shadow under the brows and in the inner corner, and apply a thick coat of mascara—for some extra fun, add glitter or false lashes! Keep the rest of the face simple and neutral to emphasize the eyes, and voilá! A beautiful smoldering eye look for a fun night out.

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Duck & Cover: How To Make It Onto The FanCam

-Eleni Pappelis

Tired of being yet another face in a sea of other students just like you?

Have trouble standing out in class, around campus, or life in general?

Is it time you finally had your fifteen minutes of fame?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions it’s time for your face to finally make the big screen.  This week’s column can help you do this! This guide provides a solution to all your problems.

How to make it onto the Jumbotron at a basketball game

1.  Have a clever, synchronized dance ready to bust out with the people you go to the game with.  For those of you who have seen the State Farm fancam commercial, execution of the simultaneous is key. Watch for some inspiring moves: State Farm FanCam Commercial.

2.  Or maybe you don’t need anyone to hold you back and prefer to go solo so you can freestyle your dance moves. Wild, cliché, or simply weird will surely work.  You will probably fall under one of two categories for this option: either “Awkward White Guy Dancing” (Mr. Roboto on the Jumbotron) or “You Just Made Jumbotron History” (Livin On A Prayer Jumbotron). True fancam talent and commitment from this soloist here.

3.  If accessible, have or find a cute child to show off to the crowd.  True, the attention might be focused on the kid, but let’s face it: Who wouldn’t rather see an adorable three-year-old do funny things than a less-lovable grown-up?

4.  Guys, hide behind a group of attractive girls. Odds are the cameramen are going to be a little biased and prefer to show them and not you if you haven’t followed steps one through three.

5.  Disgustingly eat a hotdog or serving of nachos and you can end up on the regurgi-cam. Here, everyone can witness your repulsive eating habits. The regurgi-cam masterfully displays fans eating their favorite foods from the concession stand.

6.  Become a super fan with a distracting outfit, and no Jumbotron can resist showing you off.  Anyone can appreciate pride in your favorite team.

7.  Have a huge sign that is well thought-out and make sure everything is spelled correctly . . . unless you want that kind of attention. However, please be courteous with your huge poster and don’t forget that all the people sitting in the row behind you probably came here to actually watch the game.

8.  Get extra cuddly with your significant other or the cute guy/girl who’s just as into basketball standing next to you and maybe you’ll make it on the KissCam. More advice: be careful who you sit next to.  This can go horribly wrong if not planned out.

A word of caution to each of these helpful tips: you must commit.  They won’t work if you are not fully invested. You deserve to stand out.  Like mom always told you, you are a shining star and a special individual.

Do Not Try:
1.  Getting into a fight. Sporting events are reputable functions that should be appreciated and respected.
2.  Taking off your clothes. The tech team is quick enough to cut your 15 seconds of fame to less than one if they think you are going to show your stuff.  Quite honestly, if it took the fancam to make you willingly show off in front of 20,000 people, odds are it’s not just the cameramen who doesn’t want to see what you’re really made of.  Streaking down a football field, however is a completely different circumstance.

A Taste of Home: Lasagna

-Whitney Barton

Lasagna is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.  That said, it can be a letdown if not prepared with enough flavor, herbs, and spices. After experimenting with several recipes, my favorite is this one because it provides a good base of ingredients to build off of. The recipe calls for turkey sausage, but I use two kinds of my favorite pork sausage instead.  Don’t be intimidated by the length (and price) of the ingredient list; you will have left overs for days. I pair this classic cheesy dish with a light green salad tossed with homemade Dijon vinaigrette. The pairing of rich and fresh creates a great flavor profile for a special occasion, or just to help get you through week seven.

{Please note, the ingredients and portions below are slightly altered from the original recipe, but the steps are the same}

What you’ll need:

  • ½ lb. lasagna noodles
  • ½ lb. spicy Italian sausage
  • ½ lb. mild Italian sausage
  • ½ lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in tomato purée
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 large chopped yellow onion
  • 3-4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 20 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 5-6 oz. creamy goat cheese
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 lbs. shredded mozzarella
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce.

Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3-4 tablespoons champagne vinegar (white wine, or basically any other vinegar will work too)
  • ¼ tsp. dried basil (I do more like ½ a teaspoon, I love basil.)
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • Salad greens I like baby romaine or arugula

Whisk together mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly add olive oil while whisking, until emulsified (or completely combined). Since vinegar and oil don’t naturally bind, adding the olive oil slowly will help ensure the dressing won’t separate before it’s poured it over the greens. Toss vinaigrette with greens, unless making a lot of salad you will not need the whole batch of dressing.

How to Enjoy the Laundromat

-Tamara Feingold

When I moved into a new house near campus this year with my two roommates, I thought it had everything I needed and more. A real brick fireplace, a front stoop perfect for socializing, and a backyard stuffed with trees. But as I excitedly unpacked my cardboard boxes brimming with clothes, I realized I had failed to notice the missing washer and dryer. After a moment of panic, I decided to hold off on the laundry for a few weeks until my room overflowed with shirts and pants strewn on the floor. I finally had to go to the Laundromat.

Going to the Laundromat is no easy task for those who don’t know what they’re doing. It’s an awkward jumble of heavy baskets, forgotten detergent, and lack of quarters for the machines, and rest assured that the Laundromat regulars will be able to spot a laundry newcomer from a mile away.

After a few visits of this stressful routine, I started to look forward to my next session at the Laundromat. I noticed a cultural cluster of regulars and by observation I made a mental list of how to make the Laundromat a pleasurable experience. For those attempting to live life to the fullest, dedicate a few hours of your day to your local Laundromat, even if you are the lucky owner of a washing machine. Here are my tips for Laundromat success:

1.  Always remember to bring a handful of quarters. Each washer load costs about $1.75 and forty-five minutes in the dryer costs close to $2.00.

2. Bring your own detergent. It smells better and costs less.

3. Learn from my mistakes. Don’t try to make small talk with 80-year-old motorcycle men or agitated mothers. They’ll realize you’re a newbie instantly and will ignore you.

4. Always bring food. You might be there for two or three hours and jealousy will ensue when the man next to you has a whole bag of sunflower seeds all to himself.

5. Don’t leave your clothes, however tempting it may be. Someone might steal your favorite jeans and the point is to appreciate the experience anyway.

6. Bring your books if you have studying to do. It’s almost distraction-free and why not kill two birds with one stone?

7. If you’re not a student, bring nail polish, magazines, your music player, a deck of cards, knitting materials, your harmonica, or a journal.

8. Brag to your friends about how much fun you have at the Laundromat so they will come with you.

Maybe it’s just me, but the Laundromat seems to be an undiscovered pocket of daytime entertainment that more people should take advantage of. Hopefully next time your laundry basket has reached its limit and your parents refuse to lend their equipment, you’ll feel confident in your decision to pack up, head out, and enjoy a few hours at the Laundromat.