As I grasp the steering wheel, the comfortable sting of hot coffee resonates in my fingertips. Perfectly smooth, pleasantly bitter and beautifully steaming, the mug resting in my cup holder provides my much-needed morning fuel.
I’ll be addicted soon.
The two seem tied lately – the coffee and the car – and almost as if one cannot function without the presence of the other. But this isn’t true, of course; although the car matches me in age, it runs well. The motor is quiet and smooth, the body free of rust, and the engine easy on gas. No one believes that it’s nearly 20 years-old, and it’s certainly not reliant on coffee to run.
Despite the low level of noise that the vehicle creates, the music flowing from my speakers is relatively high most of the time. Yes, I am that kid. I dial down the volume at stoplights out of respect, and I don’t crank up my sub to an annoyingly high level, but I do like my music, and I like it loud. But at this hour, with the sun creeping up over the horizon in the east, I keep it low. An assault on the senses just isn’t what I want to wake up to, you know? I’m fortunate enough to drive west in the morning – away from the rising sun – so I like to keep the other harsh wonders of the world to a minimum.
Well, except for my steaming coffee.
I woke up at 6:30 this morning instead of 7 with the intention of leaving early to fill up my gas tank. In the kitchen, a smaller pot of coffee was brewed in the interest of not wasting beans. For the sake of comfort, as I got dressed, I chose jeans instead of a skirt and, just to keep dry, I ran through the rain to my car instead of strolling under the sun.
Minor ones make big differences.
Not that there were apparent downfalls to the ones I made this morning. You could never know that something like this was coming. Heavy and compacted traffic were to be expected due to rush hour and conditions, and I was paying attention to my surroundings. Driving normally with the windows up, music low and sky grey; I never expected a car to cross four lanes of traffic, cut off the person two vehicles ahead of me and cause a chain reaction of brake slamming. Honestly, I anticipated it and applied my brakes just before it all happened. But when I saw the taillights on the car ahead of me disappearing under my hood, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to stop in time. My tires spun wildly on the wet pavement, sliding further and further ahead until stopping suddenly.
The airbag was ejected and my was coffee thrown.
In the end, everyone was fine. The other car had no damage but a scratch, and my own hood is just slightly bent. The officer who stopped filed the report and we all went our separate ways as the rain continued to fall.
The other driver, E, was very kind about the situation. But although he didn’t blame me and was very understanding, I do take full responsibility for what happened and will, without question, pay the fine.
After he drove off, I climbed through the passenger side door, slid across the bench and sat in front of the unfamiliar wheel. The harsh billowy clouds released with the air bag had fled through the windows in their entirety. They had not been accompanied by dust, but the interior of my car was still left completely changed. Pouring over my lap was the deflated airbag, and the lingering smell of of the reaction behind the explosion made it difficult focus as I anxiously turned the key in the ignition.
And when I was off the highway, safely parked with my mother and brothers there for support, I reached under the dash. There, upside-down, was my travel mug. Still filled two-thirds of the way to the top and still perfect, if not a little cold.
Not the ideal set of conditions for starting a day, but hey; at least someone made coffee, right?
Just curious – have any of you ever been in an accident before?
9 egg yolks
1 c (200g) sugar, divided
2 c (470 ml) whole milk
2 c (470 ml) heavy cream
1/2 c (120 ml) whole coffee beans
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out, bean and seeds reserved
1/2 tsp salt
1 c (240 ml) crushed cocoa nib brittle (recipe follows)
In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the yolks and 1/2 c (100g) sugar until it is lightened in color and forms ribbons.
In a large saucepan, combine the remaining sugar, milk, cream, coffee beans, vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to a boil, then slowly pour the cream into the eggs, whisking constantly so as not to cook the yolks. Return to the pan and, whisking constantly, cook until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and not run when you run a finger through it. Whisk in the salt.
Pour the custard into a bowl, press plastic wrap onto the surface and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
After chilling, strain into your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Discard the beans and recycle the vanilla bean, if desired, by rinsing a drying.
When the ice cream is done being processed, add in the crushed cocoa nib brittle, then freeze until firm, about 2 hours.
Cocoa Nib Brittle via The Craft of Baking
Makes a little more than 3/4 lbs
1 c (200 g) sugar
4 Tbls (55 g) butter
1/6 c (40 ml) light corn syrup
1/4 c (60 ml) water
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 Tbls salt
3 oz (85 g) cocoa nibs
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking oil.
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and water. Stir thoroughly so that the sugar is completely wet and cook, without stirring, over high heat until it turns dark amber. This should take about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, add soda and salt, and whisk, being careful of bubbles. Quickly fold in the cocoa nibs and pour onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading with the back of a spoon. Let cool completely and break into bite sized pieces. Crush 1 cups worth for the ice cream and store the rest at room temp for up to 2 weeks.