This experiment was born from my frequent fits of incredulity over the amount of money Husband and I spend in coffee shops. I'm not sure I can begin to calculate the gallons of espresso we consume in a month, but the price tag would buy us a cream of the crop at-home espresso machine in about 2-3 months. It matters not that we have a perfectly fine coffee maker at home, we still spend around $10 a day for coffee (I can't imagine the sounds coming from my mother's mouth!)
It occurred to me a few weeks ago, while re-reading It Must Have Been Something I Ate; there is a chapter on Hot Chocolate, and Steingarten gives a famous recipe for the best hot chocolate in the world (no, I'm not giving it here, go out and read it for yourself). Part of the recipe involves blending the mixture with an immersion (aka stick) blender for a few minutes. I chewed this over for a few weeks - could you froth milk with a simple stick blender? and finally tried it the other day - guess what? It frothed! I wouldn't call this a cappuccino-worthy froth, but it works wonders to replace my morning breakfast latte. Okay, technically, this is a cafe au lait, as it is made with coffee and not espresso, but I used the French press, which produces a more espresso-like concoction than the typical thin coffee-maker brew.
At Home Latte for 2
Prepare coffee in a French press: I use 7 tbsp beans - grind to a coarse grind - for my 6 cup press, pour in almost-boiling water and allow to steep for 5 minutes before plunging. While the coffee is steeping, get on with the milk: in a small but deep sauce pan, heat any type of milk (I used 2%) over medium heat. When it is about 120 degrees (at this point, you should be able to put your finger in for a second), reduce the heat to low and blend with a stick blender for 3 minutes; let sit for one minute and then spoon the frothy milk into the desired drinking vessel. Pour the coffee over. At this point, you can add a sugar cube and a few drops of vanilla extract, if you like. This is my favorite breakfast and pre-work pick-me-up.