Delight, among other things, may be in the eye of the beholder. A few days ago I actually passed up my morning espresso because I couldn’t stand the thought of anything hot – from the stove to the steaming cup. Doing without coffee proved nigh impossible, though, so I braved the burner and poured the coffee over a glass full of ice cubes. Perfection in hand, order restored, the day could finally begin.
Last night we were promised a thunderstorm bringing “heavy rain.” Well, the rain was heavy, I’ll grant that – what there was of it: about a dozen big, fat, splatty drops, just enough to terrify the dogs into thinking thunder would be searching for them, and soon. But we heard not a single clap. However, the wind did come up and the temperature fell mercifully. This morning a welcome breeze kindly remained behind, moving something other than hot air.
The day, as it will in July, warmed. I love to think of Sunday as a quiet one. That fantasy is only fulfilled after the neighbor to the east finishes mowing his lawn and swearing liberally all the while at things the blade encounters (hint from your neighbor to the west: pick up the dog poop first). I like to think lawn mowing and Saturdays go hand-in-hand, but what do I know? At any rate, once the day does turn quiet, and once the shade over my reading chair is just right, it’s time for an afternoon treat. A cold one.
No, the delightful Italian concoction has nothing to do with a cat (that would be gatto). Rather, affogato means drowned. As in ice cream drowned in espresso. There may be nothing better or simpler.
If you don’t have an espresso maker, simply brew a cup of good, dark, strong coffee. I have several espresso makers, all of them the stove-top variety. Each makes a different amount. They’re simple tools, no parts to break down, they occupy zero counter space; I wouldn’t part with a one of them. If you don’t have one, it’s an inexpensive investment. We’ll talk about frothing milk when a more appropriate season presents itself.
Brew a pot of espresso, or a cup of coffee. Drop a scoop of your favorite ice cream into a large cup. Tradition dictates vanilla as the ice cream (or gelato) flavor; I’ve some crème fraîche ice cream in the freezer, and look for any excuse to use it. I have also served affogato with coffee ice cream, and also with chocolate; use what you like, in other words. Pour the espresso or coffee over the ice cream. Pick up your book; go sit in a quiet spot in the shade. Take a spoon. Ahhhhhh. Delightful, on any afternoon.