To be completely honest with you, I consider myself a social drinker, not a true coffee drinker. I can remember drinking my first coffee in a small, black, demitasse mug at my grandmother’s house…it was 90% milk, 9% sugar, and 1% coffee. I drank it to be “grown up”, but I am far more of a tea drinker and have always been. I do still occasionally enjoy a cup or two of heavily doctored coffee. But I do this so infrequently that a trip to the usual coffee shop causes enormous order anxiety. I don’t speak the lingo and almost always end up with coffee envy for whatever it is my ;more coffee savvy’ friends have ordered. So, yes, that is me…the annoying woman who stands at the counter indecisively for fifteen minutes while she reads and discusses every menu option with the barista who wishes I would just make up my mind.
However, when it comes to cooking, I don’t hesitate to throw in a little coffee here and there. I honesty believe that the rich roasted flavor of coffee is an amazing way to enhance the flavor of many dishes, sweet or savory. Of course my favorite combination is coffee AND chocolate (that goes without saying, right?). But here are a few of my favorite recipes that include this special ingredient.
Now for my true confession:
When my friend Renee (who happens to work for Starbucks) told me that she wanted me to try a new “instant” coffee they were launching, I thought, ‘Sounds like fun. Okay.’ Then I got it. To my amazement their new “VIA” has converted me to a coffee drinker! Although Renee generously provided me with several packets of this new product; I keep running out before I can even start cooking. Just smelling the usual instant coffee that I have next to the VIA is an overwhelming contrast. I now find myself opting for instant coffee instead of my favorite, tea, almost every morning.
I wonder if Starbucks realizes what they have done. As soon as an inventor comes along and introduces the spray can of coffee fragrance, we will no longer need their stores every 1.3 miles in America…except to buy boxes of VIA from.
For as long as I can remember my grandmother has made this roast. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the distinctive but delicious fragrance of it cooking in her house for our Sunday dinner. She says she got the recipe from Heloise many, many years ago.
1 piece of roast beef, 3-5lbs (Grandma says “any cut will do”)
1 head of garlic, peeled with each clove cut into slivers
1 cup cider vinegar
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 cups strong brewed coffee (I used 3 packets of VIA, 2 cups of water)
2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
Puncture the roast all over with a sharp knife; insert the garlic slivers in all of the cuts. Place in a gallon bag and add the vinegar (this will help tenderize the meat). Allow to marinade for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator.
When ready to cook, remove the meat from the bag, drain all of the vinegar. Pat roast dry with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven (or any other big pot that will hold it). Brown the roast until dark on all sides.
Add the coffee and water to the pot. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 6 hours (on low or medium low setting — you can even transfer it to your crock-pot after browning if you prefer). Check occasionally while cooking and add extra water if needed. Season the meat with salt and pepper about 20 minutes before serving.
Eight Bean Chili
I love the variety of flavor and texture this chili has. If you have difficulty finding any of the bean varieties or have a favorite kind of bean, you can substitute that for one of the other types. This is really good with fresh baked corn bread or crackers. I like to top each bowl with a little cheddar cheese and sour cream. If you count the coffee beans, I guess this is really a 9 bean chili!
I will warn you…the recipe makes a TON of chili but it freezes well and is terrific to have and share with friends.
19 oz. package turkey sausage links (Italian Sausage style)
3 large sweet onions, chopped
1 TBSP olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 TBSP Chili powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Ground thyme
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 TBSP white vinegar
1 tsp Instant coffee (1 packet of VIA)
2 TBSP sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 large, 28 oz, cans diced tomatoes
1 large, 28 oz, can crushed tomatoes
1 large, 28 oz, can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 15.5 oz can dark red kidney beans
1 15.5 oz can light red kidney beans
1 15.5 oz can garbanzo beans
1 15.5 oz can navy beans
1 15.5 oz can black beans
1 15.5 oz can pinto beans
1 15.5 oz can red beans
1 15.5 oz can great northern beans
1 small jar diced pimentos
1 lb bag frozen corn kernels
Cayenne pepper and fresh ground black pepper to taste
In a large pot, brown the whole sausages over medium heat until cooked through. Remove the sausage from the pan and add the olive oil and onions. Sauté until onions are almost translucent, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, thyme, chocolate, vinegar, coffee, and sugar. Cook about 2 minutes — the fragrance of the spices should intensify.
Add all of the cans of tomatoes and stir. Open all of the beans, pour them into a colander and rinse well. Add the beans to the pot. Dice the cooked sausage and add it to the pot. Drain the pimentos, add them to the pot, stir and allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes or as long as several hours, stirring occasionally. Add the corn about 10 minutes before serving.
Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups butter
1 cups sugar
3 cups brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp instant coffee (2 packets of VIA)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
5 cups oatmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
32 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grind the oatmeal in your blender, one cup at a time, until it is a fine powder.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars. Dissolve the coffee in the extracts; add to the creamed mixture, and then mix in the eggs.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oatmeal and remaining ingredients except the chocolate chips. Add this to the creamed mixture gradually. When thoroughly mixed, add the chocolate chips. Use a small scoop (about 1 tablespoon) to place on a baking sheet, allowing some space for expansion while baking. Bake for 10 minutes.
Though these cookies are good fresh from the oven, the flavors blend and mellow overnight and I think they are even tastier the second day. To keep them soft, store in an airtight container with a piece of bread.
Chocolate Chip Stuffed French Toast
I created this recipe in honor of Theresa for a Promise event a few years ago. Theresa and I agree that coffee and chocolate is a match made in heaven; this decadent breakfast dish is a great example. I think the end result tastes a lot like Tiramisu.
1½ loaves whole wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed
4 cups milk
½ cup sugar
½ cup sugar
1 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 TBSP vanilla extract
16 oz cream cheese
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 TBSP flour
Spray 9×13 rectangular baking dish with non-stick spray. Layer the bottom of the baking dish with bread slices. Whisk together batter ingredients and pour half over the bread layer. Combine filling ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour over first layer of bread. Toss ¾ cup of the chocolate chips in flour and sprinkle over filling. Cover filling with remaining bread slices and pour remaining batter over top. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
In the morning, remove casserole from refrigerator then preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for one hour until puffed and golden brown. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and serve.