How can I explain this love affair I have with this jolt of java? I’ve been drinking and enjoying coffee for a long time now, and with every cup, it seems to get better and better. When I say a long time, I mean since I was about four years old. I remember seeing my family making and enjoying coffee and little me just knew I needed to be drinking and enjoying it as well.
As a child, juice boxes and animal crackers couldn’t even compare to the smell of coffee. My family gave in and started making me kid-friendly cups of coffee, meaning it contained more milk and sugar than anything else, and a few drops of coffee— nothing over a teaspoon or tablespoon, for the flavor of course. I was hooked, and sipping this sophisticated drink with the women of the house made me feel like a queen.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve gradually progressed from a few drops of coffee to the real deal. And I must confess that in my typical work day at the restaurant, I can drink anywhere from 2-4 cups, whether it’s plain coffee or some kind of espresso-laced beverage. One can often find me ordering a red eye (coffee with a shot of espresso) or a chai latte with a shot of espresso (known as a dirty chai lattè). Trust me; I know that my coffee consumption is borderline crazy. If I don’t have coffee for whatever unknown reason, sadness, accompanied by a headache begins to take over. I must admit that it’s comforting that I’m not the only one with this addiction. The coffee industry is a $20+ billion dollar one. That’s a LOT of caffeine.
You would probably think that coffee would only be used in sweet recipes, but when mixed with other spices, ground and brewed coffee can be used in a variety of ways to add flavor to ingredients such as meat, poultry and sauces. In honor of Coffee Day, here are 3 chef-inspired recipes using coffee. The next time the question of what to make for dinner comes up, reach over to that coffee maker and add a jolt of Joe to your dinner table.
Coffee-Spiced Rib Eye Steak
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup finely-ground espresso
2 tbsp. Spanish paprika
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 bone-in or boneless rib-eye steaks
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine all spices in a medium bowl.
Preheat a cast iron pan over high heat. Brush steaks with canola oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons of the coffee rub onto 1 side of each steak. Cook the steak, rub side down until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the steak over, cook for 2 minutes and then transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven to your desired internal finish. Remove steaks from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Brown Sugar and Coffee BBQ Sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 3/4 cup white onions, small diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. jalapeño, seeded and minced
1/2 cup. (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with puree
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 cup freshly brewed strong coffee or 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup hot water
In heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat, add oil. Sautée onions, garlic, and jalapeño until tender, about 7 minutes. Add brown sugar, chili powder, molasses, cilantro, and cumin and stir until sugar dissolves. Add in crushed tomatoes with puree, broth, and coffee and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered til sauce thickens slightly and is reduced to 4 cups, stir often, about 35 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.
Coffee Spice for Burgers
1 tbsp. freshly-ground coffee
2 tsp. (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
Combine all spices in a bowl and mix evenly. Prepare desired burgers and liberally season with coffee rub. Grill to desired internal finish.
Recipe Adapted from Bon Appétit.