Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Coffee Epiphany (part 2) - Cooking with Coffee

Except for chocolate covered espresso beans and Tiramisu, it never occurred to me to seriously cook with coffee.  In the last few years, however, I have stumbled across some wonderful, innovative ways for using both the brew and the beans.
Coffee can be used in marinades, spice rubs, cookies and custards.  It compliments both the sweet and savory with an earthy richness.
    Keeping with my goal of using what's on hand,(plus we are still digging out of a snowstorm), I set out to create a simple weeknight dinner which could feed four to six easily.
My fridge contained  a wonderful bunch of basil from the Farmers Market that needed to be used up, a pair of small pork tenderloins thawing, and a generous pint of organic cherry tomatoes. Organic apples, oranges and lemons left over from the holidays needed to be somehow incorporated into this menu.  Coffee would be included in at least two recipes.

  • Coffee-rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Jalapeno, Apple and Orange Relish
  •  Cherry Tomato and Mozzarella Bread Salad
  •  Chocolate Dipped Espresso Shortbread Cookies.
The pork in this recipe stays moist and has delicious full earthy flavors. It could also be made on a grill. The salad is simple yet filling. Shortbread cookies are always easy, few ingredients and never too sweet.

The Recipes

Coffee-rubbed Pork Tenderloin
1 - 2 lbs. Pork Tenderloin(s) They come 2 to a package sometimes.
1 Tbs. French or espresso roast coffee beans, finely ground
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbs. olive oil

Combine the coffee, brown sugar, salt and chili powder in a small bowl, mix in the olive oil.  Pat dry the pork tenderloin(s), place on an oiled  low-rimmed sheet pan  and rub the mixture evenly over the pork to coat.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450°.  Roast the pork for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 325° and continue roasting for 25 minutes until the inside temperature reaches 140°. Cover and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Slice the pork and serve with the Jalapeno, Apple & Orange Relish.

Jalapeno, Apple & Orange Relish
2 Granny smith or other apples, cored, and finely chopped
2 seedless oranges, peeled, sectioned, each section cut into 4-5 pieces
1/4 C. honey
1/2 C. apple cider vinegar
1 med. shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 medium jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
Sea Salt
2/3 cup water
Put the chopped apples, orange pieces, shallot, water and jalapeno in saucepan.  Whisk together the honey, cider vinegar, salt to taste. Fold vinegar mixture into bowl of fruit and jalapenos and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. About 3- 4 mins. Reduce heat to low, simmer about 40 mins. Season to taste with salt.  Cool.  Refrigerate to allow flavors to blend, while waiting for the pork. This relish can be make ahead of time.   Serve with the Coffee-rubbed Pork Tenderloin slices.
Coffee-rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Jalapeno, Apple & Orange Relish
 Cherry Tomato and Mozzarella Bread Salad

1/3 + 2 T olive oil
6 - 12 slices of whole wheat French bread, ciabatta or other bread 
30 basil leaves (approx.)
1 small lemon, zest and juice (use a Mircroplane or the small holes on a box grater)
1 clove garlic
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (quartered if very large) to equal about 4 cups
1/4 tea. crushed red chili flakes
1 lb Mozzarella pearls (or cubed mozzarella if you can't find pearl size)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Tear the bread into 1 inch pieces to equal about 6 loose cups. Drizzle with 2 Tbs. olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 8 - 12 minutes until crunchy and golden brown. Set aside to cool.
In a blender combine the basil leaves, 1/3 cup olive oil, juice and zest from the lemon, 1 clove garlic. Puree until fairly smooth, stopping to scrape sides and push basil mixture down. 
Toss together the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and bread cubes about 20 minutes before serving.  Drizzle generously with the basil dressing, toss lightly and serve. Pass the remaining dressing at the table.

Chocolate-dipped Espresso Shortbread Cookies
1 Cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2  sugar
1/2 tea. sea salt (I like to use Celtic)
2 Tbs. finely ground espresso beans
2 1/4 unbleached whole wheat flour

Dipping chocolate:
9 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 Tbs. coconut oil

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat to 300°.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
 Combine the sugar, butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter and sugar are just combined. Add the flour and ground coffee, mix on low just until the dough pulls together about 3 mins. Do not overmix. Scrape the bowl occasionally.  Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Dough may seem dry. Try not to knead it too much and try for uniform thickness.  Cut using small cookie cutters or cut with a butter knife into small cookies. Bake the cookies 30 mins. to 1 hour, till they are golden on the bottom and edges and pale to golden on top. (Rotate  position in the oven and rotate sheet after 15 mins). Cool on a rack.

To make dipping chocolate, put chocolate and coconut oil in a small heatproof bowl in a pan of simmering water.  Stir until it is smooth and warm, not too hot. Dip half of each cookie into the melted chocolate and let the chocolate set up at room temperature for about 2 hours.  I like to put them in my cool pantry to set up.

I hope I have inspired you to use coffee creatively in your cooking endeavors!
Bon Appetite,

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