the Coffee issue
anyone else who might be sensitive to caffeine. You can always do a little math. If you’re adding one cup of coffee to a batch of brownies that makes 16 servings, it equals a half-ounce, or one tablespoon, per brownie. If you use a quarter cup of coffee in the same batch — still enough to flavor it — it would be less than one teaspoon per serving. It’s the cook’s call. As always, it’s best to inform guests, or make a coffee-free version of your coffee baked beans for the kids. Coffee has always been served with dessert and sweets, and now it’s used in more and more dessert recipes, too. Coffee cuts the sweetness in baked goods, and it deepens the flavor of chocolate. Some classic desserts include coffee, such as French Gateau L’Opera. The French assemble the thinnest possible layers of coffee-soaked sponge cake, ganache, buttercream and chocolate glaze into the gateau. Classic Italian tiramisu is easier for the home cook to tackle. While a custard mixed with mascarpone chills, ladyfingers are split and soaked in a mixture of coffee and rum, brandy or coffee-flavored liqueur such as Kahlua, then assembled with the custard and whipped cream. Affogato is another Italian concept, gelato “drowned” in espresso. It’s perfect for casual entertaining. Divide a pint of vanilla, chocolate, mocha or coffee ice cream or gelato into four serving bowls, and drizzle with a cup of espresso. Serve immediately, maybe with a crisp cookie. To make it for one, use two scoops of gelato and one shot of espresso. Ina Garten makes a coffee-flavored chocolate cake with a little coffee in the buttercream for the frosting. You can also make coffee shortbread bars, or biscotti, with a little finely ground espresso. If a recipe calls for ground coffee, it should specify which grind. If it doesn’t, plan on using the finest, powdery grinds for something like cookies or buttercream, so the grounds aren’t obvious. Coarser grinds are good for rubs. One final note: Since hot coffee left to sit can become bitter, taste that little bit left in the pot first. If it tastes okay, pour it into a jar and refrigerate.Tomorrow, try it in a recipe. You could start with red-eye gravy.
IN THE GARDEN: Sacred Grounds Adding organic matter like leftover coffee grounds to your soil will improve its structure. Coffee grounds release nitrogen into the soil as they decay, providing mineral nutrients like magnesium and potassium, which are essential for healthy plants. Mix them into your compost, work them into the soil around your plants, or scatter them over mulch, flowerbeds or shrubs. Rouses Produce Director Patrick Morris says coffee grounds are an old farmer’s trick for building up fields. “They help improve the soil tilth, balance the pH, and give it some substance.” Morris likes the idea of adding coffee grounds to compost. “Coffee grounds are a green composting material. They’re made of beans, which are an organic material and completely biodegradable, and reusing them instead of adding them to a landfill is sustainable gardening.” Container gardeners can add coffee grounds directly to the dirt in their vegetable pots. Rouses Local Produce Buyer Larry Daigle says they work especially well with green onions (scallions), which he grows old-school style in a pot by his back door. Daigle’s approach makes perfect sense, says Morris. “The grounds aren’t compact, like clay dirt, so they allow a lot of aeration in the soil, and they add nitrogen, which is great for scallions.” —Marcy, Rouses Creative Director
MY ROUSES EVERYDAY MAY | JUNE 2017
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