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Apr '08

Cooking With Coffee (and Espresso)!

Just how addicted to coffee are you? Do you ever wish you could be permanently hooked up to a coffee I.V.? (If so, see the cartoon to the right.)

What about using coffee as a homemade beauty treatment to firm and tone the skin? (Supposedly you can.) Do you have Starbucks Finder installed on your handheld PDA so you can get your fix anywhere you go?

Then cooking with coffee is the next step in your addiction cycle.

Beyond tiramisu and other obvious coffee flavored desserts, coffee and/or espresso can be used to make a wide variety of interesting marinades, rubs, and sauces. If you’ve ever known the deep pleasure of eating country ham and red-eye gravy, you’re already well on your way to enjoying coffee as a culinary enhancement.

Here’s a few main meal recipes featuring coffee as an ingredient:

Honore Balzac: The Patron Saint of CoffeeBy the way, it is said that French writer Honore de Balzac drank up to 40 strong cups of coffee a day. He went on to write 92 novels and his essay, The Pleasures and Pain of Coffee, gives one a fascinating/horrifying glimpse of his all-too-caffeinated life.

As Balzac goes on to write in the essay…

“For a while - for a week or two at most - you can obtain the right amount of (creative) stimulation with one, then two cups of coffee brewed from beans that have been crushed with gradually increasing force and infused with hot water.

For another week, by decreasing the amount of water used, by pulverizing the coffee even more finely, and by infusing the grounds with cold water, you can continue to obtain the same cerebral power.

When you have produced the finest grind with the least water possible, you double the dose by drinking two cups at a time; particularly vigorous constitutions can tolerate three cups. In this manner one can continue working for several more days.

Finally, I have discovered a horrible, rather brutal method that I recommend only to men of excessive vigor, men with thick black hair and skin covered with liver spots, men with big square hands and legs shaped like bowling pins. It is a question of using finely pulverized, dense coffee, cold and anhydrous, consumed on an empty stomach. This coffee falls into your stomach, a sack whose velvety interior is lined with tapestries of suckers and papillae. The coffee finds nothing else in the sack, and so it attacks these delicate and voluptuous linings; it acts like a food and demands digestive juices; it wrings and twists the stomach for these juices, appealing as a pythoness appeals to her god; it brutalizes these beautiful stomach linings as a wagon master abuses ponies; the plexus becomes inflamed; sparks shoot all the way up to the brain. From that moment on, everything becomes agitated. Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop; the artillery of logic rushes up with clattering wagons and cartridges; on imagination’s orders, sharpshooters sight and fire; forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink - for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water, as a battle opens and concludes with black powder.

I recommended this way of drinking coffee to a friend of mine, who absolutely wanted to finish a job promised for the next day: he thought he’d been poisoned and took to his bed, which he guarded like a married man. He was tall, blond, slender and had thinning hair; he apparently had a stomach of papier-mache. There has been, on my part, a failure of observation.”

Balzac died at the age of 51. Ironically enough, Ebook Takeaway offers 51 of his books that you can download free of charge here. There’s also some great coffee trivia here as well as Food & Wine’s Obsessive Guide to Coffee.

Hugging the Coast Blog Fast ForwardPlease join us tomorrow to read our newest food and recipe cooking feature on HuggingtheCoast.Com from author Doug DuCap.

Hugging the Coast Blog Fast Forward

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