Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Unrecipe of the Week: Quick Tiramisu

October 19, 2015

 

4556800185_compLast weekend, I hosted a party for my husband’s birthday. I served cocktails and dinner for about 20 people, offering a variety of foods to please just about any palate. Around 3:00 on the day of the party, my husband asked for a tiramisu as one of the desserts. Time was of the essence, so anything that required too much prep work, or actual baking wasn’t advisable at that point.

For those who may not know, tiramisu is an Italian dessert consisting of layers of espresso soaked sponge, and creamy layers containing sweet marscapone cheese.

Most of the recipes incorporate eggs into the cream mixture. Not one who likes to serve raw eggs to my guests, I needed to find a way to make an egg-less version, and to make it fast!

This ended up being so easy, that you could whip it up after work and it enjoy it later that evening, although the longer it has to chill, the better it will hold together when you take it out of the pan.

The flavors melded well, and the espresso soaked cookies functioned beautifully as the sponge layers. The rest, as they say, is history. Try this yourself and see how quick and simple it really is to make.

Quick Tiramisu:

Select a pan that is deep enough to house 2 or 3 layers of cookies and cream. I used an 8″x8″ square baking pan, but you can use a small cassorole pan, or a loaf pan.

Line the pan with either plastic wrap or parchment paper so that it is smooth along the bottom and sides of the pan, and hangs over the top. Place the wrap in both directions. This will help you ease it out of the pan later.

Brew a pot of espresso, or very strong coffee. Pour some in a bowl and allow it cool enough that you don’t burn yourself when dipping the cookies. You can add a little Marsala wine for authenticity if you like, or a bit of rum if you have it. I didn’t use any alchohol, and it was still very tasty.

Quickly dip store bought (yep, I went there) lady fingers into the strong coffee. Make sure they are fully saturated, but don’t let them soak, or they will fall apart. Line the bottom of the pan with the coffee dipped cookies. Be sure to cover the whole area, even if you have to use broken cookies to fill in the gaps. The wet cookies will start to merge together and you will not be able to tell if a cookie was placed in the opposite direction or broken once you are done.

Beat about 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream with about  1 1/4 cup of powdered confectioner’s sugar, until the cream forms soft peaks. Beat in a 16 oz. container of soft, room temperature marscapone cheese. Spread a thick layer of the sweet cream over the cookies, and repeat. You should be able to stack 2 or 3 layers of cookies, and cream in the pan. End with a cream layer on top.
Dust the top liberally with unsweetened cocoa powder. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before serving.
To remove from the pan, use the over-hanging layers of plastic or paper to lift it out. Place it on a serving dish, cut it into squares, and enjoy!

Notes: The finished, chilled product should hold together well and easily come out of the pan. If you don’t want to take it out of the pan, or don’t have several hours to let it chill, use a large spoon to serve it. Put it in a nice glass and make it look like a parfait. Put a strawberry on top, and make it look like you planned it. Its all good.

I used store bought lady fingers, which I found in the cookie aisle at the grocery store.

Marscapone is a spreadable Italian cheese, similar to American cream cheese. It is found in the refrigerated dairy area of the market.

You can adjust the amount of the cream mixture to suit the size of the pan. This amount worked for my 8″x8″ pan, but you could cut it in half for a smaller loaf pan, or increase it for a larger rectangular pan. Just make sure the sides are high enough to build the layers.

The sides of tiramisu will be as smooth as the pan liner. If you don’t get the plastic or paper smooth, there will be creases in the sides of the cake. You can spray the pan with cooking spray before lining it to help the liner stick to the sides so it can be smoothed.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Cappuccino Ice Pops

May 28, 2015

As the weather gets warmer, and the days get longer, its time to rethink your afternoon coffee run. Instead of heading out for an over priced, sugary calorie bomb in a cup, why not make these easy “cappuccino” pops at home?  We love the old school look of these ice-pops, made from coffee, cream and sugar, with just a touch of cinnamon. The recipe can be customized to suit your taste. A little sweeter? More cream? Dairy free? No problem. We even made ours decaf!

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Cappuccino Ice Pops:

Brew 3 or 4 cups of strong coffee, and cool to room temperature. (If you make a little extra in the morning, it will be cool when you get home in the evening.)

Using the ice pop molds of your choice, or paper cups if you don’t have a mold, freeze about 1/2″ of cream until it is solid. You can substitute the milk of your choice; coconut, almond or soy would work just fine. We don’t recommend using skim milk , as it might be a bit watery and lack substance once its frozen.

Once the coffee is cool, add cream (or the milk of your choice) to taste, about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of sugar to taste, and a little cinnamon. Mix well and pour into the molds or paper cups. If your mold has sticks and a cover, insert them now. If not, let the coffee start to freeze up a little before inserting the sticks. We covered our mold with foil, and popped the sticks through so that they would stand upright while freezing. Leave them in the freezer until they are fully frozen, remove from the molds and enjoy!

Tips: Dip the mold in warm water to loosen the pop so it slides out easily.

Once frozen, the sweetness in the coffee subsides a bit. Use a little more sugar than you normally would, to get the correct sweetness in the ice pop.

You can make the coffee and refrigerate it until you are ready to freeze it. The colder the coffee when you start, the less ice crystals your pops will have.

Photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Take a peek at our Tumblr.

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Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

 

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Cleaning a Coffee Grinder

May 13, 2014

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Coffee grinders are great for grinding coffee beans, but they are also useful for grinding herbs and spices. The only problem is, who wants turmeric scented coffee? Or coffee scented oregano? Get the picture?
Help is on the way! In between uses, toss in some uncooked rice and grind it up until the grinder is odor free. For particularly pungent smells, change the rice and grind again.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Coffee Ice Cubes

October 15, 2013

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Today’s tip is a great way to use up the extra coffee at the bottom of the pot. Simply pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it.
Not only is it the perfect way to chill iced coffee, but you can thaw them out and heat them to make brewed instant coffee.

Be creative: how about adding a few to a glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kahlua? Chocolate milk? Grinding them up in a smoothie?

The possibilities are endless.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Foods for Body and Brain

August 28, 2013

It’s back to school time, and young people across the country are settling into a new routine. For many college students, that means a steady diet of fast food, and it’s not just the dreaded “freshman 15″ that should cause culinary concern. We have all heard the adage ” You are what you eat,” but did you know that certain foods can improve your studying ability, help you sleep better, and beat stress?

Our friends at The Best Colleges, have shared this great info graphic with us, to show you the power foods that help you be at your best.

The average college student eats fast food a whopping 6-8 times per week! These calorie bombs not only expand your waistline, but they decrease your concentration as well.

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Planning a day of cramming for a big test? Try these nutritional powerhouses to enhance your studying:

Fish has been shown to enhance your memory. Get your omega-3’s in fresh fish or fish oil supplements to increase reaction time by 20%.

Caffeine not only wakes you up, but also improves your mental acuity.

Eggs provide choline, which is nicknamed the memory vitamin.

Start your day with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and a hot cup of joe to get the most out of your study session.

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A good night’s sleep is key to performance. Cherries contain melatonin, which regulates sleep. Bananas are rich in tryptophan, which helps the body produce calming hormones. The magnesium in almonds also promotes muscle relaxation. Snack on cherries, bananas and nuts about an hour before bed to ensure a restful night.

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School can be stressful, and these stress busters will help you get through the difficult times. Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure and its caffeine content keeps you sharp for long study sessions. Avocado is just one of the fruits that help bolster your immune system, keeping you healthy throughout the school year. While eating garlic and onions is not the best recipe for a great social life, these antioxidant filled flavorings protect the immune system and increase blood flow. Add a little avocado to your salad or sandwich, as well as some garlic and onion rich foods like hummus, guacamole or salsa to stay healthy.

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The right nutrition can make a big difference in your health, as well as your grades. Fuel up properly to get the most out of your education.

info graphic courtesy of : the best collages.org

Too Much of a Good Thing

August 8, 2013

We pride ourselves in eating healthy foods that taste good and are good for us. It would seem that eating lots of these foods would be a good thing, right?
In some cases yes, but in others, it can be a case of too much of a good thing.

carrots, vegetables, nutrition

Carrots contain beta carotene, which gives them their beautiful orange hue. They are low in calories, and high in vitamin A and fiber. If you eat too many of them, your skin will take on that same orange cast as the carrots. Not so pretty,we think!

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Nutmeg is a spice, generally used as a flavoring in small amounts. Consumed in huge quantities, it can cause hallucinations, fear, anxiety attacks, and in two rare cases, death. We can’t imagine why anyone would willingly consume such a vast amount of the spice, so feel free to keep enjoying it in moderation.

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Fish in general are very heart healthy, and it is recommended that we eat fish at least a few times per week. However, the  kind of fish you eat can come with consequences that out weigh the benefits.  The larger the fish, the higher the mercury content is, due to the fact that these species eat many other smaller fish, causing a cumulative effect in their systems. Tuna, swordfish, and mackerel are among those to eat in moderation. It is recommended not to consume more than 12 oz. of these fish per week, and it is advised that pregnant women avoid them completely.

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Kombucha is a trendy drink, consisting of raw, fermented and naturally carbonated tea. The fermentation brings out probiotic properties, but also produces alcohol. Whole Foods markets recently pulled all Kombucha products from its stores, citing concerns that the alcohol levels exceeded the legal amounts in some cases. Over indulging in kombucha can bring about a nasty hangover. Home produced kombucha also carries the risk of harboring mold and bacteria. We say “YUCK” to that!

Close up detail coffee beans on countertop

Lots has been written lately about the positive effects of coffee. Other than the obvious caffeine kick that gets us up and moving in the morning, coffee also has superfood powers that can help prevent diabetes, protect your brain, and reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. When too much coffee is consumed, it can lead to a serious case of the jitters, involving dizziness, heart palpitations and in some extreme cases, heart attacks.  Limit caffeine consumption from coffee, energy drinks and supplements to keep the effects in check.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Designer Food Stuff

May 25, 2012

Everything is getting the designer treatment these days, and food is no exception.

Here are 2 innovative concepts that take the culinary experience to the next level:

It’s not trendy enough to just eat sushi, now we need to design the seaweed wrappers too!
Japan’s Umino Seaweed Shop has created rolls of nori (the seaweed that sushi is wrapped in) that are laser cut into designer patterns.

Five precut designs are available, each based on an element of Japanese symbology.

Custom coffees and text messaging have become an obsessive part of our lives. Now you can receive a message in your half –caf soy latte and kill two birds with one stone!

Seattle based cloud texting company Zipwhip, has created Textpresso, a machine that can not only send and receive text messages, but can print them in your coffee foam too!

Zipwhip has merged the espresso machine with an android app that has SMS capabilities, and installed a printer stocked with edible ink. It can print short messages in your coffee foam, to personalize your morning joe.

What will they think of next? Any ideas?

photos courtesy of Springwise

Alternative Energy

April 27, 2011

Looking for healthy ways to boost your energy without consuming loads of caffeine?

Here are a few alternatives that will give you the pick me up, without the jitters.

 

An apple a day keeps the sluggishness away

The natural sugars in the fruit will give you a quick burst of energy, without the crash later.

Hydrate

Dehydration can sap your energy.  A glass of cold water, or a cup of low caffeine green tea can perk you up fast.

 

Get down and give me five:

A few pushups will get your blood circulating, making you more alert.

Holding a downward dog pose can also have the same effect.

Get some air

A short brisk stroll will clear your head and give you a dose of vitamin D, courtesy of the sun. The walk gets the blood flowing again, and stepping away from the task at hand for a few minutes can be reinvigorating.

Before you drop $5 bucks for a sugary snack or a 300-calorie Frappacino, try one of these natural and healthy alternatives!

photo: Glasshouse Images


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