Category Archives: Food and Drink

Recipe: Black Bottom Espresso Cupcakes

These delectable delicacies are perfect for dinner party desserts or an afternoon snack — you’ll need to keep them refrigerated.

Ingredients

– For Cupcake Batter –

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

– For Cream Cheese Filling –

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Line muffin tins with paper liners — muffins should be 2.5 inches in diameter, recipe calls for 20 muffins total.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the dry ingredients with an electric mixer on slow speed.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients and beat on medium speed until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
  5. Pour the batter equally into all 20 cupcakes.
  6. For the filling, put cream cheese, espresso, sugar, salt, egg and vanilla into a medium sized bowl and beat until smooth.
  7. Stir in mini chocolate chips.
  8. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese filling into the center of each cupcake.
  9. Bake the cupcakes for 20 – 25 minutes (monitor closely, they may bake more quickly depending on your oven), or until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.
  10. Remove and let cupcakes cool in muffin pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully unmold to cool completely on a wire rack.
  11. Chow down!

Health Watch: Caffeine & Pregnancy – Part Two

The most often used mood-altering drug around the world, caffeine has nearly an equal amount of advocates as it does detractors — it’s even moving into the holy ‘anti-oxidant’ status, previously reserved for the likes of broccoli and pomegranate.

But up for debate is how much should be consumed by pregnant mothers, and we found this interesting article that highlights different studies and their findings, with an overall recommendation that coffee consumption be either avoided or greatly reduced while pregnant.

Recipe: Coffee Liqueur

Perk up your favorite cocktail with a little homemade coffee liqueur! Our favorite is a recipe from A.J. Rathbun (author of Luscious Liqueurs):

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup instant espresso powder
  • 2 & 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup whole coffee beans of your choice
  • 3 cups brandy
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine instant espresso powder, sugar and water in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat; stir occasionally until mixture is almost at a boil.
  2. Lower heat & keep it at a low simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat and let syrup cool completely in the pan.
  4. Put syrup, coffee beans and brandy in a glass container with a tight lid, stir well.
  5. Seal and place the container in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight.
  6. Let mixture sit for 2 weeks — swirling it occasionally.
  7. After 2 weeks, add vanilla, stir again and reseal. Let it sit again for 2 more weeks in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight.
  8. Carefully strain liqueur through a double layer of cheesecloth into a pitcher.
  9. Strain again through two new layers of cheesecloth into one large bottle or a number of smaller bottles — your preference.

Makes about 3 pints.

Recipe: Espresso Flan

Custards are a great holiday season dessert, and here’s a delicious recipe for Espresso Flan that will put a little pep in your step. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 11/3 cups white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 11/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped of seeds
  • 1 heaping teaspoon espresso coffee grounds
  • Caramel
  • 11/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. Whisk eggs and yolks together, add sugar, salt and cream. Mix well. Add vanilla seed and pulp and continue
    whisking. Allow to rest 15 minutes so vanilla can infuse custard.
  2. In the meantime, heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan; add sugar and then water. Heat on high stirring constantly until sugar melts and caramel color develops. Be careful not to burn. Remove from heat and spoon 2 teaspoons each into 5, 6-inch diameter ramekins and allow to firm.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. After custard has rested strain through a fine sieve to remove strands of egg white. Stir in espresso. Lightly brush sides of ramekins and the caramel with melted butter or coat with cooking spray.
  5. Fill ramekins about two-thirds full with custard and place in baking pan about the same height as the ramekins. Add tap water to the baking pan to the same level of the custard. Bake about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool to desired serving temperature.
  6. To serve: Run a knife around edge, place serving plate over ramekin and flip over. Scrape out any residual caramel and drizzle over flan.

Hot Blog on Blog Action: Coffee Like Wine

We spend a fair amount of time poking around the ‘net to find interesting information to share with you, gentle reader, and came upon the blog Coffee Like Wine that discusses artisan coffee and wine experiences had by its San Francisco-based writer.

Providing feedback on everything from different bay city cafes to cupping events to the flavors of single origin beans, this blog has a ton of great subjective information from an avid connoisseur. Check it out!

Recipe: Espresso Marinated Flank Steak

This recipe for Espresso Marinated Flank Steak with Plantain Chutney, developed by Juan Montalvo, looks scrumptious and we can’t wait to try it!

Flank Steak
2 pounds flank steak
1 cup espresso
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. black peppercorn, crushed

Whisk espresso, vinegar, olive oil, honey, Worcestershire sauce, garlic
and peppercorn in bowl. Place flank steak in a resealable plastic bag
and pour marinade into bag. Remove all the air from bag and
refrigerate for minimum 1 hour.

Remove steak from marinade. Place steak on medium high heat grill
and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer steak to cutting board and
let rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Slice thinly across the grain.

Plantain Chutney
3 ripe plantains (they should be yellow with black spots on the outside)
1 medium onion, diced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp. olive oil

Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Peel plantain and place on
baking dish. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until well browned. Once
cooked, place plantain aside to cool. Cut plantain lengthwise and dice.

Pour olive oil into a medium heat sauce pan. Add onions and cook
until translucent. Add plantain, jalapeno, chicken stock, and honey,
salt and pepper to taste, cook for 5-10 minutes to warm all ingredients
together. Pour over the top of the sliced flank steak.

Makes 6 Servings

Hot Blog on Blog Action: Man Seeking Coffee

Written by a mild caffeine addict whose only qualifications are a passion for coffee and tons of wasted money on experiencing bad coffee, Man Seeking Coffee is a blog for lovers of the bean who are looking for tips, corroboration or debate.

The San Francisco-based writer has even come up with a rating system for beans so that you’ll come to understand his perspective on a truly quantitative level, but also talks about cafes and coffee culture…you know, just to round it out. Enjoy the read!

Ed. Note: The Man Seeking Coffee blog is currently on hiatus. You may want to try A Table in the Corner of the Cafe blog instead.

Put Your Face On It

Don’t care to learn the finer points of steaming milk with microfoam or pouring the latte art favorites of hearts and leaves? Now you don’t have to! Just hack together an 80’s era Kodak inkjet printer and a flatbed scanner, load it up with caramelized sugar and you’re in! At least, that’s what these guys think — hope, actually — and they’ve built a prototype to sell to your neighborhood Sbux.

Just think of all the fun variations you could have with this. Sure, you don’t need a logo on your latte, but if you’re feeling a little bit vain, how about a cameo-style portrait of yourself? Get hardcore with your inner crazy cat lover by imprinting your feline companion’s visage on your latte. Or, if you’re hoping to smooth out some family ties, put your mother-in-law’s smiling face on there as a ‘tribute’. Really, the options just might be endless.

Recipe: Mayan Spice Sundae


Add a little kick to your holiday desserts! We created this sundae because we love the Mayan treat of orange slices coated in cayenne pepper that is found all over the Yucatan peninsula — and if you love a little spice with your sugar, we think you’ll definitely dig this!

Ingredients


Directions

Mix the orange, chocolate and cayenne together in a small bowl. Pull a double shot of espresso directly into it and then incorporate all three until well blended. Spoon a little bit of the sauce into the bottom of two serving bowls, put a scoop of ice cream into each of the serving bowls and then drizzle with the sauce. Garnish with orange slices or, if you’re looking for something muy caliente, more cayenne.

Holiday Fund Drive: Lavazza Tierra! & Coffee Kids

We love working with you and we love coffee, so it’s important to us that what we love doing helps others do what they love as well. Sustainability in the coffee industry will keep us all in delicious cups of coffee for years to come, and while we’ve written before about our support of the non-profit organization Coffee Kids, as well as about Lavazza’s Tierra! coffee, we decided to put our money where our mouth is this holiday season and launch a fund drive!

Now through 1/15/09, we’re donating 5% of all sales of Lavazza’s Tierra! coffee to Coffee Kids! Featuring smoky molasses aromas and flavor undertones of floral and bittersweet chocolate, Tierra! is a tasty gift for anyone you love that loves coffee — and, yes, that includes you!