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Good Deed of the Day? Give Mom Some Caffeine!

May 6, 2010 By:
Ethel Hofman, JE Feature
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<p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Coffee and moms -- perfect together. It&#39;s usually the first thing they think of when they wake in the morning -- oh, that and the kids, of course! </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">For Americans, the national beverage is a steaming mug of rich, dark liquid. We insist that it&#39;s impossible to get moving, to think rationally, to answer coherently before those first couple of gulps, even if it&#39;s decaf. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">In fact, almost all brands of decaffeinated coffee still contain a minimum amount of caffeine. According to the University of Florida Maples Center for Forensic Medicine, drinking five to 10 cups of decaf may deliver as much caffeine as one or two cups of regular. The bottom line: Coffee is a stimulant -- the essential waker-upper. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Coffee&#39;s origin remains unclear. The earliest credible evidence of either coffee as a drink or coffee beans on a bush appears in the 15th century in Yemen. Evidently, beans were roasted and brewed in Sufi monasteries much in the same way as we do today. Another story notes that it was discovered in Yemen, but by a shepherd and his flock. (He probably chewed the beans to keep himself awake.) </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">History aside, it&#39;s quite a feat to go from green coffee beans to that stuff in your cup. The beans must undergo several processes before they become the familiar drip drink. First, the berries are picked, generally by hand. Then they are sorted by ripeness and color, and the flesh is removed, usually by machine. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">The seeds or beans are fermented to remove the slimy layer still sticking to the beans. When fermentation is complete, large quantities of fresh water are flushed through. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Finally, the seeds are dried. The best method of drying the beans is to lay them out in a thin layer on raised tables so that air passes all round the beans. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Most African coffee is dried in this manner, and more coffee farms around the world are beginning to use this traditional method. In places where humidity is high, the coffee beans are dried in cylinders and heated air is pumped through. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Coffee is usually sold roasted. During the process, caramelization occurs. The intense heat breaks down starches, changing them to simple sugars that begin to brown. While these sugars are lost during the roasting, aromatic oils, such as caffeol, are created; this is largely responsible for the drink&#39;s aroma and flavor. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">There is no single, best way to make coffee. The drip method is possibly the most widely used in American homes. The plunger -- or cafetiere method -- is now used and served in many coffee shops and fine restaurants. You can also buy all kinds of coffee makers these days -- from a small French press to a complex cappuccino maker. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">And then, there&#39;s instant. The quality of today&#39;s instant coffee has improved dramatically since its introduction by Nescafé in 1938. Indeed, there are many advantages to this over brewed. Its tightly capped lid keeps it fresh and flavorful almost indefinitely, and it&#39;s cheap, clean and convenient. I now keep a jar of instant on the kitchen counter for the times I rush home and just want to relax. There&#39;s no wait time and no pot-cleaning later. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Instant coffee also comes in handy for cooking purposes, so make sure to keep a small container around, just in case. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Try these recipes with -- or for -- your favorite lady on Mother&#39;s Day. She&#39;ll love you for it! </span></p> <h5><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml"><b>Chocolate-Mint Mocha</b><br /> <i>(Dairy)</i></span></h5> <blockquote><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">1/2 cup ice cubes or ice chips<br /> 2 scoops chocolate-mint ice-cream<br /> 1/4 cup very strong coffee<br /> 2 Tbsps. coffee syrup<br /> 1/4 cup or more milk<br /> whipped cream/chocolate syrup for garnish</span></blockquote> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">In a blender jar, place all ingredients, except for the garnish. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Whirl at high to blend. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Add more milk, if too thick. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Pour into a glass, and top with a dollop of whipped cream and drizzle with a little chocolate syrup. </span></p> <p><strong><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Makes 2 servings. </span></strong></p> <h5><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml"><b>Espresso-Pistachio Biscotti</b><br /> <i>(Pareve)</i></span></h5> <blockquote><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">nonstick baking spray with flour<br /> 2 cups all-purpose flour<br /> 1 cup sugar<br /> 1 tsp. baking powder<br /> 2 Tbsps. espresso powder<br /> 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg<br /> 1/4 tsp. salt<br /> 3/4 cup chopped pistachios<br /> 3 eggs, lightly beaten</span></blockquote> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Preheat oven to 350&deg;. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick baking spray with flour. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">In a large bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients, including the pistachios. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Make a well in the center. Pour in the eggs. Mix well to combine. Turn onto a floured board. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Take half of the mixture and form into a log about 12 inches by 2 inches. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Repeat with the remaining mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet about 3 inches apart. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Bake for 45 minutes, or until nicely golden and firm. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Remove from oven. Cut into 1-inch thick diagonal slices and arrange cut-side down on the baking sheet. Return to oven. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Bake 10 minutes longer. Turn heat off. Leave biscotti in oven for 45 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Makes 24 to 26 pieces. </span></p> <h5><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml"><b>Cappuccino Brownie Loaf</b><br /> <i>(Dairy) </i></span></h5> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml"><i>Bake at least one day ahead. Wrap and refrigerate. Slice from refrigerator. Freezes well or store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.</i></span></p> <blockquote><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">11/4 cups all-purpose flour<br /> 11/4 cups sugar<br /> 4 Tbsps. unsweetened cocoa powder<br /> 3 Tbsps. instant-coffee granules or 2 Tbsps. espresso powder<br /> 1 tsp. baking soda<br /> 1/2 tsp. salt<br /> 1 cup miniature chocolate chips<br /> 11/4 cups low-fat sour cream<br /> 1 egg<br /> 11/4 tsps. orange extract<br /> 4 Tbsps. butter, melted</span></blockquote> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Preheat oven to 350&deg;. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Spray a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour. Line the bottom of pan with wax paper, then spray with cooking spray. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, instant coffee or espresso, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg, orange extract and butter. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Make a well in the center. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until just blended. Pour into prepared pan. Spread evenly, leaving a slight indentation in center. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Bake in preheated oven for 11/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few crumbs adhering. Let stand in pan for 15 minutes. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Run a round-bladed knife around edges of pan to loosen. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap in plastic wrap, then foil. Store in refrigerator. </span></p> <p><strong><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Makes 1 loaf (12-15 servings). </span></strong></p> <h5><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml"><b>Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans</b><br /> <i>(Dairy) </i></span></h5> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml"><i>Make these at home for less than half the store cost.</i></span></p> <blockquote><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">1/3 cup chocolate chips<br /> 1/2 cup roasted coffee beans</span></blockquote> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Microwave for 25 seconds, or until glossy and softened. Stir to blend smoothly. If needed, cook 15 to 20 seconds longer. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Add several beans to the chocolate. Stir to coat. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Place on wax paper to harden. Repeat with remaining beans. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Freeze in a single layer. Store in an airtight container. </span></p> <p><strong><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Makes about 1/2 cup. </span></strong></p> <h5><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml"><b>&#39;The Energize Smoothie&#39;</b><br /> <i>(Dairy)</i></span></h5> <blockquote><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">3/4 cup frozen vanilla yogurt<br /> 1/2 banana, sliced<br /> 1/2 cup orange juice<br /> 1/2 cup cold, strong coffee<br /> 1-2 Tbsps. wheat germ<br /> honey or sweetener to taste</span></blockquote> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Place all of the ingredients in blender jar. Whirl to blend, about 20 seconds, at high. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Pour into a glass and enjoy. </span></p> <p><strong><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Serves 1. </span></strong></p> <h5><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml"><strong>Frozen Mocha Rosettes</strong><br /> <i>(Dairy)</i></span></h5> <p><i>Instant, impressive garnish for cakes and desserts.</i></p> <blockquote><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">1 tsp. instant coffee<br /> 2 tsps. cold water<br /> 3/4 cup whipping cream<br /> 1 Tbsp. sugar or to taste<br /> 2 Tbsps. grated chocolate</span></blockquote> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Cover a baking sheet with wax paper. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">In a cup, dissolve the instant coffee in the water. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">In a medium bowl, whip the whipping cream until just before soft peaks form. Add the coffee mixture and the sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in the grated chocolate. </span></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Using a piping bag and large star tip, pipe rosettes onto the lined cookie sheet. Place in freezer for 2 to 3 hours, or until firm. Remove and place in a freezer container. Cover tightly and freeze until needed.</span></p> <p><strong><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml">Makes 10 to 12 pieces.</span></strong></p> <p><span id="mainContent_lblArticleHtml"><b><i>Ethel G. Hofman</i></b><i> is a past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. E-mail her at: <b>[email protected]</b>.</i></span></p> </div> <br /> <br /> <br />

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