Coffee A Great Kitchen Partner

SHIRLEY'S KITCHEN

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Hello coffee lovers:

Coffee is not just for drinking. Whether you have a love affair with the brew or are just an acquaintance, you'll find that coffee is a friendly partner in the kitchen, giving a deep, mellow boost to a variety of recipes -- from soups to desserts.

Coffee adds smoky, roasted, nutty or fruity flavors, depending on what coffee you like -- regular or flavored -- to beef, lamb and pork. It's a good match with red chilies and tomato-based sauces. Meaty mushrooms soak up roasted flavor when coffee is added to the recipe.

In a recipe, replace up to one-third of the water or beef broth with coffee, or replace a small amount (up to one-fourth) of chicken broth when you cook dark meat, fowl or chicken thighs and legs. Coffee also adds depth to a red wine-based dish; simply substitute it for some of the wine.

If you enjoy making your own food rubs, try adding coffee to your favorite prime rib recipe. My favorite is adding hazelnut ground coffee to the dry rub. It adds a wonderful crisp top to the meat. Add to this the amazing aroma, and it will be your best prime rib ever.

Using it as dessert, here is a recipe for a wonderful Coffee Coffee Cake. How about Roasted Leg of Lamb stuffed with Italian White Beans and Spinach? Try replacing a small amount of the red wine with coffee. Enjoy your new experience!

Stay safe, Shirley

Coffee Coffee Cake

Prep time: 30 minutes; bake 1 hour at 350 degrees; cool: 50 minutes

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup cooking oil

1/2 cup honey

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs, slightly beaten

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted

1 recipe Coffee-Hazelnut Syrup (follows)

1/4 chopped hazelnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan. In a bowl, whisk together coffee, sugar, oil, honey, vinegar and vanilla. Add eggs; whisk until combined. In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, soda, salt and nutmeg. Whisk in coffee mixture until combined. Add the 1 cup of finely chopped hazelnuts; stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven about 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pan to a serving platter. Brush with some of the Coffee-Hazelnut Syrup. Cool for 30 minutes. Brush again with the syrup. Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup hazelnuts. Serve cake warm with remaining syrup. Makes 12 servings.

Coffee-Hazelnut Syrup

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup strong brewed coffee

2 tablespoons hazelnut-flavored liqueur

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, powdered sugar, butter and coffee. Bring to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat.

Boil gently, uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly and is reduced to about 1-1/3 cups.

Remove from heat and stir in hazelnut-flavored liqueur.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Roast Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Italian White Beans and Spinach

Traditional roast time: 1 hour; Trivection roast time: 20 minutes

2 cups canned navy beans, rinsed and drained

6 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with flat side of knife

8 cups firmly packed spinach, washed, stems removed

1, 5-pound boneless leg of lamb

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium heat, add 3 garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add spinach and cook until wilted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Lay lamb fat-side-down on a cutting board. Spread 1/2 cup beans and 1/2 cup spinach-garlic mixture evenly over center part of meat. Roll meat lengthwise into a log and tie with kitchen twine.

Make several slits in fat of lamb and stuff the remaining garlic into slits. Coat meat with wine, 2 tablespoons olive oil, pepper, salt and rosemary.

In oven-proof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown lamb evenly on all sides (about 10 minutes total). Add wine marinade to the pan and roast for 1 hour.

Remove from oven, cover loosely for 10 minutes before carving. Remove twine and serve with navy bean and spinach mixture, alongside the lamb. Serves 6 to 8

Tip: Try different types of greens in place of spinach, such as turnip, kale or collard.

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