Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Instant Coffee Karma

Maxwell House cookbook cover 1965

Instant coffee karma's gonna get you.

Because there's coffee, coffee everywhere, but not so much to drink...No, no - to cook with. I love the specialty cookbooks, like this one from my buddy Maxwell House, from 1965. Coffee at every meal, the cover cries in urgent tones (much like me in the morning!). Coffee in everything that you cook! Quickly, quickly, bring more caffeine! And make sure that it is from the House of Maxwell, while you're at it.

This is the sort of cuisine to make our old friend Mr. Caffein Nerves twitch with emotion.

Yes, there are the usual recipes for flavored coffees and there are lots of cakey things (coffee cakes and cakes with coffee in them, et cetera) but there are also rather - surprising recipes. Prepare to be amazed! For example:

COFFEE-LEMON SALAD DRESSING

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup salad oil
1 Tb lemon juice
2 tsps instant quality coffee


Blend ingredients together. Chill thoroughly. Stir and serve with salads of chilled canned or fresh fruit. makes one cup. Creamy version: substitute 1/2 cup mayo for the salad oil and increase lemon juice to 2 Tb.

There are main courses in which you can insert a teaspoonful or two (hey, maybe three!) of instant coffee: spaghetti sauce, barbecued ribs. You can drown your chops in coffee gravy and your shrimp tempura in coffee sweet-and-sour sauce. You can even put it in a fish dish:

FISH BRAZILIA

1 lb fresh flounder or sole fillets
2 tsps quality instant coffee
1 Tb lemon juice
3 Tb salad oil
1/2 tsp onion salt
Lemon slices (optional)
Ripe or stuffed green olives (optional)


Place fish fillets in shallow baking dish. Dissolve instant coffee in lemon juice; combine with oil and salt, mixing thoroughly. Pour coffee mixture over fish and let stand 30 minutes, turning once after about 15 minutes. Broil 3 inches from heat 5 to 7 minutes, or until fish will flake easily with a fork. Garnish with lemon slices and olives. Makes 3 servings.

Why 3 servings? Don't recipes usually make an even number of servings?

Maybe the cook gets a reprieve. You have to hang around with it in the kitchen, you've done enough!

Now I'm going to go get some more coffee. Just regular coffee, thank you. I am not planning to do anything special with it. No "fascinating new flavor" today, thanks.

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