C is for Coffee Hot Fudge Sauce

Yes, I know that Christmas Day is over, but I thought I would share one last “C is for Coffee” recipe that you can use for homemade Christmas presents next year. You could make a single recipe for just your family, make a double batch to share with your neighbors, or make a lot of batches to use as favors for a party.

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I made a single recipe (an espresso batch). Then I made THREE more doubled recipes (only one batch with espresso). I ended up with 16 (16 oz) jars total. By not filling the jars up quite all the way I was able to fill two extra jars from all my batches! WORTH IT! πŸ™‚

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C is for Coffee Brownies

I think this was my favorite of all the desserts. The chocolate mousse was a close second… but this took the cake! (or… it ‘took the brownie’ I guess) πŸ™‚

You start with your favorite brownie boxed mix (I used Duncan Hines) so that simplifies these A LOT! Then you just add in some special ingredients to make them feel more homemade and nothing like something you could make from a box. I think the glaze you put on top has a lot to do with this!

Let’s jump right in! Here’s a photo to get you excited:

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C is for Coffee Caramel Bars

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I went WAY overboard on my Coffee recipes but it’s one of my favorite ingredients so I figured… why not?

I have two more recipes to post but they are WORTH IT! I may actually have 3 more recipes… but with Christmas just around the corner I’m making no promises (sigh).

Our “D” ingredient will come after Christmas and will be fast and furious and FUN! Β It will be all my own recipes so it should be interesting… stay tuned!

Okay, back to C is for Coffee…Β 

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WE HAVE A WINNER!

Thank you to all who entered to win FREE coffee from Sagebrush Coffee!! http://sagebrushcoffee.com/

Just for being one of my followers you can get 15% your order from Sagebrush from now until the end of the year just by entering the code: applestoziti when you check out!

Thank you for following and PLEASE try this AMAZING coffee! It really is better than any other coffee I’ve ever tasted.

HAPPY COFFEE DRINKING!

FREE COFFEE!!

Just to be sure I get the word out I thought I would make a special post just to announce the FREE coffee beans being given away this week! CONTEST ENDS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21st at MIDNIGHT! Winner will be announced on Saturday!

PASS IT ON!

You can be entered up to THREE times by doing these three things:

1. Follow the Apples to Ziti blog!

2. Follow Apples to Ziti on Facebook!

3.Β 3. Tweet out @applestoziti on Twitter with the blog’s website (applestoziti.wordpress.com)
The coffee beans come from a new Arizona roasting house:

Sagebrush CoffeeΒ http://www.sagebrushcoffee.com/

Sagebrush Coffee is a gourmet coffee roasting house. They select top-quality coffee beans from all around the world. Their roasting process is unlike most roasting houses in that they roast in micro batches, pulling the best flavor possible from the beans. They are offering free-shipping through the end of the year, too!

Follow Sagebrush Coffee on Twitter or Facebook: @sagebrushonline, Sagebrush Coffee!

HAPPY EATING!

C is for Coffee-Chocolate Mousse

This is another SUPER simple dessert that you can make ahead! It can be made casual or elegant. Just use the appropriate style of cups or glasses to go with your occasion. The mousse will taste just as good in a paper cup but it will look even more inviting if you dress it up a bit. I think I might even top mine with chocolate shavings or curls next time I serve them! Again, not necessary, but pleasing to the eyes.

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C is for Coffee and Ice Cream (Affogato)

This dessert has a fancy name (“Affogato”) but it’s the SIMPLEST dessert!

“Affogato” comes from an Italian word than means “drown” (affogare). It is a dessert that traditionally includes vanilla ice cream, an espresso shot, and sometimes coffee liquor.

I decided to make my own version for a quick and easy, yet elegant dessert. You can keep it as simple as just ice cream with coffee poured over top or you can make it fancier for guests. To make it more elegant you can add chopped nuts, shave some chocolate over the top, and/ or serve it in martini glasses for flare. You could even sugar the rims with red or green (for Christmas), orange (for Halloween), or a favorite color for a birthday.

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C is for Coffee in the Afternoon

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When I drink coffee I usually like it black.

Adding in milk and sugar is delicious, but I really like the flavor of the coffee itself without any extras. When I add them in I can’t taste the coffee itself. However, there does come the occasional afternoon when I’m craving something sweet and I need some caffeine to recharge my day. This is one of those HAVE to do laundry, mop the floor, do the dishes afternoons and I need a little kick (coffee + sugar) to get me going.

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C is for Coffee Braised Short Ribs

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Short ribs + slow cooker meal… yes please!

 

This requires a bit of work up front but once it’s in the slow cooker you’re free!

Short ribs are definitely a special occasion meal for us, but they are so full of flavor that it’s worth splurging for from time to time (figure about $5/ pound of meat… 3 pounds feeds 4-6 people). We used 9 pounds for the crowd we were feeding and it worked out just about right for 12 adults and 4 little kiddos. It really depends who’s eating. Hungry eaters = 3/4 pound per person. Lighter eaters = 1/2 pound per person. πŸ™‚

The first question my guest asked me was: What is a SHORT rib anyway? (They thought it sounded kind of rude) πŸ™‚

Short ribs are usually taken from the chuck cut of beef (you’ve probably heard of a “chuck roast”). Chuck isΒ taken from between the neck and shoulder blade of the cow.Β Usually chuck is an inexpensive cut for a roast or steaks. When the chuck cut is used for short ribs it is cut into small rectangles or squares, each of which contain a piece of the rib bone (hence the “rib” portion of “short ribs”). They MUST be cooked slowly as they are a very tough cut of meat. They end up being fall-apart tender if you do it right and they are SUPER flavorful as they have a good layer of fat in them. You can see an uncooked picture of them below!

Doing some prep really helps out here. Take your short ribs out of the fridge and put them on a large sheet of foil for easy clean up. They need to sit for about 20-25 minutes to take the chill off before you sear them. SearΒ just means browning meat quickly over high heat. Searing keeps all the juices inside of the meat. Usually the meat is finished off at a lower temperature after the searing is done.

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C is for Coffee-Molasses Pork Chops

As you may know, I’ve been doing very little blogging lately. The good news is… I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking! Just in time for the holidays I have some yummy recipes for you to try in our “C is for Coffee” line up.

The first recipe is for dinner: Pork Chops!

This is a wonderful recipe because you can throw the pork chops in the marinade the night before! This leaves you with just a few steps to getting the pork chops on the table, and leaves you free to make any sides you might want to make.

For the marinade:

Wait… what is a marinade?

It is liquid that is seasoned with herbs, spices, salt, and/or pepper. Putting meats or other foods in the marinade allows them to absorb the flavor. For some meats a marinade helps to tenderize them. You will see some type of acid (wine, lemon juice, or vinegar) in meat marinade recipes that are intended to tenderize. Our recipe calls for Apple Cider Vinegar (made from fermented Apple Cider). This will help tenderize our pork chops!

You need a gallon-size zip-top bag. I always set mine inside a bowl just in case it leaks. It’s a much smaller mess on your counter or in your fridge when it’s contained in a bowl!

Here’s what you need for the marinade:

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To the gallon bag add 1 cup Strong Coffee (cooled down), 6 oz Molasses by weight (this is about 1/2 cup liquid measured), 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 TBSP Dijon Mustard, 2 Garlic Cloves (minced), 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 6-8 sprigs of Fresh Thyme. The only thing left out of the picture above is the pork chops! If you’re making the full recipe you need 4 bone-in, 1 inch thick pork chops. We only used 2 pork chops to feed our little family and saved the other two in the package for another night. Throw them right into the bag with everything else, seal it up, shake and massage the ingredients around for a bit, and then stick it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to overnight!

Here are the marinade steps:Β (Just click on the first photo to see the close ups and to click through the slideshow)

When you’re about 20-25 minutes from being ready to grill your pork chops, take them out of the marinade. Put them on a plate to take the chill off. DO NOT pour out the marinade or throw it away! Pour ALL of it into a small saucepan and put it over high heat. When it comes to a boil, turn down the heat to medium-high and reduce the sauce for about 12-15 minutes. It will be about 1/2 liquid when you are done. Stir it gently every couple of minutes to keep the bottom liquid from burning. After reducing it, REMOVE the sprigs of thyme. Pour this into a ramekin or gravy boat of some kind. You will use it to glaze the pork chops after they cook. You can serve the extra on the side for extra dipping sauce. It would be wonderful drizzled over mashed potatoes if you used them as a side dish for this recipe!

What is “reducing“? In simple terms: boiling a liquid until it becomes a smaller amount of liquid by evaporation. The liquid will thicken and it will heighten the flavors in the liquid. The reduced liquid is called aΒ reduction. So, if you see “white wine reduction sauce” on a menu, you now know the chef reduced white wine (and possibly a few other ingredients) to create that sauce!

It is REALLY important you reduce the marinade before using it to glaze the pork chops. First of all, it will thicken the marinade (making it a better glaze) and it will intensify its flavor. But secondly, it kills any germs left by the raw pork chops that were in the marinade. Don’t skip this step… you risk getting sick! Yuck.

TIP: Allowing food to rest at room temperature before throwing it on a hot grill is a good rule to follow. If you allow it to come closer to room temperature it will cook more evenly and according to recipe times/instructions. Removing food from the fridge about 20 minutes or so before cooking is a good rule of thumb! πŸ™‚

Pre-heat your grill to medium-high (this is about 400 degrees F on a gas grill). You can do this before reducing the marinade to be sure your grill is nice and hot when you’re ready to grill!

The recipe says to cook the pork chops for about Β 3-4 minutes per side but it took ours a bit longer than 4 minutes. I think 5 1/2 or so… I don’t know if they were a little thicker than the 1 inch that is called for, but they were DEFINITELY not done at 4 minutes! You can test this by using a meat thermometer. The pork chops should be at least 145 degrees F in the center of their thickest part to be considered safe.

When the pork chops are done, put them on a plate and let them rest for about 5 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute and will make the meat more juicy! Nobody likes a dry pork chop.

Brush or drizzle the marinade reduction over the pork chops. Serve some on the side for extra drizzling and dipping!

Here’s the final shot:

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Click here for the official recipe from Alton Brown!

Happy Eating!

C is for Carrots? Corn? Cocoa? Cranberries?… Christmas!?

I had a hard time picking out a “C” ingredient but I have finally come to a decision. We LOVE this ingredient… my husband and I… even my 2 year old daughter seems to like it. She likes it plain too… no sugar or anything else needed. She likes it black.

Do you know what it is now? πŸ™‚ Β C is for Coffee!

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Both my husband and I worked at Starbucks in college. When we started there I’m pretty sure neither of us had really had anything coffee-like from there besides a Caramel Frappuccino. In Chicago I would make myself “steamers” (just hot milk and syrup) to stay warm. If you don’t like coffee you should try it. My favorite flavor to add to the steamed milk was hazelnut. Soon after starting work there I “graduated” to white chocolate mochas… pretty much the sweetest, least coffee-like espresso drink on the menu. My husband was the same: white mochas. Now he drinks black coffee or espresso shots over ice and my “poison” of choice is a Grande Americano (black). I like to order a cappuccino from time to time, but it’s hard to find a barista who steams the foam the correct way. I think it’s the hardest drink to make but one of the yummiest if it’s done right. It’s hard to mess up an Americano (just espresso shots and water). I’m officially addicted.

So, Coffee? Does this mean all desserts? Nope! I have short ribs and bone-in pork chops in the line-up and probably one other main course recipe to come! We’ve already tried out the short ribs and I’m SUPER excited to post them. It’s a crock pot recipe so you have work on the front end but then you can just relax! Woohoo!

Don’t worry… there will be desserts too! I have been drooling over them for days now. The Espresso Chocolate Mousse… it’s to die for. AND… it’s SO easy.

If you’re a coffee-lover I bet you’re excited! If not, we’ll convert you πŸ™‚

Just to get you started: click here to learn how to brew the PERFECT cup of coffee in your own home! There’s something surprising you add to the coffee grounds to help take away any bitterness! WHO KNEW?!

Now, I want to know what your drink of choice is at Starbucks (or at whatever coffee shop you enjoy!) Whether or not it has coffee in it… leave a comment and let me know!

Happy Eating!