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Kick Start Your Cooking with Coffee and Tea

Which do you prefer, coffee or tea? This is an age old debate, and you probably know at least one person who will adamantly show his/her support for either beverage. Both beverages have their good points, and I think that one can’t really discount the other. Indeed, there is no need to do so!

Personally, I prefer coffee over tea, simply because I need the kick that coffee gives me throughout the day. Then again, when I need some comforting, tea usually does the trick.

But all that talk is about coffee and tea as beverages. Have you ever given thought to using coffee and tea in your cooking? This is not a new concept – people have been incorporating both coffee and tea in their cooking. If you have not tried this before – or you are looking for new ways to do so – let me give you a helping hand.

Coffee Rubs

Coffee RubCoffee is a common ingredient for rubs used to season different kinds of meat. There are countless variations to the basic coffee rub, but sometimes, nothing beats the simple mixture of coffee, salt, and pepper.

Try this really basic Coffee Rub recipe, which you can use for grilling pork loin, beef tenderloin, or even lamb. It is so simple that even the most inexperienced of cooks can make this rub. It’s foolproof, really! More so, because of the simplicity of this rub, the coffee flavor really stands out and flavors your meat more. By the way, the recipe calls for kosher salt, but you can substitute other kinds of salt if you do not have kosher.

Coffee Meat RubThe great thing about coffee rubs is that you can choose to add your spice (or spices) of choice to the basic blend. This allows you to kick things up a notch if you so desire. For example, Uncle Buc’s Coffee Meat Rub makes use of cayenne pepper and cumin on top of the salt and pepper. Those two spices are sure to give your meat an interesting twist. The process of making the rub is also a little different as you need to broil the ground coffee before using it as a rub. I think that this additional step also brings out the coffee flavor more. If you want to have a stronger coffee flavor, choose dark roast beans. If you prefer subtle tones of coffee, then a light roast will suit your better.

Coffee-Spiced Meat

Once you can make those coffee rubs, you are practically free to do whatever you want in the kitchen. In case you need more specific recipes with meat, though, let me entice you with some of the tastier dishes that you can use coffee with.

Cowboy Steak with Coffee and Chili Rub

Cowboy Steak with Coffee Chili RubDo you like your red meat? You’re my kind of person then! Nothing beats a thick slab of beef cooked to perfection. There is a lot that you can do to vary your plain old steak (though I know sometimes “plain old” is more than good enough).

Here’s an idea: add more kick to your steak by using a coffee and chili rub: Cowboy Steak with Coffee and Chili Rub. This recipe uses more spices than the basic coffee rub, but it still is fairly simple to make. More so, you don’t need to fire up the grill to make this Cowboy Steak – a large skillet will do the trick! Now whether you like your steak rare, medium, or rare – it is up to you.

Coffee-Crusted Prime Rib Recipe

Coffee-Crusted Prime RibPrime Rib is technically called Standing Rib Roast, but most people use the former term. This is one of the eight primal cuts of beef, and it can contain anywhere from two to seven ribs. Naturally, the bigger the better. Now if you remove the bones – or ribs – and fat from the meat, you get rib eye steak.

If you are planning a rather huge meal, this Coffee-Crusted Prime Rib Recipe is perfect for the main course. The coffee and spices used in the rub add a different twist to the flavor of the meat. For this recipe, you need the whole roast, and for the best results, make sure to leave the rub for at least eight hours. You can just imagine how flavorful and juicy this roast will turn out to be!

Coffee-Spice Chicken and Fruit-Basil Salsa

Coffee-Spice ChickenWhile red meat may be the prime choice of people like me, there is always a case to be made for white meat. Chicken may be the butt of many jokes, but there is no denying that you can do so much with chicken and that you can come up with all sorts of tasty dishes with this versatile meat. There is also the matter of chicken meat being healthier than beef and pork. Of course, the manner by which you cook chicken will also determine just how healthy your cooking is. Deep-fried chicken is always great to satisfy greasy cravings, but grilled chicken will help avoid guilt for those who are watching their weight. This grilled chicken recipe will give you the flavor to satisfy your taste buds and yet help you stick to your diet:
Coffee-Spice Chicken and Fruit-Basil Salsa

Tea-Smoked Recipes

Smoking is a cooking process that does so much to change the flavor of your chosen food item. Basically, you have to use smoldering wood chips or other plant materials and allow the smoke to treat the meat or fish. Hickory chips are often used for smoking because of the flavor that they impart, but did you know that you can use tea for smoking as well?

Tea-Smoked Chicken Salad

Tea-Smoked Chicken SaladChicken salad is one of the most basic dishes that every budding cook needs to learn. You can’t go wrong with basic chicken salad, but you can also make a plethora of variations.

If you like tea, you can give this Tea-Smoked Chicken Salad recipe a try. Jasmine tea leaves are perfect for smoking chicken, and you will have a refreshing salad as a result.

Tea-Smoked Salmon

Tea-Smoked SalmonSmoked fish is perfect for people who may be sensitive to fish taste. I know it sounds ridiculous – why eat fish when you can’t stand its taste? – but each to his own…Anyhow, smoking fish is one way to add a different aspect to your dish. Using tea leaves to smoke fish gives a delicate flavor and gives your dish more character.

Now, you can smoke practically any fish, but no one can deny that salmon is one of the tastiest fish that you can prepare. Using oolong or jasmine tea leaves, you can make the people around the table go “ooh” and “aah” with this Tea-Smoked Salmon recipe.

Tea for Dessert

Green Tea Mousse Cheesecake

Green Tea Mousse CheesecakeThe popularity of green tea has risen to dizzying heights in the past years. You can find green tea products left and right, and this tea has been used in countless dishes and drinks. From ice cream to soups, you can find them in green tea flavor nowadays.

Now combine green tea with mousse and then throw cheesecake into the equation. In my books, that is a recipe for dessert success! This Green Tea Mousse Cheesecake recipe is rather easy, but the result will be something to drool about.

Zingy Tea Granita

Zingy Tea GranitaIf cake or pie isn’t your thing, you can make other desserts with tea. How about some crushed ice or ice cream? Tea ice cream is not a novel idea, but this Zingy Tea Granita recipe with lemon juice will give you a sweetish tart flavor that will definitely cleanse your palate.

What I like about this recipe is that it gives you options. You can either use the ice cream maker if you have one, or you can freeze the mixture and use a blender to make a smoothie-like concoction. Either way, you’ll have a nice dessert to top off your meal. Or, you can make it for anytime of the day when you feel like cooling down a bit!

Coffee or tea?

Now you have some new ideas on how to use coffee and tea in the kitchen – aside from brewing a pot or two. If you still feel that you have to make a decision as to which is better, here is an infographic about the health benefits (and disadvantages) of coffee and tea.

Coffee vs. Tea
Click to Enlarge – By Policy Expert

I don’t know about you, but I still will not be pressured to make a decision. As the infographic says – both have their pros and cons!

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