Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

5th November
written by Loren

I’ve already spent half a post singing the praises of this incredible cookbook so I won’t rehash those details.  Lucky for me, my brother got me this for my birthday over the summer, and I’ve been slowly easing into it. Being a meat-themed cookbook, some of the recipes are not quite so easy to try as they might require you to have access to a meat grinder, if you want to make your own sausage, or to shell out for a lamb roast, but there are definitely approachable recipes in there if that’s what you’re looking for. When I saw this recipe I was immediately intrigued because I love chile spice rubs on grilled steaks, and I also enjoy looking for ways to incorporate the flavor of coffee into cooking.

4 steaks (8-12 oz)


1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp EVOO



¼ tsp ground cloves

1 tbsp ancho chili powder

3 tbsp light brown sugar

3 tbsp honey

2 tbsp bourbon (this is definitely optional, as it’s not in the original recipe)

¼ cup strong black coffee

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp butter, cut into several pieces


For the steaks: Mix the spices and the salt in the first section, rub into the meat, then drizzle the olive oil onto both sides and rub the meat again to evenly distribute. I have seen conflicting opinions regarding whether one should apply a spice rub to a steak dry, or to include olive oil. I’ve tried both methods a fair amount (Grilled steak is probably my favorite food), and I am definitely a pro-oil person. It seems to make a big difference in terms of  getting the best possible crust on the meat, which really enhances both the flavor and the texture of a steak. Of course, the other key to a great crust on your steak is to use charcoal, especially hardwood charcoal. Propane is certainly convenient, but unless you want to spend the same amount on your grill as a used car, you will never be able to get that kind of intense heat. And even if you splurge for the cadillac propane grill, you’re still not going to get that smoky flavor. Either way, get your steaks prepped and grill them medium rare, then let them rest for a few minutes.


For the sauce: Mix everything but the butter in a sauce pan, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. As soon as the liquid boils,  immediately lower the heat and simmer on your stove’s lowest setting until the liquid has reduced by about half. Cover and keep warm. There is a little bit of flexibility here in regards to timing, in that you can cover the  pan and keep the sauce warm for a bit while you wait for the steaks to get off the grill, or for your side dish to cook. HOWEVER, do not allow this to fully cool and congeal. It might not completely ruin it, but it definitely won’t get restored to its ideal version.

When the steaks are ready, bring the liquid back to a simmer and whisk in the butter until thoroughly incorporated. Drizzle the sauce over the steaks, and whatever else you want to taste amazing. Seriously, the combination of the sweet, sour, smoky and spicy notes of the sauce make for a very interesting steak accompaniment, and was so addictive that I was trying to think of other things this sauce would go with. I’m thinking it would be good with vanilla ice cream, or on top of some kind of pastry like coffee cake or a german chocolate cake. What I think would be a truly intriguing application for it would be in a tiramisu. More to come on this later.

Look at that CRUST!


17th August
written by Arthur

Something strange happened to me yesterday morning–something that hasn’t happened in months: on my walk to the subway I stopped in to my usual coffee shop and realized I wanted a hot not an iced coffee.  Fall was in the air.  After about 36 hours of constant rain, the air was cool and damp.  The oppressive heat and humidity seem to have passed.

Still, I’m sure the summer and fall have more than a couple iced coffee mornings left in them; which means that I need to get back to making my own.  With the transition back into work life, I’ve been full of excuses about how busy I am in the morning.  Sure making regular coffee takes a minute and I might actually have an excuse there.  But making your own iced coffee is really so easy I don’t have one for not doing it myself.’

How to Make Iced Coffee:

The hard way to make iced coffee is to make regular coffee and put it in the fridge.  The easy way to make the stuff is to grind some beans (about two grinders’ worth of grounds) put them in a pitcher with some cool water and let it sit over night in the fridge.  That’s it.   Under the easy way, after 12 hours the coffee is a little weak, but each day you let it sit the flavor builds.  In general, I prefer the flavor of the easy way–a little less bitter.

Now all you need is a travel mug full of ice and a little simple syrup and you’re good to start your day.  The time?  Less than the wait at the coffee shop.

You can use sugar instead of simple syrup, but because the coffee is cold the sugar doesn’t like to dissolve and it will make the iced beverage grainy.  And making your own simple syrup is, well, simple.

How to Make Simple Syrup:

You need only two ingredients: sugar and water.  Put the water in a pot on the stove, heat to just below any simmering or bubbling, and then add some sugar, stir until the sugar dissolves, and repeat until the water doesn’t seem to be taking any more (e.g. the sugar isn’t dissolving any more).  [Or just use the two parts sugar to one part water ratio Rick points out in the comments.]  Find a bottle to put the sweet stuff in and that’s it.  I used an old, well rinsed, scotch bottle myself.

I haven’t done the actual math, but iced coffee always seems to be insanely expensive—it’s time to enjoy some savings along with the last of the warm weather.

3rd March
written by Arthur


Most mornings I make my own coffee.   It’s easy enough and cheaper than the coffee shop cup.  I get to sit down with my bowl of cereal that I share with Mika (my excitable parrot), sip the coffee from the french press, and watch New York 1 before heading out the door.

But, on days I’m running late, I give in and grab my coffee on the way to school.  The problem is that  Joe’s, the coffee shop near school, always has long morning line–to  make me all the later getting to class.  The bodega coffee near school is weak and needs a ton of sugar and milk to be drinkable.   So when I was running late Tuesday, I decided to try a new coffee shop (having seen it’s enigmatic frowny face sign time and time again) that’s on my walk to the subway:  Café Grumpy.

I went to the counter and asked for a large coffee to go.  I’m not sure what it was about the place, the limited sitting place, the few people, all the actually ceramic cups…. but I could tell that there was something different going on.  The guy asked what I kind of coffee I wanted and , sensing a little confusion, he pointed me towards the printed list at the register.

When I looked at the list, the first thing that struck me were the prices.  There were three coffees listed, one for $2.75, one for $3.50, and one for $4.50.   This had the potential to be dangerous.  But deciding that this place probably had really good coffee I went for the middle of the road in the price range, the Rodomunho, hailing from Brazil. After I ordered, I was informed that they only had one size, but that my pick was very “robust.”

Then I found what probably accounts for some of the price and what was going to hold me up.  First, the barista (is it still barista for a man?)  measures out the correct amount of beans on a digital scale, then grinds the beans, places a metal filter in a glass holder, places your cup underneath, puts the grounds in the filter, pours a little water into the grounds, and spends the next minute to minute and a half checking in and pouring more water over into the grounds until the cup is full.  (I missed my train by seconds–this is how I got to be 2 minutes late to Criminal Procedure.)

When the brewing was done and the barista asked if I needed room for milk, I was right in guessing that this brew wouldn’t need it.  So he took my full coffee cup, poured it into a metal pot and then back into my cup (probably to mix together various layers from the slow brewing process).

I walked the next two blocks to my train letting the cup cool before trying my first sip at the subway entrance.  It was probably the best coffee I’ve ever had.  There was nothing completely magical about it, I didn’t feel like the skies opened and the light of god shined down upon me, but it was a great coffee.  It had that acid that coffee has but I would say it was soft, rounded and had a roasted nutty sweetness.  It had a little texture that started to remind me of espresso.  Oh, and yeah, it was “robust”,  packing  the full caffeine kick I was looking for.

A little research has revealed that Grumpy’s is a chain is a few other locations around the city.  All seem to just have the same enigmatic frowny face sing outside.

All, in all, Grumpy’s is off the list for my regular morning coffee–but holds first place in coffee shops I want to get back to again.  I can’t wait to sit down and order this fine coffee in a proper glass or to venture a sip of their espresso.

Café Grumpy
383 7th Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11215