Coffee: It's a Spice. Really.
When you think of coffee, chances are that you think of the beverage -- and probably Starbucks -- and stop there. But coffee has uses beyond being a deliciously addictive caffeine fix to be guzzled down at all hours of the day. Coffee is also a spice that can add a rich, deep, and earthy flavor to other foods, particularly red meats. It even shows up as a secret ingredient in some of the very best chocolate cakes and desserts. When used in a small amount, the coffee enhances the chocolate, and the final result has no detectable espresso taste.
Photo by Dayvid LeMmon
You might be thinking there's no way that coffee belongs in the same category as more common spices like cumin, coriander, and mustard, or even less common spices like achiote (annatto), anise, and fenugreek. However, these are all seeds that are roasted, ground, and used to flavor other ingredients. And while coffee is referred to as "beans," those familiar brown (or green when unroasted) pods are actually tree seeds that are roasted, ground, and used for their unique flavor.
Ok, so coffee beans are a spice, but how do you use them? The good news is that you don't have to do any work to taste test, because Liberty Market is hosting a "Perked Up Dinner" on Monday, April 30, featuring some of the country's top roasters like Stumptown and Mr. Espresso. Nothing about the menu is expected, and Liberty Market will be using coffee to spice up the evening's dishes in unique ways. The five-course community dinner includes espresso-dusted sea scallops, salad with unroasted Ethiopian coffee vinaigrette, and French-pressed brodo with pork-stuffed agnolotti.