Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Coffee Chili and Orange Cardamom Rye Muffins

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Because some recipes are so weird I just HAVE to try them.  My curiosity always gets the better of me.

If you know me you know I love to try recipes that just sound weird.  I like weird. Whether its a unique flavor combination or an unusual technique sometimes you just have to try it out and taste it for yourself.  Often times that means the food turns out, well, weird.  This week is a perfect example.

I found a recipe for black bean chili using coffee as the liquid.  It also uses dark cocoa powder and cinnamon along with your typical spices like cumin and chili powder.  Now I've seen plenty of chili recipes using cocoa, but the coffee was the part that got me.

So how did it taste? Weird. And not the "whoa weird!" exciting kind of weird.  The "that's different" kind of weird, if you know what I mean. The chili was very dark in color from the dutch cocoa making it look like your typical black bean soup. It smelled more like cinnamon than chili, but not in a bad way.  The chocolate and coffee flavors were much too strong and completely overpowered any tomato flavor.  The heat from the spices was still there but personally, if I'm eating chili, I prefer that tomato flavor over notes of chocolate and cinnamon.  I was also left with a bitter aftertaste from the coffee.   I'm not even going to post the recipe.  Some poor curious person like me will try it out. If you really want to try it, there are still leftovers in my fridge.    

Don't worry, I won't leave you without a recipe.  I also tired a new muffin recipe this week, one that's worth sharing.  For some reason or another there is a large bag of rye flour in our fridge.  We also have an abundance of oranges.  Combine that with the fact that my mom's favorite spice is cardamom and I couldn't resist trying out these Orange Cardamom Rye Muffins.  The rye flour added a little extra texture, in a really good way. Fresh orange zest and freshly ground cardamom pods were complimented by dried cranberries.  The original recipe called for 1 cup of seasonal fruit.  I went for sweetened dried cranberries because they were in the cupboard screaming to be used.  The original recipe also called for real maple syrup which I'm sure would have made these extra delicious.  I used butter-flavored pancake syrup.  I know, terrible.  Please don't hate me. That's just what I had on hand in real life.  If you have real maple syrup use it.  Since my mom is such a fan of cardamom we always buy the whole pods and crush them just before using.  A coffee grinder works great for this.  Be sure to stop and breath in deeply, ahhhh cardamom.  (that was for you, mom).

Orange Cardamom Rye Muffins
makes 12 large muffins, adapted from Naturally Ella

1 1/2 cups rye flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt, optional
3/4 cup fat-free milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup maple syrup (or pancake syrup if you have to)
1/2 tsp cardamom pods, finely crushed
zest from one orange
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray 12 large muffin cups with non-stick cooking spay and set aside.
* In a large bowl, stir together flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 
* In a separate bowl combine milk, eggs, melted butter, maple syrup, cardamom and orange zest.  
* Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture.  Stir just until combined.  Gently fold in dried cranberries.  
* Evenly portion batter into prepared muffin cups. This recipe makes large muffins so be generous with the batter.  
* Bake for 15-18 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  

Food for Thought: Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right.

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