Chocolate Covered Shot of Energy

In a recent food challenge, I had to find a way to use whole coffee beans with trout and scallops. While it turned out surprisingly well, I had a ton of whole coffee beans left over. I don’t own a coffee grinder or a regular coffee pot for that matter (I LOVE my Keurig!), so I had to find another way to avoid wasting the coffee beans.

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I decided that I would make chocolate covered coffee beans using chocolate leftover from my holiday candy marathon. I begain with this basic recipe. I don’t have shortening to smooth out the chocolate, but I found that you can substitute coconut oil for it and I do have that which is much healthier (as far as chocolate covered coffee beans go)!

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I melted both white chocolate and milk chocolate with enough coconut oil to get it to the right consistency for dipping (about 1 teaspoon of coconut oil per cup of chocolate chips) in coffee mugs.

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Then, I dipped the coffee beans in the chocolate and used a fork to fish them out and allow them to drain excess chocolate.

I placed the chocolate covered beans on wax paper and separated them a bit. I quickly decided that there wasn’t enough chocolate, and despite my painstaking dripping of chocolate, I drizzled more on top. Never enough chocolate.

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Apparently never enough caffeine either…Only 3 beans has 36 milligrams of caffeine! It is recommended by the Mayo Clinic that we consume 200-300 milligrams per day (unless there are other health conditions present). So, we can’t just eat these like candy, even if it is tempting.

I did create one variation. I had more white chocolate so I added a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and dipped beans in the white chocolate cinnamon mixture. Yum!

They didn’t turn out in perfectly rounded bean shaped goodies. I haven’t quite mastered that yet… But they are good!

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Never “Bean” There, Never Done That

I’ve been telling people about my food challenges since my first challenge including shrimp, kale, mushrooms, and endives back in August. People always think the idea is fun and start throwing out some really oddball ingredients. Joe must have been listening, because this week, I had an oddball ingredient. Below you can see turnips, baby scallops, whole trout, and whole coffee beans. He only gave me one rule – I had to use the coffee in the main meal.

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I love coffee. I drink it every day, preferably multiple times a day. I like coffee ice cream, java flavored pastries, or just smelling it as a walk or drive by a coffee shop. I had coffee eclairs in France that were to die for. But….with fish?

Although coffee was the challenging ingredient, I can’t forget about the turnip. I started with the turnip first, slicing it Bloomin’ Onion Style. I drizzled it with olive oil, wrapped it in foil, and put it in the oven to roast. I let it roast for about 40 minutes before I began anything else.

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Next, I threw a handful of the whole beans into a pot of water and let them boil. They smelled so good! But I still couldn’t fathom how that would fit with fish.After the beans had boiled a while, I added white rice to cook.

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While the rice cooked, I rinsed the scallops and the trout. I sauteed the scallops in olive oil, but only until they were about half way done and just to get a bit of a sear on them. I planned to bake them and didn’t want them to be overcooked.

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After the rice was done, I picked out all of the beans and stuffed the trout with the coffee flavored rice and scallops. I really struggled with what else to do. The colors seemed bland and there was no other seasoning. However, when I thought about coffee, I thought cinnamon would be complimentary. At this point I thought to myself, “Luckily we live close to a restaurant. Looks like we’ll be eating out for dinner tonight…”

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I put of cup of water in the bottom of the fish pan, added another handful of coffee beans in the bottom, and put the remaining rice and scallops on top of the beans and around the fish. I baked it for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

About 15 minutes before the fish was ready to come out, I put a butter, italian seasoning, and garlic mixture over the turnip and allowed it to continue baking uncovered.

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The final dish:

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Here’s my honest assessment. The coffee flavored rice was not too bad! And it didn’t interfere with the fish or the scallops at all. Joe thought the cinnamon was a nice touch to bring the flavors and aromas together. Unfortunately, the turnip was a massive fail. We even tried turning it into a turnip mashed potato substitute and still no good. I’m not sure if this is because of my cooking or just because of it being a turnip though…

So, now I have leftover whole coffee beans (and no grinder) and leftover chocolates from holiday candies. I’m planning to make chocolate covered coffee beans! Stay tuned!

“Life changing donuts”

A friend’s facebook post about amazing donuts and a great back patio prompted my first (but, certainly not my last!) visit to North Lime Coffee and Donuts.

I’m not sure how long this place has been around, but it must be one of Lexington’s best kept secrets. They have a small selection of their daily donuts and then a donut of the month special. Despite the small selection, the donuts they have are done so well!

I had the strawberry cake donut (front) and my mom had the key lime donut (back). The were amazing! The shop’s website may sound dramatic, but they are not lying when they say “Life changing donuts.”

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I am convinced that they are life changing donuts from both the taste and the large number of people lining up for them early in the morning. I’m looking forward to trying another kind next time.

I’ve never tried making donuts, but in the spirit of fall (today is the first official day of fall!) and being healthier (baked not fried!), I think I’ll try making this recipe for Baked Pumpkin Donuts.

If you try North Lime Coffee and Donuts or making your own donut recipe, let me know how it goes!