Watching old westerns is something that I really enjoy. Although I do realize that I am probably in the minority, I can’t quite handle the reality shows that seem to monopolize television today.Chaos, strife, and people making complete idiots of themselves are things I have tried to avoid in my adult life as much as possible. Besides, if I want to see fighting relatives or public displays of bad behavior, I can simply observe that from a parked car on any public street and avoid having to watch numerous commercials disrupting them
.Anyway, let’s get back to the cowboys.
Recently on two different shows I noticed that the cowboys talked about chicory when handling the coffee pot on the campfire. Chicory, to me,is that purple weed that grows in abundance along the roadside in the summer, so I decided to look it up and found that this indeed is the same chicory. The root of the chicory plant is long and thick and when dried , then roasted and ground, makes a substitute for coffee. After researching further, I discovered that it is much more soluble in water than coffee grounds thus using much less per pot of coffee.That makes sense, and explains why the cowboys would use it since it was readily available and cheap to prepare. But every article that I read on it, with the exception of one, reported that it is very strong. VERY. That wouldn’t do for me as I normally fill my cup with ¾ coffee and ¼ water. I do like my coffee black though and do not need the sugar, or any of those flavored creams that assure you of an experience beyond your wildest imagination. And I should drink decaf, but I usually order regular.One thing that I have done for my wellbeing however is that I now limit myself to 2 (sometimes 3) morning cups.. I used to drink all day long, right up until bedtime. Now as I am getting older I have figured out that it does interrupt my sleep so my beverage of choice is water for the rest of the day. But coffee has been a wonderful social binder. Have you ever heard anyone ask another to go grab a glass of juice? Two friends love to meet at a local restaurant for a “quick” cup of coffee. And right after a guest arrives, don’t you normally hang up their coat and say, “Would you like a cup of coffee?” Yes I would.
The earliest credible evidence of “drinking coffee’ was found around the middle of the 15th century. What in the world did they do before then? I cannot imagine a morning without heading to the kitchen first thing to make a pot of coffee. It’s like automatic. No thought process needed. Many times I don’t even remember going downstairs to go through this ritual of putting in the filter, weighing out 3 tablespoons of grounds, and pouring the water in the reservoir. I just hear the 5 beeps telling me to “come and get it,” and then I am a happy girl.
Coffee can be used for a few other things besides brewing. Adding just a few coffee grounds into your brown gravy will give it a darker rich look, and many chefs add a few coffee crystals to their homemade chocolate desserts testifying that it brings out the deep flavor of the chocolate even more. Personally I do not think chocolate needs much help, but that’s just me.
The following recipe is an old one from my files. On the card it simply says Coffee Muffins. I’ll update that to be more modern. How about a cup of coffee? Yes, I think I will.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder (or instant coffee)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate mini-chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin tins with papers or grease liberally.In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso or instant coffee, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix milk, butter, egg, and vanilla until combined. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture only until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 15 to 20 minutes for standard muffins, 10 to 12 minutes for mini-muffins. Cappuccino muffins freeze well. Yield: 12 muffins or about 48 mini-muffins