Creative Caffeinations

Six luscious ways to spice up your morning (or anytime) cup of joe.

Sundae times
This is one to write home about. Plop two scoops of ice cream — we’re partial to traditional vanilla — into a low glass and top with four ounces of hot, strong coffee. Sip with a thick straw or enjoy with a spoon.

Ice, ice, breve
Brew a pot of your favorite coffee, chill and then pour into ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop them out, fill your vessel of choice and top with half and half for an iced coffee that won’t get watered down.

The caveman
For a cup that will keep you full until lunch, blitz together eight ounces of warm coffee and one tablespoon of butter in a blender (careful, hot liquids expand, so make sure to have plenty of room in the blender or use a milk frother for this step) for 20–25 seconds or until frothy. Add in a splash of vanilla extract and drizzle of honey if you’re feeling extra sweet.

Crema crema
A toasty (in more ways than one) take on the traditional Vietnamese-style coffee. Pour a healthy tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk into your mug, stir and sprinkle with a dash of cayenne for a real kick start.

Whip it
Ribbons of freshly whipped cream take the place of creamer for a subtly sweet take on the classic. Whip together heavy cream and a sprinkling of sugar until airy peaks form, then top your cup with a dollop or swirl in a spoonful.

Cocoa au lait
Recover from a tough workout with a jolt or just enjoy the benefits of mocha madness. Fill a to-go cup with ice and pour in equal parts chocolate milk and iced coffee.

Oven Baked Eggs

Start to finish: 15 minutes
Impresses: 4

Ingredients
8 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese,
grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Method
Heat oven to 375 F.

Place a medium-size, high-sided, oven-proof skillet over medium heat.

Beat together eggs, half and half, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Add butter to the skillet and let melt. Pour in egg mixture.

Using a rubber spatula, gently scrape down edges and lift edges to let unset eggs flow into the bottom of the skillet.

Once the bottom is set, place in the oven.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until set.

Slice and serve.

Baked Chicken Tikka

Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes
Impresses: 4–6

Spices are your passport in the kitchen. They take you to different regions, countries and continents, and inspire not only food, but culture. In India, spices are used liberally to make an impact on family and community tables. This twist on two traditional dishes — butter chicken and chicken tikka — brings bold flavors together with Greek-yogurt marinated chicken and creamy rice.

Ingredients
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1½ cups whole-milk Greek yogurt
3 cloves (1 tablespoon) garlic, grated
1 inch (1 tablespoon) ginger, grated
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter
1½ cups white basmati rice*
3½ cups chicken stock
10-ounce can tomato sauce
15-ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 cup cream or half and half
½ cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)

Method
Combine chicken, yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, pepper and nutmeg into a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Close the top and shake to completely coat the chicken. Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Heat oven to 350 F.

Slice 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and add to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle rice over the butter, then add in the stock, tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes. Stir to combine and evenly spread across the dish.

Using tongs, remove the chicken from the bag and place on top of the rice.

Cover with foil and bake on middle rack.

After 45 minutes, remove foil and chicken breasts. Stir cream into the rice mixture, then place chicken breast back on top and dot with remaining butter.

Bake an additional 10 minutes uncovered. 

Serve with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime.

*You can substitute any long-grain white rice.

Brioche French Toast

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Start to finish: 35 minutes
Impresses: 4-5

Ingredients
1    loaf brioche bread, cut into thick slices
6    eggs
½    cup half and half
¼    cup sugar
1    tablespoon ground cinnamon
½    teaspoon ground nutmeg
1    teaspoon salt
1    tablespoon vanilla extract
½    stick butter, cut into small slices

Method
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt. Pour into a low-sided dish.

Bring a griddle or skillet to medium-low heat.

Dunk both sides of brioche slices into the egg mixture, allowing each slice to soak up the eggs.

Drop a pat of butter onto the griddle and let melt, coating the grill. 

Place slices on the griddle, making sure not to crowd them. Cook 3–4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Serve with additional butter, maple syrup and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Prep ahead
The night before, slice bread and store in a gallon zip-top baggie. Make egg mixture and store in a rectangular storage container. The morning of, all you have to do is dip and grill. Preheat your oven to 300 F and keep cooked slices in a single layer on cookie sheets until ready to serve.

Bacon, Leek & Gruyère Quiche

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Start to finish: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Impresses: 12

Ingredients
2 packages applewood smoked bacon
2 leeks
8 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded
18 eggs
1 cup half and half
 salt and pepper, to taste
2 store bought pie dough crusts

Method
Preheat oven to 400 F and liberally butter two cast iron skillets. Unroll pie dough, lightly press into the skillet and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. 

Slice bacon into small strips and cook in a large skillet over medium-low heat until crispy. While that’s cooking, slice the bottom white section of the leeks into thin, half moons. Remove bacon and let drain on a layer of paper towels. Reserve two tablespoons of the bacon grease and sauté the leeks for three minutes, until slightly softened. 

In a large bowl or blender, beat together eggs, half and half and salt and pepper.

Sprinkle bacon, leeks and cheese into each skillet and top with egg mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool five minutes and then cut into slices.

Prep ahead
The night before, assemble each quiche, pop in the fridge and bake in the morning. If you’re prepping more in advance, instead of cast iron, opt for foil pie pans. Make as directed above and then cover in plastic wrap and freeze until you need a no-fuss breakfast. Straight from the freezer, unwrap plastic wrap, cover with foil and reheat at 350 F for one hour.

Fancy Green Beans

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Whether you’re whipping up dinner for a crowd or dessert for someone special, preparing and enjoying meals is at the core of the holidays. And while traditional recipes vary from family to family, one thing remains true — flavor reigns. Add this green bean recipe made with Plugra European Style Butter to your dinner table this holiday season.

Fancy Green Beans
2 pounds fresh green beans, snapped
2 tablespoons Truffle Herb Butter (recipe below)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth or stock
½ cup half and half
¼ cup parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup crispy onions

Heat oven to 350 F.
Steam or blanch green beans to where they are tender, but still have a slight snap to them. Set aside.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter over medium heat.
Whisk in flour until butter fully absorbs, about two minutes.
Continue whisking and add in the chicken broth. Once combined, add in the half and half.
Reduce heat to low and let simmer until slightly thickened, about five minutes. Stir in parmesan and salt and pepper.
Add the green beans and toss to coat.
Butter a deep casserole dish and pour in green bean mixture.
Top with crispy onions and bake 15 minutes, or until heated through and the top is crispy.

Truffle Herb Butter
8 ounces Plugra European Style Butter, unsalted
1 ½ teaspoons truffle oil
1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped

Combine softened butter in a medium-sized bowl with oil, thyme and sage. Beat until fluffy. Scoop butter onto one end of a rectangular piece of parchment paper, leaving room on the sides. Fold the end with the butter over, tucking tightly to form a log. Roll until you’ve reached the end of the parchment. Twist the ends and secure with string or bread ties. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.