Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flavored Coffees to Entice Your Palate

Here Comes the Flavored Coffee Parade
By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

Jelks offers more than 250 flavors to entice coffee lovers.

Black Forest Cake Flavored Coffee
     In my new book reader-friendly, revolutionary book The Healing Powers of Coffee, I take a look at popular coffee flavors, 25 that I’ve tasted and enjoyed and would love to go for another 25 and probably will do just that.  There are hundreds of flavored coffees to choose from.  These days, like centuries ago, mixing these coffees with dark chocolate, spices, and citrus can make them more flavorful.
     The aroma of flavored coffee can be chocolaty, fruity, nutty, minty, and spicy. And personally, I treasure seasonal flavored coffees, such as pumpkin spice--it reminds me of eating autumn delights, including pumpkin fudge, ice cream, muffins, and pie. I adore German chocolate cake and southern pecan, too. Each different flavor is distinct, much like trying a different chocolate or honey flavor. But there are so many other flavors that can please the palate, too.

ü  Popular flavored coffees are French Vanilla and Hazelnut.
ü  Flavored coffees can be categorized in groups, including chocolaty, fruity, mint, and spice…
ü  …And seasonal flavored coffees offer a wide range from pumpkin spice, sugar plum pudding, chocolate raspberry, and coconut cream. 
ü  Columbian coffee is often the choice of coffee used for flavored coffees.
ü  Both natural and artificial ingredients are used to flavor the coffees due to a variety of reasons, from cost effectiveness and consumers’ health reasons, such as allergies.
ü  Flavored coffees have been popular for years, and these days their popularity has soared to both commercial and specialty gourmet brands.
ü  To keep flavored coffees healthy, stay clear of adding sugar and syrups. Instead, enjoy them as is or with milk.
ü  Ready-made flavored coffees are convenient and irresistible but adding your own natural flavors, whether it is cinnamon sticks or dark chocolate shavings offer a fresh flair and healthful touch.                                                         
(An entire chapter in The Healing Powers of Coffee discusses the perks of flavored coffees.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Power of Coffee: Yes, You Can Go Back Home

The Power of Coffee
By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet
Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than
muscatel wine!
                                                --J.S. Bach, Coffee Cantata(1)
I grew up up in Suburbia--not on a Brazilian plantation.

More than a half a century ago, I was born in a Brazilian villa sitting upon a lush green coffee tree plantation. My mother and father were third generation migrant coffee roasters. So, I grew up in an atmosphere of a tropical delight. Playing amid the magic of coffee trees with white flowers, red berries, and green beans to cups of java was part of my Coffee World. My father Jack, from Italy, was a hard worker out in the field overseeing the coffee workers; and my mother Patricia with Spanish roots ran a charming coffee café.  That is my fantasy.
In the real world as a little girl (with a big imagination) I didn’t live in Brazil, nor was I raised surrounded by coffee trees (actually an evergreen shrub or plant). Back in the fifties, I was born in a suburban neighborhood in San Jose, California—a place where coffee was bought in a can at the store and percolated in an electric coffee pot.  My life as I knew it simple amid houses with white picket fences, sidewalks, and planted shrubs and flowers. It came with two parents—my father was Scottish, my mother Irish Catholic, two siblings, a dog and cat, and the music of the ice cream man and milk bottles delivered on our doorstep. In our there was a European-style round table, wall oven, dishwasher, and salmon-colored countertops. I was familiar with the aluminum coffee pot—a constant in my parents’ world. It created a strong, familiar coffee aroma wafting into my bedroom seven days a week, including Sundays, the day I went to church.
One fall day, during the priest’s sermon, I, a seven year old kid, was desperately trying to stay awake. My mother whispered, “Sit up” and nudged my arm. The words “ice cream” was my mantra to help pass the grueling prayers in Latin.  After Holy Communion we were released and my mom treated me and my siblings to a local ice cream parlor.
She ordered a large cup of hot, black coffee (not the kind she served to our priest when he came to dinner). My first coffee experience was in the form of ice cream. Since it was a flavor for grown ups, I felt like I was entering the land of forbidden fruit. The cold, creamy coffee ice cream was bittersweet. The flavor intrigued me. My taste buds didn’t love it in my mind I liked it. This event began a Sunday ritual. I was hooked on coffee ice cream (maybe it was the caffeine) that ignited my journey into Coffee World.
These days, coffee has a place in my grown up life as I know it.  I wasn’t raised on a coffee plantation, but coffee did have a way of permeating its way into my run-of-the-mill life in the suburbia—a place where it looked perfect but it was a place I yearned to escape to an exciting world.  And I got a taste of coffee and its healing powers throughout the years of growing up and blossoming like a young coffee plant with potential to branch out and away from its farm.
Today, I sit here in my mountain cabin, like a coffee tree in a high mountain elevation, and I feel the spirit of the fruitful plant as I work on The Healing Powers of Coffee. My kitchen is chock-full of coffees—all kinds—as I scrutinize each one like they are new, exotic fish in an aquarium.  I am discovering the powers of coffee, and a world I’ve called Coffee World that I want to share with you.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Morning Joe with Mancow Muller on 8-23

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet
I Was on The Mancow Show (sort of)
I admit it. I'm in love with coffee. Each morning when I awake -- joe is on my mind. Well, to be honest with you I have six eye balls on me so the critters's demands come first. Yes, I get out of the big warm waterbed with comforters and head for the kitchen. I feed the Siamese cat, and Brittany duo. Then, I embrace my Mr. Coffee. I grind the magical beans, get out the No. 4 filter, and brew a pot of java...while this is happening the boys go outside, one by one. Then, it's coffee time!
I go back to bed, turn on CNN, and tune into the worlds' woes. And today in five hours at 5:00 AM PST that's what I'll be doing. Except this Thursday I'll be making a cameo appearance with the Mancow. 
I'd love to dish on my 2012 predictions that are coming true: The drought, the zany presidential race, Obama's lead (yes), the potential Florida hurricane (yep, I did forecast it), and quakes for my Golden State. I did feel the 4.2 at Tahoe; there was the 4ish in the SF Bay Area, two back to back 5.0s Offshore NorCal, and widely felt quakes in SoCal--but not the big one yet. Not to forget the "hot, hot, hot" weather in the West...
So, I am sensing the popular talk show host will ask me something about Coffee World thanks to my latest book The Healing Powers of Coffee. And as I sip my java I'll try to be wide-eyed and bushy tailed despite I'm a nightowl.  The question is, do I go to sleep now or pull an all nighter and snooze after 5:00 AM?  All I know is while coffee is chock-full of good for you antioxidants, and helps to keep me lean and fit--I adore the java jolt, especially for interviews with the Mancow who has a strong sense of presence. Thank God for morning joe.

UPDATE: OMG! An alarm clock (rarely use) "beep, beep, beep" woke me up at 4:15 AM.  Up I went to the kitchen and embrace my coffee. I love my java jolt! Ready to go at 5:00 AM I was called by the producer and put on hold. Listening to Mancow talk about world woes (I so wanted to scream, "Hey, remember the 2012 Forecasts I sent to you? They're coming true! I told you so. The drought, bipartisan war, Florida hurricane, hot, hot, hot in the Western states, a virus (West Nile has hit the U.S.), middle class shrinking, and more." And, of course, there was coffee chat for his listeners because it is National Coffee Month! 
But, due to strange circumstances beyond control, I was going to be on about an hour and a half later.  News flash: I got another call from the producer and the word "reschedule" echoed. But as an intuitive I knew that. Oh well, thanks to my cup(s) of coffee I'm up for the day. (I'm a believer in karma. A few days ago, I had to cancel my next Barnes and Noble book signing...Yeah, what goes around comes around.) I forecast I'll be sharing coffee talk and end of times forecasts with the Mancow sooner than later--before 2013. Florida Eyes Isaac is on the news. How did I know this would happen?  (Twilight Zone music please.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Coffee is More than a Caffeine Fix!

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

Java Jolt: Health-Boosting Nutrients in Your Cup of Joe
Medical researchers around the world continue to find new health-promoting super nutrients in coffee connected to healing powers. That’s right, coffee lovers are getting more than just a morning caffeine jolt from the magical bean. Like dark chocolate, red wine, green tea, and certain fruits and vegetables, coffee contains antioxidants—disease-fighting enzymes that protect your body by trapping free-radical molecules. Imagine this scenario: Video game human java junkies drinking cups of coffee and viewing bad bugs disappear before any damage attacks their human bodies. Game over. Man wins.
Research also shows that including antioxidant-rich superfoods—like coffee—may lower the risk of developing age-related diseases--heart, cancers, diabetes 2--and even stall the aging process.  
Scientists continue to find new health-promoting nutrients in coffee—which has more than 1,000 compounds. It’s the antioxidants in coffee that provide health benefits; however, coffee also has health-boosting minerals, such as tocopherols and magnesium, which help in glucose metabolism.  Here are several antioxidants that researchers know are in a cup of coffee and coffee lovers should meet before I expound later on their benefits to lower the odds of developing specific diseases and ailments. 
 Caffeic acid: one of the most powerful antioxidants linked to coffee’s good for you benefits 
Chlorogenic acid:  like caffeic acid this another potent antioxidant and touted in health studies
Flavanoids:  a group of plant compounds that boast antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-allergy properties   
Lignans: plant compounds with protective action against cancers, especially hormone-related like breast, and prostate cancers
Polyphenols:  natural compounds that act as powerful antioxidants that protect your body by trapping the free-radical molecules and getting rid of them before damage occurs. 
Proanthocyanidins: plant compounds helpful in preventing degenerative disease; powerful antioxidants that are stronger than vitamins C and E; help protect against the effects of environmental stressors, including cigarette smoking, pollution 
Trigonelline: is another antioxidant in coffee which is linked to aroma, taste, and antibacterial properties          

Sunday, August 19, 2012

For Chocolate & Coffee Lovers: Italian Bundt Cake

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

Chocolate Ricotta Bundt Cake with Espresso Frosting

* * *
The Healing Powers of Coffee

This chocolate ricotta cake is moist with a nice chocolaty flavor—but not devil’s food cake. The nuts add a crunch, and cocoa powder gives an extra chocolate taste. This cake, freshly baked or warmed up in the microwave, is a fine Mediterranean version of a chocolate dessert made with real ingredients. It let me feel like I was a character in the film “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Thanks to my homespun chocolate cake, I transcended to an Italian bistro without leaving the comfort of my cozy cabin. (Excerpt from the new book The Healing Powers of Coffee: Nature's Surprising Superfood)


2 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour              
1 1/3 cups half and half milk
1/3 cup unsweetened premium cocoa powder            
1 cup chocolate chips, 60 percent cacao
1/2 cup granulated sugar                                           
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 brown eggs                                                              
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream                                           
¼ cup European style butter
2 teaspoons baking powder                                       
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a medium sized bowl, combine dry ingredients. Then, add mixture of eggs, cheeses, melted butter and chocolate chips, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour batter into an 8” by 8” square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool.

2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar                                   
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
4 tablespoons European style butter, melted             
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup almonds, sliced                                                 
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
In a bowl, mix coffee and warm, melted butter and sugar to the consistency preferred. Add vanilla and cocoa powder. Spread with a spatula on top of cake. Sprinkle with nuts. Slice cake into squares. Place on simple plate and dust with cocoa powder. Serves 9 to 12.
(More recipes with coffee & chocolate in The Healing Powers of Chocolate)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Recipe to Coffee Lovers' Scones is Espresso

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

New trailer for this book!

     On a dark, stormy midnight in the California sierra, I walked outdoors into the cold with my two Brittanys. The front deck was covered with wet snow; the towering trees and wires amid me looked surreal and eerie because they were wilted with white powder. I shoveled the heavy slush off the deck to make it easier for the morning. At 7:30 a.m. I got out of bed and turned on the TV switch for CNN—there were no red and amber lights on the cable box. I flicked on the lamp—it didn’t work. “Power outage,” I mumbled. It was the beginning of the first day the lights went out at South Lake Tahoe
      Instead of making a cup of fresh, brewed java with my electric coffeemaker, I turned on the gas burner and grabbed a jar of instant coffee. (I said a prayer to chemist Satori Kato for his invention.)  The first taste of the stuff I used to drink was doable but nothing to write home about and did its job.  Once alert I got my first news report from a neighbor walking her dog. “The power will be out for days,” she shouted. Her words echoed in my mind. I tuned out her warning. I hoped for the best, but by dusk I went into survival mode and prepared for the worst. Read: More instant coffee. Making and storing gourmet coffee and coffee croissants to coffee cakes, like these, will make your days sweeter no matter what challenges you face.
Cinnamon-Cappuccino-Pecan Scones
* * *
3 cups King Arthur Mellow Pastry Blend                   
or Unbleached All-Purpose Flour                              
2 teaspoons baking powder                              
½ teaspoon baking soda                                              
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon                                     
1/4 cup granulated sugar                                    
1/2 cup butter, cut into pats or small cubes              
1/3 cup pecans, processed or
blended till very finely ground
1/2 cup cappuccino chips                                           
1/2 cup cinnamon chips or cinnamon                        
2 teaspoons espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt (low-fat is fine)           
4-5 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a large baking sheet. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Work the butter into the dry ingredients till the mixture is unevenly crumbly; don’t be afraid to leave some of the butter in pea-or marble-sized chunks. Add the ground pecans and chips, stirring to combine. Dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water. Gently stir the dissolved espresso and sour cream or yogurt into the dough, just till it’s well dispersed; the dough will be very crumbly. Add enough ice water to bring the dough together in a cohesive mass.
Gather the dough into a ball, and place it on a well-floured work surface. Pat/roll it into an 8” to 9” circle about ¾” thick. If desired, brush the surface of the dough with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar. Use a 2” cutter to cut about 20 scones, gathering the scraps and gently shaping into round scones without re-rolling. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet, leaving just over 1” between them. Bake the scones for about 20 minutes, till they’re golden brown. When you break one of the center scones open, the middle should be baked all the way through, not doughy or wet. Remove the scones from the oven, and serve warm. Yield: 20 small scones.
 (Source: Courtesy King Arthur Flour.)
Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Coffee by Cal Orey (Plenty of recipes for DIY espresso beverages!)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Coffee Lovers--Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet
San Jose (wikipedia)

Tomorrow morning I will wake up to a cup of fresh brew. Once I feed the Brittany duo and Siamese cat, it's time to get my stuff together and head out to San Jose--the place I was born and raised. The deal is--it's changed...
The people I once knew in San Jose (and on the peninsula) are all gone. A few folks are still around but they have moved. They are older. It will be different. I feel like I'm going to a big city where it's new but not necessarily improved.
Of course, I'll drive by the house I grew up in, the place where my mom cooked and baked and tried to show me the ropes of it all. Then, I'll swing by the 2nd house I endured as a late teen and rebelled. I'll have to see Los Gatos--my route to Santa Cruz Mountains--another place I lived and loved. And that's not all...
There's S.F., where I went to school to get my bachelor's degree and master's degree. It's the city I fell in love with and always thought would be the place to live and die. Not so. It seems like Lake Tahoe grabbed my body, mind, and spirit.
So, it will be a visit to make an appearance at Barnes and Noble for a book signing. My latest book The Healing Powers of Coffee will be the talk--not me. (I probably will purchase coffee or somewhere in area--a mecca of java junkies, past and present.)And, my other Healing Powers series will be there too. And after I'll get a taste of the SF Bay Area--a place where I know can and often sense oncoming quakes but most likely will not go back to live. I'm looking forward to making a weekend trip but also will anticipate coming back to the mountains--my new home for 13 years. I wonder if produce stands are still on the highway going to Salinas. If so, I will be there, too before going back to the hill--my down-to-earth home. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Dog is Back & Eating...Now I'm Sick as a Dog!

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

Food is important for two-leggers and four-leggers. On July 17, my youngest Brittany, Seth got sick early in the morning. Then, for the next week it was becoming too commonplace. After the fourth time, it was to the vet. My boy was losing weight. My food-loving fur child no longer was interested in food. At all.

Welcome to Canine Mystery Illness Land
Fast forward: Tests: blood work, x-ray, ultrasound, and much more... Every test came back negative. Normal. My happy, active, carefree dog with an even temperament was healthy but losing weight. He had to be monitored at the vet all day long. One day, two day. I was going doggone crazy without him! Usually at 35-38 on the doggie scale, my Sethie ended up at 29 pounds! What's more, his awesome spirit and energy was down in the dumps. 

Three Week Nightmare
During the three week ordeal, I was haunted by dreams and nightmares.  In one, a dog-loving friend came to my front door and gave me pink carnations and a white health drink. Another was of a coyote (trickster) that attacked Seth but didn't take my dog down. He survived. Then, I was hit was images of the scary man loses dog in the films "Marley & Me" and "I Am Legend" and "Old Yeller"--not fun...
I was hand feeding my pooch and begging him to bits of chicken and rice. I poured bottled water into my hand and pleaded for him to drink the liquid to prevent dehydration. And he did it. Then,  24 hours later, the 2nd type of antibiotics for gastrointestinal woes and finding the right food for a sensitive tummy (this was a challenge!), and cooking chicken breasts and brown rice did the trick.
Seth is back 99.9%--pointing, scarfing his healthy, new food, drinking water (without coaxing), jumping on the dining room table, barking, and being a loving dog and into food. Of course, it's time to fatten up my bird dog -- gradually. And, I will be changing his diet to another premium brand, gradually, too.
Diagnosis? Unknown.  Potential food allergy to his dog kibble or perhaps he snagged something quick and gulped it down on his daily walks. 

Dog Lover Wipeout
Meanwhile, after concern, worry, stress, and a few meltdowns I did survive the ordeal of puppy in crisis. But, during the event I didn't eat either and went on the "Lose 5 lbs. Sick Doggie Diet" which works like a charm. And now, my throat hurts, ears ache, I have a fever, aches and pains, and am wiped out from trying to be strong in between tears. It's time for oranges, water, teas, honey, coffee, chocolate, chilling, and getting well. 
On the upside, my beloved canine will help me heal with his unconditional love, doggie kisses, bear hugs, tail wags.  He's back and part of the pack! And yeah, I believe God loves dogs a lot!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Joy of Cooking with Coffee: Mocha Cake

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

Discover why this potent elixir has gone from vice to virtue and how to incorporate coffee in Mediterranean-style healthful recipes like Cappuccino Biscotti, Thai Coffee Spiced Chicken Sates, Coffee Cheesecake and Maple Espresso Pudding (plus DIY espresso drinks).

It's all here--and so much more--in the new, revolutionary book The Healing Powers of Coffee (Kensington Books).  This book was even purchased by the Good Cook Book Club -- thanks to the tested recipes by pro chefs, major coffee companies, and well-known health spas nationwide. Check out this cake with a scrumptious twist of java!

Mystery Mocha Cake
* * *
     The only mysterious thing about this cake is how it can be so delicious and still contain virtually no fat. Looking at this deep, almost black chocolate cake, cushioned in a velvety fudge sauce, you’ll think, “No way. No way is this cake low-calorie.” But, at 124 calories a serving (not including the whipped cream/ice cream you’ll be dying to add), it won’t push your calorie count for the day into the stratosphere.
¾ cup (5 ¼ ounces) granulated    
1 cup (4 ¼ ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-purpose or White Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder                           
¼ teaspoon salt          
¼ cup (3/4 ounce) low-fat cocoa                  
¾ cup (6 ounces)  skim milk
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup (3 ¼ ounces) brown sugar, packed    
½ cup (3 ½ ounces) granulated sugar cup 
3/4 ounce low-fat cocoa                                                 
1 cup (8 ounces) double-strength coffee,  room temperature                                                           

     Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Add the milk and vanilla; beat till smooth. Pour the batter into a lightly greased 8 x 8-inch pan.
     In a small bowl, mix together the white and brown sugars and cocoa. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the pan. Pour the coffee over all. This may look kind of strange and messy, but never fear; everything will turn out fine.
     Bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. This cake is best enjoyed warm, between half an hour and an hour after you’ve taken it out of the oven. Yield: 1 cake, sixteen 2 x 2-inch servings. Yield: 1 cake, sixteen 2 x 2 inch servings.
(Source: Courtesy King Arthur Flour.)

8/5 Sunday
8:30-9:00 AM
SF Bay Area LIVE KSFO AM with Bob Tanem
The Healing Powers of Coffee

8/11 Saturday
3:00 - 6:00 PM
Barnes and Noble Booksellers - Stevens Creek
3600 Stevens Creek Boulevard

San Jose 95117