It’s 7:13 in the morning, and I am already on my second (massive) cup of coffee. The first one was cold and leftover from yesterday, just to tide me over while my crappy coffee pot (and angelic boyfriend, Anthony) brewed me some fresh stuff.
Simply put: I love coffee. When I gave up Diet Coke last summer, it became my sole caffeine source (and no, tea doesn’t count.) Like wine or chocolate, I love the really good stuff, but let’s be real—I won’t turn down mediocre wine, chocolate, or coffee.
I love it all—the watery, tasteless stuff they serve at diners by the gallon, the dark, almost burnt-tasting brew from Starby’s, and of course, the Bud Light of coffee: Dunkin’ Donuts (man, that stuff’s got drinkability.) One of the best days of my life to date was when I discovered they serve extra large coffees at DD.
In typical woman fashion, I have convinced Anthony he is “better” at making coffee than I am, so that I don’t have to do it when he’s around. But he does seem to eek better-tasting brew out of my lame $20 Mr. Coffee. His secret? He measures the coffee (I just eyeball it), and he adds a few dashes of cinnamon. The cinnamon is subtle when the coffee is hot, but when it gets cold, it adds a nice flavor punch—without that chemical taste you get with actual flavored coffees. For someone who drinks a lot of cold coffee (I have no microwave, so if I want to reheat it, it has to go in a saucepan. No thanks!), this cinnamon addition is a revelation.
The other day I was waxing poetic about his cinnamon coffee, and he told me that if I loved it so much, I should start using coffee in other ways besides just drinking it. It was on that fateful morning that the idea for smoky, coffee- and chipotle-braised pork was born. Our “Ohhhh, wouldn’t that be good!” conversation found its way into reality, and the following week, Tony and I made Smoky Coffee-Braised Pulled Pork Tacos with homemade corn tortillas, as well as Red Snapper Ceviche, fried yucca and green plantains, with two different salsas, and spicy Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream. It was a dinner to remember, indeed. You’ve already heard what mama had to say about that magical meal.
But now, here’s a recipe for coffee lovers, because good brew doesn’t just belong at breakfast.