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Microwave . . .

After You've Brewed That Pot of Coffee, You Can Reheat It by the Cup

January 29, 1987|DIANA WILLIAMS HANSEN | Hansen is a Louisville-based cooking consultant specializing in microwaving

Coffee is strongly linked with microwaving. Nearly 99% of microwave oven owners use their ovens for reheating coffee, according to manufacturer marketing statistics.

I have tried two types of microwave coffeepots, and these work fine for up to four cups of coffee. This ensures a freshly brewed beverage almost on demand. My family's style, however, is to use an electric coffeepot to make larger amounts, then switch off the power as soon as the coffee has finished. Holding the brew at the "keep warm" setting tends to lessen the rich flavor of the coffee while concentrating the bitter flavors over several hours. With a microwave, it's easy to reheat a cooled cup of coffee in about one minute.

Many people are particular about the temperature of the coffee they drink. For them, the microwave's temperature probe may be the answer. I like my coffee at 135 degrees. Others prefer hotter temperatures, up to 170 degrees. If you are just getting acquainted with your microwave, you might enjoy taking a few minutes to learn which heating temperatures suit you.

Not long ago, I read an article on how to make a pure "coffee infusion" by soaking about one pound of ground coffee in one quart of water for several days in the refrigerator, then separating out the grounds in several batches through a coffee filter. Because this seemed like such a good idea for microwaving, I tried it and got two cups of very concentrated coffee with a very pure flavor. It was delicious by itself over vanilla ice cream.

My husband and I enjoyed diluting this concentrate to various strengths. We decided that one part concentrate to five parts water was just about right to get a delicious cup of coffee. At stronger concentrations, the coffee tasted like espresso.

Coffee adds flavor to many wonderful microwave recipes. Here are couple of good ones.

Depending on the size of your microwave, you can cook the following recipe in either the popular square glass-ceramic (Pyroceram) casserole, or a large oblong glass dish.

CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES WITH BROWN COFFEE GRAVY

1 cup coarsely chopped onion

1 cup diced celery

3 cups mushrooms, quartered lengthwise

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup flour

1 cup cold strong coffee

1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules

8 pieces chicken, skin removed

Place onion, celery and mushrooms in 10-inch square glass ceramic skillet or 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Cover and microwave on HIGH (100% power) 5 minutes, until softened.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together garlic, sugar, thyme, pepper and flour. In 2-cup measure, stir together coffee and bouillon granules.

Stir flour mixture into hot vegetables. Stir to coat each piece of vegetable. Add coffee mixture and stir well until sauce starts to become smooth and thickened.

Starting at sides of casserole and arranging so that thickest pieces of chicken are to outsides of dish, slide chicken pieces underneath vegetables. Spoon vegetables and sauce over chicken.

Cover with lid or plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH 13 to 17 minutes, until very hot, then rotate dish half-turn and continue microwaving on MEDIUM-HIGH (70% power) 13 to 17 more minutes, rotating dish half-turn after 6 minutes, until no pink remains in chicken and vegetables are tender. Makes 4 servings.

In the following recipe, the addition of the coffee causes the chocolate to naturally thicken the creamy custard. This is quite rich, so serve small pieces.

CHOCOLATE-COFFEE CHEESECAKE

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs

Sugar

4 ounces (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate

3 tablespoons cold strong coffee

2 egg yolks

1 pound cream cheese

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup sour cream

Place butter in 8-inch round glass dish. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, until melted. Stir in chocolate cookie crumbs and 2 tablespoons sugar. With spoon or fingers, press onto bottom and sides of buttered dish. Microwave on HIGH 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, rotating dish after 1 minute, until set. Cool.

Place unwrapped chocolate in 2-quart microwave-safe casserole. Microwave on MEDIUM (50% power) 3 to 5 minutes, until chocolate can be stirred smooth. Add coffee, egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar. Blend well and cool.

In medium mixing bowl, place unwrapped cream cheese. Cheese should be just soft enough to cream. If necessary, use microwave-safe bowl and microwave cheese on HIGH, checking at 15-second intervals, until slightly softened. Beat cream cheese with 1 cup sugar, eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Beat in chocolate mixture. Pour into crust. Microwave on MEDIUM 15 to 20 minutes, until center is soft but set.

Mix sour cream with 2 teaspoons sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla to make topping. Spread on top of cheesecake. Microwave on MEDIUM 2 to 3 more minutes, until topping is hot. Cool, then refrigerate several hours or overnight. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Note: If crust sticks to bottom of dish, set dish on towel that has been wrung out in hot water. Reheat towel with more hot water, if necessary.

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