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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Chat Leftovers: Jazzed-up Joe

By Jane Touzalin

Whew! Round One is over, and I hope your Thanksgiving was great. Time to catch your breath before you move on to the next holiday menu. Here in Food land, assistant editor Bonnie Benwick is putting the finishing touches on our annual, always-spectacular holiday cookie issue, coming out next week. It's really almost a year-long project; the baking and tasting have been going on for months. We have some terrific-looking recipes this year, so don't miss it.

And don't miss today's Free Range chat. Need a debriefing after last Thursday's culinary adventures? This is the place. But you don't have to bring questions that are holiday related. For example, here's a leftover we didn't have time to answer during last week's chat:

I use a French press for coffee at home and use some spices, like red pepper flakes, to add spice flavors to my coffee. Can you recommend any that go well with brewed coffee that come through and don't make the coffee too powdery?

There's definitely more to coffee enhancements than cream and sugar. I can't say I'm a big fan -- I really want my coffee to taste like coffee -- but I've tried a few along the way. And I'm hoping some readers can weigh in with additions they like.

Cinnamon is an obvious choice. And to avoid the powdery/grainy effect you dislike, you're better off using it in stick form. With cinnamon, as with other spices, you need to do some experimenting to determine how much to use and how long to let it steep. But you probably already figured that out as you came up with a formula for your red pepper flake additions.

Nutmeg is another good one, but with this spice, moderation is always a virtue. I've never added it to coffee, but if I were to try it, I'd use a small chunk of the nut, and not for very long. I imagine that a lot could make your coffee unpleasantly bitter.

I've had cardamom pods in coffee, and I like the taste. It seems delightfully exotic and aromatic. Another one to try is cloves -- again, whole and not ground. And since you're experimenting, why not try allspice berries? Star anise? Whole coriander?

For a complementary layer of flavor, you can team any of those spices with a piece of citrus peel (fresh, not dried) and see how you like it. And by the way, the season is past but I think those spices, with or without citrus, would be even better in iced coffee.

And now you've got me curious. Off I go to put some star anise in my coffee. Thanks for the excuse to brew myself a second pot!

By Jane Touzalin  | December 1, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Chat Leftovers  | Tags:  Chat Leftovers, Free Range, Jane Touzalin  
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