No, you don’t have to order a decaf gravy or cake. The coffee used in cooking shouldn’t keep you awake later, according to Bryn Mawr chef David Clouser. In a recent story on the Inquirer Digital, Clouser shares his cooking-with-coffee tips and several yummy-looking recipes. Coffee in ground or brewed forms can add an extra dimension to cooking with meat, in sauces, and of course, in desserts. We’re used to coffee in our tiramisu, brownies, ice creams etc., but not so much in our meat entrees. While it can improve the textures of some meats, its bitterness can be lessened by adding sweet, tangy flavors - tomatoes, chili peppers, molasses, vinegar etc. When mixed with with cinnamon, fennel, cumin, coriander, and especially toasted chilies, coffee makes a great rub for grilled or roasted meat. Using grounds as a rub on poultry gives the skin a nice crispy texture. Brewed, the coffee can be used with wine or alone to braise meat. Clouser is famous locally for his short ribs which soak for two days in a coffee and espresso marinade. When choosing a coffee for cooking, Clouser advises to use one you’d want to drink with the dish, as you would do with wine. If you haven’t braved perking up your recipes with coffee yet, start small. Toss a few grounds into your next spaghetti sauce and see if you don’t notice a certain difference. Rubbing it on poultry can’t do any damage but it can give you another perspective. Better yet, start with one of Clouser’s recipes. Just click on his photo. He has posted cake recipes along with his meat creations. ROASTe also has a turkey glaze recipe that’s delicious - http://www.roaste.com/CafeRoaste/CoffeeRecipes/Coffee-Glazed-Turkey . Thinking outside the bag has never tasted so good!