Not too long ago, we were invited to a brunch event hosted by Starbucks in featuring their new line of Natural Fusions coffees. Chef Paul McCullough, well known for his time on “The Next Food Network Star” and his Los Angeles catering company, would be at the helm guiding us through a collection of recipes that would make the perfect meal for a brunch party. Unfortunately, Amir had to report to work, so I took up the difficult duty of representing The Duo. To be honest, I’m not a coffee drinker. The last sips of any sort of coffee happened in Rome this past January, and prior to that? Well, let’s just say I don’t know. I do cook with coffee and espresso, and I figured adding new brunch ideas to our repertoire couldn’t hurt. It sounded like a great way to spend the morning.
I made my way to the event’s location, Hipcooks West, where I was greeted by Chef Paul and his delicious spread of ingredients. All three varieties of the Natural Fusions coffee were available to sample–Cinnamon, Caramel and Vanilla. I cautiously poured myself sips of each one. They were all flavorful but not overpowering with Caramel and Vanilla coming out on top for me. Not long after, Desiree and Caryn of Rockin’ Mama arrived, and we all sat down with Chef Paul–cups of coffee in hand–to chat before cooking. Before long, it was time to get down in the kitchen. The menu included the following:
The Siren’s Scramble
Paul’s Popovers with Maple Bacon and Citrus Infused Butters
Starbucks Natural Fusions Maple Bacon
Edible Chocolate Bowls with Fresh Berries
Are you hungry yet?
We started with the chocolate bowls, which was a very fun, interactive activity. The balloons can be blown up to any size or shape you like. They are dipped in melted chocolate and then chilled. Once you pop the balloon, the shape of the mold remains in which you can put a number of edibles. We chose super sweet strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Next it was time for the popovers. Now that I know you can use a regular muffin tin for popovers, I have no excuse not to make them. As the batter was poured, we also coated thick strips of meaty bacon with brown sugar, maple syrup, Starbucks Natural Fusions Vanilla ground coffee and a little cayenne pepper for kick. Both the popovers and bacon made their way to the oven. Once the bacon was cooled, we crumbled a couple of pieces and stirred them into room temperature butter. Another bowl of softened butter was mixed with orange marmalade.
The final dish was the Siren’s scramble, named after the Starbucks Siren you all know from their packaging. Browned ground turkey, sauteed spinach, sun dried tomatoes, salty feta cheese and slow scrambled eggs combine to create a very easy main dish. Chef Paul even suggested tossing in cooked penne or another favorite pasta to create a revised dinner meal. This is obviously a very easy dish to tweak to your preferences. You could make it meatless for sure and still have a very filling meal. With our main eat complete, we took all the food to the table for brunch. What a shame we had no mimosas or bellinis to sip, but I do think the ruby red grapefruit juice I poured was exceptionally sweet and satisfying. But for our next brunch party, just know Amir and I will never been without a little bubbly.
Here’s a big thank you kindly to the folks behind Starbucks and Chef Paul. It was also great to meet two lovely LA ladies who are active in the social media scene. We had a great time that day, and I’d say I walked away with a few new ideas of ways to incorporate coffee into my cooking.
Do you want to win some coffee now? Desiree, Caryn and I received gift packs, plus two people from this past weekend’s Blogging While Brown conference won, so you should too. Win a French press, and one pack of each Starbucks Natural Fusions flavors–Cinnamon, Caramel and Vanilla. On top of that, you’ll receive the recipes from our brunch party, so you too can whip up a feast. This contest is open to anyone in the contiguous United States. You’ll have until Friday, July 15 at 12:00 am pst to enter. The winners will be announced on Friday, July 15th.
Time to enter! Just leave a comment saying which flavor sounds like your favorite. Want to up your chances? Try these:
One extra entry for following us on Twitter (@TheDuoDishes) and tweeting “#Giveaway! Win an @Starbucks #NaturalFusions gift pack from @TheDuoDishes http://bit.ly/p7nukA”. Leave an extra comment to let us know you’ve tweeted.
One extra entry for liking us on Facebook and leaving a message on our wall. Leave an extra comment to let us know that we’re Facebook buds.
Starbucks provided this complimentary brunch event and gift bags. All opinions expressed here are our own.