Dorm room meals… with only a coffee maker?

July 11, 2021, 3:06 p.m.

“Why should I use my coffee maker for anything but my daily caffeine boost?” you may ask, perhaps envisioning the amazed look on your roommate’s face as they watch a salmon fillet float like a preserved brain in the machine’s carafe. The answer is this: Coffee makers are cheaper and more energy efficient than stoves and ovens, and you can quickly whip up a snack if the trek to TAP feels too long for a midnight meal. 

A meal in a coffee maker? It might seem ridiculous, but this life hack actually works really well when there is no kitchen in sight (your food will not taste like coffee as long as you clean the machine before and after use, I promise). Your shockingly versatile coffee maker provides three handy cooking techniques: steaming, poaching and grilling. You may use the top basket to steam vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, but at all costs avoid aromatic vegetables such as peppers and onions if you value the taste of your actual coffee post-cooking. The machine’s carafe is a great place to poach or boil ingredients like fish, eggs, oatmeal and noodles. Even more surprisingly, the coffee maker’s burner can double as a makeshift stove to toast snacks such as grilled cheeses. 

Below are four easy coffee maker recipes that, in my opinion, are essential for every college student to know! 

Hot Dogs

Craving hot dogs? Simply drop them into the coffee maker’s carafe, where they will resemble otherworldly sea cucumbers, and add water into the reservoir. Boil them for approximately five minutes, and you are done! To add a crunch to your hotdog buns, you can cover the burner with a single layer of aluminum foil and place the buns on top for a short time. I recommend toasting the bread before boiling your hot dogs to avoid making the buns soggy from excess water. 

(from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnF1jmxAC3E)

Egg Ramen

Ramen noodles, an essential commodity for college life, are a quick and easy meal fit for any hungry student. After pouring noodles and seasoning into the coffee maker’s carafe, add water into the reservoir and run your machine. Then, wait for the noodles to soften to your liking. If you pour too much water into the reservoir the soup will become diluted, so carefully measure out the amount listed on your instant ramen package. To take your meal up a notch, add hard boiled eggs to your ramen by placing eggs into the carafe, adding just enough water to submerge them, and run the coffee machine.

(from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2HURuUwr1o)

From personal experience, I found that approximately 10 minutes of cooking time will produce soft boiled eggs, while 15-20 minutes will produce hard boiled eggs. Exercise caution while shelling the eggs; one time I confidently cracked my 10-minute eggs, expecting firm whites underneath, but instead the contents splattered over the countertop! 

(from https://www.onecrazyhouse.com/coffee-pot-cooking/)

Grilled Cheese

A well-loved comfort food, this sandwich can improve any bad day. Lay a slice of your favorite cheese between two pieces of buttered bread, then cover the coffee maker’s burner with a single layer of aluminum foil. Place your sandwich concoction onto the burner and cook until the bread and cheese are toasted to taste. 

(from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnF1jmxAC3E)

Poached Salmon with Steamed Vegetables

If you want to try a more ambitious dish, you might enjoy this gourmet salmon recipe. It is healthy, quick to prepare and easy to clean up!

  1. Fill the brew basket halfway with broccoli and/or cauliflower and steam for two cycles. Mix the vegetables to ensure that they are cooked evenly. 
  2. Add a salmon fillet into the carafe and artfully arrange garlic, soy sauce and ginger on top of it. Then fill the reservoir with 3 cups of water and run the coffee maker. The salmon is ready when it has turned opaque.

When I tried this recipe, the salmon turned out moist, and the broccoli was steamed well with a slight crunch. Overall, I was very satisfied with the results!

(from https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/11/15/245442083/coffee-maker-cooking-brew-up-your-next-dinner)

I hope that you find these recipes delicious and handy! Happy cooking!

Sasha Wang is a high schooler writing as part of The Daily’s Summer Journalism Workshop. Contact them at workshop 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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