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Food Frenzies: Warm Your Heart

December 7, 2010

I have decided to start a series of writing on different recipes I try in the kitchen.  Pretty straightforward, right?  As newlyweds, we’re used to the dishes we were individually raised on, and since we come from the same school district, those foods are not all that different.  We both come from Euro-mutt/American backgrounds (except for my Canadian French heritage, holla!), so food types are pretty standard.  The only real “ethnic” cuisine we seem to have incorporated into our diets from our parents are (1) the meat pies from the Canadian French during the Christmas season and (2) Kugela, which is Lithuanian and is served in B’s family during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Otherwise, our diet is pretty boring.

But ahhh, the joys of cooking for yourselves when you get your own apartment and get married!  B is a blossoming chef and I know my way around the kitchen pretty well, so we have branched out and begun to try new recipes.  Some of my favorite foods still land in the traditional department, many of which are showcased in the cookbook my mom made me for our wedding.  Our families have also stocked us with some pretty fabulous professional cookbooks, but I have to say that my go-to food source is the internet.  You just type in an idea (or protein source if you have no ideas) and Google looks up thousands of recipes for you.  It is my intention to share the good, the bad, and the amazingly yummy with you as we journey through the internet Foody-ville.  Also, since we’re newlyweds, fresh out of grad school, and just beginning our careers, money is tight, so these recipes will be made from inexpensive ingredients that most households probably already have.

And if these posts fall onto deaf ears, bored eyes, and cooking-challenged brains, so be it.  This is my contribution to the food stand.

Today was the first snow day for a lot of schools in Maine.  Well, schools in the central/northern section of Maine, anyway.  Here in the western/southern section, we barely got anything.  But in the spirit of the cold and snow, added to the fact that B detests Mondays at work with a passion and his application for his Ph.D. program is due next week, I came home in the mood to create something that would warm his heart and make his day better.  When I was little, my mom used to make my sister and I homemade hot chocolate whenever it was really snowing, so I decided to jump online and find a recipe that reminded me of hers. Three seconds later, we seemed to have a winning recipe from allrecipes.com.

It seemed simple enough; it only called for cocoa, sugar, milk, vanilla, and cream, and when I read through the instructions, I discovered that the cream was optional at the end.  Score, because we don’t have any cream in our fridge.  After spending a our Sunday grocery shopping day in Boston, we were lucky to have milk in the fridge.  I grabbed a sauce pan and got to work.

The process for making this recipe goes pretty quickly, and because it requires a whole lot of stirring, I wasn’t able to take any pictures.  Sorry!  But here’s what went down:  You put 1/3 cup cocoa, 3/4 white sugar, and a pinch of salt into the sauce pan.  With the heat on medium/low, mix everything together.  Using a glass measuring cup, I put 1/3 cup water into the microwave for around 2.5 minutes and waited for it to boil.  I had to set the timer a couple of times because I kept underestimating how long it would actually take the water to boil.  Silly me.  Once boiling, the water goes into the sauce pan with the cocoa mix.  Then the stirring begins.  With the addition of the water, the mixture gets relatively goopy, kind of resembling chocolate paste, but once the heat of the stove kicks in, it becomes a thick liquid.

After stirring until you have the forearm Arnold Schwarzenegger wishes he had in his prime, the chocolate begins to boil.  Guess what?  This means you get to keep stirring!  You let it boil for two minutes and then add 3.5 cups of milk.  I used skim because I don’t drink anything else by choice, and it worked just fine.  The milk cools everything down, so essentially you are just waiting for everything to warm back up again to be able to serve it.  Once you are satisfied with the temperature, add a dash of vanilla (I rarely measure this substance), stir (woo hoo!  Again!), and pour into your waiting mugs.

Verdict?  Awwwweeesssoommmmeeee.  This will definitely be bookmarked on both of my computers.  The creaminess is pleasant, not too overly dramatic on the taste buds, and I must say somewhat unexpected with the use of skim milk.  Where did the creaminess come from if I skipped the cream?  Probably the chocolate-sugar collaboration.  B loved it as well, and when I asked if he would like to keep using powdered mixes, he very clearly stated, “NO.”  Sounds like a vote of confidence to me!

I decided to be a little more wild with my mug and added in some extra flavoring by sprinkling cinnamon into the bottom before pouring.  If you have never tried that pairing before and you enjoy cinnamon, do it.  You would be crazy and deprived if you didn’t!  You could also add peppermint extract, candy canes, raspberry extract, or whatever other flavor you fancy.

Next up, the perfect pairing with a nice cup of cocoa:  Snickerdoodles!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alana permalink
    December 7, 2010 4:51 pm

    How very Julie and Julia of you 😉

Trackbacks

  1. Food Frenzies: Snickerdoodles « Blogimony: Where Marriage and Writing Meet

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