Monday, February 18, 2008

Homemade Hot Cocoa (and Marshmallows!)

This hot cocoa mix is based on an Alton Brown recipe, but I spiced it up to be more like a Mexican chocolate. The marshmallows are from ReadyMade, but I added some cute color. You can see a video of the marshmallow recipe here.

Hot Cocoa

2 C powdered sugar
1 C cocoa
2 1/2 C powdered milk
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tbs cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.


1/4 C plus 6 Tbs water
1 1/3 C sugar
1/2 C light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 packets powdered gelatin (half an ounce)
Red food coloring
Powdered sugar

In the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attached, combine the gelatin with 6 Tbs water. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the sugar, corn syrup, and remaining water. Cook over high heat until it reaches 240 degrees (use a candy thermometer). Immediately remove from heat. With the mixer running on low speed, pour the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl. Add the vanilla and salt and increase speed to medium-high. Whisk until the mixture becomes opaque and thick, like Fluff. Decrease the mixer speed to low and add the food coloring. Barely mix to swirl the color into the marshmallow before removing the bowl.

Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan and spray the top with more vegetable oil. Cover with another piece of parchment and using a rolling pin or your hands, spread out to an even thickness. Let sit overnight, and then use a pair of clean scissors to cut into squares. Toss in a bowl of equal parts cornstarch and powdered sugar to prevent sticking.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chocolate Amaretto Semifreddo

A semifreddo is a sort of quick ice cream- it has a softer consistancy but is no less of a treat! This recipe was inspired by a dessert I had at a restaurant a while ago, and based on Jamie Oliver's basic semifreddo recipe.

2 C heavy cream, plus 2 Tbs
4 eggs, separated
1/4 C sugar
1/2 C good, unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 C amaretto
1 vanilla bean
Italian Amaretto cookies

You will need three bowls to start. In one bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and the inside of the vanilla bean. In the second bowl, wisk the cream with the cocoa powder and amaretto until soft peaks form. In the third bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the cream and the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Transfer to a shallow container, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 6-8 hours, or overnight. Serve with the cookies on top.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I hardly ever post salads here because they are so simple, and I usually improvise them, but lest you think that I never eat our veggies, I've decided to start sharing some favorites. For starters, here are three that I like having in the winter time. I don't think I need to post instructions, since these are pretty self-explanatory...

Baby arugula with blood oranges, smoked whitefish, and avocado (with a blood orange vinaigrette)

Raddichio with clementines, toasted pine nuts, and feta cheese (with an orange-honey vinaigrette)

Mixed baby greens with sliced apples (or Asian pears), spiced pecans (or almonds), and goat cheese (with an orange vinaigrette)

As you can see, these are all just variations on a theme. I generally make my dressing with the juices of whatever fruits I'm using (or the juice from olives), and I like to include something rich, like crumbled cheese, nuts, avocado, fish, or chicken. I think the best way to dream up a salad is to visit your local farmer's or produce market. Take a walk around and find one thing that looks particularly fresh and delicious, and then think of some other things that would go nicely together.

Blood Orange Margaritas

This is a pretty twist on the classic drink. Since blood oranges are in season, I have been juicing them and freezing the juice to use in future recipes, but I couldn't resist using some to make us a tasty beverage to go with our taco salad the other night (recipe below).

1 C fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1/2 C fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 C tequila
Simple syrup, to taste (1 part water, two parts sugar simmered until dissolved and cooled)

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and serve over ice.

Taco Salad

This may have been the very first recipe I ever learned how to make, when I was about 9 years old at summer camp. It's a simple supper, and an all American classic.

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pint premade fresh salsa (homemade or store-bought)
Juice of one lime
1 large avocado, diced
2 C shredded cheese
1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 C sour cream
Chili powder
Ground coriander
Ground cumin
Dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 small bag tortilla chips

Start by browning the meat on one side in a little olive oil. Sprinkle the spices on top, to taste, and stir the meat to brown all over. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, half the salsa, and the avocado. Dress with the lime juice. Add the meat and top with the cheese, sour cream, and remaining salsa. Crumble some tortilla chips on top for extra crunch

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tuna and White Bean Salad

This is a Tuscan classic which I have reworked. I wanted a little bit of sweetness in the salad, to help balance out the tart and salty flavors of the tuna and capers, but it's winter, so the cherry tomatoes that immediately come to mind are not an option. Instead I used sweet onions and a little fennel, which I think was really nice with the rest of the dish. Sorry for the poor photo- we were too hungry to take more!

1 can tuna in olive oil
1 can or jar of white Canellini or Great Northern beans, drained
1 small bulb of fennel (or half a larger one), sliced fine
1/2 small, sweet onion, diced very fine
1 Tbs nonpareil capers, drained and rinsed
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
Ground pepper

Place the tuna and its oil in a bowl. With a fork, break the tuna up into small pieces and combine with the beans, capers, and onions. Dress with the lemon juice and vinegar, and a little ground pepper. Toss to combine and serve on top of a bed of arugula and fennel.