Recipe Review: Coconut Curry Mussels

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Coconut Curry Mussels

Wanna try ’em: Go here for the recipe

My fiancé Chris is an amazing guy; he’s smart, funny, very sweet, and takes wonderful care of me. My only real complaint is that he’s a very picky eater. He won’t eat dishes including shellfish, sour cream, green onions, mayonnaise, hot peppers, mustard, or any sort of vinegar. Sometimes it makes weekly meal planning depressing, I mean a girl cannot live only on tacos and chicken and dumplings.

The mussels in an ice bath with the other ingredients

The mussels in an ice bath with the other ingredients

Chris was out of town this past weekend, which meant I had a whole 2 days to eat anything my little heart desired. I decided to cook a batch of steamed mussels. I love mussels. They’re not super expensive and are really fun to eat (it’s great to be allowed to use your hands and slurp!).  I used to make them regularly in college to reward myself after a project, big exam… or just for surviving a Tuesday. I always steamed them in a lovely tomato-basil broth, but this time I wanted to try something different. Instead of heading down the traditional route and cooking the mussels “a la Parisienne” (in white wine, garlic and herbs) I went Southeast Asian with a coconut curry broth.

Red Curry Paste

Red Curry Paste

This recipe from “How Sweet Eats” requires a few tablespoons of red curry paste. Red curry paste is a little miracle in a jar; I can’t believe I’ve never used it before! It has red peppers, lemongrass, and ginger… basically everything that makes Thai food delicious.  After I swirled a few spoonfuls into simmering coconut milk, the house smelled like my very own Shangri-La.

Mmmm broth of heaven

Mmmm broth of heaven

From start to finish the mussels and their broth take around 20 minutes. The little mollusks seem like they’d be a pain to prep, but they’re really not too bad. They just need to be checked for beards and scrubbed a bit before they can be tossed into the pan. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was having to repeatedly dunk my hands in ice water to retrieve the sleeping bivalves.  One taste of these delicious morsels made the discomfort totally worth it.

A pan full of cooked mussels....my tummy is rumbling!

A pan full of cooked mussels….my tummy is rumbling!

Make sure you have a large sauté pan or wok for steaming the mussels. I find it’s best if all the little shells are steamed in one layer. This helps to ensure that each mussel gets a spoonful of yummy broth. You’ll want to make sure you have a lid that fits snuggly over the pan, as you don’t want the steam to escape and the mussels to stay closed.  As my picture illustrates…the lid doesn’t have to match to make a good seal.

Why yes that's the lid to my dutch oven. Don't judge

Why yes that’s the lid to my dutch oven. Don’t judge

These coconut curry mussels are like potato chips; you can’t eat just one….bowl. They’re fragrant from the curry paste, sweet from the coconut milk and just all around addictive.  I ate 2 full bowls and wanted to try for a third, but then common sense (aka my tight fitting yoga pants) prevailed.  Make sure to have an extra bowl on the table for all the empty shells. You’ll also need some crusty French bread to soak up all the leftover broth, because it would be a crime to leave any remnants of that divine liquid.

Coconut curry mussels and french bread, a match made in heaven

Coconut curry mussels and french bread, a match made in heaven

 

This meal is great for a date with someone special or for a sunny Saturday afternoon alone with a good book and a glass of wine. Though I missed my fiancé over the weekend, these coconut curry mussels softened the blow.  Hmmm….maybe Chris should go out of town more often!

A Perfect Saturday afternoon

A Perfect Saturday afternoon

 

A bowl of the spoils

A bowl of the spoils

Homemade Ranch Dressing: A 2 Cats Recipe

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Ranch Dressing

My windox box sprouting Salad!

My windox box sprouting Salad!

It’s April, which means temperatures are warming, the sun is beaming, my herbs are growing, and the local farmer’s markets are open longer hours with tons of beautiful produce. I love swinging by the market on a sunny Saturday morning to see what’s available. I buy cute little baby potatoes, vibrantly colored cherry tomatoes, and crunchy salad greens. For the first trip of the season, I picked up some fabulous red leaf lettuce, a dill plant, and these truly amazing purple radishes. When I got back home and looked at my haul, I knew I had to make some homemade ranch dressing.

A Big ole bowl of freshly picked farmers market ingredients

A Big ole bowl of freshly picked farmers market ingredients

Ranch dressing is a salad bar staple, not to mention a requirement of the southern table. I really wasn’t a fan of it until a few years ago. I’m not sure why; ranch is tangy, herbaceous and goes well with practically everything! I use it for salads obviously, but I also like to use it as a dip for baby carrots and radishes for a nice snack, and let’s not forget how good ranch is with fried chicken tenders! Pepperoni pizza is also amazing with an added dollop of ranch….don’t knock it until you try it.

Really Mom? Pizza and Ranch??

Really Mom? Pizza and Ranch??

The ranch dressing is a snap to put together. A little herb chopping, some garlic grating (more on that in a minute), a quick bit of stirring and voila, you’ve got a creamy salad dressing that keeps for weeks! You can use the dressing right away, however I’d suggest letting it hang out in the refrigerator for an hour. The flavors get some time to meld and everything becomes more herby and delicious.

 

My version of ranch forgoes the commonly used buttermilk for a container of sour cream. I don’t know about you, but I rarely have buttermilk in the fridge and always have sour cream. The tanginess from the sour cream is the perfect counterpoint to the creaminess of the mayonnaise.

The Dressing Mix

The Dressing Mix

Garlic is a really important flavor in ranch dressing; I think it adds a little punch of spice. Instead of mincing, I use a microplane to grate a clove of garlic into the dressing. I feel like the garlic is more evenly distributed throughout the dressing this way.  I also like to add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a teeny bit of added heat against the cool dairy base.

My Big Bowl of Salad and Ranch Dressing.

My Big Bowl of Salad and Ranch Dressing.

Later Saturday evening, my salad and ranch dressing were served alongside one of Chris’s perfectly cooked steaks and some creamy mashed potatoes. The dressing was perfect! It had a bright tang that contrasted well the richness of the meat. I even found myself adding a few spoonfuls of dressing to my mashed potatoes. It looks like ranch dressing really does go with everything!

The Ranch Dressing Ingredients

The Ranch Dressing Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranch Dressing

Makes about 1 cup

1/2 Cup Mayonnaise

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

2 Tablespoons Milk

1 Garlic Clove, grated

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1 1/2 Tablespoon Chives, chopped

1 Tablespoon Dill, chopped

A Pinch of Crush Red Pepper (optional)

 

Stir ingredients together in a bowl until combined. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour for flavors to meld.

My Trader Joe’s Grocery Essentials

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My Trader Joe’s Grocery Essentials

This week I decided to try a different kind of blog entry. Instead of writing about a specific recipe, I wanted to talk about my grocery shopping habits, specifically the pre-prepared meals that can be found in my pantry and freezer. One of my favorite places to go for such things is the ultimate cool mom mecca and hipster hangout, Trader Joe’s. For those unfamiliar, Trader Joe’s is a national grocery chain with a Southern California mindset. Their goal is to carry good, wholesome food at a reasonable price.

 

We have 3 stores in our area and each one is at least 20 minutes from the house. That is quite a trek for me…and don’t even get me started about the parking! I go about once a month to pick up a handful of specific items. If it’s a Saturday morning when there aren’t as many people shopping Chris will go with me, but otherwise he’d rather stay away from the crowds.

 Disclaimer: All the opinions listed here are mine and mine alone. No one in the Trader Joe’s organization encouraged me or compensated me for this blog post.

 

Here is the list of my Trader Joe’s necessities:

Trader Ming's Beef and Broccoli

Trader Ming’s Beef and Broccoli

Beef with broccoli: This is by far one of the best prepared freezer meals I’ve ever found. It takes 15 minutes to put together and tastes just as good as our local Chinese take-out. The only thing missing from the bag is a bowl of white rice and a fortune cookie (and the rice is easily remedied). It’s really great for those nights when I’m teaching late and Chris is in charge of dinner.

Egg Pappardelle and Tomato Basil Sauce

Egg Pappardelle and Tomato Basil Sauce

Pappardelle pasta and Tomato-basil sauce- If you’re a loyal reader of this blog you know about my love of pasta. I love the plain egg pappardelle as well as the slightly spicy lemon pepper variety. They are super light and delicious, especially with some of the store’s tomato basil sauce. The jarred sauce is fresh, balanced, and for under $2 a bottle, I’m happy to stick a jar or two in the pantry for those lazy pasta nights.

Frozen Chicken Tikka Masala

Frozen Chicken Tikka Masala

Farfalle with 4 Cheese and Spinach

Farfalle with 4 Cheese and Spinach

Frozen Lunches: I started making regular trips to Trader Joe’s because of their frozen lunches; it’s something the store does better than anyone else. One of my favorites is the Indian takeout classic, chicken tikka masala. It’s, warm, spicy and the perfect size for lunch at my desk. It satisfies my craving for Indian food on a regular basis (big surprise, Chris isn’t a fan). My other favorite is the farfalle with 4 cheeses and spinach. It’s bow-tie pasta, a cheesy sauce, and spinach…I mean how can that be bad? It only takes 5 minutes to heat up in the microwave, and it’s devoured within next five. Both of these frozen lunches are delicious and so much better for my health and my wallet than me running out for fast food everyday.

A good wedge of Parmesan Cheese

A good wedge of Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan Cheese: Speaking of cheese, TJ’s is where I get my hunks of Parmesan. I love this cheese and I use it at least in one dinner per week, if not more. This item is priced for much less what I can find at my usual grocery store. Mmmm, writing about all this cheese and pasta makes me want to cook my carbonara recipe!

Trader Joe's Turkey Corn Dogs

Trader Joe’s Turkey Corn Dogs

Turkey Corn dogs: Ok, these are sort of my dirty little secret, but I love them! I made homemade corn dogs a few years ago, and now every few weeks I get a hankering for them. These frozen turkey corn dogs satisfy my tummy without destroying my kitchen (breading & frying is really messy work). I usually indulge in these puppies when I’m dining home alone. A pair of corn dogs with a squirt of Dijon mustard, and I’m a happy girl.

some very good bubbly

some very good bubbly

Sparkling Wine: Ok, so it’s not a meal unless you’re Coco Chanel, but every time I go to Trader Joe’s I pick up a bottle or two of the Louise d’Estree. It’s a great bubbly on its own or as a mixer for champagne cocktails like mimosas. It’s priced around $10 per bottle, which is really great for my budget, since wines can get costly fast. And really, what meal isn’t made better by a glass of sparkling wine?

 

So there you have it, my list of required household purchases from Trader Joe’s. Do you have a store nearby? If so, what are your go-to purchases? I hope you’ve liked this week’s little post. Next week, we’ll be back to our regular cooking and cat stories!

Recipe Review: Blue Velvet Cake

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Blue-ish Velvet Cake

Here’s the Recipe I used

I have a confession to make: I have never made a layer cake. In my opinion, the layer cake is the scariest culinary feat known to man. I’m dead serious. Cakes are usually associated with special occasions; birthdays, weddings, retirements, etc., and all those occasions come with high expectations. That’s a recipe for disappointment because something always goes wrong with a cake. They end up not cooked all the way through, too dry, with too much frosting, not enough frosting, or (my personal nightmare) the cake layers end up uneven and the whole thing resembles the leaning tower of Pisa.

In the past few weeks I’ve been trying to get over my culinary fears by cooking recipes that unnerve me. I decided to make a true southern classic, red velvet cake. Then I had a brilliant idea! Since the Duke Blue Devils were playing in the NCAA tournament, I would bake a Blue Velvet cake in their honor (let’s face it, UGA isn’t making it to the big dance anytime soon so a red cake can wait until football season).

The Ingredients needed for my Blue Velvet cake

The Ingredients needed for my Blue Velvet cake

Being a true Southern Belle, the only Red Velvet recipe I’m willing to use comes from Southern Living magazine. I thought it would be really easy to substitute blue food coloring for the 2 ounces red I needed…..I was very mistaken. I went to four different grocery stores and none of them had a large singular bottle of blue food coloring! I found red, green, yellow and (oddly enough) black food coloring, but no blue. After striking out at store #4, I admitted defeat and purchased one of those assorted food coloring kits with a .25 ounce bottle of blue.

A tiny bottle of blue food coloring

A tiny bottle of blue food coloring

The batter before food coloring

The batter before food coloring

Once back home with my food coloring I began to mix up the cake. It’s a very straight forward recipe with a POUND of butter creamed together with sugar and eggs. Then came the dry ingredients alternated with a cup of sour cream until everything’s combined. The cake pre-food coloring is a beautiful nutty brown. I almost didn’t add the food coloring I liked it so much, but this cake was in honor of Coach K and “tha Dookies”, so I squeezed in the entire bottle of blue food coloring and prayed it would turn out just like I wanted.

The drops blue food coloring starting in the mixer

The drops blue food coloring starting in the mixer

Swirly pretty-ness

Swirly pretty-ness

I waited as the food coloring swirled around the mixer until the batter turned a lovely shade of light blue…Carolina blue to be more specific. I was horrified! I couldn’t serve a Carolina blue cake to a die-hard Duke fan, that’s like asking my parents to do the Gator Chomp (the apocalypse would happen before my parents would do our biggest rival’s signature cheer). I covered the batter and rushed out to buy another 4 pack of food coloring. Once I returned I added a second .25 ounce bottle of blue coloring to the mixture. The batter color transformed from Carolina blue to a slate blue that still wasn’t anywhere close to Duke blue. I added a few drops of red food coloring hoping it would make the blue intensify; instead the dough became a tealish hue. At that point, I decided there was no way I would get to Duke blue without buying several more food coloring kits and that the best thing for me to do was bake my three layers of blueish cake and hope the color changed in the oven.

The accidental Carolina Blue batter

The accidental Carolina Blue batter

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My 3 layers before they were baked off

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A cooling cake layer, more blue green than Duke blue

Once the cakes were baked, cooled, and taken out of their pans they looked very blue-green, I was completely deflated. Luckily for me, Chris took a break from basketball to inspect my work. He took one look at my uniquely colored cakes, laughed, and reminded me that what mattered was how the cake tasted, not how it looked. That was the boost I needed to make the cream cheese icing and complete the cake (side note, there are 3 sticks of butter in the icing….that’s 7 sticks of butter in the whole cake…I should probably jog this week).

Icing the Cake

Icing the Cake

 

When the cake was assembled and completely iced it was surprisingly very pretty. Then I cut a piece of cake for Chris to eat and it wasn’t as pretty. The blue-green cake against the white cream cheese icing made the whole thing look, well, weird. Chris said it looked like he was eating a huge piece of mold and my friend Faith said it looked like floral foam. Thank goodness it tasted much much better than it looked! The cake was buttery rich, sweet and the tangy cream cheese icing gave the cake a much needed bite. Ultimately everyone who tried a piece of cake said it was tasty.

A piece of my moldy/florist foam cake

A piece of my moldy/florist foam cake

The cake displayed

The cake displayed

 So, though I still think layer cakes can easily be a disaster, I am not as afraid of them as I was before making my blue-green velvet cake!

Roz waiting for her own piece of cake

Roz waiting for her own piece of cake

Recipe Review: Sunday Beef Stew

The stew, before the 2.5 hours of simmering
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Sunday Beef Stew

Interested in making this yourself? Here’s the recipe you seek

Me editing the blog, my least favorite thing when it comes to this hobby.

Me editing the blog, my least favorite thing when it                                comes to this hobby.

Dearest readers, my apologies for the lack of blog posts for the last two weeks. I was originally planning to skip a week and then post a long, exciting entry last Thursday about our trip to Las Vegas….but that didn’t happen. I’d start working on the post and then I’d get hopelessly stuck every time. I couldn’t write more than two paragraphs at a time before getting frustrated and scraping my draft. Eventually I decided to abandon the post and move on.  I’d love some tips from all my fellow bloggers on how they push through their writers block so that I don’t get stuck like this again.

 

 Anyway, back to the post at hand.  Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Today we celebrate the Irish, the color green, and public intoxication (Ok that’s more New York City than North Carolina, but still!) We in the 2 Cats household have another reason to celebrate on March 17th; it’s my beloved’s birthday! It’s comforting to know that on his birthday Chris will never have to drink alone.

The main players of this Sunday Stew

The main players of this Sunday Stew

In honor of these grand occasions, I turned to my favorite redhead for an appropriately festive recipe. I settled on the Pioneer Woman’s Sunday beef stew. I really love stews; they bubble away in or on top of the stove for several hours and always make the house smell amazing. I think they’re great for company because they make everyone feel welcomed and at home. This recipe was no exception and actually I did make it on a Sunday (though just for two). Not a lot of labor that goes into this stew; a little searing, some chopping and then 2 and a half hours of simmering away while I moved on to the huge pile of laundry upstairs.

mmmm searing beef

mmmm searing beef

The supporting players in this stew are diced carrots and turnips. To be honest, I don’t think I’d ever eaten a turnip before. I was always afraid they’d be super bitter and unappealing like the greens, boy was I wrong! The turnips were a little peppery and starchy and I loved them. That radish-like bite was the perfect balance for the sweetness of the carrot. When we were grocery shopping for the recipe Chris tried to get me to leave out the turnips but I said we should try them. I think he was also a turnip convert because I don’t remember any complaints about them once he started eating.

The diced veggies.

The diced veggies.

The stew was hearty and meaty and hit all those good comfort food notes. I’m not 100% sure but I think that I didn’t get the stew up to a simmer as quickly as I was supposed to and therefor not as much stock evaporated leaving a lot more liquid in my pot than in Ree’s. It didn’t matter because everything was cooked through and delicious. I enjoyed it so much that I went back for seconds, which is a big deal for me.

It seems turnips float....

It seems turnips float….

  To make the meal even more comforting, I served mashed potatoes under the beef stew. I didn’t use the recipe that went along with Ree’s post because Chris is anti-cream cheese. The starchy goodness adds another level of richness and depth to the whole bowl of food. As I was eating I realized this whole thing is an upside down shepherd’s pie! And really, what could be better on a Sunday Night, St. Patrick’s Day, or your fiancée’s birthday than that?

The final stew served over some yummy mashed potatoes

The final stew served over some yummy mashed potatoes

This picture isn't relevant to the post in anyway. Rosalind has this habit of sitting upon anything on our dining room table, I'm not sure why...but this was too cute to pass up.

This picture isn’t relevant to the post in anyway except that it took place on the day I made the stew. Rosalind has this habit of sitting upon anything on our dining room table, I’m not sure why…but this was too cute to pass up.

Recipe Review: Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Grapes

The tenderloin, grapes and red onions pre-oven
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Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Grapes

Want the Recipe?: It’s in this cookbook

What do you cook when company’s coming for dinner on Saturday night and you know you aren’t going to have a lot of time or energy to fix something complicated? That was my dilemma last weekend. I was scheduled to spend the morning judging a voice competition an hour away from home.  Meanwhile, Daniel, Chris’s cousin, had planned to spend the evening with us hanging out and watching basketball. I wanted to make a decent dinner for the three of us but it needed to be simple and stress free. I also wanted to avoid my usual, overdone “dinner for company” meals (aka pasta and chicken) and try to make something new.

Tchai, wanting to go out side to sit with daddy and Daniel

Tchai, wanting to go outside to sit with daddy and Daniel

Sounds like a challenge, right? Actually it ended up being a cinch due to Jessica Merchant’s fabulous cookbook, Seriously Delish (Side Note: Her blog, “How Sweet It Is”, is one of my regular weekly reads). In the book there’s a recipe for honey glazed pork tenderloin with roasted grapes that looked like it would fit my needs perfectly. I was a little hesitant at first (I had never cooked pork tenderloin before), but Chris seemed excited by it and Jessica’s recipe called itself foolproof, so I thought I could handle it.

The ingredients for the pork

The ingredients for the pork

One of the things that drew me to this recipe was the roasted grapes. I first had them a little over a year ago in a cooking class and I was blown away by how delicious this underrated fruit can be with a little time in the oven. Once they’re roasted the grapes take on a deep sweetness that makes me think of really great homemade jam. You can put them with anything; desserts, toasts, or chicken, but they are really perfect in this recipe with the honey glazed pork.

Searing the tenderloins

Searing the tenderloins

I know I say it all the time (possibly in every blog post) but this dish is incredibly quick to throw together. Searing the pork, glazing it, and combining all the remaining ingredients in the skillet took only 5 minutes.  From there, the recipe just goes into the oven for 35-50 minutes. The pork was done so quick it actually had to wait on me and the poorly timed mashed potatoes before it hit the table.

All the roasted yumminess

All the roasted yumminess

Even though the pork was a little cooler than I would have liked, it was amazing. It was sweet from the honey and the black pepper gave just the right amount of spice. The acidity from the soft red onion and the sweetness from the grapes played so well off of each other and gave the whole dish a much needed balance. To me though, the pan sauce with the red wine (we used a Bordeaux), stock, onions and grapes was the best thing on the table. I think I covered everything on my plate in the sauce!

The roasted pork and grapes along with broccoli and mashed potatoes

The roasted pork and grapes along with broccoli and mashed potatoes

Daniel plate, devoid of Pork

Daniel’s plate, devoid of Pork

The boys were super happy with dinner. Chris said he liked the tenderloin a lot, though I’m not sure he really had any of the grapes and onions. Much to my surprise, Daniel really loved the whole thing. He cleaned his plate in less than ten minutes and then went back for seconds, then thirds! He even took half of a tenderloin home the next morning. Throughout the meal and anytime afterwards when the pork was mentioned, Daniel said it was the best tenderloin he’s ever eaten. I think he should he should come for dinner every weekend so that my cooking is regularly praised and my ego boosted.🙂

Roz, trying to figure out a way to steal a piece of pork without getting caught

Roz, trying to figure out a way to steal a piece of pork without getting caught

Keely’s Hot Cocoa: A 2 Cats Recipe

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Keely’s Hot Cocoa

My blanket babies

My blanket babies

 Lately it’s been really cold outside; like “I don’t want to leave bed because I’m under 4 fleece blankets with my 2 purring space heaters on top” cold. But alas, I must go to work, teach students, and attempt to be a productive member of society while Tchai and Roz stay snuggled in bed.  Sometimes during the winter, I wish I could trade places with the kitties…though I’m not sure I’d like the same kibble for breakfast every morning or not being able to open doors…

blanketbabies

They are just so cute!

Anyway, when it’s this frigid outside I crave something warm and chocolatey, like hot cocoa. Cocoa is so simple, satisfying, and a cinch to make from scratch (you can be sure there are no Swiss miss packets in this house). Instead of having a whole container of dry mix hanging around in the pantry, I make this drink by the cup. I don’t feel like cocoa is arduous enough to warrant pre-mixing and really there’s not enough storage space for such things in my kitchen.

The cocoa and sugar mixture.

The cocoa and sugar mixture.

The ingredients for cocoa couldn’t be easier; just some sort of dairy, sugar, and cocoa powder. For the dairy I use a combination of whole milk and heavy cream. I love the extra weight and richness the cream brings; it makes the whole thing more filling and more like a dessert.  A quick reminder: never let your milk and cream come to a full boil, it will develop an unappetizing skin. Just look for little bubbles to appear around the wall of your saucepan to know you’re cocoa is ready.

Mixing the cocoa into the scalded milk

Mixing the cocoa into the scalded milk

I tried a few different flavor pairings when putting together my hot cocoa recipe. The traditional vanilla extract was nice but it didn’t knock my socks off. I thought bourbon would be the way to go, but it was a little too boozy for my taste. Finally, I found perfection when I added a splash of Cointreau to my mug of molten chocolate. The citrusy orange liqueur adds a depth of flavor that plays beautifully off the cocoa, making the whole thing even more decadent. I’d suggest using a really good orange liqueur as some of the cheaper ones end up being too sugary.

A splash of the good stuff

A splash of the good stuff

Cocoa topped with tiny pillows of heaven

Cocoa topped with tiny pillows of heaven

Once the chocolatey brew has made it into a mug, top it with whatever you like and serve immediately. Some orange zest speckled whipped cream would be lovely, or you could try a few chocolate shavings.  My inner 8 year requires that my cup of hot cocoa be completely covered in mini marshmallows, and should I really deny that inner child? Once you’ve topped your cocoa, the only thing left to do is find a cozy spot (maybe with a few blankets) and drink in the deliciousness.

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Keely’s Hot Cocoa

(makes 1- 12 ounce cup….or you could share)

1 Cup Whole Milk

1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/2 Tablespoon Good Orange Liqueur (I used Cointreau)

Mix together the milk and heavy cream in a small sauce pan and place on the stove on medium heat. Once the milk is scaled (little bubbles form around the wall of the pot and the mixture is steaming) whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Once everything is thoroughly mixed, removed the pot from the heat and stir in the orange liqueur. Pour the cocoa into your favorite mug and enjoy!

Snug as a Tchai in a blanket (I know that's not the way it goes, but when the shoe fits...)

Snug as a Tchai in a blanket (I know that’s not the way it goes, but when the shoe fits…)