Friday, December 31, 2010

Posole...A Ancient New Years Eve Tradition

Pasole or Pazole  (Nahuatl: potzolli, which means "foamy"; variant spellings: pozsole, pozolé, pozolli, posole)[1][2] is a ritually significant, traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico. Source Wikipedia

I debated sharing the true history of this hearty soup/stew, based on a few significant details that I just learned while researching the dish to do this blog entry. Quite frankly, the story was mesmerizing and I just have to share it with you.

Please be forewarned, that it may give you the creeps to read the true history of Pozole but understand many years have passed and the traditions have changed.  Here goes.....

Ritual significance: Source Wikipedia
Since corn was a sacred plant for the Aztecs and other inhabitants of Mesoamerica, pozole was made to be consumed on special events. The conjunction of corn (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars because the ancient Mexicans believed that the gods made humans out of cornmeal dough. According to research by the National Institute of Anthropology and History and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, in these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human. (This is where is gets kinda gross!) [4]

After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with corn. The meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat, as it "tasted very similar", according to a Spanish priest!

ICK!  The saying that "it tastes just like chicken" takes on a whole new meaning here!  Thank God, the conquest occurred and cannibalism was done away with...pork is a much easier meat to swallow...literally!

My family started making and eating Pozole for New Years Eve when I was a young child, without the knowledge of it's graphic history. Despite the my new found knowledge of it's gruesome past I still love to eat Posole! 

My family recipe is filled with happy memories of sharing communion with each other and more often than not, a little tequila was consumed over the years to wash down this spicy soup!

For this recipe I used the frozen uncooked hominy but canned hominy will work just fine.


1 pound chopped pork shoulder
1 large white or yellow onion
2 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon beef base
1 tablespoon chicken base
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups hot water
1 - 8 ounce can diced Hatch green chilies
1 - 32 ounce bag frozen hominy or 2-16 ounce cans hominy
1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh roasted green chilies chopped

Method: in a large, heavy stock pot cook onion in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil till translucent, add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, transfer onion and garlic to a bowl and set aside. add remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to stock pot and cook chopped pork till browned, add green and red chilies to meat and cook for 2-3 minutes, return cooked onion to pot and add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 1-4 hours stirring often.  Flavors develop after longer cooking time.

Pozole can be served with flour or corn tortillas or used as a side dish. 

The smell of cooking chilies and hominy will wash away the past, fill your house with joy and warm your soul! 

May your New Year be Blessed and filled with love and happiness!!

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Friday, December 24, 2010


I'm re-posting this recipe to send good cheer to all my faithful readers this Christmas Season!  Surprisingly, this post has been my most visited over the past year. 

SANTA HOT CHOCOLATE with Cinnamon Cream

This recipe is highly classified!! It is the REAL DEAL!

Santa Hot Chocolate 2011

Santa Hot Chocolate 2010

During the Christmas Season my family enjoys a rich and diverse set of traditions and almost all of them involve food!  Santa Hot Chocolate is at the top of the list! 

This perfect cup of sipping chocolate is served to Santa by his beautiful wife Mrs. Clause, right before he heads out on his sleigh Christmas Eve.  Pumped high with adrenaline and coco flavanols, Santa sets out into the night to deliver toys to good little girls and boys.   

Santa Hot Chocolate is filled with magic and can turn any Grinch into a cuddly teddy bear! 

Now you might ask how I came by this classified recipe....

On a strict diet of candy canes and hot chocolate, there are a few elves willing to give up the recipe just to get a Big Mac, biggie sized meal with a giant cup of Coke!  It's not pretty, but everyone has their price!!


To begin, there is certain etiquette that must be followed when drinking Santa Hot Chocolate...

First, you must have the correct size cup and saucer.  Above,  you'll see my youngest daughters set of sipping cups. Both of my daughters received her own set of sipping cups to carry the tradition to the next generation, when they were about 10 years old.  A time honored right of passage in our family.

Secondly, only a cinnamon stick or candy cane may be used to stir the chocolate, that's where the magic begins...

Lastly, never gulp or "shoot" the can be very dangerous to someone not accustom to the REAL DEAL!!  Sip the chocolate like a fine aged brandy and linger in the moment of Christmas cheer!


2 cups table cream (1/2 & 1/2)
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I use Dove but any good brand will suffice)
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
2 sticks cinnamon or 1 teaspoon ground
pinch sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a heavy sauce pan heat table cream, 1 cup whipping cream and sugar until sugar is dissolved, add the cocoa powder and whisk until mixed thoroughly, add the chocolate chips and stir until melted, add salt and 2 cinnamon sticks and simmer for 5 minutes.

Cinnamon Cream
using remaining 1/2 cup heavy whip cream, blend with a hand mixer till thick add 1/4 stick fresh ground cinnamon, vanilla and stir

Serve chocolate in sipping cups with a cinnamon or peppermint stick for stirring, add a small dollop of cinnamon cream and grate fresh cinnamon over the top...

Finally, be prepared for a magical experience!!

♥I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year♥ Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, December 17, 2010

Biscochitos-Mexican Sugar Cookies

Biscochitos  are a Holiday tradition in my family.  

The are  a crispy butter or lard based cookie flavored with anise and cinnamon. It was developed by residents of New Mexico over the centuries from the first Spanish colonists of New Mexico. The recipe for making the cookie has been greatly influenced not only by local and indigenous customs, but also by recipes brought to New Mexico by immigrants from other Hispanic countries. It is served during special celebrations, such as wedding receptions, baptisms, and religious holidays (especially during the Christmas season). It is usually eaten with morning coffee or milk, after lunch in the early afternoon, or dinner late at night. The cookie is seldom known outside its various territories.

[edit] State cookie

In 1989, the U.S. State of New Mexico adopted the bizcochito as its official state cookie. This act made New Mexico the first state to have an official cookie. It was chosen to help maintain traditional home-baked cookery. Source: Wikipedia

I serve my Biscochitos with Santa Hot Chocolate which is a recipe I've been making ever since my children were born.  Christmas Eve is the night we break out the special sipping cups and I make delicious hot chocolate from scratch and serve these delicate cookies.  The combination is delightful!

Rebecka's Biscochitos

1 cup Lard or butter (vegetable oil can also be used but the cookie won't be as crisp and flaky)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup Tequila or warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Cinnamon Sugar
1/2 cup
2 tablespoons cinnamon

In a stand mixer cream together, sugar and lard, add eggs one at a time until mix is light and creamy.  Add tequila, vanilla and anise seeds, mix thoroughly, add flour and baking powder and mix on slow speed until dough comes away form the sides of the bowl. Add a little more tequila if dough is dry.  Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

On a lightly floured surface roll dough to 1/2 think and cut out with shaped cookie cutters, bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-18 minutes until edges are slightly browned.  Remove from oven and quickly roll in cinnamon sugar while they are still hot from the over. 

Makes about 30 cookies

Before Santa and Mrs Clause......


Don't forget the Santa Hot Chocolate...recipe will be posted next week!!

I'm linking this post to Foodie Fridays Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tandoori Pumpkin Soup featuring Kozy Shack Pumpkin Pudding and Pie Filling

Tandoori Pumpkin Soup featuring KozyShack Pumpkin Pudding and Pie Filling

When I was working on creating my signature dish for the Kozy Shack cooking challenge I came up with this recipe.  I  chose to enter my second dish, Pumpkin Chicken Sate and Roasted Brussel Sprout Basmati Rice, instead of the soup recipe. 
Unfortunately, I wasn't chosen to move on to the next round of judging.  :(

Although, I didn't make it into the finals, I'm proud of my two new recipes using Kozy Shack Pumpkin Pudding.   You can visit Kozy Shack  to view recipes from the 20 finalists. 
I was pleasantly surprised, how nicely the Pumpkin Pudding complemented my Tandoori Pumpkin Soup and my Pumpkin Chicken Sate recipes.  The pudding is delicious right out of the tub and makes a smashing pumpkin pie, but added as a flavor component to my recipes, brought a rich creamy depth and tons of flavor to these dishes.

1 22 ounce tub of Kozy Shack Pumpkin Pudding
1 butternut squash 4 cups peeled and diced
1 medium baking pumpkin peeled and diced or 2 acorn squash (may substitue any variety squash)
1 large yam or sweet potato skin on cubed
1 medium onion cut into quarters
6 carrots, skin on cut large pieces
4 cloves garlic
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons low sodium chicken base/stock
7-8 cups water
2 tablespoons Tandoori Spice
2 tablespoons Allspice
1 tablespoon Hot Curry powder
2 tablespoons Lawry's season garlic salt
1 table cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 table sliced fresh ginger for garnish
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
5 tablespoons flat leaf parsley for garnish
1/2 cup unsweetened roasted coconut, for garnish


Peel squash and pumpkin and dice, wash and roughly cut carrot, onion and sweet potato.  Peel garlic leave whole.

Mix Tandoori, hot curry powder, cinnamon,  allspice, nutmeg, garlic salt, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl, set aside

In a large bowl, toss veggies in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon of spice mixture, roast in a 400 degree oven until golden brown, turn every 5-8 minutes. Remove and set aside. 

On the stove top, toast coconut until light brown set aside, chop parsley and set aside for garnish, slice ginger very thinly and julienne, set aside for garnish

In a medium stock pot, add all veggies cover with chicken stock and add the remaining spices, bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, add Kozy Shack Pumpkin Pudding and mix well.  Using a hand blender or power stand blender, puree the hot mixture in batches until smooth.  Return to stock pot and cook for 35 minutes on medium low heat.  Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish soup with coconut, parsley and a few slices of ginger, serve with Naan bread.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Habanero Honey Peanut Brittle

I drew my inspiration for this recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, girlichef!   Her recipe for Habanero Honey looked so amazing and I love spicy foods so, the logical course of action was to make some for my kitchen pantry!  My only problem was thinking of how to use the darn stuff after making it.  You could peel the paint off the walls!! 

Just a whiff from the jar and I could feel the heat from the chili in my throat!  It looked so inviting and without hesitation, I stuck my finger in the jar for a little taste!!  Holy Crap!! I got some really spicy stuff in that jar!!   Thank God, I didn't stick my finger in my eye after I licked it or I may have been blinded for life! 

After a few moments and a few tissues, I recovered.  I love spicy foods, the kind that bring that "burn so good" feeling to your mouth!  This honey certainly did the trick, it's just a little too spicy by it's self. 

My husband loves peanut brittle so I made my first batch two nights ago and just about cooked it to you'll see in the picture below.  However, it got me thinking about girlichef's Habanero Honey and how tasty it might be added to the peanut brittle. 

Lord in the Heavens!! It's the best peanut brittle I've ever made or tasted...don't mind me while I toot my own horn!  The famous combination of sweet and salty with the blazzin hot chili was smashing!!

Here it is, in all of it's fiery glory!!

You can substitute Scotch Bonnet Peppers...which to me, are almost the same thing as Habanero but grown in different regions, honestly, I can't tell the difference

What you'll need:

1 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Karo Syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Habanero Honey (recipe below)
1 tablespoon salted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 candy thermometer

Prepare a non stick cookie sheet with butter or vegetable spray, set aside


In a medium saucepan on medium heat, mix sugar, Karo syrup, water and Habanero Honey together until just blended, place the candy thermometer into the saucepan and bring mixture to a rolling boil.

don't stir the mixture! It will take 25-30 minutes to reach the hard crack stage or 302 degrees on the candy thermometer.

When the candy thermometer reads 250 degrees or soft ball stage
  • add the peanuts,
  • cook until the thermometer reaches 302 degrees or hard crack stage,
  • remove from heat,
  • add butter and stir to blend,
  • add baking soda.   

Remember to use a wooden spoon to stir the hot syrup or you'll melt your spatula like I did !  Duh! 

The baking soda will make the mixture froth and double in size, stir for about 30 seconds then...

pour the syrup out onto a prepared baking sheet, spread into a thin layer and allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, break the hardened brittle into pieces,  store in a airtight container

Habanero Honey:
A very simple recipe...

Habanero Chilies
a pretty jar with an air tight cover

Thinly slice the Habanero and place in the jar, pour honey over to cover the chilies and let them steep at room temperature.  The chilies will expel their juice and oils so you must stir the mix a few times during the steeping process. 

Honey is a natural preservative and will keep the chilies preserved at room temperature indefinitely.

Here's a photo of my "almost burnt peanut brittle" from my first batch...the over cooked, darker brittle is the one in was still tasty but I prefer the  taste of brittle that has less color.  Luckily, my husband likes it either way and the first batch will not go to waste!

I was very pleased with the spicy, sweet peanut brittle! However,  I ate more than I should and had a raging sugar high for a few hours.

Another Habanero Honey recipe I've been thinking of trying is, pan seared scallops in garlic brown butter and habanero honey drizzled over...yum!  Or maybe I'll just pour the honey over a brick of cream cheese and eat it with crackers.  

Check out girlichef's recipe for homemade Mizithra cheese and crackers with her Habanero Honey!  It's a must have for any kitchen pantry!!

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

That's one very sexy leg you've got there!!!

That's one very sexy leg you've got there!!! Smooth and golden brown,  slightly salty and ready to be bitten!  There is nothing like the perfectly cooked turkey leg! 

I've been cooking my turkey with cheese cloth and dowsed with wine and butter for many years.   Thanks to Martha Stewart and her genius cooking techniques I haven't had an ugly or over cooked bird yet!

The smells of turkey baking away in the oven and lingering hint of freshly baked pumpkin pie and I go weak at the knees.  I can't wait until the turkey is carved to get a hunk of that golden browned skin...slurp! Thanksgiving may be over but the memory of a tender and juicy turkey stills lingers on.

Cheese Cloth Turkey Perfection:
Adapted from Martha Stewart's perfectly cooked turkey recipe

The perfect turkey begins at your local market or turkey farm.  Purchasing a fresh, young turkey will result in a tender, tastier bird.  Big frozen birds are known to have added growth hormones and chemical enhancers to make the turkey look and taste better.  I tend to shy away form this variety.  Older birds can also be more tough and dry, but if you must impress your guests with a gigantic bird try to find one that's just been butchered for a fresher tasting turkey.  In lieu of a gigantic bird another option is to roast two 10-16 pound fresh birds. 

This year I cooked a fresh Redbird  turkey and I can guarantee that it was well worth the money.


1 16 pound fresh Turkey
1 sticks of butter melted
1 cup good white wine
juice from 1 orange
2 packages cheese cloth


1 onion quartered
4 celery stalks cut in half
1 large orange
1 large bunch fresh parsley
5 whole cloves garlic
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

In a large glass bowl melt butter and add wine and juice of 1 orange, fold cheese cloths into quarters, submerge cheese cloths in butter mixture, set aside

Remove turkey from packaging, remove giblets and neck from cavity and set aside for use in gravy, wash turkey with cold water and pat dry.  Salt and pepper cavity and body of bird, place bird in a large roasting pan and stuff both the neck and body cavities with onion, celery, garlic, parsley, and orange peels, pull the excess skin from the neck cavity over the stuffing and tuck wing tips under the bird. Be sure to wash your hands and all surfaces after working with poultry. 

Remove cheese cloth from bowl and squeeze excess liquid back into the bowl, place cheese cloth on the bird covering the entire body, total layers of cheese cloth should be 8 layers thick, using a turkey baster, baste turkey with about 1/2 cup liquid and place in a preheated oven, cook bird for 45 minutes then lower the heat to 350, baste turkey then set timer to baste turkey every 30-45 minutes, cook bird until meat thermometer reads 165-170 degrees, remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil and rest for 30 minutes before carving.  Use the drippings to make a delicious gravy. 

Results...the perfectly cooked, juicy & browned bird

To accompany the feast... 
Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce


1 bag fresh cranberries
1 orange zested
juice from 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1&1/2 cups sugar

in a medium sauce pan, bring all the ingredients to a boil then lower heat to medium low, cook until mixture is thick, stirring frequently, refrigerate for 2 hours before serving or make a day ahead.   

Christmas is on it's way and if you haven't made the perfect bird yet...this is a must try recipe! Print Friendly and PDF

Molasses Sugar Cookies

YUM!  One of my all time favorite family Christmas cookie recipes; the Molasses Sugar Cookie! 

Rich, spicy flavor with a little crunch and chewy center, these cookies are sure to please.   Once you've tasted these charming treats you will need to have another, and another and another...and by the looks of my ever growing mid section, I have followed suit and indulged entirely too much.

This year I used organic Molasses and unbleached flour and the result was perfection!  These cookies are easy to make and will be a wonderful addition to your families Christmas cookie collection.

3/4 cup shortening or vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup organic molasses
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Mace or Allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together shortening, sugar, molasses, egg until shiny, add spices and baking soda and mix thoroughly, add flour and mix until the dough forms into a ball.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30-minutes to 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees, roll dough into 1 inch balls, flatten with the tins of a folk and sprinkle with sugar, bake for 8-10 minutes

I bet you can't eat just one...
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Vote For Me...Iron Foodie 2010

It's time to place your vote!! 

Please follow this link to Marx Foods Iron Foodie Challenge or Vote for Me and vote for my Iron Foodie 2010 signature dish...Tang Yuan with Smoky Hoisin Pork in Spicy Porcini, Seaweed Broth.

Justin Marx sent the following voting details...
The poll will go live tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 7th) at 6AM PST on our blog (post URL will be:  and will run until midnight on December 15th.  The top four vote-getters will receive a store credit in varying amounts.  1st place will receive a $200 store credit, $100 for 2nd, $75 for 3rd, and $50 for 4th.

A quick note about how the poll works:  To prevent vote fraud, we set the poll to allow only one vote per IP address.  For example, what that means is that if you work in an office where all users share an IP address, then your entire office will be able to vote only once.  If your co-worker, for example, goes home and uses their home computer … they should be able to vote no problem. 

Thanks to you all for being so creative and tasty.  Working with you is one of the most fun aspects of my job, so I thank you kindly for making my life more delicious.  A special thanks to Jenn & the Foodie Blogroll for making this possible. 

So don't delay, vote everyday and tell all your friends to vote for me too!! 

Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me:

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Iron Foodie 2010...The treasure box has arrived!!

Update...I've decided on a recipe for my signature dish!!  My ingredient choices are...Tellicherry Pepper, Dried Aji Panca Chili, Wild Porcini Mushrooms, Smoked Sea Salt and Dulse Seaweed...I'm going shopping this Saturday to purchas all my other ingredients and will be spending Sunday and Monday preparing my dish...keep your fingers and toes crossed so I don't burn or ruin anything.  What you see on the plate is all I have to work with and if something goes wrong... I'm in deep dodo!!
Rushing home in a blizzard last night, I was hopeful to find my treasure box filled with gourmet goodies from Marx Foods.   Sure enough, my little box was sitting on the first step just inches away from the wet and snowy conditions.  I ran inside with my treasure, eager to unveil it's gourmet contents. 

As I sliced open the box, my senses were overcome with the sweet, smokey and pungent  aromas of  the contents.  What treasures inside this tiny box could offer such an array if diversity to my senses? 

Let's take a look at each item individually, starting with the most intriguing.
Dulse Seaweed

The Dulse Seaweed is one of the most intriguing ingredients in the box.  The smell is nothing like most seaweed varietals I've eaten or cooked with.  The fragrance reminded me of tobacco, slightly sweet and earthy.  Filled with antioxidants this seaweed is a super-food!  I'm really hoping to incorporate Dulse seaweed into my signature dish!

Fennel Pollen:

A delightful aroma with a light hint of licorice and lemon, crisp and refreshing. 

Dried chilies generally have very little aroma until reconstituted in water.  The Anji Panca Chilies have just a hint of the smells reminiscent of my youth, while living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I adore red and green chilies and the foods of the South West.  I  learned how to eat some of the finest Mexican food on the planet at a very young age, thanks to my parents!  I'm really looking forward to comparing the taste and heat of these lovely chilies to my favorite New Mexican dried red Chilies.

Strong and pungent are these little beauties!  Like the damp forest smells after a rain. I imagine they will be filled with powerful woodsy flavors and add a dimension of hearty goodness to any dish!

 Smoked Fine Sea Salt:

Naturally smoked, the fine, black grains conjure up the smell of a camp fire but with a sweetness that is indescribable for salt.  This salt is filled with layers and layers of  complexity, smooth salinity that's  not overpowered by the natural smokiness.  I love sea salt and this one ranks very high on my scale of perfectly balanced and tasty.

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans: 

A vanilla bean soaked in Bourbon...yup, that's a match made in heaven! Plump, and filled with flavor, I can't wait to slice open the brown slender bean to reach the lusciousness inside...YUM! 

 Maple Sugar:

Wow!  I'm not much for maple flavor but this sugar was the bomb!  Growing up with Aunt Jamima on the table I  never became accustom to the "real" flavor of maple syrup.  To strong for my taste in it's natural form, but not overpowering in the least, in this fine sugar.

Tellicherry Peppercorns:

After being introduced to Tellicherry  Peppers  four years ago, I haven't cooked with any other variety since!!   A complex little peppercorn with fruitiness and good heat, is a staple in my kitchen! 

Marx Foods did a wonderful job of choosing a diverse array of ingredients for this challenge.  My head has been spinning since I opened the I must choose which 3 treasures to use for my signature dish.  How will I choose my 3 ingredients?  I have no idea at this very moment!!  Stay tuned for the answer to that question as I need to cogitate for a bit! 

The deadline for posting my signature dish is December 3 and starting December 7th, the entire Foodie Blogroll will vote to award one person the title of Iron Foodie 2010! 

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Giada's Homemade Orange Marshmallows

I've never tried making homemade marshmallows before because I've always thought they would be to difficult to make.   I heart Cooking Clubs: Kids at Heart was my inspiration to throw caution to the wind and make these fluffy confections with my kids. 

First, let me give you a little background on  I Heart Cooking Clubs. This club is a stress-free cooking club with a revolving roster of chefs.

Every six months, a new chef is chosen out of a line up of 4-5 well known culinary aficionados.  This round club members will be cooking from Giada De Laurentiis's repertoire. Each week a theme is chosen and anyone interested in participating can link a recipe that fits that weeks theme. 

"This cooking club aims to grow and change with its members and explore other cooks and books in the future."Click here for more...The blogroll is filled with an array of food bloggers and chefs.  Stop by the site to learn more, and become a part of this wonderful cooking club.

Giada De Laurentis:  I admire her professionalism and her effortless way behind the camera, she has such a easy manner in the kitchen and her happy spirit is contagious. 

Staying true to the theme this week I tackled Giada's recipe for:
Homemade Orange Marshmallows 

This is a recipe that I'll be keeping in my kitchen for those cold winter days when we're all stuck inside and the kids need a "sweet" diversion.

The kids and I decided to make our marshmallows with orange and lemon flavoring and add a few drops of food coloring.

Orange & Lemon flavored marshmallows

Butter, for greasing the pan
Powdered sugar, for dusting
1/2 cup water, plus 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons (3 packets) unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
Giada's recipe: 1 large orange, zested
My recipe: 1 1/2 teaspoon pure orange or lemon extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Colored decorating sugar
*can be found at cake decorating stores*
Special equipment: a candy thermometer


Butter the bottom and sides of of an 8 by 8-inch straight sided baking pan.  Dust liberally with sifted powdered sugar and set aside. Really...dust very liberally or they will stick to the pan like glue!

Pour 1/2 cup water into bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Sprinkle the gelatin over water and allow to soften, about 10 minutes.

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine sugar, evaporated milk and 1/4 cup water.  Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 240 degrees F, about 10-12 minutes.  Pour hot syrup over gelatin mixture.  Beat the mixture at low speed until incorporated.  Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, fluffy and triple in volume, about 10-12 minutes.  Beat in orange zest or lemon extract and vanilla extract, add a few drops of food coloring,  mix until combined.  Using a spatula, scrape the mixture into prepared pan and smooth the surface.  Sprinkle with decorating sugar.  Allow the mixture to set, uncovered, in a cool place (not the refrigerator) for at least 8 hours or overnight. Using scissors, dusted with powdered sugar, cut the marshmallows into 1-inch squares. Dip cut sides into powdered sugar to prevent sticking.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 

These marshmallows are light and fluffy and really taste like...marshmallows!  I don't know what else I had expected them to taste like but it felt like  a culinary victory to achieve the real deal!  Creamy and soft, these sweet little morsels would be a perfect accompaniment to any hot drink or just eat them  right out of the bowl like we did!  It made the kid in me happy and you can bet, my kids were doing the happy dance!  Literally!  Sugar high!  Note to self:  Have all sledding stuff ready before making marshmallows...

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 12 minutes
level: Easy...if I can make these anyone can!!
Serves: 6 - 8 

Thanks to Giada for this easy and fun, kid friendly recipe and to I Heart Cooking Clubs for the inspiration!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hot Buttered Rum...

Yesterday was the first day we've seen snow fall in my little mountain town this season.  About 2 inches of fluffy white powder rested nicely on the ground to welcome in a winter of cold snowy days in the rocky mountains.  The snow will be melted by the hot Colorado sun in a few short hours, just in time for another winter storm to appear and send down another 3-5 inches.

It's days like these that get my taste buds aching for the best, most delicious Hot Buttered Rum recipe, in these here parts!! 

This recipe was shared with me about 15 years ago  at a holiday party.  I've made a few changes to suit my taste and would love to share this hot satisfying drink with you! 

Hot Buttered Rum Batter:

3 sticks salted butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons nutmeg
1 gallon vanilla ice cream

Allow ice cream to sit at room temperature while preparing other ingredients, using very soft butter, blend the first 5 ingredients together until well Incorporated, add the softened ice cream and blend well.  The batter may be a little runny and chunky...this is not a problem as the chunks of butter melt beautifully in the hot water. Freeze mixture in plastic container overnight or until firm.

Hot Buttered Rum Drink:

Fill a 8 ounce glass with pipping hot water leaving about 2 inches head space, add 1 generous jigger spiced rum, and 1 ice cream scoop full of the frozen batter to the glass, don't stir...serve with whipped cream, 1 cinnamon stick, and freshly grated nutmeg..relax and enjoy a very special treat! 

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