Jan 26, 2013

Chai to Make You Cha-Cha

© Bobby Flay | Cooking Channel

Total Time: 30 min

1 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 cardamom pods
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish
2-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced, optional
6 black tea bags
1 cup whole or 2-percent milk
1 cup unsweetened regular or low fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup loosely packed light brown muscovado sugar*

Lightly crush the peppercorns, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon, and put in a medium saucepan. Add the ginger, if using. Add 6 cups cold water to the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags. Let them steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, and let steep another 10 minutes. 

Put the milks and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to simmer. Strain the tea mixture into the milk mixture and heat through for 1 minute. Whisk the mixture until frothy. Pour the tea into 4 mugs and garnish with cinnamon sticks.

*Muscovado is a type of unrefined brown sugar with a strong molasses flavor. It is available online and at WalMart. It is more expensive, but it should last awhile.


Jan 24, 2013

Tantalizing Truffles!

French Broad Chocolates - Masala Chai

I'm taking over the world one chocolate at a time! There is no shortage of chocolate to be sure — especially in the everyday markets. The over-accessibility to average chocolate has only served to heighten my fascination for artisanal confections. Finding quality chocolate is not a daunting task, but it does require some weeding out.

Early on, I favored milk chocolate poured over coconut or peanuts or honeycomb or creamy fudge. Then, I met up with truffles! Truffles are like little, uniquely wrapped gifts for the tastebuds. The outer layer is visually fetching, while the delectable center is limited only by the chocolatier's imagination.

I found French Broad Chocolates in the February 2013 Edition of Southern Lady. Southern Lady recommends forgoing the "grocery store sampler" for one these skillfully handcrafted assortments. Before you click on the above link, allow me to entice you with the flavors in the Aphrodisiac Collection: Indian Kulfi; Fig & Port; Canela Picante; Cabernet & Anise; Theros, Orange, & Fennel; and Cosmic Love Potion.

I cannot vouch for the aphrodisiac claim, although any indulgence my hubby and I share together fuels romance. Chocolate is certainly high on the list!

Con-fectionately yours,

Jan 21, 2013

Happy New England Clam Chowder Day!

With the New England Patriots loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, I'm sure that many are finding comfort in clam chowder today. Perhaps providential, it happens to be New England Clam Chowder Day! 

I would gladly jump aboard, but I am planted firmly on a snowy mountain in Idaho. I could drive 32 miles down the highway for a scrumptious bucket of clams at the East Boise Ben's Crow Inn, but I will settle for salivating.

Food descriptions in classic literature captivate me. Herman Melville's Moby Dick celebrates clam chowder through the eyes of Ishmael:
... a warm savory steam from the kitchen served to belie the apparently cheerless prospect before us. But when that smoking chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained. Oh, sweet friends! hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuit, and salted pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt. Our appetites being sharpened by the frosty voyage, and in particular, Queequeg seeing his favourite fishing food before him, and the chowder being surpassingly excellent, we despatched it with great expedition. [Courtesy of Squid Ink - L.A. Weekly Food]
For everything clam chowder, visit the New England Clam Chowder Compendium for clam recipes  dating from the 1700's to now! 

With ex-clam-ation,