silky smooth hot chocolate


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after a dinner of spicy, salty bacon cheesiness, i do believe i came down with a bad case of young person’s heartburn. there’s no better remedy for that than a warm mug of milk. uhh – hehe… with chocolate.

i didn’t go any fancier than what came printed on the side of the cocoa canister: a couple spoonfuls of unsweetened cocoa powder, a couple more of sugar from the kitchen counter jar; drop in a slip of milk, stir to a paste, and pour in more to fill the mug. microwave for a minute.

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but to coax me out of the cozy marshmallow fluffiness of a warm bed this morning, i knew i needed something warmer, richer, and slurp- i mean, sip-worthy enough to convince my toes to brave the chill of a cold kitchen floor.

a bit of light cream heated over the stove, a kickdust of espresso powder, and bittersweet chocolate chipped off a dark solid block and flicked in to melt in the pan: this is get-yourself-out-of-bed hot chocolate.

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Silky Smooth Hot Chocolate
from Seven Spoons
Makes a little more than 2 cups

3 to 4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons best-quality cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups milk
¼ cup half and half
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

 

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, espresso powder and cinnamon. Pour in a little of the milk and whisk until smooth. Pour in the rest of the milk, then the cream, stirring until combined. Add the chopped chocolate and heat until the mixture comes just under a simmer.
  2. Stirring constantly as to not scorch, maintain the heat at a simmer and cook until the chocolate thickens slightly, around 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stirring now and again as it will continue to thicken as it stands, and cool to your desired temperature. (To get a frothy top, pour hot chocolate one serving at a time into an airtight screw-top travel thermos or other heatproof container, and shake very cautiously.)

dinner in

this may be my newest favorite weeknight meal. after eating so much steak, i was in the mood for a really good pasta dish, something with the bite of al dente noodles smothered in something richly tomato-y. i usually come upon recipes haphazardly – a food blog post or food network episode that strikes my fancy, an article in the morning paper that has me reaching for the scissors – but this time i was deliberate, heading over to epicurious and typing in every keyword i was craving. this winner came up.

if those steaks au poivre are something to bring to a candlelit table set for two, then this pasta recipe is a time to tag-team it in the kitchen, bumping elbows while you take turns stirring and chopping and scooching in close at the stovetop, and then mixing up a big bowl to spoon servings from before settling down to watch the week’s netflix pick. a cozy, casual dinner in – at its delicious best.


Pasta with Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
adapted fromBon Appétit, October 2000
Makes 4 main-course servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 8-oz. jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
½ cup whipping cream
1 12-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup milk
1 lb. penne pasta
about ½ cup fresh basil, c
hopped or chiffonade, for garnish

  1. Make sauce: Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes, cream, red peppers and crushed red pepper; simmer over medium heat 2 minutes. Stir in ½ cup basil and simmer 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and add cheese and ½ cup milk and stir until incorporated; add more milk as needed to reach desired consistency.
  2. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving ¾ cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add sauce, and toss to coat. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to pasta to moisten if dry. Season with salt and pepper. Top with more basil to serve.

love love

i tend to think a lot of what goes along with valentine’s day isn’t all thaaaat romantic, but i fully embrace it as an excuse to be unabashedly girly and shamelessly, over-the-top sweet.

my party-planning partner-in-crime and i have already dreamed up a dessert party with heart-shaped cutouts of pound cake to be dipped in chocolate fondue, pink-frosted sugar cookies showered with sprinkles, and marshmallow hearts to plunk in hot mugs of cocoa. like i said: over-the-top sweet.

will we really pull it off? will any males come within 10 feet of the festivities? that remains to be seen, but – as it is with the lovely finds below – the fun is in getting inspired.


mini heart mirrors at pbteen

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“a hidden apple” – miniature artist book by elsa mora

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crochet heart garland: how-to at design*sponge

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doily clock on etsy

 

doily coasters on etsy

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tiny heart ring on etsy

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a most fantastic february music mix – tracklist and link to download at miss moss
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