What do you do when you have a whole bunch of unsweetened dark chocolate left over from a recipe? Why not try your hand at making a traditional Mexican hot chocolate that will blow your mind in the flavour department? Yep! This recipe is a keeper!
Mexican Hot Chocolate
You will need:
4 squares of unsweetened dark chocolate
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
A dash of cayenne pepper or hot chili powder
(optional) Whip cream, to top.
Pour milk into a pot and heat on medium-low until steaming. Roughly chop the chocolate and melt into the milk, whisking every so often. Add spices and sweeten to taste. Pour into a large mug and top with whip cream, if using. Enjoy (a lot!) on a cold winter’s night.
So here we are: blog post number 200! I honestly can’t quite believe that I’ve been on this epic food journey for the past four years, and have written 200 posts. This is going to be a retrospective post today, as I feel that with important milestones, it is really important to take a step back and reflect on all that’s been created.
Since my 100th blog post, so much has changed! Justin and I got married in June of 2012, we bought our first home in Parkallen, renovated it, and are now living happily and comfortably in our lovely abode. With the new kitchen came a new blog name. Also since that 100th’s blog post, I’ve decided to change careers, went back to school to learn how to take on that career, and starting working in an a dynamic and down-to-earth organization. Life continues to change for us over here at Parkallen Home Kitchen. I’m starting a new job in January, and I’m sure that life will continue to throw us curve balls along the way!
When it comes to the kitchen, however, my philosophies remain the same: I still endeavour to use as many local ingredients as possible in my recipes. I have slipped up a few times on that front, but I am realizing that when life is busy, it’s sometimes tough to make it out to the market. Over the past two years, I’ve learned to truly appreciate my heritage and explored some traditional French Canadian recipes, including Tourtiere, Cretons, Tarte au Sucre and Soupe au Pois (Pea Soup). As part of Ukranian heritage, I explored making homemade perogies with my Baba, (that post now has an incredible 16,870 views!). Justin and I learned how to juice the apples from our yard for the first time, and we undertook our first adventures in vegetable seeding and box-gardening this past summer. They both turned out extremely well!
I’ve also created some stand-out posts over the past two years:
The Blueberry Coconut Popsicles I made last summer were a huge hit! As were the Grainy Chicken Fingers with Lemon Dilly Dipping Sauce (Oh boy – I have to make those again soon!).
Justin’s new favourite ice cream recipe is coconut, thanks to the amazing recipe I concocted, and his favourite recipe, by far, that I’ve ever made him is Taco Pie. We’ve added some new staples to our recipe box, that have been made several times since the first post, including Pad Thai, Homemade Granola, Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats, Revised Devils on Horseback, Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower and Pistachio Ice Cream.
I’ve truly loved creating the past 100 posts for my rock star readers. Thanks for following along with my culinary adventures in my 1950s Parkallen Home Kitchen. Stay tuned for the next 100!
Ok everyone, big news: I have a new favourite grain! I know what you’re thinking: “Sheesh, Jacquie is in love with her grains…” Why yes, I am. And this one takes the cake on a scale of one to yum: Farro! It’s Gold Forest Grain‘s newest (oldest?) grain, and has an incredible flavour profile. Nutty, earthy and slightly sweet. Oh man, this stuff is good! You can pick up a bag at the Old Strathcona Farmers market. (Seriously, do!) I’ll be doing a writeup with more information on Farro for the Local Good soon. Stay tuned!
And then it got me thinking of all of the other things I could do with this rockin’ grain: Risotto, cold rice salads and pilaf. Hmmm, I love pilaf! It was a nice, easy place to start. Begin by melting 1/4 cup butter in a pot.
Add your peas and chicken stock (I used no salt added, so that you can control your seasonings yourself!)
And control them I did: Paprika, garlic powder, roasted garlic and red pepper seasoning and lawry’s seasoning salt (essentially my favourite combination of spices and seasoning!). Add them all to the pot and mix well. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 45 mins, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed and your house smells amazing!
Once most of the liquid is absorbed, keep covered and let sit for 5-10 mins, allowing the Farro to absorb even more of the flavour. Serve as a side or as a main topped with a fried egg. Enjoy the rich, gravy-like flavours of this incredible dish.
You will need:
1/4 cup butter
2 cups Farro
2 small or 1 medium onion
4 cups no salt added chicken stock
2 tsps lawry’s seasoning salt
1 tsp roasted garlic and red pepper seasoning
2 tsps paprika
2 tsps garlic powder
1/2 cup of frozen peas
Begin by melting butter in a pot over medium heat. Dice onions and brown in butter. Add Farro and stir well to combine. Add chicken stock, seasonings and spices, and peas, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until most (about 90%) of the liquid is absorbed and the Farro is tender (About 45 minutes). Turn off heat and let sit for another 10 to 15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Serve hot as a side dish, or as a main, topped with a fried egg. Enjoy, a lot!
I am so pleased to let you all all know, my awesome readers, that I am now a member of the Food Bloggers of Canada. Through this great group of Canadian food writers, I have the opportunity to work with food companies and producers who hope to make their products known to the world. My first-ever opportunity came through the Little Potato Company. I signed up to write about little potatoes and a few weeks later found an amazing care package of potatoes on my doorstep. How fabulously random and exciting!
For this recipe, I used the Little Potato Company’s Baby Boomer potatoes. After trying them out on their own for breakfast, I discovered a beautifully fluffy texture to these treasures, that reminded me so much of a baked potato. As I had my niece’s third birthday party just around the corner, I thought one bite baked potatoes would be the perfect party snack for little fingers.
One Bite Baked Potato Rounds
You will need:
1 bag of Little Potato Company Baby Boomer Potatoes
1/4 cup salted butter
Your favourite baked potato toppings (I used sour cream and bacon bits, but feel free to add aged cheddar cheese, chives or green onion too!)
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a baking sheet with 1/8 of your butter. Prepare your potatoes by removing the top and bottom, creating nice little rounds. Transfer them to greased sheet. Melt the remaining butter and brush tops of potato rounds. Bake at 375 for 20 mins, turning once, until potatoes are golden-brown on top. If using cheddar cheese as a topper, grate cheese and top each potato with a small amount. Transfer potatoes back to the oven until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with sour cream, bacon bits and chives or green onion (if using). Enjoy as a perfect party or holiday appetizer.
Sometimes, you just want to eat a big bowl of pasta topped with thick meaty sauce. When that hankering comes about, there is honestly nothing better than thick, meaty Bolognese sauce, in my mind.
I blended them up in the processor and added then to the pot. I know, it doesn’t look the most appetizing, but boy was it ever good!Add a bunch of spices and serve atop a nice bowl of pasta, all covered with cheese.
You will need:
- 1 large onion
- 2 small leeks
- 3 ribs celery
- 2 small sweet bell peppers
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 can fresh tomatoes, or 1.5 cups fresh
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp oregno
- 1 tsp basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 box of spaghetti
- Parmesan cheese, to serve
In a large pot over medium heat, brown your ground beef in a little olive oil. In a food processor, puree onion, peppers, celery, leeks and garlic into a paste. Add the pureed veggies, and cook them down with the beef. Add your tomatoes to the food processor, then add them to the beef and veggie mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes while adding your spices. Once combined, add half a cup of water and simmer on medium-low for an hour, allowing the flavours to combine. While simmering, prepare your pasta. When everything is ready, serve pasta topped with Bolognese sauce, all covered in Parmesan cheese. Hmm!