Tag Archives: christmas

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Hey guys,

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a new recipe, but I’m back and just in time for Christmas. I’m also just in time to be co-hosting the Fiesta Friday blog party along with Sadhna of Herbs, Spices and Tradition. I’m thrilled to be one of the co-hosts this week. A little over a year ago I was lucky enough to stumble over this blog party. Since then, almost every week, I join the party and get to see what some of my fellow food bloggers have been up to in their kitchens. Not only am I constantly jealous, awed and hungry, I’m also continually inspired and challenged in my own cooking. If you have a recipe you’d like to share, we’d love to see what you’ve been cooking. Click here to read the guidelines. Also, don’t forget to link your post to fiestafriday.net, my site, Kitchen, Uncorked and my co-host Sadhna of Herb, Spices and Tradition

This week I’m sharing a recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate. As I mentioned in my last post, I was on vacation in Mexico (for the first time ever). Although there wasn’t a lot of inspiration to be found in an all-inclusive buffet, I did stumble across this little gem one morning. Mexican hot chocolate is typically made with Mexican chocolate bars. These are made with cacao beans that are ground with sugar, almonds, cinnamon and sometimes vanilla. I didn’t have any Mexican chocolate, although looking back, I’m a little annoyed that I didn’t think to grab some while I was away. I improvised by using dark chocolate and adding my own cinnamon. This recipe is ridiculously easy to make and has only a few ingredients, but it’s deliciously rich and creamy. A perfect treat, just in time for Christmas.

100 grams Dark Chocolate (I used 75%)

2 tbsp brown sugar ย (a little more if you’re using a darker chocolate)

3 cinnamon sticks

6 whole cloves

1 1/2 Cups milk

1/2 Cup heavy cream

Place all the ingredients in a small pot over low heat. Stir often until well blended and hot throughout, about 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves before serving. Optional: Top with whipped cream and cinnamon. Serves 2

 

Apple and Sage Brined Turkey

Roast Turkey

With Christmas just around the corner, I spent some time this past weekend working on my menu for Christmas dinner. This is an event all on it’s own for me and it’s where my inner food geek really starts to shine through. Every year I get ridiculously excited dreaming up new ways to play around with my recipes. My one exception to that is my turkey brine recipe. The turkey is the centrepiece of Christmas dinner and I like to lavish a little extra love on it to ensure it turns out perfectly. I’ve kept the recipe the same for the past few years and it always turns out moist and flavourful. Why mess with a great thing? If you’ve never brined a turkey before, you should definitely give it a go. It’s one of those things that seems complicated, but really it only takes 15 – 20 minutes to throw together and the results are amazing. Basically, it’s a salt water solution, sometimes with a bit of sugar added. From there you can add whatever additional flavours you like. The trickiest part of the whole procedure is figuring out how or where to store your turkey while it’s brining. We have a turkey deep fryer so I usually use the pot from that, but you could use a cooler or buy a brining bag. Really, whatever works for you. Once you’ve brined, rinsed and patted your turkey dry, you can carry on with roasting it as you typically would. Continue reading

Cardamom Shortbread with Grand Marnier buttercream

Cardamom Shortbread cookies with Grand Marnier Buttercream

Cardamom Shortbread cookies with Grand Marnier Buttercream

 

This week was my sister-in-laws annual cookie exchange. Usually I’m all over Christmas baking, but this year I’ve been really busy and haven’t had a chance to really think about it. Luckily I have an amazing mom who really likes to bake and was able to help me out for the cookie exchange. Aren’t moms awesome? Even though the cookies were baked for the exchange, I really thought I should do at least a little bit of my own baking, as well. It always helps me to get into the Christmas spirit. And with Christmas only two weeks away (eek!) I could use all the help I could get. I wanted to make something easy and quick and of course, delicious, so I thought I would make my grandma’s shortbread cookie recipe. You really can’t get more Christmassy (that’s a word, right?) than shortbread cookies. Of course, it wouldn’t really be me if I didn’t put my own spin on it, though. So here we go… Continue reading

Stuffed Mushroom Caps

 

With Christmas only a few weeks away, the month of December is full of celebrations. We’re always entertaining or going to someone else’s house to be entertained with an appy or treats to share. I love appetizers and would eat most of my meals this way if I could. One of my favourites has always been stuffed mushrooms. I have a few variations that I’ve made in the past, usually seafood or veggie based, but this time I decided to play around with a meatier version and used italian sausage. I used the mild variety but you could use hot italian sausage if you like things a bit spicier.

Most of the timeย I like having my kids help me in the kitchen, but if I’m playing around with a new recipe idea I like to work on it when my kids are at school. It makes it a bit easier to focus on what I’m doing. Let’s face it, this whole baby brain thing doesn’t seem to ever fully go away. If I don’t act on a thought quickly, it could be lost forever. For this recipe that meant I had to uncork a bottle of red at 10:30 am since my daughter gets home from preschool at 11:30. I’m not shy around wine (obviously, given the name of my blog), but it did feel really weird opening a bottle of red wine that early in the day. Maybe it’s just that it felt odd to cook with it while not being able to drink it. In any case it might be time to change things a bit and start cooking later in the day.

Mushroom caps with italian sausage stuffing

 

24 mushrooms, stems removed

1 lbs Italian sausage

1 Cup onion, diced small

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Cup fennel, diced small

1/2 Cup red wine

1/2 Cup roasted red peppers, diced

1/4 – 1/2 Cup bread crumbs

1/4 Cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 Cup fresh basil, chopped

1/2 Cup parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

In a large skillet heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Remove the sausage from the casing and add it to the skillet with the onions, garlic and fennel. Continue cooking, breaking the sausage up as you go, until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables have softened. Stir in the roasted red peppers and then add in the wine, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer for a minute or two. Mix in the breadcrumbs a little at a time until any liquid is absorbed. Gently toss in the parsley and basil.

Italian sausage stuffing for mushroom caps

Fill the mushroom caps with the sausage mixture and place on a baking sheet. Top each cap with some parmesan cheese and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

 

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