Tag Archives: chile

Nightcap: Hott Chocolate

25 Sep

Hott Chocolate Mug

Bonus late nite post here to make up for my regrettable absence for most of the week.  Desperate for relief for my sinus maladies this week, I’ve turned to hot beverages to loosen up that nasal traffic jam (sorry for that).  Tea was so-so, coffee kept me up, so I returned to a childhood classic with a twist: homemade hot chocolate with a chile kicker.  Forget that powdered mess.  Swiss Miss – get ready for a Swiss Diss.  OK, I’m done. (I shouldn’t be allowed to write this late).

Libation: Hott Chocolate

Ingredient Rundown:

  • 1-1.5 cups of milk (I use 1% for my figure)
  • ~1/3 cup of semisweet chocolate chips or other baking chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • small splash of vanilla extract
  • 1-2 shakes of cinnamon
  • dash of ground chile powder (not CHILI powder, as this contains garlic, salt, cumin and other spices that, while tasty, do NOT belong in hot chocolate)

How I do it:

  1. In a small saucepan heat milk over medium heat for 5-8 minutes until hot.
  2. Add chocolate, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and chile powder
  3. Continue stirring for several minutes until chocolate has dissolved. Serve.

There’s just no comparison to the powder in terms of rich texture.  The vanilla and cinnamon add a great depth of flavor and the bright, delicate heat of the chile powder serves as a counterpoint to the bittersweet chocolate.  A little peppermint schnapps wouldn’t be out of order here either.  Take that, ragweed.Hott Chocolate Stirring

Dazed and Infused: Chile/Lime and Bacon/Pepper Vodkas

7 Sep

The pressing need to improvise a wedding gift a few weeks back provided the spark to try something I’d been wanting to do for a while now – make my own infused spirits.  I had been seeing a display of upscale bloody mary accouterments over at Barriques recently and was inspired to make a couple different vodkas to go with a nice mix and some fancy garnishes.  I was reminded of one of the better bloody marys I’ve had (@ the Double Diamond Bar at Tyrol Basin of all places) that used a jalepeno-infused vodka that added such a fresh, lively heat that you just can’t get with a couple squirts of Tabasco.

I was lucky enough to have a bag full of assorted chiles that my roommate had picked up at the Dane County Farmers’ Market and a bag of key limes that I like to keep around for both food and drink purposes.  After I got back from Barriques with a couple 375ml bottles of Svedka (my go-to “bang for your buck” brand of vodka, btw), I got to work splitting the chiles and limes (for these smallish bottles I ended up using 3 chiles of various colors and 2 small limes).  I then emptied the vodka into a pitcher, put the sliced chiles and limes in the bottle, then poured the vodka back in.  Of course, there was some vodka left over after displacement, and I was forced to make myself a drink with the remainder (the sacrifices I have to make sometimes in my culinary pursuits…).

As I have mentioned before, the merits of bacon need no promotion from a neophyte food-blogger such as myself and I am certainly not the first to think of bacon-infused vodka.  In fact, numerous bars and commercial distilleries are adding the libation to their repertoire all the time as bacon furthers its status as the Chuck Norris of cured meats.  But damn if it doesn’t seem like a pretty amazing compliment to a good bloody.  To spice things up a bit, I decided to add some freshly cracked pepper (a white/black blend from Penzeys), again, inspired by my man AB (jump to 7:08 for his pepper vodka procedure).  The biggest question mark for me pertained to the best means of imparting the bacon essence to the vodka.  In the interests of a.) presentation and b.) fitting in the smaller-sized bottles, I decided to wrap two strips of bacon around chopsticks and bake them @350° until crisp (~20 mins).  The resulting meat-spirals, while somewhat challenging to remove from the chopsticks, fit nicely in the bottle and lent an appealing visual effect if I do say so myself.

Unfortunately, the fact that these were a gift and they were made the day before the wedding precluded me from sampling the final product.  If I had kept them, I would have filtered them through a coffee filter after a week or so and tried to remove the spent infusion-fuel from the bottles before replacing the newly-awesome-er vodka and making some kick-ass bloodies.  My recent craving for the savory cocktail will hopefully lead to a couple infusions in my near future.  Ginger/lemon/lime is another combination I think would work great, though not necessarily for use in bloody marys.  Or green tea and ginger.  I can see this getting out of control.

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