March 3, 2013

Spicy Drinking Chocolate

A few weeks ago I was in Charleston for a work conference.  I hit up Market Street one day after the meetings were done  - I had to pick up some stuff for The Husband's birthday.  While down there, I caved and bought a few things for myself, including a packet of habenero sugar.  Being a complete chili-head, I figured this was right up my alley.  Of course, then I needed ways to use this spicy-sweet delicacy.  Stacey to the rescue!  "You could make drinking chocolate and sweeten it with that," she said.  This is why we are friends.  Drinking chocolate!  She even sent me her favorite recipe: John Scharffenberger's Drinking Chocolate.  Here it is, edited slightly for the habenero sugar.  Don't be afraid, this doesn't kick all that much more than the version with cayenne powder, but the heat does linger more.  Yummy!


1/2 c milk
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 T habenero sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t vanilla

Heat the milk in a saucepan until lukewarm.  Stir in the chocolate and sugar, whisking until fully combined.  Add the cinnamon and vanilla, and whisk another 2 minutes.  Serve warm!

January 6, 2013

Butternut Squash and Tomato Soup

I admit it, I've been on a bit of a soup kick lately.  I don't usually make soups, but I've realized this is because The Husband and I largely do not agree on soup styles.  He's big on stews and the like, and while I can eat a bowl of those, I cannot eat the leftovers.  Well, with him gone, I can make whatever soups I want! When I was home for the holidays, my mom made a batch of this and I fell in love.  It's delicious, thick enough to suit my taste, thin enough to drink from a mug, and oh so healthy, with no cream.  What's not to love?


3 T butter
5 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, diced
5 carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cubed
14 oz whole tomatoes (canned works well enough)
8 c stock (I used turkey, veggie or chicken would also be fine)
1 c cream sherry
splash bourbon
1/2 c fresh basil leaves
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
dash cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the garlic, onions, carrots, celery and butternut squash in the butter for about 10 minutes.  Add stock, sherry, and bourbon.  Boil, then reduce heat to medium.  Simmer until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and puree with an immersion blender.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

January 2, 2013

Pumpkin Soup

This fall I tried my hand at roasting and pureeing my own pumpkins.  It was a smashing success!  I'd intended it to make some pie, but ended up in a savory mood.  Immediately, my 2011 trip to Sedona came to mind.  At the Wildflower Bread Company I had the most fantastic pumpkin soup.  I needed more.  Sedona's now a few thousand miles away, so I had to make my own, based off of this.  It was perfect.  So tasty and delicious, the perfect end to a fall day.  Spicy, too - I'm a chili head.  If you aren't, I'd cut back on the spice.


1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 bay leaf
2 sticks celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 T flour
2 t poultry seasoning
2 t hot sauce
5 cayenne peppers, diced
6 c chicken stock
Puree from 2 pumpkins (or 1 28 oz can)
dash nutmeg
swirl of cream (optional)

Heat the butter and oil over medium heat until melted and bubbly.  Add the celery, onion, cayenne, and bay leaf, saute until vegetables are cooked.  Add the flour, seasoning, and hot sauce, then add the stock.  Puree with an immersion blender, then heat again until nearly boiling.  Stir in the pumpkin puree and season with nutmeg.  Add cream if desired.