Friday, November 25, 2016

Cold-Weather Series: Hot Chocolate

Boy, it got dark outside fast.

But you're finally home. You made it through that last batch of snow flurries, even though it suddenly got slippery. Trudge in, lips practically numb, then change into your favorite loungewear. (Put them in the dryer for 10 minutes while you're starting supper...they'll be deliciously warm to put on.)

Time for a steaming cup of that warmer:  hot chocolate. This version is so rich, though, that Taste of Home calls it drinking chocolate.

Okay with me...I've missed Starbucks' deep-and-dark version ever since they quit serving it a few years ago. Sure, I could put on the tea kettle and open a packet of powder -- I have, many times.

But this is worth the wait.


  • 4 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 bars (3-1/2 ounces each) 70% cacao dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Sweetened whipped cream

Heat cream until hot, but not bubbling. Add everything through the salt; whisk in until melted, then return to heat until just starting to bubble. Serve quickly, topped with whipped cream ("schlag" -- 'shlag' in Germany). Makes up to 4 good-sized mugs, depending on how much you want to scarf down personally.

(Taste of Home's recipe page is here.  Lots of good links nearby, as well.)

Crazy for Crust has a good version, too, if you don't mind coffee creamer.

Come On Over for Christmas!

   Our Christmas Goodies blog is waking up!

Come on over for everything goodie-wise you can think of for the holiday season, including cookies, savouries, and the Grand Pooh-bah for the Brick house:

SEVEN FISH DISHES   (for Christmas Eve, that is)

Stroll over here  for more.  We'll be waiting for you!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cold-Weather Series: Biscuits and Gravy

     Mid-November...and it's only our first snowfall?

That's misleading. Colorado's mountains have been experiencing white stuff for weeks now...but down here in the 'flatlands,' our weather's been warm and sunny. LOTS of warm, especially. No moisture, either.

But this morning, the clouds moved in. The mountains have 'disappeared' off the horizon, and a sleek blanket of white flakes has dropped from the sky.

Time to start thinking about warm, delicious food that doesn't cost TOO much. (After all, Christmas is coming soon.) And what better to begin with than a Brick family favorite:


Daughter #2 will practically kill for this on a cold winter morning. In fact, she wanted to give her high school friend a special gift for graduation -- and took her a plateful, hot out of the frypan. I'm not sure Friend appreciated it as much as Daughter did...but the thought was there.

This is incredibly easy to make, even if you're a beginner. 

You'll need the ingredients for baking-powder biscuits (butter, flour, salt, baking powder, milk;  recipe how-to's and amounts are here), plus 1/2 - 1 pound of sausage meat. About a cup of milk...20-30 minutes, and a little bit of juggling. That's it.

Here we go.

Start frying the meat over medium heat in a frying pan.  (A handful of chopped mushrooms or onions can be added here, if you like. A little chopped kale or red pepper is good, too.) Meanwhile:

Get the biscuits mixed, cut out and baking in the oven.

Your meat should be somewhat brown at this point. Now scrape off the leftover flour from the biscuit-making area, and dump it into the frypan. Stir until flour is absorbed. (If you've already cleaned up from your biscuits, add 1/2 cup of flour to the pan, instead). Salt and pepper generously.

Add a cup of milk, stirring as you go -- mixture should thicken in just a minute or two. Wait until it bubbles, then turn heat down to warm. (Add extra milk or water if needed, to make a thick gravy.)

At this point, your biscuits should be done. Pull them out of the oven, then turn both the oven and stovetop off.
    Each plate gets one or two biscuits, split open and a generous serving of gravy poured over. Serve immediately; leftover biscuits are good for 'dessert,' spread with butter and jam. Serves 2-4.

VARIATIONS:  Start with 1/3 pound of chopped bacon, instead of sausage.
     Or try Red-Eye Gravy:  use the pan juices from fried ham as a starting point.


The golden lab(s), that is...