Friday, December 31, 2010

happy new year...want a hot chocolate recipe?

so it is new year's eve. what a holiday season! my entire family came to napa. we had 40 friends and family members for christmas eve, then a sit down brunch and dinner for ten on christmas day. loads of talking, eating, cooking, laughing, endless story telling (the ones we tell over and over every time we get together) you!

i want to emphasize the eating...because eat we did. i completely ignored my "post cleanse" healthy diet. i ate everything! and yes, i am feeling a bit tired, sluggish and sloooow. i had a wonderful time and...with two more days of celebrating...more to come. i have been doing a lot of thinking about my 2011 resolutions and i have decided to emphasize the word moderation to sum up my goals. i actually love the way i feel when i am eating extremely healthily...and have realized that that is the way i want to feel...healthy. not bloated, tired, overly full. when i was on the cleanse last month everyone kept asking me how i felt. the only way to describe it was that i felt good all the time...not jumping up and down excited...but...good. no ill effects from anything i ate and that is a good thing. it does not mean i want to permanently give up everything that is off the "cleanse list". it just means i want to exercise moderation in the not-really-healthy-but-delicious category of food.

thank you richard lau for the photo

here is an chocolate. i was reading a blog post by my twitter friend judy witts francini a.k.a divina cucina. judy is one of my favorite bloggers and cookbook i have had the good fortune to meet her and she is absolutely delightful. she lives and works in italy...teaches cooking classes there....and her recipes are wonderful. anyway, she posted a recipe for hot chocolate which sounded rich...creamy...intensely chocolately...and delicious. it reminded me of the hot chocolate served at angélina or café de flore in paris. have you ever had hot chocolate so rich you needed to drink ice water after every sip? well judy's sounded like that. i made it on a very cold and rainy night...perfect! but not something i could drink often. so i created a healthier version that is still delicious. moderation, remember? now i can have divina's once in a while...and my version more frequently....and not feel deprived because honestly...they both are fantastic.

divina's recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, milk and bittersweet chocolate. you could really guild the lily and use cream...but even i don't go that far. my remake uses the same excellent cocoa and chocolate, but substitutes almond milk and agave nectar for the sugar and milk. really, really good. (oh...and i took leonardo's suggestion and topped with a bit of cayenne powder...this is brilliant!) thank you idea go for the photo!

so go ahead...enjoy everything you love in moderation...just remember, the definition of moderation is: 1. the state or an instance of being moderate; mildness; balance...being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme . my favorite word from that definition is balance...and that truly is my new year's resolution. what's yours?

"divina cucina's hot chocolate recipe and story
(i pulled the recipe directly from divina's site)
Vestri's Tuscan Hot Chocolate

per person:
1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp sugar
1 cup milk
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into tiny pieces

In the bottom of a small sauce pan, place the cocoa powder, sugar and 2 tbs of milk.
Whisk together to remove lumps and heat.
When hot, add the milk and whisk the chocolate mixture to blend.

Add the chopped chocolate to the hot milk, stir, and let sit.
Take off the heat and mix again until all the chocolate has been melted.

If you want to be decadent as in Florence, serve topped with lots of whipped cream.
As Leonardo does, season with chili pepper powder for a nice almost Mexican kick! "

napa farmhouse hot chocolate
per person:
1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp organic agave nectar
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3 oz best quality (70% cacao) bittersweet chocolate (i use scharffenberger) well chopped

follow divina's directions...can be doubled, tripled, much as you like... enjoy!
i just want to take a moment to wish you all the best in 2011...may all your hopes and dreams come true...

best and happy new year!

diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885™ "live a green life of style™ " do you like us? really like us? then please join our facebook fan page

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Kristin said...

Happy New Year Diane. It is cold and snowing here so I am making your hot chocolate to celebrate the New Year. Well, actually I am making the Italian one. Not sure I am ready for almond milk.
WooHoo :)


elizabeth said...

Hi Diane. What are those bushes on either side of your front steps?

Leslie said...

Happy New Year. The hot chocolate sounds devine!!!!

Unknown said...

If you love hot chocolate, You simply MUST TRY this new rendition on an old time favorite! Find yourself some organic cacao nibs, I just recently found a superb source from Hawaii (see link below), and grind the nibs with a can of coconut milk, adding slowly, to your blender. If you don’t have a blender, use your coffee bean grinder, and make a fresh ground powder from the cacao nibs. It sends off the most amazing aroma, and the chocolate taste is distinctly fresh! For two cups of hot chocolate, I add about a 1/2cup of cacao nibs, to one 14oz. can of coconut milk. I also add another two full cans of water, and also 1/4cup of fresh sugar. There is a great new option for coconut sugar…delicious and nutritious. Bring all that together in a small saucepot, and slowly heat for about 40 minutes. Enjoy your coconut hot chocolate with the small bits of nibs to munch on at the end of the drink. It’s an added treat, unlike the marshmellows gone first from long ago. This kind of hot chocolate is great anytime, all the time, because it is that good for us! p.s. try a little chili powder and cinnamon, to add a little beloved spice.

Holiday Baker Man said...