Scotch Plaid Mocha

August 5, 2007

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This recipe comes from Emily’s coffee guy, John Clark of the Vienna Coffee Company. John is a chemical engineer who, fortunately for all of his contentedly addicted customers, segued into coffee roasting. His coffees—and teas—are fabulous. This mocha will put a smile in your eyes and a song in your heart. SAM

1/2 ounce plus 1 teaspoon Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa Syrup, divided
1/2 ounce plus 1 teaspoon Ghirardelli Creamy Caramel Syrup, divided
1/2 ounce Monin Swiss Chocolate Syrup
2 (1-1/2 ounce) shots fresh hot espresso
10 ounces steamed milk (150 to 160 degrees F)
Whipped cream, slightly sweetened
Biscotti or Cocoa Drops

In a 16-ounce mug, stir together the three syrups with the espresso, mixing well. Pour the steamed milk to within 1/2 inch of the top (no foam) fast enough to gently blend the mocha and milk. DO NOT STIR AGAIN. Crown with whipped cream across the entire mug. Drizzle ribbons of Ghirardelli Caramel in one direction and Ghirardelli Sweet Chocolate in the other to create a plaid pattern. Top with a cherry and serve with crisp biscotti or Cocoa Drops.
Makes 1 (16-ounce) serving.

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Cocoa Drops

August 4, 2007

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Spicy chocolate cookies on a warm summer day … now that would perk up anyone! The fresh nutmeg makes these little treats a delight. Grate a little into the batter—you won’t want much. But whatever you do, USE WHOLE NUTMEG—NOT GROUND! It’s vile. SAM

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 or 3 gratings of whole nutmeg
1 cup raisins
Confectioner’s sugar

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, egg, butter, and vanilla. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, ginger, and nutmeg. On medium speed, add the milk mixture, beating until blended. Beat 1 additional minute at high speed. Stir in the raisins by hand. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until set. Cool for 1 minute, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 4 dozen cookies.


Grilled Hamburgers

August 3, 2007

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A good hamburger is like a mini meatloaf. Fill it with wonderful, rich, tasty things, bind it with egg and breadcrumbs, toss it on the grill, then sit back and bask in the glow! SAM

4 pounds ground beef
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon black pepper
8 hamburger buns
Mayonnaise and spicy mustard
8 slices tomato
Pickled Slaw

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, garlic, egg, sherry, mustard, horseradish, bread crumbs, and pepper. Shape into 8 patties. Grill the hamburger patties or broil them 6 inches from the heat for 4 to 6 minutes on each side. Place in warm buns spread with mayonnaise on the bottom, mustard on the top, and top with tomato and Pickled Slaw.
Makes 8 servings.


Fresh Green Beans

August 2, 2007

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Remember the sweated onions in Tomato-Onion Pie last May? Well, I learned last summer from my friend Dorothy that fresh green beans sweat just like onions—and just like onions they get intensely flavorful and sweet! My favorite green bean is Romano, but you can sweat any kind of fresh green beans. They’re so rich and tasty, you’ll never add water again. SAM

3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed, strung, and snapped
2 shallots or 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
A pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
Salt to taste

In a large chef’s pan over medium heat, heat the oil until it begins to smell. Add the beans, shallots or onion, and red pepper flakes, stirring thoroughly to coat. Place the garlic on top. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and sweat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft and tender, about 2 hours. Add the salt.
Makes 8 servings.


Caraway Coleslaw

August 1, 2007

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This is the Greek salad of coleslaw. The caraway seeds add a layered, smoky dimension that’s wonderful with the cabbage and feta. Add a pickled pepper or two and you’ll be in heaven. SAM

1 teaspoon caraway seed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound cabbage, finely shredded (2 cups)
1 large green bell pepper, finely diced (1 cup)
1 large yellow bell pepper, finely diced (1 cup)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

In a large Dutch oven or chef’s pan, combine the caraway seed, mustard, sugar, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Heat to boiling, add the cabbage and bell peppers, and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a salad bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve sprinkled with feta cheese.
Makes 8 servings.


Chili with Beef and Beans

July 31, 2007

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It’s hard to be unhappy when you’re eating chili. It warms you in winter and cools you in summer. It’s great on hotdogs. It turns a hamburger bun into a meal. Even the most veggie-hating kid will snarf down onions, peppers, tomatoes, and beans if you blend them into this tasty brew. SAM

3 pounds ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped (1 cup)
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1/2 cup)
1 medium banana pepper, seeded and chopped (1/2 cup)
4 cloves garlic, pressed
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons molasses
2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, brown the beef. Drain off all except 1 tablespoon of fat. Add the onions and green bell, red bell, and banana peppers and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chili powder and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the oregano, salt, black and cayenne peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, and molasses. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the beans, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Makes 8 servings.


Beer Bread

July 30, 2007

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Remember Last-Minute Dinner Rolls? Here’s a quick bread you can have on the table in 40 minutes, start to finish. Slather it with sweet butter or Pimiento Cheese, or dip it into a rich, beefy chili. SAM

3 cups self-rising flour
1 tablespoon caraway seed
12 ounces dark beer
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Combine the flour, caraway seed, beer, and honey and pour into the pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Makes 12 slices.