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Recipe: Hot Cocoa
Jack Bishop mentioned this recipe on today’s Fresh Air and we couldn’t help but get the entire recipe.
Serves 4 in small mugs
Why This Recipe Works
Our ideal hot cocoa recipe would give us serious chocolate flavor and a rich, satisfying consistency. We found that 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder sweetened with 1 tablespoon of sugar added enough chocolate flavor to our hot cocoa recipe without being overpowering. Many recipes recommend mixing cocoa powder and sugar with a little water before adding the milk, and we found this to be worthwhile. Water has the effect of releasing the cocoa powder’s fruit, chocolate, and coffee flavor nuances. We also discovered that heating the mixture of cocoa powder, sugar, and water for two minutes before adding milk further deepens the flavor.
If you want to increase or decrease this recipe for hot cocoa, the key ratio to remember is one and one-half tablespoons of cocoa and one heaping tablespoon of sugar per cup of liquid. If you have whole milk on hand rather than low-fat, go ahead and use it, omitting the half-and-half.
6 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder, measured by dip-and-sweep
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch table salt
3 cups low-fat milk (1 or 2 percent)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup half-and-half
1. In heavy 2-quart saucepan, whisk together cocoa, sugar, salt, and water over low heat until smooth. Simmer, whisking continuously, for 2 minutes, making sure whisk gets into the edges of pan.
2. Add milk, increase heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally with whisk, until steam rises from surface and tiny bubbles form around edge, 12 to 15 minutes. Do not boil.
3. Add vanilla and half-and-half. For foamy cocoa, beat hot cocoa with hand mixer or transfer to blender and blend until foamy. Divide between four mugs, top with whipped cream or marshmallows if desired, and serve immediately.
Excerpted by permission of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine
Your classic marinade … is to use a bottle of Italian salad dressing. And … the common thinking is that the acid — the vinegar in the salad dressing, or lemon juice, or red wine — is somehow tenderizing the meat. And you will read this in a lot of classic cooking manuals, that an acidic marinade will make meat more tender.
“It will, in fact, make the outer layer of the meat a bit mushy, but what it’s really doing is pulling moisture out of the meat and making it drier. And there isn’t really a great way to tenderize a cut that’s going to be cooking very quickly for instance on the grill, but you can make it juicier, and juiciness, when it gets to eating the steak, often is equated with tenderness once it’s in our mouth.
“So we use a salt-based marinade; you can use salt itself, you can use a salty ingredient like soy sauce, and then mix that with the garlic, with all the seasonings you want to use. And what you’re basically doing is, the salt penetrates very quickly into the meat and changes the structure of the muscle proteins, so that when the muscle proteins are cooked, they will hold on to more of their juices.”
Photo credit: Larry Crowe/AP
“Glutamates …[are] savory compounds; your taste receptors will pick that up and say wow, that’s nice and savory. But anchovies, in particular, they contain something else. It’s another compound called a nucleotide — and a nucleotide plus a glutamate basically is a savory explosion. It really amps up the flavor of the glutamates 20, 30, even perhaps 40 times. So if you’re tasting beef on its own, or soy sauce, or any of those glutamate-rich ingredients, your tongue will say wow that’s very beefy. You add something with nucleotides in it, say anchovies, and you’ll say this is the best beef stew ever. It tastes so much more meaty than meat.”
Photo credit: Stefania Pomponi Butler
I Might Be Wrong
I mentioned a short while ago that this was the best bread I’ve ever made. America’s Test Kitchen really hit one out with their recipe for cinnamon swirl bread because the effort is rewarded with superior results.
So, today as part of my day-off therapy, I decided to make another batch. It’s all wrapped up and awaiting my wife for her return.
But I also decided to experiment.
I liked baked goods in general. Sweet ones, especially. In Italy, for breakfast we’d often stop for pane al cioccolato and an espresso. Bold, buttery bread with dark, intense chocolate. It’s worth it to go back just for that.
That thought led me to a question: what if I swap raisins for chocolate chips and natural unsweetened cocoa for the cinnamon?
This. Is. Incredible.
I used Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chocolate bits as well as their unsweetened cocoa. The results are simply amazing.
Better? Perhaps. How about, just as good as.
New addition to the "Cookbooks for you to buy" tab! (:
The America’s Test Kitchen HEALTHY Family Cookbook!
They just came out with this awesome new America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook! I absolutely love it! It has every recipe you could every imagine but the healthier version of it! I love the fact that it is beginner-friendly too, it has a whole chapter focused on “Getting started”. I would definitely recommend this cookbook! It’s very vegetarian and vegan friendly as it has many tofu and veggie options!
It’s chapters include:
- Healthy Start
- Appetizers & Healthy Snacks
- Soups, Stews & Chilis
- Rice, Grains & Beans
- Fish & Shellfish
- Vegetarian Entrees
- Stir-fries & Curries
- Pizza & Tarts
- Whole Grain Rolls & Loaves
- Quick Breads
- Cookies & Bars
- Fruit Desserts & More
- Kid Friendly
Also this isn’t a cookbook but I HIGHLY recommend buying a George Forman Grill!
You can get them from 15 dollars to 100 dollars! Depending on the size and quality. The reason I highly recommend you to buy one is because it drains all the fats of any meat you put in there! Even the leanest kind! It’s amazing and really cuts out calories and fat for you! I love mine. ALSO, it’s extremely handy as you hardly have to flip your piece of meat or do anything to it. Simply check on it every once in a while and voila it’s cooked! It’s really good for people who don’t know how to cook very well or just lazy people!