Jan 1, 2008

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Delicious Dating
By Natalie Mitts
If the winter weather is wearing down your spirits, find a date and make the most of it! To start, go shopping for winter clothes - gloves, mittens, scarves and hats. You can never have enough.

If you're brave, hit up a local thrift store to see what outrageous items you can find for little cost. Don't be afraid to pair an orange scarf with some bright pink gloves.

Next, wear your new winter accessories out in the cold. Make some snow angels or go sledding at Rock Canyon Park. Even take your snowboard out for a try if you don't feel like hitting the slopes quite yet.

After being out in the cold, go inside to warm up with some homemade hot cocoa. Try out Chef John's Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe!

Mexican Hot Chocolate


  • 3 tablespoons instant hot chocolate mix
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch chili powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup boiling water


  1. In a large mug, mix the hot chocolate mix, chocolate syrup, cinnamon, and chili powder. Pour in the milk. Add the boiling water and stir.

Sit back, sip your cocoa and relax with a holiday movie. We recommend Jimmy Stewart's "The Shop Around the Corner." It's the 1940 version of "You've Got Mail." Stewart and his co-worker fight constantly on the job, but he soon realizes they're secret pen pals.
With new clothes, a full stomach and snow falling outside, now you're really in the holiday spirit.

Microplane Grater

The new gadget to get your hands on is the Microplane® grater. The company uses chemicals to make its tools much sharper than the average grater. The graters come in a variety of different sizes - from small to large, thin to wide, there is a grater for every kind of food. There are fine, medium, coarse and extra coarse blades. Don't fret about the price because items cost from $9 to $16 and will last much longer than a cheap grater from the grocery store. Three-piece sets are also available at $35 and up. These graters are perfect for slicing cheese, chocolate or even potatoes. Special zesters make cooking with nutmeg much easier. If you're not completely convinced yet, check out the "try-me" zester for only $1.99. Available at kitchen specialty stores or online at microplane.com, these items are definitely worth looking at.

Deep Fryin'

Helpful HintsHint #1: Use caution and common sense when frying! Cooking with hot oil can result in serious fires. If you are cooking with oil, and it begins emitting smoke, turn off the heat immediately and let it cool down - your oil is too hot and could cause a fire. You may have to adjust the heat of your burner occasionally to keep your food cooking but not burning. A medium heat is usually sufficient for most things. Adding a little salt to your oil can help prevent the oil from "spitting". Consult a professional before attempting to cook with oil. There are also a lot of good safety guides available on the internet. By taking precautions, you could be preventing serious injuries and even deaths.

Hint #2: To keep your food crispy after it is fried, cool it on a baker's cooling rack. You can place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels to catch the excess oil.

Hint #3: For battered fish, try layering your batter mixture in a dry-wet-dry procedure. First pat your fish dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Then roll the fish in your dry mixture. Then dip it in the wet mixture. Then roll it in the dry mixture again. This will make your fish crispier in general.

Hint #4: Use a blend of oils to give your food a better flavor. If you need a lighter flavor, you can use more canola oil. For heavier flavors, peanut and olive oils are useful. Small amounts of coconut oil or a few drops of sesame oil can add an additional layer of flavor.

Hint#5: Use only fresh oil. Don't reuse oil that has been used to cook meals previously. Your food will taste fresher, and your oil will not begin smoking as fast.