I’m shocked to say that I think this might be one of the only stews on this entire blog. When I realized this, I was shook! I grew up eating stews of all kinds because my mother believed in the power of warm food on a cold day. It can turn your mood completely around and feel like you just ate a huge hug.
In film school I was known—and yes, I say this braggingly–to always have the best food on my sets. I would approach local restaurants and ask for a donation, i.e., meals. And they would happily cater our shoots because we were poor college students of the arts and they loved what we created. Panera was one of those places that donated. And on one of the coldest days in October, we had their broccoli and cheddar soup with sandwiches and bread and salads; it transformed everyone’s mood. It was magical to see what the power of a good meal could do for people working hard.
I’m super happy to be teaming up with Panera for this post to speak about their new six-episode video series called Food Interrupted. Each episode follows leaders in the food world as they meet everyday heroes who have dedicated their lives to changing America’s food system. The fifth episode, Meat Interrupted, follows two chefs learning and showing ways to humanely raise animals. They speak about the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed, And the ways cows should live out their lives in fields of grass. It’s a fun watch, here’s a link!
I admittedly don’t eat an enormous amount of meat. I love vegetables (and cake) but when I do eat meat, I try and eat responsibly-raised meat. It’s not always easy for everyone due to access and budget, I totally understand this. However, Panera is committed to using responsibly-sourced, antibiotic free meat in their establishments and I think that’s really awesome. Continue Reading
I don’t think anyone would argue that hot chocolate is the coziest of cozy drinks. And since this is lil’ blog is called A Cozy Kitchen I think I’ve gone way too long without sharing a proper hot chocolate recipe. And not just any hot chocolate but the fanciest of hot chocolates.
Let’s talk about the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate. Hot cocoa is exactly that – cocoa powder dissolved into milk or (God forbid) water. I have good memories of hot cocoa, actually. When I was a kid, I used to sit in my way-too-long PJ t-shirt and watch cartoons, sipping on Swiss Miss. I also loooved dipping whole wheat bread into my hot cocoa. (I was a weird child.)
But during the holidays, it was always hot chocolate. My mom would tell us stories about how in Peru, on Christmas Eve, right before midnight mass, a big pot of hot chocolate was made. They’d take big blocks of chocolate, melt it and then mix it into warm milk until it dissolved. Real, thick hot chocolate is a game changer.
If it’s cold where you live and you’re feeling some fancy-ass hot chocolate, here’s what you need to do. There’s like two or three steps–this ain’t rocket science.
Step 1: Get your hands on some good chocolate. I had some Scharffenberger chocolate in my pantry. Other brands I love: Tcho, Green & Black or Ghiradelli. I chose a bittersweet (70%) to use in this hot chocolate. I think it adds a nice depth and lends a lot of richness to this hot chocolate, but feel free to go sweeter if you like.
Step 2: Don’t be shy to add some other stuff like a cinnamon stick, 1/4 of a vanilla bean, some Ancho chile powder and salt. I looove steeping the milk with a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean–it smells like heaven.
I have another potato with cheese (and cheese) and butter recipe for you.
I swear I’m not trying to kill you; it’s just I like cheese.
I kinda figure it’s like math…you know, two negatives make a positive, OR depending on your life perspective, two positives make a big gigantic cheesy, calorie-filled positive. I consider myself a super optimissitc person, so I’ll go with the latter.
If you are too, then hop over to PW’s Tasty Kitchen blog where I did a guest blogging situation. You’ll find: step-by-step pictures, the recipe and me waxing poetic about cheese and butter. You know, THE USUAL!!!
P.S. I’ll post a recipe of some salad soon. Or not.