Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa

Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa

 

Looking at my note, written in a buzzed state outside a bar in the Highlands of Louisville, I questioned my sanity:  bacon, bourbon, hazelnut hot chocolate.

WHAT?

Yeah, I’m not exactly sure what Johnna and I were talking about when that idea came to me. After some bourbon and moving on to hard cider, you stop questioning things and just write down the ideas that you think are genius because you know you’ll never remember them if you don’t.

I thought I was far from genius as I tried to puzzle out how I would pull it off.

Bacon. Bourbon. Hazelnut. Hot Chocolate.

Seriously. What the hell?

I know I like to put bacon in my food like:

Dairy-Free Corn Chowder

Grain-Free Bacon & Veg Quiche

Kitchen Sink Pasta

Pumpkin Maple Bacon Pancakes

I thought this idea went too far because I couldn’t figure out how it should be done. It only took me eleven months to figure it out. Candied bacon.

This may be more steps than you want for hot cocoa, but it is worth it. You will need Hazelnut milk, which you can make with Hazelnut Butter. This is not necessarily easily available and where most of your prep time will be if you make it yourself. The end result is heavenly though. Mine came out fluffier than you would expect a nut butter to be.

This is not dairy-free because of the whipped cream I used. I can’t make coconut whipped cream because of my allergies, but I think it would work well with this. If you can’t have dairy or coconut, there are lots of nut whipped cream recipes online. And if you can’t have nuts try marshmallows! I prefer marshmallows in my hot cocoa, but because of my corn allergy I need to make my own and I wasn’t up to the task when I developed this last week. I had a lot of other things on my plate.

I’m pretty sure you can make the candied bacon with coconut bacon if you are vegetarian or vegan. I’m guessing some of my followers will be trying it with candied bacon and letting me know.

Candied Bacon

2 teaspoons honey (or pure maple syrup)

½ teaspoon bourbon

2 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 300 and line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper. Mix together the honey and bourbon. Lay out bacon slices on the tray and brush half the mixture over the bacon. Turn slices over and brush remaining mixture on the other side. Bake for up to 30 minutes or until bacon is browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool before chopping into pieces.

Hazelnut Butter

3 cups hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Spread hazelnuts evenly on a baking tray. Roast them for 10-15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place hazelnuts between two towel and rub together to remove the skins or place in paper bag and rub them together in the bag. Remove as much of the remaining skins as possible and place the nuts in a food processor. Add a pinch or two of salt if desired. Process the nuts until you have a creamy nut butter consistency, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Creamy Hazelnut Milk

4 cups  filtered water

4 tablespoons Hazelnut Butter

Add ingredients to a blender and blend on high for a at least one minute. Transfer to an airtight liquid container and store in the refrigerator. Shake before using.Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa 2

Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa

1 ½ cups Creamy Hazelnut Milk

1 – 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or Dutch processed cocoa)

1 tablespoon raw local honey or pure maple syrup (or other sweetener of your choice)

1 teaspoon maca root powder (optional)

1 ounce bourbon

Whipped cream (of choice)

Candied Bacon, chopped

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add cacao powder, mace root powder, and sweetener of choice. Whisk together until well-incorporated and allow to continue to heat. Add in bourbon and remove from heat, whisking together before pouring into a mug. Top with whipped cream then candied bacon.

Lemon Potato Salad

Lemon Potato SaladI love potato salad, but I’m back to my body not liking eggs. That means no mayonnaise based dressings common in some of our favorite summer salads with substance. I’m also back to no vinegar, which was part of my yeast-free diet. Hello dressings made with citrus and olive oil.

Now I don’t normally fix big meals that you typically think go along with potato salad. You know what I mean, the big picnic/BBQ meals with a table full of food. No, I made this potato salad to go along with a green salad and grilled chicken. I just wanted a little starch with my meal without reaching for the grains. I would definitely eat this with some top notch ribs or with a lettuce-wrapped hot dog.

Lemon Potato Salad – serves 6-8

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped

3 green onions, white & green parts sliced

3 celery stalks, sliced

1/2 lemon, juiced

olive oil (equal to volume of lemon juice)

salt

pepper

Boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain and add to a medium mixing bowl then refrigerate. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the green onions, celery, and dressing to the potatoes and toss together. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

Kielbasa Stir Fry

You might be thinking, kielbasa stir fry? Is Debi mad?

I just might be, but this is something I’ve made for nearly twenty years because my roommate and I were trying to figure out something cheap and easy. Kielbasa and frozen mixed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots over rice (because rice is the staple back home). Kielbasa stir fry was born.

Making it with the frozen vegetable mix makes it super easy. Your only prep is slicing the kielbasa. For best results thaw the vegetables first and drain to get rid of as much liquid as you can. If you throw them in frozen, that’s okay, too. It will take longer to cook and you’ll need to drain off liquid.

You can make this with fresh vegetables as I did in the picture above, too. You can either blanch your vegetables to get them to cook faster or just throw them in your wok/skillet. I like using the broccolette as I did above because it cooks faster than broccoli and I don’t feel the need to take the extra step to blanch. Why dirty more pots?

I sometimes double this recipe knowing we won’t have leftovers, especially if I don’t serve it with rice, because we tend to get seconds on this.

Kielbasa Stir Fry serves 3-4

1 pound kielbasa, sliced

1 pound California mix vegetables (frozen), thawed (optional)  OR 1 onion, halved & sliced; 2 bunches broccolette or broccoli, chopped; & 3 carrots, sliced thin

salt

pepper

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add kielbasa, stir minimally and let it sweat. If using frozen vegetables, let the kielbasa brown then remove. Add vegetables and season with salt and pepper. If the vegetables were still frozen, keep an eye on the liquid and drain it off if too much accumulates at the bottom. If you are using fresh vegetables, add in the onion once the kielbasa is sweating and let the onions sweat for a few minutes. Do not do a lot of stirring. Add in the remaining vegetables on top and season with salt and pepper. Let the vegetables remain on the top to catch steam as the kielbasa and onion start to brown. After a few minutes, stir and leave to cook for a few minutes. Repeat this until the broccolette/broccoli and carrots are uniformly bright in color. Remove from heat.

Serve over rice or cauliflower rice.