Because our weather yesterday afternoon was perfect for drinking hot chocolate, I indulged in an adult version of the favorite childhood treat – a decadently rich, dark version of hot chocolate, with allspice, orange peel, vanilla, and a hint of black pepper.
I’m not sure if I left out a half-cup of liquid, but it came out a little too thick – like drinking molten chocolate – so I thinned it with some boiling water. Later on, in the evening, I indulged in a second mug – this time with the optional shot of spiced rum suggested in the recipe’s variations.
The recipe for The Duke’s Hot Chocolate is available online here, and comes from The Splendid Table, a weekly podcast by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Lynne knows everything about cooking, but her specialty is Italian food, and the duke for whom this hot chocolate was created in 1632 was Bolognese. The duke apparently knew a good thing when he tasted it.
As well as being behind on listening to Misery for the Misery Readalong, I’m behind on listening to my favorite podcasts – including The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper – due to an embarrassing accident involving my beloved, old, slightly cracked iPod Touch; a very shallow back pocket; and a not yet used toilet.*
Since my phone is bulky and doesn’t fit any of my iPod gear or work with the version of iTunes I was using for all my audiobook and podcast listening, I’ve been drowning my sorrows with copious amounts of iced coffee lately. This weekend I decided to break out the specialty coffee I got for Mother’s Day.
Last time everyone was home, a family argument broke out over how we made iced coffee, because I had switched methods without informing my husband. (We’d never win on that TV show where you have to know everything about what the other spouse would say.) I had remembered reading in one of Lynne’s cookbooks that pouring double-strength, hot coffee immediately over ice was the best way to seal in the fresh-brewed flavor, so I started making iced coffee that way last summer, instead of putting freshly brewed coffee directly into the refrigerator, the way I had been doing.
Weekend Cooking is a weekly feature hosted by Beth Fish Reads linking up food-related posts. Click here to check out Weekend Cooking posts from Beth Fish Reads and other blogs.
In addition to being a fan of the King Arthur Flour blog, I’m a big fan of The Splendid Table podcast hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and produced by Sally Swift for American Public Media. Although Lynne is an award-winning cookbook author, as well as a versatile and well-traveled home cook, The Splendid Table is much more than just a cooking show. On the air, Lynne describes her radio show alternately as “The Splendid Table – a show for people who love to eat” or “The Splendid Table – a show about life’s appetites“. I’ve been listening for a couple of years now, but just found out that the weekly show has been running since 1994, with over 500 episodes since its start on Minnesota Public Radio. (With the podcast, you can listen when you can and don’t have to worry about what time the radio show is broadcast or whether it is broadcast in your part of the world.)
Invited guests come on The Splendid Table to talk about food-related topics like wine; cheese; honey; coffee; olive oil; specific dishes like kimchi; and wider topics like what makes Tex-Mex Tex-Mex. In any one episode, Lynne might report results of taste-testing soy sauces; visit a chef for his/her Key 3 recipes that everyone should know how to make; and invite a celebrity judge on for her Stump the Cook game. She also regularly invites authors and cookbook authors onto the show; 2013 guests so far have included Mark Bittman, Michael Moss (author of Salt, Sugar, Fat), and Bee Wilson (author of Consider the Fork), as well as Jacques Pépin, Nigella Lawson, and Isaac Mizrahi (fun!). Road Food specialists Jane and Michael Stern are regular guests on the show, sharing their off-the-beaten path dining discoveries.
This week’s episode, for example, features Bouchon Bakery chefs on pie crust and pastry; a Mexican chef on Middle Eastern influences on modern-day Mexican food; L.A. Times food editor Russ Parsons’ summer reading suggestions; and the chef from The Perennial Plate on Turkish honey; along with Jane and Michael Stern’s list of restaurants serving the hottest (spiciest) food in the U.S.
I’ve got the 2011 Splendid Table cookbook, How to Eat Weekends, which has beautiful photography and complex recipes for weekend cooking. Maybe a little too complex for me until I’m retired. I’ve only tried one recipe from it so far, Oven-Roasted Carrots with Preserved Lemon & Allspice, which was really good. (In the meantime, I may need the earlier cookbook from 2008, How to Eat Supper, which is geared toward simpler weeknight meals.)
Eating In with Lynne is something new from The Splendid Table – a quarterly ebook with seasonal recipes. I bought Volume 1 (Spring) and didn’t use it, then bought Volume 2 (Summer) and vowed to make something from it as soon as it was downloaded to my Nook so it wouldn’t sit there unused like Volume 1.
Over the course of the show, Lynne has introduced me to many new ingredients, such as preserved lemons. Recipes in Eating In with Lynne added smoked sweet paprika, Spanish sherry vinegar, and ground Aleppo chile pepper to my shopping list, as well as cornichons (small French pickles) and spearmint leaves. (The only one of these ingredients we’ve found locally so far is the paprika, but not in any of the brands she recommends, so it’s time for substitutions or more of a hunt.)
Here are a few Eating In, Vol. 2 chapter headings, as a sample:
Choosing Smoked Spanish Paprika
Piquant Peach Icebox Relish
Plum Red Wine Compote with Smoky Bits
Technique: Iced Tea: Three Tips and One Caution
Technique: Iced Coffee: The Art of Concentration
I hope to try all of the recipes in Volume 2 this summer, from Slow-Grilled Party Steak with Green Herb Salsa to Vanilla-Bean-Cardamom Strawberries, but the one I made this past weekend was Tomato-Nectarine Salad (pictured on the cover of the ebook.) With Lynne’s permission, I substituted peaches for the nectarines.
Basically, the recipe calls for slices of small garden tomatoes, peaches, and red onion to be layered on a platter, sprinkled with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes, drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar, and topped with salted pistachios. (Which I just see now were supposed to be lightly crushed, oops!)
It was delicious! The combination of fresh peaches and tomatoes was great, and so summery!