Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I purchased this love spoon at a wood craft show that is held every year in the Little Amanas usually the first week in August. My mom and I used to go to it every year.  The artist told me that young men would carve love spoons for their new bride as a gift of love.  The artist also told me it was a tradition in Denmark and Germany.  Being of Danish and German roots, I bought this one in honor of my love for my mother and have it on my kitchen wall.  It will always be there in honor of her and all the meals she prepared for us 8 kids over the years. 

In researching it, I find out that the love spoon is an art form that dates back to the seventeenth century.  The earliest love spoon originates from Germany and is dated 1664.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and all moms.  Mom, you are my rock and my hero.  I love you with all my heart.  Thanks for always being there for me.  God bless you.

My mother.  She will be 87 May 26.  
Since it is Mother’s Day, I hope you are doing something special for your mother.  Here is a nice hot chocolate you can make for a brunch to celebrate her day. 


Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican hot chocolate is heavily spiced with cinnamon and is a much more complex drink than our hot chocolate.  When I was last in San Diego, I visited Old Town and picked some up Mexican Chocolate Bars and a molinillo (moh-lee-nee-yoh).  A molinillo is a wooden tool that is used to whisk the hot chocolate and make a nice froth on top.   You put the handle between you hands (your hands should be like you are praying) and roll your hands back in forth to mix and make froth.  You can buy chocolate tablets or bars (usually Ibarra or Nestle Abuelita brands on the internet) or make your own blend from scratch with chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla.  I’ve signed up for another Chicago market trip this summer and hope to buy some then to stock up for fall and winter.

To make your own, here is a recipe.

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I use Hershey’s Coco Powder)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 quart milk (For diary free this works well with Almond Milk)
1/4 cup half-and-half (Replace with Almond Milk if  you are going dairy free)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Heat 1 cup of milk in a saucepan until bubbling to help dissolve the powdered ingredients. Stir in cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 3 cups milk and return to simmer. Never boil your milk or it curdles. Before stirring, whisk until frothy (I use my molinillo, but you can use a whisk); stir in cream and vanilla and heat through again.

Pour the hot chocolate into cups. You can serve with a dollop of whipped cream but then the froth is lost and that is the best part.  

Serve it with warm Mexican Churros. 


Churros are like a sweet hot donuts.  You eat them just out of the fryer with cinnamon and sugar.  They are maravilloso (wonderful).  

Vegetable oil, for deep frying
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 stick butter
1 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg*
4 eggs

Fill a deep-fryer or large Dutch oven halfway with vegetable oil and heat to 350 degrees F.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a large shallow bowl, set aside.  Combine the butter, water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, lower to a medium heat and add the flour, and nutmeg, stirring constantly until it comes away from the pan and it forms a ball. Transfer dough to a bowl and use an electric mixer to help cool it off so you do not scrabble the eggs when you add them. At this point you can whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until it becomes a smooth batter. Transfer the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip.  Working in batches, carefully pipe 4-inch long ribbons directly into the hot oil to fry.  Use a kitchen scissors to cut the dough as you pipe it.  Fry until golden, turning if necessary, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels. Transfer the churros into the sugar/cinnamon mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately while still warm.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.

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