Feliz Navidad. Feliz Cumpleaños Jesus. Prospero Año Nuevo. Translation: Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday Jesus, Happy New Year, respectively. I should probably add Feliz Aniversario (Happy Anniversary) since I’ve officially been blogging for a year today. Thanks to those loyal folks who have been following along and if you are new, well, “Hola!” I’ve decided I’m going to infuse more topics into the blog this year since it’s getting a little food-heavy. Oh don’t worry, we will still talk about food and I’ll be cooking and sharing recipes. I’m a well-rounded gal and just feel like we need to kick this up a notch and discuss some additional interests.
So, if you are wondering what all of this Spanish is about, I took a little jaunt to Mexico during the holidays. I was also there for the Mayan Apocalypse. I’m pleased to report that everything is under control in Mexico. You’re welcome. I’m glad I could help save the world through numerous tequila shots and failed bicycle riding attempts. Yes, it’s true. Among many discoveries on this vacay, I realized I can no longer ride a bicycle. You know that expression, “You never forget. It’s just like riding a bicycle?” Well, guess what? That’s a big, fat fallacy. I’m lucky I didn’t face plant on a rock. Instead, I wound up on a “Mayan Limo” (a bicycle cart) to preserve both my street cred and front teeth. Have I made a resolution to learn how to ride a bike again? Nah, screw it. I forgot how much bikes hurt my crotch and that I just can’t deal with hand brakes. But if I were to ride another bicycle, I’d definitely want my old Huffy Desert Rose banana seat cruiser, baby. That was the only bike I ever loved. I even had streamers, a basket and a bell. Cha-ching. Once my parents got me a ten-speed it was all over. I had no more interest in bikes. I moved on to Rollerblades.
While on this Mexican adventure, I also realized something else about myself: I’m not cut out for all-inclusives. Lady Sensory just likes to wander from the resort too much to get some local flavor. In fact, nothing made me miss my time wandering around France more than staying in an all-inclusive in Mexico. I’ll be providing more details on this in the coming weeks on that but in the meantime, it’s hella-cold out so let’s make something Mexican-inspired and special before my fickle Libran brain has me occupied with something else that’s shiny.
During one of my “off-campus outings,” I sampled some Mayan sipping chocolate from Ah Cacao. It was around 80 degrees and I still sucked that hot chocolate down faster than Sweet Brown does cold pop in the middle of an apartment fire. It was one of the most delicious things I have ever had in my life. It was also a teeny, tiny, espresso-sized cup. I went with the small size since I’d been shoving my face with booze and food at the all-inclusive. My version of this cocoa is a little larger, but not any less decadent in flavor. It could serve 2 people or one American person who doesn’t give a flying you-know-what about New Year’s resolutions or portion control. You can substitute milk and water with 2 cups of almond milk to get that almond flavor featured in some Mexican hot chocolates. I’ve tried this with both and actually prefer the regular milk (the chocolate melts more smoothly in the milk – it’s a textural thing). The citrus and ancho chile really made the difference for me because the sipping chocolate I sampled was spicy and featured very slight hints of fruit. That very well could have been the type of chocolate in the drink, but for now we’re just going to go with this.
Lady Sensory’s I’ll Stop the World and Melt with You Xocolatl
1 1/2 cups 2 % milk
1/2 cup water
4 oz bittersweet chocolate (around 70% cacao is preferred)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches (approx 1/4 tsp) ancho chili powder
One pinch (approx 1/8 tsp) of each: cayenne pepper, freshly ground nutmeg and allspice
1/4 tsp finely grated zest of one small orange or clementine (I used a clementine)
I really have to provide a pinch disclaimer: when I pinch I really do pinch, people. I merely provide the measurements as a guide. So I must recommend that you pinch where I pinch because in the long run, you’ll probably be much happier getting your pinch on than messing with those darn measuring spoons. Warm the milk in a heavy, medium (2.5 qt) saucepan, add honey, dried spices and zest. When the milk starts to slightly bubble but not boil (do not scald the milk!), add the chopped chocolate and use a Mexican chocolate whisk known as a molinillo (or you can use a regular whisk) until slightly frothy (about 1 minute). Add vanilla and remove from heat and whisk 1 more minute.
Pour cocoa into a fun mug and check me out with a “Mayan” and a conch shell. What is it with these holiday conch shell incidents? Savor the chocolate deliciousness. I’d tell you, “You only live once,” but Drake thinks he owns that phrase now. If I were his publicist I’d recommend that he shut his piehole and use his energy toward something more constructive. Oy vey. Celebrities are really getting on my nerves these days. What kinds of constructive things are you doing in 2013? Feel free to share!