Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hot choco/Hot Spiced Apple Cider/Herbed Pork Chops/Pecan-Pie Bars

Hot Chocolate

3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate or your favorite bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
dash of salt
4 1/2 cups milk

Heat the chocolate and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Stir in the sugar and salt. Heat to boiling then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the milk. Heat just until hot, do not boil because skin will form on top.

Beat with a hand beater until foamy or stir until smooth, then serve immediately.

Makes 6 cups.


A Lighter Version:

Substitute 1/3 cup baking cocoa for the chocolate and use skim milk. Mix the cocoa, sugar and salt in the saucepan. Stir in the water and bring to a boil. Continue as in the recipe above.


Hot Spiced Fresh Apple Cider

6 cups fresh apple cider
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 sticks cinnamon

Heat all the ingredients to boiling in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Strain the cider mixture to remove the cloves and cinnamon, if desired.

Makes 6 cups.


Hot Buttered Rum-Spiced Cider

Hot Buttered Rum-Spiced Cider:
Prepare the cider as above. For each serving, place 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of packed brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of rum in a mug. Fill the mug with hot cider.

If you want the rum taste but not the alcohol, simply replace the rum with just a few drops of rum flavoring.


Herbed Pork Cutlets

1 egg
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound fast fry pork cutlets
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a shallow dish, lightly beat egg. In a separate shallow dish, stir together bread crumbs, basil, oregano, parmesan cheese, thyme, pepper and salt. Dip pork into egg to coat well, then press into bread crumb mixture, turning to coat all over.

In a large skillet, heat half of the oil over medium heat. Cook pork, in batches and adding remaining oil if necessary, turning once, for 8-10 minutes or until just a hint of pink remains inside.

Makes 4 servings.


Pecan-Pie Bars

1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl mix flour and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. With fingers, work in 1/2 cup of butter until the dough begins to hold together. Press onto bottom of greased 9 inch square baking pan.
Bake in preheated 350°F oven 12-15 minutes or just until firm.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat 1/2 cup brown sugar and the eggs. Add corn syrup, pecans, melted butter, vanilla and salt. Mix well. Pour over crust.
Bake 25 minutes or just until edges are lightly browned.

Cool in pan on rack.
Cut into 3x1 inch bars. Makes 27.

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