Compound butter is a mixture of butter with fresh herbs, spices, cheese, or any other ingredient. It can be used as an instant sauce melted over steak, fish, or poultry as well as used as an ingredient in recipes. Our spicy garlic and parmesan compound […]
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! In our house, we aren’t too fussy about Valentine’s Day. We give one another a hug, a kiss, and a card. That is pretty much it. Yeah, we are pretty chill. But this year it was going to be […]
Wait… Is there a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa?
Ahhh it is cold out and all you want in the world is a hot beverage to keep you warm. You go into the pantry and fridge, whip some ingredients together, and viola you have a steaming cup of hot chocolate to sip on. But wait, is that cup of yummy chocolaty goodness actually hot chocolate…or is it hot cocoa? Though often used interchangeably, it may surprise you (it definitely surprised me) that there is actually a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa. But what exactly is the difference?
What is hot chocolate? Also known as drinking or melting chocolate, hot chocolate is made using good-quality milk, dark, or white chocolate. Chocolate must be chopped finely to melt properly when mixed into milk or cream. Hot chocolate tends to be less sweet because there is no added sugar. All of the sugar is in the chocolate! Hot chocolate is decadently thick and smooth to drink. On the other hand, I personally believe hot cocoa’s texture is very gritty (guess which I prefer). People often include vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, marshmallows, or other chili peppers to add an extra punch of flavor.
What is hot cocoa? Hot cocoa consists of a mixture made of cocoa powder, sugar, and preferred spices. The powdered mixture is poured into hot milk or water. Then you just stir to combine! Typically, hot cocoa is lighter and less creamy than hot chocolate. It also tends to be sweeter as a result of the added sugar. Many people choose to add flavors like vanilla or cinnamon. All of the pre-made mixes you have had as a child are definitely 100% hot cocoa.
Personally I prefer hot chocolate. One of my favorite versions is our White Hot Chocolate. On the other hand, Elizabeth loves an easy-to-mix-in cocoa powder. She is team hot cocoa all the way!
Which do you prefer between hot chocolate and hot cocoa? Let us know in the comment section below!
It’s marshmallow making time! In our last post we made a beautifully decadent white hot chocolate. But, you can’t have hot chocolate without marshmallows right? I love white chocolate and peppermint. They are a great combination in Christmas peppermint bark, mints, and apparently (though I […]
White hot chocolate is not made from a powdered mix. Instead it is a mixture of good-quality chocolate, whole cream, milk, and vanilla. This creamy and smooth beverage is less sweet than cocoa, with no extra added sugar, but even more rich and decadent. […]
Yeah! It’s Kimchi time! A word of warning, there are pictures of me here in sweatpants, no makeup, and very unkempt hair. Comfy clothes were made for the holidays, right?! We are all sloppy once in a while, aren’t we? No one ALWAYS looks perfect…unless everyone else does and I am a complete anomaly. Oh please no… let everyone look like this at home too!
But, that is totally off topic. Let’s get back to Kimchi!! Kimchi is a stable side dish in Korean culture and cuisine. There are hundreds of different varieties differing in ingredients and regions. My beau’s family recipe has passed down from generation to generation through the females in the home.
When it is time to make kimchi, the entire extended family comes together for a day. They make enough for each home for the year! (We made 10 heads of cabbage. My beau said this may last a few weeks.) This is a time when the eldest female, in my beau’s case his grandmother, has the most authority over everyone else. She is wise and all-knowing, having made kimchi each and every year since she was a child. She is someone who has helped to cook with her parents and grandparents and is now cooking for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. How many mouths has she helped feed over the years? The thought makes me sit back, wonder, and image.
I can picture my beau’s mother rushing to the door to help the extended aunts, cousins, daughters, and sisters carry in the supplies. At this point, the men would be told to get scarce and stay out of the way. My beau’s grandmother would start giving orders.
First the big buckets would be placed out. The cabbage would be rinsed and scrubbed in a salt bath and would sit for a few hours. His grandmother would continue to squat over the buckets and check each person’s work throughout the process, noting when something wasn’t right.
They would then slice up radishes and other remaining ingredients, cook the red mixture that is added between eat cabbage layer, and patiently, one leaf at a time, cover the cabbage with the spicy but sweet red pepper mixture. I can picture everyone catching up with one another, chatting away during this process. A moment when everyone is together is rare for any family. And finally once the day and cooking is complete, and Grandmother is satisfied with the flavor, everyone sits down for a wonderful family meal and the kimchi is distributed to each family unit to take home.
The traditional fermentation process included burying the kimchi in jars in the ground. The ground temperature is perfect during the fall and winter for the fermentation process. Today, most families have their own ‘Kimchi Fridge’ that is separate from the one that houses for all other perishable foods. The reason for this is three-fold.
1) The first reason is the temperature settings of a kimchi fridge differ from our normal refrigerators. It’s design imitates the temperature of the ground and produce perfectly fermented kimchi.
2) The second reason is that kimchi has a permeating smell and taste that can seep into other foods stored in the fridge. Who wants kimchi flavor when drinking milk or eating cheese, right?
3) The third reason is the volume of kimchi. Koreans make it once a year. However, I neglected to mention Koreans serve kimchi at EVERY meal EVERY day of the year. That is a lot of kimchi. It takes up space! Not to mention that most families have multiple types!
This winter my sister and I gave our father a fermentation jar. Here’s the jar we bought. Our father loves all things fermented, whether it be sauerkraut or kimchi, and is also a giant fan of a good chemistry project. Put the two together, and we decided it was the perfect gift! Our first attempt at using the jar was with kimchi.
It was my family’s and my boyfriend’s first time making kimchi, because the process is a tradition the women of the family inherit. We wanted to share our experience with you! This post does not have a recipe attached because it was our first time making anything fermented. Once we have adapted a recipe and I have learned how to make it properly from my beau’s mother, we will share a recipe with you. For now it is just a story! It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend everyone trying to make it!
It’s a Saturday morning, and I stare at the ceiling for awhile before sitting up to stretch. Forcing myself up and scratching my head, I shuffle out of my room to the kitchen to start the water boiling. For a while, I fiddle with […]
Burrrr!! It is so cold out. With work canceled and a crazy snow storm raging outside, I decided it is the perfect time to make one of my beau’s favorite traditional Korean winter sweet-treats. Today we are going to learn how to make Korean 뽑기 […]
“Yum! Yum yum yum! YUMMY!!” is basically all I can say while concentrating all my attention on stuffing my mouth full of these spicy roasted jalapeno poppers. I am literally obsessed and could probably consume them on a daily basis. I first tried these little bundles of joy while staying with my grandmother while traveling through for work. Since then, I make sure she has all the ingredients ready when I show up for a visit. These little bites are an easy go-to party appetizer or game day treat. They are easy to make and even easier to consume (unless, of course, you get an extremely spicy jalapeno. Do not drink water! It doesn’t help! Grab some milk and chug it down.).
The rest of the family got to finally try these over Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s. It was our appetizer before our yearly Thanksgiving-Eve oysters which we posted about a week or two back. We promised in our last post to send our recipe along to all of you! So here it is! The recipe is based off of Jimmy Dean’s own personal jalapeno popper recipe. We have altered it to our own family’s taste.
First, halve each jalapeno from stem to end. Remove all of the seeds and white membrane. Remember, the more seeds and membrane you leave the hotter the peppers will be! Because of how hot peppers can be, especially their oils, I recommend wearing plastic gloves while de-seeding. Sometimes the peppers can cause a burning sensation on your hands (and anywhere else your hands touch, like your eyes!). If you do not have plastic gloves, use a plastic Ziploc to cover the hand handling the pepper.
Once all of the jalapenos are halved, it is time to work on the filling. First, choose any stove-top pan. We personally use a cast iron. Everything cooked in a cast iron tastes better because of all of the layers of seasoning left on the skillet from cooking projects past!
After taking out your nifty pan or skillet, add in the sausage. You do not need to add extra cooking oil to any nonstick pan or skillet. The sausage has its own oils. If the sausage does start to stick, you can aid JUST A LITTLE oil to the pan. But honestly, it is really unnecessary. We personally use Jimmy Dean’s hot sausage. Cook the sausage on medium high heat. Stir continuously so the sausage breaks up and cooks through completely.
Once the sausage has cooked, add in the cream cheese. It is easier to melt the cream cheese if you cut the block into smaller pieces. While the cream cheese melts, continue to stir so the sausage doesn’t burn and cheese completely incorporates. Once all of the cheese and sausage are combined into a gooey mess of yumminess, turn off the stove and leave to cool for a few minutes. The mixture is easier to spoon into the jalapenos when cooled because the cheese does not slide around nearly as much.
All that is left is to spoon the creamy cheesy mixture into the jalapenos. After that, you just have to pop the jalapeno poppers into the oven and cook until they are sizzling and bubbling. Enjoy!
Spicy Roasted Jalapeno Poppers
These Jalapeno Poppers are stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese and sausage and then baked until hot and sizzling. Rich, creamy, and extra-spicy, they are perfect for appetizers or devouring as a snack!
- 1 Pack of Sausage (Jimmy Dean Hot Sausage)
- 8 oz Pack of Creme Cheese
- 16 Jalapenos halved
- Step 1 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- Step 2 2. Cut the jalapenos in half and remove the seeds
- Step 3 3. Cook the sausage in a skillet
- Step 4 4. Add the creme cheese to the pan and stir into the sausage until completely combined
- Step 5 5. Line a baking sheet (preferably one with a lip) with aluminum foil for easier clean-up, then line up the jalapenos with their inside facing up
- Step 6 6. Top the jalapenos with the sausage/creme cheese filling and place in the oven at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 min or until bubbling and golden
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This past month my sister and I have been extremely busy with work, dealing with horrible colds, and spending time with our family. Time slipped away from us but now we are officially back with a few […]