Coquito is a Puerto Rican beverage similar to eggnog or rompope (Mexican eggnog). It is traditionally enjoyed on nochebuena, or Christmas Eve. It is given out as a gift in festively wrapped bottles. Sweetened condensed milk is used to sweeten, evaporated milk is used instead of milk, and coconut milk and rum give it an island flair. Think of it as eggnog that went on vacation and is laying on a tropical beach with sun, Reggae music, and the scent of coconuts wafting in the breeze. The silky texture and tropical coconut flavor will certainly bring some festive cheer to your Christmas Eve celebrations.
from: Winter Cocktails
makes: two 750 ml bottles worth
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 (2 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and cut into rounds or 1 teaspoon chopped ginger from a jar
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk*
1 cup white rum
4 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, plus more for garnish
Bring evaporated milk, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger to a boil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain liquid through a fine-mesh strainer and discard solids. Let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Place spiced milk mixture, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, rum, egg yolks, vanilla, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg in a blender and blend until fully combined and foamy, 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour into chilled glasses and dust with additional cinnamon and nutmeg. If giving as a gift, or not serving right away, funnel into jars or bottles that have tight fitting lids and store in the fridge.
* Do not substitute cream of coconut for coconut milk-it will make the coquito far too sweet
There are few things I love better than a hot cup of cocoa. It is my dessert of choice any time of year, but especially when there is a decided nip in the air, the days turn dreary (a winter joy here in the Midwest ) and Christmas is around the corner. Hot cocoa always cheers and warms me right up. My cocoa tastes might not be so refined, as I love a small, decadent cup of thick drinking chocolate as much as a mug of Nestlé cocoa made with water. When I came across Smitten Kitchen’s post a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to make it. She adapted the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated by omitting the powdered milk, upping the cornstarch, reducing the salt and vanilla, and switching out the unsweetened chocolate for semi-sweet/bittersweet. I couldn’t locate my issue of Cook’s that had the recipe, and you have to subscribe separately online to see their online recipes, so I just decided to make her (almost) exact recipe. I’m not sure what the original recipe tastes like, but Deb’s adapted version had me curling my toes with joy. The only thing I did differently was to double it (duh), use 3 ounces each of bittersweet and semi-sweet, and I used the seeds from half a vanilla bean. I then made a cup (all in the name of taste-testing of course) with plain almond milk. Those of you who can’t/don’t drink cow’s milk rejoice. This hot cocoa is delicious sans dairy. My husband tells me it’s delicious with cow’s milk, so feel free to use whatever milk you like best. The next best thing to sitting by the fire/window with a mug of hot chocolate? Sharing it with friends and family. Put some in a jar with a note for directions and a tablespoon measure and you have a lovely homemade gift. Check out the wrapping ideas below.
slightly adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
yield: about 3 1/2 cups, which is about 18 to 19 servings
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds from a half of a fresh vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until powdery. If you don’t have a food processor, chop or grate the chocolate until it is as fine as you can get it, and stir it into the remaining ingredients. The cocoa mixture will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months.
To use: Heat one cup of milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steamy (do not let the milk boil, or the cocoa will taste “off”). Add 3 tablespoons hot cocoa mix. Whisk over heat just until the cocoa is hot and the mix is completely dissolved. Pour into mug, top with marshmallows or a dollop of whipped cream and some shaved chocolate. Grab a cozy seat by the fireplace, or if you don’t have a fireplace either, a seat by the window with a view of the twinkling Christmas tree.
ideas for hot cocoa mix:
in a mason jar with lid and tablespoon measure
in a bag inside a mug
in a basket along with homemade marshmallows or mini marshmallows, chocolate-dipped candy canes for stirring, and perhaps a bottle of…
Irish cream, dark rum, peppermint schnapps, Frangelico, or Kahlua for a yummy nip
This provocatively named cocktail is pleasantly tart and very smooth. It is stronger than it’s cousin the Sidecar, though perhaps lacks a bit of the Sidecar’s distinctive and enduring magic. (Recipe coming soon!) However, it is definitely a good cocktail when one is in the mood for something smooth with heavy notes of citrus.
from: Vintage Cocktails
makes: 1 cocktail
1 1/2 ounces V.S. Cognac
1/2 ounce Benedictine
1/2 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a burnt orange peel*
*Better than me trying to explain how to flame an orange peel, here is a nice article with video.
An easy and delicious vegetarian meal that is bursting with flavor.
slightly adapted from: Forest Feast
makes: about 4 or 5 tacos
1 small cauliflower head, cut into small florets
corn kernels from 2 ears (or about 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I used ancho with a dash of cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
feta cheese, crumbled
Toss the cauliflower and corn with enough olive to coat and add the pepper flakes, chili powder, garlic powder, and some salt and pepper. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet at 425 for 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is starting to get nicely browned around the edges.
Spoon into warmed tortillas and top each taco with a dollop of Greek yogurt, some feta cheese, and a few dashes of hot sauce.
adapted from: Ladie’s Home Journal July/August 2013
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (1-lb) pork tenderloin, silverskin removed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary, plus a few sprigs for garnish.
3 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons honey
Combine garlic powder, coriander, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Rub all over tenderloin and let sit for 30 -60 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese with the chopped rosemary. On a sheet of wax paper, shape the goat cheese into a log, roll into the wax paper and store in the refrigerator until needed.
Grill pork tenderloin directly over medium-high heat 6 minutes per side, turning once, until well browned. Move pork to indirect heat, cover grill, and cook for 6-10 minutes more until internal temperature is 130. Allow to rest 10 minutes. (Internal temperature will continue to rise to 145.)
Remove the rosemary goat cheese log from the fridge and cut into slices.
Slice the pork and place on a platter, putting slices of rosemary goat cheese between every few slices of tenderloin. Drizzle with honey, place a few sprigs of rosemary for garnish on the platter and serve.