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The recipe below is for those days where you might want the flavor of a latte or mocha without all of the heavy milk or cream. It also works well if you have some plain robust beans that are unflavored and you are in the mood for some flavored coffee.  Be careful as the chocolate syrup tends to settle out. So make sure you give it a stir before you pour or ladle. The recipe says to make it in a crock pot. But I imagine it would work just fine in a saucepan or camping coffee pot on the stove on low heat.

Ingredients:

8 cups of brewed coffee

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup chocolate syrup

1/2 teaspoon anise extract

4 cinnamon sticks, halved.

1-1/2 teaspoons whole cloves

Additional cinnamon sticks, optional.

Directions:

Brew coffee and add to crock pot with the sugar, syrup and anise. Using a double piece of cheesecloth add the cloves and the cinnamon sticks. Gather the ends and tie them off into a bag and steep in crock pot for 2-3 hours. Discard the bag, ladle spiced coffee into mug and garnish with an additional cinnamon stick if you desire.

*Anise extract may be hard to find. McCormick makes some, but I couldn’t find it in my spice aisle. I tried grinding anise seeds with a mortal and pestle. I think that released too much anise and made the flavor overwhelming. To make your own fill a 1/2 pint canning jar with whole star anise. Fill with vodka, leave indefinitely. Star anise also stores well in sugar to make anise flavored sugar. From: Askville 

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I didn’t realize it until I heard this discussion on the Splendid Table…but spring/summer is the best time to buy the best milk. According to the show it has a lot to do with the fresh green grass the cows are eating as opposed to the dried up hay. Maybe this is why ice cream tastes so good in the summer.

The recipe begins…  

Makes 1 1/4 pounds

This is simply the easiest and quickest way to create something that borders on amazing. Try this once and you’ll be making your own cheese every week.

Consider this recipe Cheese Making 101. Cheeses gain their individual characters from different cultures and methods, but here we keep them pared down to the basics: milk, something acidic to separate the milk’s solids (the curds) from the liquid (the whey) and salt for seasoning. Once you taste what you can pull off, who knows where you might take it.

Ingredients:

1 gallon high quality whole milk

2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Here, what separates ricotta from cream cheese is the amount of fat in the milk. Straight milk gives you ricotta; cream and milk gives you cream cheese. As you drain the cheese it goes from creamy to firmer. Just decide where you want to take it.

Cook to Cook: Rinsing the pot with cold water before pouring in the milk will save you some serious cleanup! The liquid whey can go into soups, stews and curries, and be used to cook pasta and rice.

1. Line a large colander with a layer of cheesecloth and place in the sink or over a bowl if you want to save the whey. Wet the cheesecloth to hold it firmly in place.

2. Over medium-high heat, bring the milk and salt to a gentle simmer in a heavy large pot. Stir in the lemon juice and continue to simmer gently until curds begin to form and float to the top, 1 to 2 minutes. They will first look like spatters of white, then gather into soft, cloud-like clumps. When you see the liquid begin to clear of cloudiness and the curds are firming up but not hard, scoop them out with a slotted spoon or sieve.

3. Let the curds drain thoroughly in the lined colander. If very soft, press gently to extract a little moisture, but take care not to dry out the cheese. Turn into a bowl, cover and chill.

Variation: Homemade Cream Cheese

Substitute for the 1 gallon whole milk: 2 quarts heavy cream, 1 quart half and half and 1 quart whole milk.

Refrigerated cheeses keep for a week, but the ricotta is at its best eaten fresh.

From: http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/recipes/homemade-ricotta-cream-cheese.shtml

Listen to podcast segment: http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/www_publicradio/tools/media_player/popup.php?name=splendid_table/2010/06/26/splendidtable_20100626_64&starttime=00:12:38&endtime=00:14:18

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It seems like the fast food places are bringing back sweet tea…at least they are up North. Still it doesn’t hold up to some of the tea I tasted growing up in Missouri. Plus I remember a lady at a food pantry in North Carolina that served up the best tea in the world on a mission trip.  She swore it was somebody’s mama’s recipe.  It must have had a pound of sugar in it. On a hot day it hit the spot.

**Also add some lemonade at a 50/50 mix for the thirst quenching drink I have also heard called both a “cooler” and a ‘Arnold Palmer.”

Take your pick…sugar.

Recipe #1 Southern Sweet Iced Tea

Ingredients

3 Family size tea bags

2 Cups of cold water

1 Cup of sugar

Directions

We in the south make the best iced tea you’ll find. Maybe it’s how it’s done, or maybe it is the water in the south, or maybe it’s just that a southern belle has put a lot of TLC into making the tea. Who knows!

We recommend Luzianne Tea Bags if available.

Place the two cups water in a pot and add the tea bags. Bring to a boil, do not continue boiling. Remove from heat and let steep. Pour warm tea into empty pitcher. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Fill remaining pitcher with cold water.

Optional – some women say they use less water and add ice to the tea.

Recipe #2 Southern Sweet Iced Tea

Ingredients:

3 Family sized tea bags

a pinch baking soda (about 1/4 teaspoon)

1 to 1 1/3 cups of sugar

Directions:

Here is my never fail sweet tea…

Everyone (even Yankees) loves it.

Bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil. Add a pinch of baking soda to the water and add 3 family sized tea bags. Remove from heat and cover. Allow to sit for at least 10-15 minutes. Pour into gallon pitcher and add sugar. Then fill with cold water. Refrigerate.

*the soda takes out the bitterness and darkens the tea….this small amount doesn’t change the taste.

Enjoy!!

Recipe #3 Sun Tea (no cooking!)

Ingredients:

3 Family sized tea bags

1 quart water

Glass or translucent pitcher

Directions:

Here is my easy, no work needed…Sun Tea

Put the water and tea bags in the pitcher. Put in the Sun and let sit. In about 30 minutes to an hour you have tea. Add cold water to desired strength. Refrigerate.

This recipe is great for guys who can’t cook!

Note: The sun does not usually heat water up enough to kill all the bacteria, so you should take proper cleaning procedures and throw out the tea if it ends up looking weird (extra thick, has strands in it, is syrupy).

From: http://www.grits.com/tea.htm

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It is cold and snowy out and this recipes seems like something to warm up the house and also make it smell fantastic. It also demystified the baking bread concept. This is simple and requires few if any special equipment.  Recipe is compliments of the Boston Globe.

Makes 4 loaves

While the master recipe for Hertzberg and François’s white bread may be stored for up to 14 days, this recipe, because of its cheese content, must be used within 7 days. Readers have asked the authors if less yeast can be used in their recipes. They’ve tested with as little as 1/2 teaspoon yeast per 6 1/2 cups flour with excellent results. The drawback: The bread needs more rest time before baking – about 6 to 12 hours, and up to 2 hours rise time before baking. We baked this bread in a sealed oven on a baking stone.

3 cups lukewarm water (85 to 100 degrees)

1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

6 1/2 cups flour

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Cornmeal (for dusting)

Flour (for sprinkling)

1 cup hot water (for the oven)

1. In a large bowl or food container, mix the water, yeast, salt, and sugar together. Stir in the flour and grated cheese until just combined; you may have to use your hands to incorporate the last bit of flour. Alternately, use a food processor with a dough attachment or a standing mixer with a dough hook to combine ingredients. Do not knead the dough.

2. Cover the container loosely with a towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature (65 to 75 degrees) for 2 hours or until the dough rises and collapses.

3. The dough is now ready for baking, but it’s easier to handle after refrigeration. Refrigerate in a loosely covered container for up to 7 days.

4. When ready to bake, have ready a pizza peel or baking sheet dusted liberally with cornmeal. Sprinkle the dough generously with flour and cut off a 1 pound piece (about the size of a grapefruit) for each loaf. Sprinkle the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom as you rotate the ball in your hands. Place the ball of dough on the pizza peel or baking sheet. Let rise at room temperature for 1 hour (40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).

5. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Place a baking stone or baking sheet on the lowest rack and an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won’t interfere with the rising bread.

6. Sprinkle the loaf generously with flour. Using a serrated bread knife, quickly slash a cross or tic-tac-toe pattern across the top of the bread.

7. Slide the loaf of bread off the peel or baking sheet onto the hot pizza stone or baking sheet. Pour 1 cup hot water into the hot broiler tray. Quickly close the oven door.

8. Bake the bread for 25 minutes, or until it looks deeply golden and firm. Smaller or larger loaves will require more or less baking time. Cool on a wire rack before slicing. – Adapted from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.”

From: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2008/01/16/vermont_cheddar_bread/

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Teriyaki Sauce

I never realized how easy it was to make this sauce until I found this recipe. Mix some simple ingredients and enjoy.

Sauce Adapted from Sendbad forum

Ingredients

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped

1 tablespoon icing sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Making the sauce

In a medium sized bowl pour the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, icing sugar and salt. Mix all ingredients with a spoon. When all the sugar and salt dissolves add the chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Mix again and place them in a bottle and cover. Save in fridge till the time of usage and no more than three days.

From:  cheesecakeforall.com

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