Recently, and I mean, recently, I discovered the joy and deliciousness that is tequila. I had never done a shot. Hard to believe? Believe it.
My husband, Russell, loves tequila but the times I sipped off his tequila-based drinks, I just never caught the fever or understood the "taste" for it he has always seemed to have. Until... recently.
Lately, I have been working and cooking A LOT! The physical tolls are showing. The occasional cuts, scrapes, bruises and burns are no longer just occasional... The aches and pains a body endures in a commercial kitchen are changing my body. My muscles have strengthened and I eat less and drink more. ( I mean water people!) I am not a person who can work and eat; especially when I prepare food. I taste here and again to make certain my food is on track but mostly I just "know" all is well and everything will taste great. The main side effect of all this cooking and lifting and doing? Besides AWESOME abdominal muscles? The inability to wind down and relax...
I believe it is healthy to have a little something lovely at the end of a day to help you relax and find a peaceful night's rest. We experimented with port and madeira and even muscat. Nope. No dice. I only want a small glass of something... Then, I announced to my half asleep husband that I wanted to have a shot of tequila. I believe it was Russell that nearly knocked my down on the way to the liquor cabinet but whoever (or whatever) it was whirled by me at warp speed, so it was had to tell. The next thing I knew I had a cute little shot glass in one hand and a lime wedge in the other. Before you could say, 'Pass the worm.' We had licked the snuff box of our hands, sprinkled a bit of Himalayan Pink salt there, licked it off, thrown back the shot, sucked on the lime wedge and were on our way to Warmsville... AHHHHHH! Why had I NEVER tried this before?
I am honestly a little embarrassed about the fact I like a shot (I DO mean one shot) of tequila but as my best friend says, 'You're all grown up now." I guess she's right. After the days I have, I welcome the treat of just one little something before my evening yoga and rest. I am not advocating "drinking" but rather I am advocating that an adult may drink responsibly and sensibly and if a little something helps you to unwind, I say indulge. If a hillbilly in the Ozarks can promote the benefits of moonshine, so can I promote the benefits of something special before bed.
For me, there is no shame in the "lick, slam or suck." ("That's what she said...")
Chocolate... "The food of the gods." Just the word "chocolate" can bring a smile to someone's face. So why do we associate chocolate with Valentine's Day? Well for one thing, chocolate is considered an aphrodisiac. This comes in handy on days like Valentine's Day. We have the Aztec ruler Montezuma to thank for this... "Thanks dude!"
Christopher Columbus brought some chocolate back to Spain and the word of this luxurious yummy treat spread throughout Europe. We owe Chris a "thank you" as well. Thanks dude!
Fast forward a few years to the 1800's. Richard Cadbury created the first ever heart-shaped box for Valentine's Day in 1861. Talk about owing someone a "thank you?" Thanks Sir Dude!
Cut to today. Chocolate mania has taken over the world. I myself have raised two shameless chocoholics! Heck, there is an entire destination in Pennsylvania centered ALL about chocolate, with a theme park and hotel to boot! It's in a little town you may have heard of called Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Anyway, I recently taught a Chocolate class at a local community college that was ALL about fun. I think that is what cooking should be, fun. I promoted the use of, wait for it, chocolate melts. GASP! Yes, I know what you're thinking... BRILLIANT! A little trick is to mix, in a 2:1 ratio, milk chocolate melts to dark chocolate melts. When melting in the microwave, as with any chocolate product, microwave in 20 second intervals (to prevent scorching) and stir in-between. If you do scorch, don't panic, just start over, no biggie. You see, I believe getting into the kitchen and "doing" is what matters. How ever that has to happen. You are "in" your kitchen and creating! That is the first step to broadening your experience, confidence and knowledge.
In class we dipped brownies, created from a mix! Double GASP! Trust me, by the time your loved one eats the super chocolatey, chocolate-coated brownie, they will not know (or care) it is from a box... We made milk chocolate truffles using chocolate chips. Triple GASP!
I then demonstrated a chocolate torte using a 70 percent bittersweet high quality chocolate. This is where a little splurging on the type and brand of chocolate comes in handy. Purchase one with a high cocoa butter content.
The point is, we ALL had fun. Smiles and laughter all around. We proudly used some shortcut methods to make some first rate treats. We got into a kitchen a "did" something! Yay! My mission was accomplished!
So, go on! Be a dip!