Did you think I'd fallen into a sadness pit and disappeared forever?
The truth is I've been traveling. I'm out with my husband's family now, in Michigan for the holidays.
There are like, huge lakes! Everywhere! Mostly frozen (how do the turtles live).
I am feeling a bit better. Nothing like company and other people to pull you through a bit of bruising and a pity party.
And also blog friends. Thanks for your nice words.
And food. Can we mention food?
Nothing like food in the last weeks of the year.
It's the fattest time of the year!
I challenge you to celebrate with no shame.
We'll all starve in January, anyway.
Just like our ancestors! They gorged themselves this time of year because hey, it was all about to go rotten anyway.
Times for feast and times for fast. Now is the time for feast.
Here is an excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner for the holidays. Toasted hazelnuts, smooth milk, and lots and lots of chocolate.
Some may call it Nutella, or similar thereto. But I think it's its own thing.
And that thing is yum.
Toasted Hazelnut Chocolate Spread (adapted from that master of things chocolate, David Lebovitz)
Makes two jars (about 1 cup each)
1/3 cup whole almonds
1 1/3 cup hazelnuts
1 3/4 cup whole milk
7/8 cup powdered whole milk (I actually used powdered skim, because it's what I had and it turned out fine)
3 tablespoons mild-flavored honey
2 pinches salt
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (use one that’s at least 30% cacao solids)
Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, keeping the almonds separate, and toast them in a 350ºF oven, stirring a few times, for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned.
While they are roasting, warm the whole milk and powdered milk in a small saucepan with the honey and salt just until it starts to boil. Remove from heat.
In a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, or in a microwave oven, melt the chocolates together until smooth.
Once the nuts are well-toasted, remove them from oven and use a spatula to place the warm hazelnuts in a clean tea towel, then fold them inside the towel and rub them vigorously to remove any loose skins. They don’t need to be pristine; just try to get as much off as possible.
In a food processor, grind the warm hazelnuts and almonds until they’re as fine as possible. You may not be able to get them completely smooth, depending on your food processor. But I like it a little chunky.
Add the melted chocolate and continue to process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl, as necessary.
Once the mixture is smooth, add the warm milk mixture and process until everything is well-combined.
Transfer the mixture into two jars and refrigerate until ready to use.