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COOK OF THE WEEK - BEVERAGES

On a cold winter’s day there is nothing better to come in and warm up with than a nice hot beverage. Whether it be coffee, tea, cocoa or maybe something a little stronger; the warm liquid takes the chill away and replaces it with comfort. This week’s cook column explores the origins of some of our favorite warm beverages and provides some recipes for old favorites and new takes on others.
The history of tea
In 2737 B.C. the Chinese Emperor, Shan Nong, had a habit of boiling his drinking water. Legend has it that one day while he was in his garden; a few tea leaves fell into his boiled water. It gave off a rich aroma, and so the emperor drank it. He found it to be refreshing and energizing and so he ordered tea bushes to be planted in the gardens of his palace.
The beginning of the 17th century saw tea arriving in Europe via Dutch and Portuguese sailors. The trade relations that the sailors had with China allowed them to bring tea to Britain and Holland to be sold at auction. Originally, only the aristocracy and the wealthy could afford the high price of tea.
Tea arrived in North American at the beginning of the 18th century and quickly became very popular. London-style tea houses were started in New York and Boston where the drink was sold to the general public. (wtea.com)
The history of coffee
It is said that Kaldi, who lived in the Ethiopian highlands, noticed that his goats became so animated from eating the berries from a certain tree that they couldn’t sleep at night.
After Kaldi reported his findings to the local monastery, the abbot made a drink with the berries. He found that the drink kept him alert during the long hours of evening prayer. After he shared his findings with the other monks at the monastery, word began to spread of the energizing effects of the berries. Once coffee reached the Arabian Peninsula, the Arabs began to cultivate and trade it. Thus began its journey around the globe.
Coffee made its way to Europe in the 17th century and into Venice in 1615. The local clergy condemned the drink and the controversy made its way to Pope Clement VIII. Before making a decision, the Pope decided to taste it. He found the drink satisfying and gave it Papal approval.
Coffee had also made its way to the New World and many coffee houses sprung up there as well as back in London. It was the Boston Tea Party in 1773, against the high tax on tea that made coffee the drink of preference in the colonies. (ncausa.org)
The history of hot chocolate
The explorer Cortez brought chocolate back to Europe from the Aztecs in the early 1500s. The Aztecs made a chocolate drink flavored with wine and chili peppers that was served cold. After its introduction in Spain, the drink was served hot and sweetened without the chili peppers. The news of the wonderful new beverage stayed in Spain for over a hundred years before it spread across Europe.
In the 1700s, chocolate was introduced in England and chocolate houses became popular. The English added milk to their chocolate and enjoyed it as an after-dinner beverage. (coffeetea.about.com)

Coconut Tres Leches Hot Chocolate
bhg.com
3 cups fat-free milk
14 ounce can unsweetened
coconut milk
7 ounces sweetened condensed
milk (2/3-cup)
2 tablespoons unsweetened
cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Sweetened whipped cream
(optional)
1/4 cup chocolate shavings
(optional)
In medium saucepan combine fat-free milk, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Whisk in cocoa powder until well combined
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Serve in mugs topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Makes 5 (1-cup) servings.

Cocoa Mix
Lois Ann Johnson,
Cookin’ Together
2 pound 6 ounce box non-fat dry
milk
2-1/3 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sift ingredients together 3 times; store in air-tight container. To make drink: put 1/3 cup of mix in cup and stir in enough warm water to make a paste. Fill cup with boiling water and stir.

Instant Cappuccino Mix
Monica Johnson,
Cookin’ Together
1 cup powdered chocolate mix
3/4 cup powdered non dairy
creamer
1/2 cup instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Mix all together and store in air-tight container. To make drink: Mix 1 heaping tablespoon with 1 cup boiling water.

Cranberry Tea
Diane Connor, Cookin’ Together
1 quart cranberry juice
1/2 cup red hot candies
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup orange juice
1 cup lemonade
Combine cranberry juice, candies, sugar and water. Heat and stir over medium heat until candy is dissolved. Stir in the orange juice and lemonade. Refrigerate until needed. To serve, combine 1/2 cup of mixture with 1/2 cup of water for each serving. Serve hot or cold. Makes about 2 quarts.

Russian Tea
Pam Ray
3/4 cup Lipton instant tea
1 teaspoon cinnamon
(2) 7 ounce jars Tang
1 package Wyler’s lemonade
mix
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cup sugar
Mix and store in air-tight container. To make drink: add 1/4 cup mixture to 1 cup hot water.

Delicious Instant Cocoa Mix
Debra Hobert, Mu Phi Epsilon Epicure Favorite Recipes
11 cups instant dry milk
6 ounce jar Coffee-Mate
1 pound can Hershey cocoa mix
or Nestles Quik
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons regular cocoa
Mix together and store in air-tight container. To make drink: add 1/3 cup of cocoa mix to a cup or mug and fill with hot water.

Hot Punch
Janice Wenger, Mu Phi Epsilon Epicure Favorite Recipes
4 cups boiling water
3 tea bags
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
6 whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
1 quart cranberry juice
1 quart apple juice
6 ounce can frozen orange juice
concentrate
6 ounce can frozen lemon juice
concentrate
Steep tea in 4 cups boiling water for 5 minutes. Add sugar and remaining water and boil 5 minutes with cloves and cinnamon. Strain out spices and add fruit juices.
This makes a juice concentrate which may be made ahead and frozen indefinitely.
To serve: Mix 1 part concentrate and 1 part water and heat.

Hot Strawberry Cider
bhg.com
8 cups apple cider or apple juice
10 ounce package frozen sliced
strawberries
4 inch stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
Fresh strawberry or apple slices
(optional)
Cinnamon sticks (optional)
Combine cider or juice, frozen sliced strawberries, the 4 inch stick of cinnamon, and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a sieve lined with 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth.
To serve, pour cider mixture into eight heatproof glasses or cups. Garnish each serving with a cinnamon stick and a fresh strawberry or apple slice, if desired. Makes 8 (8-ounce) servings.
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.