Grand Canyon Hot Cocoa Mix

2 cups Organic Valley dried milk (from Whole Foods)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup Valrhona chocolate powder (try Dean and Deluca or Sur la Table)
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey vanilla powder (another Sur la Table item)
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients. To get them especially well combined, sift ingredients and/or use a food processor.

Use 2-3 tablespoons per mug of hot chocolate. Dried milk sometimes tends to get claggy in boiling water, so it is best to either stop the water short or a full boil or let it cool slightly.

Japanese Curry

for the roux
3 Tbs butter
1/4 C flour
2 Tbs garam masala (or curry powder)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (add less if you want it mild or more if you want it spicy)
fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbs ketchup (or tomato paste)
1 Tbs tonkatsu sauce (or worcestershire sauce)

for the curry
2 tsp oil
2 large onions sliced thin
2 lbs chicken thighs cleaned and cut into chunks (you could also use beef, shrimp, or tofu)
2 carrots cut into chunks
4 C water
2 large yukon gold potatoes cut into large chunks
1 small apple peeled cored and pureed (use a microplane)
2 tsp kosher salt (use less if you use regular salt)
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 C peas

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat and add the onions. Saute the onions until they are golden brown and caramelized (about 30 minutes). Turn up the heat to high, add the chicken and brown.

Add the carrots, and the water then bring to a boil. Skim off any foam or oil that accumulates at the surface then lower heat to medium and add the potatoes, pureed apple, salt and garam masala. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until you can pass a fork through the carrots and potatoes and the meat is tender.

For the roux, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and garam masala, stirring until you have a thick paste. Add the cayenne pepper and some fresh ground black pepper and incorporate into the roux. Add the ketchup and tonkatsu sauce and combine. Continue to cook until the paste starts crumbling. Remove from heat and set aside until the meat and veggies are ready.

To make the curry, just laddle about 2 cups of liquid into the roux then whisk until it’s smooth. Pour this mixture back into the other pot and gently stir until thickened. Add the peas and heat through.

Serve over rice or noodles.

Vintage Chicken Curry

1 large or 2 medium-size chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound altogether)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 to 3 teaspoons curry powder
3/4 to 1 cup boiling chicken broth
dash of monosodium glutamate
salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water

Bone the chicken breasts and cut meat into larger than bite-size pieces. Heat butter and oil in skillet. Add curry powder, according to your taste. Cook gently, stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes.

Add chicken to coat with curry mixture, then add enough boiling broth barely to cover meat. Cover skillet. Cook gently 8 to 10 minutes.

Mix cornstarch with cold water. Add, and cook, stirring, 1 or 2 minutes until liquid is slightly thickened and glazed looking. (If too thick, thin with a little hot broth or water.) Serve at once on hot steamed rice.

Credit is to the Nut Tree restaurant. Nut Tree chefs serve chicken curry on white rice, bordered by slices of fresh pineapple, cherry tomatoes, orange and banana, with touches of chutney, raisins, and fresh coconut.

Black Olive Focaccia

1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) quick-rise yeast
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (110°F)
3 1/2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for greasing
3 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano, rosemary or sage
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour
1 small yellow onion, quartered and sliced
24 oil-cured black olives, pitted and chopped

To make the dough by hand: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Add 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, 1 Tbs. of the oregano, the salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in 3 cups of the flour to make a soft dough that holds its shape. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding the remaining flour as needed, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

To make the dough with a stand mixer: In the 5-quart bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Add 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, 1 Tbs. of the oregano, the salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook and gradually beat in 3 cups of the flour to make a soft dough that holds its shape. Knead with the dough hook, adding the remaining flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic and comes away from the sides of the bowl, 6 to 7 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat with the oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, 45 to 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the onion, the remaining 2 Tbs. oregano, the olives and 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and stir well. Set aside.

Oil a rimmed baking sheet. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Form the dough into a ball, transfer to the prepared baking sheet and let rest for 5 minutes. Using your fingers, stretch the dough so it evenly covers the bottom of the baking sheet. Cover the dough loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffy, 30 to 40 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 425°F.

Using your fingertips, make a pattern of dimples at 2-inch intervals over the entire surface of the dough. Brush with the remaining 1/2 Tbs. olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with the olive mixture. Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 1 flatbread.

Nanny’s Snowcaps

3/4 cup shortening (half butter or margarine, softened)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup raspberry jam
3 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 cup sliced almonds

Heat oven to 350. Cream shortening and confectioners sugar. Blend in flour. Press evenly in bottom of ungreased 13 x 9 pan. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Spread jam over hot baked layer. Beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not underbeat. Fold in coconut and 1/2 cup of almonds. Spread over jam. Sprikle with remaining almonds. Bake 20 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Makes 4 1/2 doz.