Happy New Year!

2014 got off to a great start with a family gathering at our house for brunch.  With a few make-ahead recipes and some of our favorite gourmet foods, preparation was a breeze.  A sausage, egg, and cheese casserole along with a hash brown casserole were the hearty centerpieces of the buffet.  As expected, RoRo’s handmade Cinn-A-Rolls quickly disappeared.

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Our good friends at Cherith Valley Gardens provided new inspiration for our traditional “lucky” dish.  Their recipe combines black-eyed peas, CVG’s Hot ‘n Spicy Corn Relish, onion, tomato (which I omitted today), and fresh cilantro to make a tasty partner for tortilla chips.  Yum!

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We love Henning’s Natural Chipotle Cheddar Cheese and Cheddar Cheese Curds, so we were excited to add Henning’s Natural Garlic and Dill White Cheddar to the buffet.  The Henning Family recommends this flavorful cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches and a burger topper, but we thoroughly enjoyed it solo.  (Garlic dill cheeseburgers will be on the menu this month!)

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When I saw Roth Moody Blue cheese in the deli case, I bought it on name alone.  I love my classic rock almost as much as I love cheese!  The small batch cheese made with local Wisconsin milk is smoked over fruit wood, adding sultry notes to this creamy blue.  Our first new gourmet food tasting of 2014 received 100% “thumbs up” from the blue cheese lovers present.

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No brunch would be complete without coffee and mimosas, but we have also been enjoying coffee liqueur-spiked hot chocolate this winter.  You might just forget about coffee shop hot chocolate once you try this!

IMG_0811Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

  • 4 cups half and half
  • 3/4 cup Ghirardelli Premium Hot Cocoa Double Chocolate Flavor
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup coffee liqueur (we like Kahlua)
  • whipped cream
  • caramel topping
  • coarse Kosher or sea salt

Mix half and half, hot chocolate mix and espresso powder in a medium saucepan.  Whisk until well blended over medium heat just until it boils.  Remove from heat and stir in coffee liqueur.  Divide among 4 mugs.  Top with whipped cream, drizzle with caramel topping and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.    (Note:  the hot chocolate mixture without toppings keeps well in the refrigerator overnight.)

Happy New Year to all who share our love for gourmet foods and best wishes to the talented artisans who delight us with their creations.  May you prosper in 2014!

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Cheese, Salsas & Relishes

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