Although, not originally from Santa Fe, I have lived here long enough to have assimilated completely into the culture of this mystical magical city. Santa Fe is truly unique. The community is eclectic and cosmopolitan, yet retains a small town feeling. Everybody knows everybody or know somebody who does. It's a sleepy town where almost everything closes around 9:00 pm. Because of this a culture of private get-togethers and dinners at friends homes is the main source of social interaction.
Cooking is really important. And if you don't cook, you need to know the best caterers or private chefs. For most of us, cooking for our friends is the only way to go. It kind of establishes who you are by the quality, variety and excellence of the food. So, needless to say, cooking is something to strive for. I am a natural born cook and after almost 30 years in Santa Fe believe I have created and compiled some of the best recipes.
Another oddity of Santa Fe cuisine is that the meals don't consist of one or two things. They are basically a large assortment of "Tapas" or appetizers. Variety is a premium.
True Santa Fe cuisine, although based on the following, isn't Mexican, Hispanic, Spanish, American Indian or Southwest. The cuisine belongs in it's own category which is truly Santa Fe.
Because of the uniqueness of Santa Fe recipes, I couldn't resist writing a real Santa Fe Cookbook. The following recipe is from my cookbook. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and friends do.
Chili Cinnamon Hot Chocolate
The following is the old fashioned and best way to prepare Chili Cinnamon Hot Chocolate.
1 cup milk
2/3 cup cream (Half and Half or Whipping cream)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 red chili pepper, split in half lengthwise or ground cayenne pepper to your taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, grated
Put milk and cream in a saucepan with vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and chili. Heat until medium warm. Stir in grated chocolate, and continue to simmer until melted. Remove from heat and let 'steep' for another 10 minutes. Strain out the spices. Reheat to a comfortable drinking temperature and serve. (Serves 2)
And for those of us who like a good short cut... you can simply purchase a hot chocolate mix and add cinnamon and a dash of red chili powder. Instant gratification at it's best!
For more recipes visit me on the web.
Paula Bidwell of NativeTalismanArt.com
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