Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blog Stat Olympics

Ok, so here I sit doing my weekly homework (although my students always seem shocked that I, too, have homework).  I got bored so I decided to check the stats on the blog.  I am sometimes a little obsessed with them, I admit.  Here are the results for the week of November 18-25, 2012:

Gold medal:  United States with 322 readers

Silver medal:  France with 68 readers

Bronze medal:  Germany with 52 readers

The United Kingdom, Canada, Chili, Russia, Kuwait, Spain, and Australia are all in double digits.

The most read blog entry is always Ratatouille and La Bastille from July 14, 2010.  This week, it had 109 readers.

To celebrate, I think I will take a little break and make some hot chocolate.  It's chilly outside and I must have a bit of fortification before continuing with the homework, n'est-ce pas?

My quick-fix recipe:
Heat milk to simmering.  Drop in some of my 52% Nestlé Dessert stash of chocolate usually reserved to make mousse au chocolat, pots de crème or chocolate pudding.  Stir until the chocolate melts.  Use whatever you have in the cupboard or in your own secret stash.  Add marshmallows or whipped cream, if you wish.  Gulp Sip while still hot. 

If you are in the mood for something fancier or have someone to impress or if you've just finished watching the movie Chocolat with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, try this recipe, from Joanne Harris, the author of Chocolat.  If you haven't seen this movie, rent it, but be sure to have the ingredients for this hot chocolate on hand because you are really going to want some when it's over.

Vianne's Spiced Hot Chocolate
from My French Kitchen by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde
Serves 2  (you and Johnny Depp, peut-être...)

1 2/3 c. milk
1/2 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 hot red chile, halved and seeded
3 1/2 oz. bittersweet (70%) chocolate
Brown sugar to taste (optional)
Whipped cream, chocolate curls, cognac, or Amaretto, to serve

Place the milk in a saucepan, add the vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and chile and gently bring it to a shivering simmer for 1 minute.  Grate the chocolate and whisk it in until it melts.  If you must, then add brown sugar, but try to do without it.  Take off the heat and allow it to infuse for 10 minutes, then remove the vanilla, cinnamon, and chile.  Return to the heat and bring gently back to a simmer.  Serve in mugs topped with whipped cream, chocolate curls, or a dash of cognac or Amaretto.

Bon appétit à tous!  Keep reading!

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