Mocha Borgia


IMG_0328While in Taos on vacation, I had a Mocha Borgia at a communist cafe there (not so communist that it the coffee didn’t cost 4 dollars- to each according to his need didn’t extend to “this woman really needs a good cup of coffee”, and maybe it was just “progressive”- there were sure a lot of bumper stickers on the ceiling). The Mocha Borgia was a latte with chocolate syrup and orange zest. When I read it on the menu board, I visualized a sprinkle of orange zest, rather than the worm-like pieces of peel they topped the drink with, that snaked out through the drinkhole of the plastic lid (drinkhole? is that a word?). I sat on the bench on the porch, with the kids, waiting for DH to track down the burrito stand where we had some amazing breakfast burritos on our honeymoon in 1996.
I sat in the sun, sipping the tasty coffee, but with every couple of sips, a little worm of orange zest would ooze out, and I didn’t want to take off the lid and fish around for the chunks, because by this time DH had found his burrito stand, purchased his burrito, caught up on old times with the owner of the burrito stand (her sister was Mary Jane, the former owner, who had sold us burritos 6 years ago when we were last in Taos, and 17 years ago.) and I was back in the car.
It got me thinking, though, chocolate and orange is such a great combination, but why not do it with extract, instead? A long time ago, Starbucks used to have a Mocha Valencia, then they got rid of it because I am apparently the only person who liked it. What about making a chocolate syrup, and using orange extract instead of vanilla?
Alton Brown has a recipe for chocolate syrup, and the only alteration I have made is to use orange extract instead of vanilla.I also didn’t have as much cocoa powder as called for, so I made a 2/3 batch, which made about 3 cups of syrup. This recipe has the original Alton Brown measurements. You could totally divide the batch, and add different extracts- peppermint, cinnamon, almond?

Alton Brown’s Chocolate Syrup

1 1/2 cups water

3 cups granulated  sugar

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 tablespoon extract of choice (or divide the batch in 3, and use 1 teaspoon each of various flavors)

Boil water and sugar together in a small pot. Whisk in cocoa, salt and corn syrup until solids have dissolved. Cook until mixture is slightly reduced and thickened. Add extract and stir to combine. Strain into a spouted measuring cup and let cool to room temperature, then pour into squeeze bottles and refrigerate.

Patio Beer Opener


Let the record show-I hate beer. But I do like having people over on the patio, and many of the people I like, like beer. Snobby beer, with caps that have to be removed with tools, rather than just screw caps, or cans. Canned beer is what we give to the slugs.
Last summer, we stayed at a hotel that had a bottle opener screwed to the bathroom counter. I know, classy. It was in Wyoming. Anyway, I saw that, and thought, ooh, I want that for my house.

Except, you know, not in the bathroom. On the patio.

So, I checked the local hardware store, which didn’t carry them, so then I ordered one from Amazon and I mounted it to one of the porch posts, then I’ll mount a bucket underneath. Come on over.

Tinto de Verano


Tinto de Verano- summer wine. Waaaay classier than Bartles and Jaymes...

” (alcohol) is a common disinhibitor that works against the prioritizing capabilities of the forebrain… It helps transform shy people into gregarious ones, and can make the shy vivacious.”  “Thumbs, Toes and Tears” by Chip Walter

I’m not a beer drinker, and I have tried many of the non-beer options for when I’m at a party or barbecue, and would like to drink an adult beverage, but not get blitzed. There is a time and a place for blitzed, I guess, but a family barbecue is not either.  Well, maybe your family. When the weather is hot, sweet stuff is too cloying, most mixed drinks are too strong for me- nobody wants me to sing another chorus of “Margaritaville.”

Enter Tinto de Verano.  It’s fizzy lemonade mixed with red wine over ice. Yeah, that’s the recipe. Tall glass, lots of ice, red wine, top with fizzy lemonade.  It isn’t too sweet, or strong at all, but I can get a little loopy, get some nice social lubrication at the pool party. It isn’t enough of a “disinhibitor” to get me dancing on the table, and that’s a good thing.

You might be thinking that this is essentially a wine cooler, and you’d be right.  It is not nearly as sweet as most wine coolers, or hard lemonades or whatever so you can drink it all afternoon and not feel rotten.