Hot Chocolate. With Red Wine?

by Anne Maxfield on January 9, 2017

Accidental Locavore Hot ChocolateThe Accidental Locavore was moved to make myself a mug of hot chocolate and write this piece after an article in the NY Times* about this new “thing.”

Dubbed red wine hot chocolate, it was the mash-up of 2016.

Or mess-up, depending on your point of view.

There are certain foods you just don’t fiddle with.

Call me a purist if you’d like, but when an ingredient is perfectly delicious why can’t it be left alone?

Chocolate (and its drinkable buddy, hot chocolate) are some of those ingredients.

And the better the chocolate…

So why is everyone inclined to flavor it?

Accidental Locavore Mug of Hot Chocolate

Here’s my opinion on hot chocolate (with apologies to Green Eggs and Ham):

I do not like it with chipotle, coffee or cumin.

Tahini or Nutella.

I do not like it with red wine—Burgundy or Beaujolais.

No $95 Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Or for that matter, white wine, rosé or champagne.

I do not need it with marshmallows—mini, midi or maxi. Handmade or from a bag.

And no ménage à trois with red wine and marshmallows (courtesy of the NY Times). No, no, no!

I do like it in a mug.

I do like it in a jug (to pour in to my waiting mug).

I do like it dark and hot.

And maybe even with a heart.

I do not need it with whipped cream. Unless it’s Angelina’s– my Paris dream.

I do not need it 28 ways, as in the number of February days.

I do not like it from a bag, and made with water makes me gag.

It’s hot and nostalgic but not much more.

And my NYC fave? City Bakery’s makes me rave!Accidental Locavore City Bakery Hot Chocolate


What about you? Have you had or will you try red wine hot chocolate? With or without marshmallow?


*From the same publication that gave the world pea guacamole



Quince Chutney Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on January 5, 2017

Accidental Locavore Quince for ChutneyAfter making the lamb and quince tagine, the Accidental Locavore still had a few quince rolling around the kitchen.

This chutney looked like an interesting way to put them to good use and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand – always an incentive!

Makes about 3 cups.

Quince Chutney Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds quinces (about 3), peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 3 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Accidental Locavore Quince Chopped for ChutneyHeat the oil in a deep, non-reactive (stainless steel or enamel) pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are translucent.

Add remaining ingredients to the saucepan and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about an hour or until the consistency is thick and jammy.

Serve chutney at room temperature and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Quince ChutneyMy verdict: Delicious! This was a lovely accompaniment to a variety of cheeses (not that good cheese really needs it) we had at a friend’s house. It was also great with some roast pork we had for the holidays.

Prepping the quince is a lot like prepping apples and they tend to turn brown like apples, but it doesn’t matter since they’re going to be cooked down.

If you don’t have dried cherries, try dried cranberries, or a mix. If you like raisins, they would probably work well too.

My chutney took about 90 minutes to become what looked like “jammy” to me. However, when it cooled down it got much thicker. Depending on how thick you want the end product to be, cook it for 60-90 minutes on low heat. I used a non-stick pan which made cleaning up easy.



Food Trends 2017

by Anne Maxfield on January 2, 2017

Accidental Locavore Food Trends 2017

How hip are you?

The Accidental Locavore has been inundated with emails predicting food trends for 2017.

Let’s look at some of them.

My gift to you is that this isn’t a slide show (you can thank me in the comments).

Food Trends to resolve to do:

  • Use all food! Food waste is a huge issue and you’re going to hear a lot about it this year.
  • Buy what you’re going to use. Use it.
  • Shop your freezer, fridge, cupboards, pantry. You’ll be surprised how much you can make without ever leaving the house. I made 23 dinners with just the stuff in my freezer.

Things trending that you might ACTUALLY make:Accidental Locavore Food Trends Poke

  • Bowls-grain, rice, porridge, poke. Put a bunch of vegetables, a carb and a protein in a bowl and you’re trendy. Extra points for poké (pronounced po-kay). A good way to use up small bits of things in your fridge.
  • Hey if you haven’t given up kale yet, you could be a newbie to cauliflower. Or if you really want to be cutting edge, skip down to jackfruit below.

Or cook with:

  • Sous-vide. I’ve had mine for a few years and love it. It’s the crockpot of the 21st
  • Or maybe it’s the Instapot.

Foods you might think about and eat but come on, you’re never actually going to DIY:

  • Fermented foods (from any number of sources). Imagine if everyone in your building started fermenting stuff. Click here for unscented Febreze.
  • Whey (to get this you have to make something else, like Greek yogurt) and then figure out what to do with it. I’ve marinated chicken in it—ho hum.
  • Vegetable chips (your own, not out of a bag)
  • Empanadas, dumplings etc. All good but labor intensive and someone in a restaurant near you does it better.

Interesting, never-happening options:Accidental Locavore Food Trends Jackfruit

  • Octopus – got a rock to pound it on? Didn’t think so.
  • Naan pizza. Why?
  • Fry bread. Ditto. Have you ever actually eaten the stuff? Think flattened, fried zeppole and you’re pretty much there. Going to go out on a politically incorrect limb here, but the Native Americans have not given us much to work with food-wise. Indian Pudding and frybread are two prime examples.
  • Jackfruit. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to show up at your local supermarket. And when it does…

A couple of my predictions: Accidental Locavore Food Trends Coffee Cake

  • Coffeecake – oh, excuse me, breakfast cake. I’ve had my friend Alan’s mother’s coffeecake recipe on my mind lately. Time for breakfast comfort food?
  • The resurgence of junk food – look for the new White House Chef to be Colonel Saunders…

What do you think? Any food trends you’d like to add, or see the last of? Overplayed already?



Roasting: 10 Easy Steps to a Perfect Roast

by Anne Maxfield on December 22, 2016

Accidental Locavore Roasting Thai ChickenThe Accidental Locavore thinks that roasting meat (or vegetables) is one of the easiest ways to get an impressive dinner on the table.

Don’t be afraid of roasting. If you have the right tools, it’s a snap.

Roasting in 10 easy steps:

  1. Remove the meat from the fridge about an hour before you want to start.
  2. Make sure oven racks are in the middle of the oven and you have enough room for the roasting pan and its contents. If not, lower the rack until you do.
  3. Preheat the oven: 350° for most meats, 250° if you’re doing a slow roast duck, hotter for chickens and vegetables.
  4. Speaking of vegetables, tossing them in olive oil, salt and pepper and throwing them on a sheet pan in a 400° oven always works.
  5. And don’t forget potatoes! Cut in chunks, boiled until just tender and tossed into the bottom of a pan about 15 minutes before the meat is cooked, makes wonderful roast potatoes (especially good under chickens and ducks!).Accidental Locavore Roasting Potatoes
  6. While the oven is heating, pat the meat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper liberally (i.e. use more than you think), inside and out.
  7. If you’re using a rack a quick spray or a light rub of oil makes clean-up easier.
  8. Place your meat on the pan (or rack) and put it in the oven. The length of time your meat will need to cook depends on the size of your roast and how well cooked you like your meat. This is where the instant-read thermometer will save the day. Click here for a handy chart and remember to always stick the thermometer in the thick part of your roast (for chicken it’s the thigh).
  9. When the meat is cooked to your liking, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. This is not about torturing you or your guests, it’s about letting the juices re-circulate, making the meat tender and juicy.
  10. Carve, serve and enjoy!
    See, wasn’t that easy? What are your best roasting tips?