Snuggle up on the couch, and close your eyes for a moment. Pretend, first, that it's actually cold outside. Then, picture snow falling softly outside your window, gently hitting the windowpane. There's a fire burning in the hearth: breathe it in. Boy, it's been a great day out there on the slopes. It feels so good to be out of that cold, wrapped in a cashmere blanket, the promise of hearty food just moments away.
Open your eyes. Are you ready for some après ski?
No matter if you're in weirdly-balmy NYC, always-balmy Southern California, on the slopes or off the slopes, you could all use some time by the (virtual?) fire, indulging in all of the joys that skiing (or not skiing) has to offer. It's almost President's Day weekend: perfect timing. Who needs snow when you've got food this good?
• Cozy up to more soups and stews this weekend.
• What's more après-ski than chili? Check out our entries for Your Best Chili contest.
• Got a question in the kitchen? The Food52 Hotline is here to help!
Drinking chocolate this is not. More like drink-up-able. Whole milk, unsweetened cocoa powder and luscious dark chocolate (the best you have - you'll only be using 1 ounce) liquefy together over low heat - a whole new kind of holy trinity unites before your eyes to become what is undoubtedly the Perfect Hot Chocolate. It's chilly out there, drink up!- Amanda & Merrill
1 ounce semisweet or dark chocolate
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional, to taste)
1 pinch salt
1. In a small saucepan, mix the chocolate, cocoa powder and 1/2 cup of the milk over low heat. Stir continuously until the chocolate is completely melted.
2. Add the rest of the milk and the salt. Stir, then allow to heat the rest of the way through.
3. Stir in sugar to taste. Pour into a mug and top with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired.
This fondue adheres strictly to tradition, proving that newer doesn't always mean better. His classic Swiss recipe calls for a blend of Gruyere (fondue's dutiful workhorse) and the more pungent, creamier Vacherin Fribourgeois. (If you can't find Vacherin, you can use just use twice the amount of Gruyere, or sub in something semi-soft and a little stinky, like a good Fontina.) - Amanda & Merrill
Lately I've been thinking many thoughts about chili. It is obvious stuff -- good in the winter, perfect bring-from-home lunch, easy to improvise. I tried many online recipes, but felt torn by choices: white beans or pinto, carrots or coffee etc so I mixed a few together until I got a result I fancied. - Jestei
The beauty of this soup is that it manages to be soul-warming but not overly heavy. The broth is light, and aromatic with wine and marjoram, and you feel like you've won the lottery each time you come across a piece of garlicky sausage. AntoniaJames has you simmer the lentils and veggies until they're just cooked through, so that they retain a bit of a bite and the soup, while filling, seems fresh rather than leaden. A sprinkle of red wine vinegar adds a bright hit of acidity. - Amanda & Merrill
These supple, rich rolls have just a hint of sweetness to them -- they're chewy and tender and full of deep flavor from the molasses, but versatile enough to complement (rather than overwhelm) a variety of main dishes. We love the ease of the first refrigerator rise, and these are virtually guaranteed to come out looking beautiful, with their butter-slicked and oat-flecked tops. - Amanda & Merrill
If you crossed sticky toffee pudding with pancakes and maple syrup, you would get chomeur, a buttery biscuit submerged in a bath of maple syrup and cream. Pudding Chomeur takes no time to prepare: you mix the dough in 10 minutes and refrigerate it, and then the next day, you drop it into ramekins, pour over the syrup and cream and pop it into a very hot -- 450 degrees -- oven. As the syrup mixture boils it poaches and glazes the biscuit. This makes it both a great no-stress dinner party dessert and fun baking project to do with your kids. - Amanda & Merrill
We loved the idea of fondue made with chocolate and cajeta (a close cousin of dulce de leche), and when we saw that hardlikearmour used coconut milk to make her cajeta, well -- there was no holding us back. Her fondue is silken and almost custardy, punctuated with rum and vanilla and generously salted, the way we like caramel to be. Not surprisingly, it is quite rich and sweet, and we found our favorite dipping instrument ended up being salty, extra-dark pretzels. We highly recommend you try the combination. - Amanda & Merrill
A more refined version of mulled cider, this punch also calls for an off-dry white wine and fresh cranberries. The cider is quickly steeped in spices -- cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg -- before you add the wine and cranberries, which give the punch a light rosy hue. Cordelia's concoction goes down easy, so sip slowly if you can restrain yourself! - Amanda & Merrill