Neko Danbo Makes S’mores

Neko Danbo gathers all the ingredients he needs to make the ultimate S'mores!

Hello all, I am Neko Danbo, please join me while I create the ultimate S’mores.

Graham Cracker and Neko Danbo

First, we arrange the graham cracker base.

S'mores Neko Danbo

Next, some fine dark chocolate.

Bacon S'mores

A piece of bacon to liven things up!

Marshmallow Neko

Top with a homemade marshmallow, so gooey.

Neko Danbo Needs Help

Now, I need an adult!

Melting Marshmallow

Yes, toast that marshmallow!

Toasting Marshmallow

Perfectly crispy.

Neko Danbo Feasts

At last, we feast!

Neko Danbo Noms

Nom nom nom…

Neko Danbo is Full

Don’t judge me.

danbosmores.gif (600×450)

Fabulous French Toast

Behold, the Fabulous French Toast! It is crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, and oh so flavorful.

The French toast is topped off with our tart berry compote and Kahloa whipped cream

The French toast is topped off with our tart berry compote and Kahlua whipped cream

First off, the method for the French toast is from Alton Brown. Check out this video, it will help you follow along. The recipe is of our own concoction.

French Toast Ingredients:

1 loaf of Challah (Hallah) bread, this is a Jewish egg based bread and it is key to this recipe.
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 teaspoons Kahlua
4 teaspoons vanilla

The night before you are planning to make the French toast, beat the eggs, milk, and spices in a shallow resealable container, stash in the fridge.

On to the bread, still the night before, cut the Challah bread into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices. You may have to hunt around town for this bread and you can expect some pretty strange looks from bakery boys when you ask for Challah (pronounced hallah), but it will all be worth it when you find this amazing bread! Leave the cut Challah on your oven rack with the door cracked open (NOTE: your oven is not on at this point, this is just a safe place to stash the bread while it is drying out).

Next comes the compote, we like to do this the night before but you can do it while you are making the toast. If you make it the night before just be sure to reheat it on the stove top before serving.

Tart Berry Compote Ingredients:

1 bag frozen raspberries
1 bag frozen blueberries
1/2 bag frozen strawberries (optional)
1/2 cup juice, cranberry or orange, whatever you have on hand
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of corn starch to thicken, add as needed, the pectin in the fruit will gradually thicken as well, so don’t go nuts with the corn starch.
1 tablespoon triple sec, or another orange flavored liqueur
1 squirt of lemon juice

Add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often until the raspberries have broken down and the sauce has thickened. This is a very simple recipe, feel free to play with it, when I make a compote I pretty much just throw what looks good in the pan and heat, it is always amazing.

Day of the French Toast Bliss:

Now that the long-awaited day of the French toast feast has arrived, let’s get cracking!

Get your Challah out of the oven and prepare your station for dipping. Set up a cookie rack over a baking sheet for the dipped bread to drain onto (at this point please watch Alton’s video).

Soak each side of the bread in the egg mixture for 30 seconds per side (be sure to give the mixture a whisk before dipping the bread). Move the soaked bread to the cookie rack.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

The bread should rest on the cookie rack for several minutes, dip all the bread and then move on to the griddle stage. We like to use an electric griddle, but a large frying pan works fine. Heat the griddle to medium heat, melt a tablespoon of butter on each end of the griddle. Once the butter is bubbly, add the drained slices of toast, as many as you can comfortably fit on the griddle.

Cook each side 2-5 minutes until they are golden and crispy. Once each batch is done move them directly onto the rack of your preheated oven, bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees. This stage ensures that the inside of the French toast is light and fluffy.

As the last batch of the French toast is baking, start your Kahlua whipped cream:

Kahlua Whipped Cream:

1 small container of heavy whipping cream
1-2 tablespoons Kahlua

Whip the two ingredients together until peaks form.

Serve the French toast with the warm tart berry compote and some Kahlua whipped cream.

Hope you enjoy!

Makes 10 pieces of French toast and a whole lot of compote.


Happy New Year’s Eve from a Tiny Hippo

Happy New Year’s from a Tiny Hippo!

It is New Year's Eve, a time for revelry, tiny hats, and fancy drinks!

It is New Year’s Eve, a time for revelry, tiny hats, and fancy drinks!

Hope you all have a great New Year’s Eve and a wonderful new year! Check out my oh so scrumptious Spiced Mint Julep recipe.

Spiced Mint Julep

We have created a scrumptious Spiced Mint Julep recipe that I am sure you will all love. This spicy citrus drink, with a hint of fresh mint, is perfect for a winter party or a quite evening at home. The spiced simple syrup requires 24 hours to steep, so plan ahead, it will be worth it!

Spiced Mint Julep

Spiced Mint Julep

Spiced Mint Julep:

5 mint leaves

3 orange wedges

1 ounce grapefruit juice

1 ounce spiced simple syrup (recipe below)

1.5 ounces bourbon

0.5 ounces Grand Marnier

1 cinnamon stick for garnish

Muddle torn mint leaves, orange wedges, and Grand Marnier in glass. Fill glass half full with crushed ice. Pour in bourbon, spiced simple syrup, and grapefruit juice, stir well. Fill the rest of the glass with ice, stir and garnish with cinnamon stick and sprig of mint.

Servings: makes one 12 ounce drink

Spiced Simple Syrup:

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

zest from half an orange ( use a vegetable peeler to get large strips)

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp whole black pepper corns

6 whole cloves

2 all spice berries

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 pinch salt

In a small saucepan, bring water, sugar, and orange zest to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. When mixture comes to a boil remove from heat and add all the spices, stirring to combine. Once mixture is cooled refrigerate for 24 hours in a sealed container, then strain. Simple syrup will keep for two weeks in refrigerator. Be sure to stir the syrup before use, all the best flavor is at the bottom!

Tangy Red Rice Salad with Apricots

This Tangy Red Rice Salad with Apricots is a great side dish or a perfect light lunch for those hot summer days when warm leftovers just don’t seem that appetizing.

Tangy Red Rice Salad

Ingredients for the salad:

1 cup red rice (we like to use Ruby Red Rice from Thailand, but whatever you can find will work)

3 ripe, but firm, apricots, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1/4 cup dried currants, soaked for 5 minutes in 1 cup boiling water

Ingredients for vinaigrette:

1 bunch green onions (about 5), finely chopped

1/4 – 1/3 cup canola oil (depending on your preferences)

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp orange marmalade

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp honey

juice from half a lemon


1. Cook the red rice according to directions on the package. Drain excess water and spread the rice out on a baking sheet to cool quickly.

2. While the rice is cooking, toast the pecans in a pan over medium heat, shaking pan frequently. Cook until pecans are lightly browned and fragrant.

3. Next, prepare vinaigrette by whisking all ingredients together. Set aside.

4. When the red rice has cooled to room temperature, toss with remaining salad ingredients and the vinaigrette. Serve cold or at room temperature.

We hope you enjoy this amazing summer salad!

Spiced Whiskey Sour

Spiced Whiskey Sour

This Spiced Whiskey Sour uses a variety of spices to add great depth of flavor to the more traditional whiskey sour. The nutmeg is sweet, the cinnamon is spicy, and the cayenne adds heat to the drink; all together they make for a well-rounded medley of spices that complement this tart whiskey concoction.


2 shots of Revel Stoke Spiced Canadian Whiskey

2 shots club soda

1 shot lemon juice

1 tbsp honey (local honey from a small supplier is best, we love the honey sold by Indian Creek Nature Center, if you visit the center on a Saturday afternoon you can watch the beekeeper harvest the honey.)

1 pinch (1/16th tsp) powdered cinnamon

1 smidgen (1/32nd tsp) powdered nutmeg

1/2 smidgen (1/64th tsp) powdered cayenne pepper

Cinnamon stick and maraschino cherry for garnish


In a glass or beaker mix the whiskey, club soda, lemon juice, and honey. Making sure to stir well so that the honey dissolves, it is important to do this without any ice, otherwise the honey will get too cold and harden. Once the honey is dissolved, stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. Now fill an Old Fashioned glass 3/4ths full with ice. Pour the drink mixture slowly over the ice. Garnish with cinnamon stick and maraschino cherry, serve immediately.

Yields enough for two Old Fashioned glasses.

Because this Spiced Whiskey Sour uses honey instead of homemade simple syrup no electrical appliances (like the stove top) are needed to create it, making this the perfect drink for when the electricity goes out.

Even a Tiny Hippo can make this drink in the dark, it’s that easy and oh so good

Spicy Apple Chutney

Spicy Apple Chutney

This is a delicious spicy apple chutney that I created upon my return from the United Kingdom when I discovered that chutney is not easy to find in the Midwest. I soon realized that if I wanted a ploughman’s platter or sandwich which I had come to love so much I would have to make the chutney myself. For this chutney, I have included some Indian flavors that the British are so found of and which I adore.

Spicy apple chutney stores nicely for several weeks in a glass jar

Gather the ingredients before you start the cooking process

Spicy Apple Chutney


2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/3 cup yellow onion, minced

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger powder

1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (quality is important here), plus 3 tablespoons to be added at the end

1/3 cup cranberries or raisins


1. Toss the apples with the lemon juice to add extra tartness and keep the apples from turning brown.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, warm the 2 teaspoons of oil then add the onion, cumin, salt, mustard seed, turmeric, ginger, red chile flakes, and cinnamon. Sauté until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes.

This is what the onions should look like after about 7 minutes, note that they are not browned. We are just looking for the onions to become slightly tender and the spice profile to develop.

3. Stir in the apples, brown sugar, and vinegar, raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes.

This is how the chutney will look while you are simmering it

4. Add the cranberries or raisins and 2-3 extra tablespoons of apple cider vinegar: simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick, this will take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Completed chutney with cranberries added

5. Spoon into a glass jar or other storage container and allow to cool until no longer steaming. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: 2 cups

This Spicy Apple Chutney is great on a ploughman’s sandwich which is made with a hearty bread (we like oatmeal bread), an aged cheese, butter, lettuce, and a tangy chutney.

This ploughman’s sandwich will make you feel like you are back in the United Kingdom

We hope that you enjoy our take on a spicy and tangy chutney and that it makes your ploughman’s sandwich remind you of your journeys in the United Kingdom.