Can’t eat Pork — Swine Flu
Can’t eat Chicken — Bird Flu
Can’t eat Beef — Mad Cow Disease
Can’t eat Eggs — Salmonella
Can’t eat Fish — Mercury/Heavy Metal Poisons in Their Waters
Can’t eat Fruits or Vegetables — Insecticides and Herbicides
Archive for May, 2009
Can’t eat Pork — Swine Flu
What Would The World Be Without Chocolate?
As a dedicated professional foodie, I usually can’t wait to get my hands on the latest issue of Gourmet Magazine. I simply love food! I love working with it… I love talking about it… and I love eating it! But I can honestly say there is only one thing I love more than ordinary food, and that’s chocolate. After all, I am the guy who cooked chocolate pasta on KABC’s AMLA to the delight of Christina Ferrare, a chocolate and pasta fancier.
So imagine my complete and utter disappointment with the May issue of Gourmet. I scoured it from cover to cover and alas there wasn’t a single recipe or even a mention about chocolate. How could Ruth Reichl, my favorite Editor-in-Chief, have let me down so badly? Ruth, what were you thinking? There were articles on Fresh Foods, Drinks, Stir Frying, Wine and Travel. They covered Melbourne, Sailing and the Low Countries Rising. They even included an article on Obsessions—obviously theirs and not mine—as my obsession is with chocolate.
So, that made me start to think about a world without chocolate. After all, if Gourmet could put out an issue without one chocolate recipe, new chocolate thought or even a single chocolaty mention, what could be next? The world would certainly not be a better place, nor was this months Gourmet a better magazine for not including chocolate.
Now I am not a first class editor like Ms. Reichl, but I do know that I could have added a few chocolate ideas to the issue. I would have taken the Tortilla Chicken Drumsticks recipe on page 78 and improved it with a touch of mole—that rich, dark, reddish-brown delicious concoction usually served with poultry. It’s a great sauce made with onion, garlic, a variety of chilies, ground pumpkin seeds and a small amount of, you guessed it, Mexican chocolate. It would have been so easy.
On page 99 in Cucina Paradiso there is a wonderful recipe for Tuscan Cornmeal Cookies. This yummy recipe, too, could have been improved with, you guessed it, chocolate! If it were left up to me I would have substituted 3 tablespoons of the butter with a dark, rich chocolate ganache. I also would have considered dipping half of the cookie in a tempered chocolate bath to add a tantalizing chocolate dimension. After all, our Italian friends, both here and abroad, certainly love their chocolate, too.
What would the harm have been in brushing the Périgord Walnut Tart shell (page 123) with a little bit of melted chocolate? Besides the obvious flavor appeal, practically speaking, a little chocolate will keep a tart shell wonderfully fresh and flaky. There were strawberry-Vanilla Swirls (page 75); does Ruth not think that strawberry and chocolate blend well together? Who doesn’t love the taste of fresh summer berries that have been kissed with chocolate? What about the recipes for Dulce de Leche Torte (page 115) and Naranjilla Ice Cream (page 131)? Is there no room for a little chocolate among the citrusy flavors of the specialty fruit purées so well discussed? Chocolate and citrus-like flavors are like love and marriage. And what about a refreshing, ice-blended chocolate beverage for summer? It’s not just for winter anymore.
First the brokerage firms, then the banks and the car companies… everyday, life as we know it is changing! But NO CHOCOLATE in Gourmet?! That, we cannot stand for! Hopefully, Ms. Reichl, this was just an unfortunate oversight—one that will never be repeated in Gourmet again.
I remember it as if it were yesterday… both his speech and the actual event. It was 40 years ago this July when three adventuresome astronauts broke free of the earth’s gravitational pull on their way to the moon. I recall sitting in front of the TV set, glued to the somewhat fuzzy picture of Neil Armstrong descending from the Lunar Lander. We all cheered as he laid claim to the moon, not just for America, but for all mankind. The world instantly recognized that this was a seminal moment in history and one that only the United States was capable of achieving. I immediately knew that this was likely the “earth altering achievement” of my time in world history, on a par with Columbus’ discovery of the new world.
It wasn’t just the singular achievement of the three “moon men” who, for a short time, occupied the seats on Apollo 11 that we celebrated back then, but the many thousands of unnamed scientists, technicians, craftsmen and laborers who were the backbone of the Apollo program and the creators of the final event. In the decades that followed, we also benefited as consumers from the many by-products of the inventions created specifically for Apollo with standard items in our homes, ranging from Tang and Teflon to Velcro and many others.
I don’t want to take anything away from Neil Armstrong, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin or Charles Conrad, as I still think they are the bravest of the brave. Those few good men allowed themselves to be strapped into a titanium cylinder (whose parts were manufactured by the lowest bidder) and launched toward the moon, when they could have easily been blasted into oblivion without ever having left earth’s atmosphere. After only six trips to the moon, the Apollo project, along with many of the astronauts and hundreds of those responsible were jettisoned like one of the booster rockets on the Space Shuttle. After all, Americans can have a short attention span, and back then they had other distractions like the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.
Today, too, Americans have many serious and pressing issues to occupy our time and attention including two wars, the collapse of the auto industry and the shake-up of our financial institutions. People are concerned for their families and hold a general lack of confidence for the future. That’s why we believe it is so very important that we stop, acknowledge and celebrate one of man’s greatest achievements.
Late last summer, Joan and I and our dedicated artisans and chocolatier decided that in our own crazy, little way that Choclatique was not going to let this anniversary pass unnoticed. We wanted to honor the thousands of Americans who brought Project Apollo to life and the millions of citizens who funded these missions with our tax dollars. We created the Choclatique Moon Rocks Collection—vividly-colored, 24- karat gold-veined, crystal-shaped chocolate confections… our interpretation of what might have been found if chocolatier been the first to land on the moon instead of the Apollo astronauts.Choclatique’s Moon Rocks Collection offers 15 out-of-this-world flavors which include “Tangy” Orange, Moon Rock Mousse, Apollo Almond, NASA Nuts, Cosmic Crunch Caramel, Rocket Raspberry, Stellar Strawberry Shortcake, Lift Off Lime, Extraterrestrial Mint, Mission Control Fig, Lunar Lemon Caramel, Solar Sesame, Basalt Boysenberry, Pluto Pomegranate Caramel and Galactic Grape all cast in our Private Reserve Dark (64%), Prestige Milk (32%) and Snowy White (33%) Chocolate. These are not only Chocolates Out of the Box, but chocolates out-of-this-world. So here’s the positive and patriotic take-away from this blog… after all, we are the Authentically American Chocolate Company. The United States of America—the greatest nation on earth—was the first to put men on the moon. In the forty years since that historic feat, no other country has even come close to matching our efforts and this technical achievement will probably not be repeated in the next 40 years by any other nation. So, take the time this summer (and all year long) to rejoice and celebrate all of the things that are grand about America; celebrate our achievements with a box of Choclatique Moon Rocks and don’t forget to say a prayer of thanks for all of our American astronauts, especially:
1. Neil Armstrong (1969)
2. Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin (1969)
3. Charles Conrad (1969)
4. Alan Bean (1969)
5. Alan Shepard (1971)
6. Edgar Mitchell (1971)
7. David Scott (1971)
8. James Irwin (1971)
9. John Young (1972)
10. Charles Duke (1972)
11. Eugene Cernan (1972)
12. Harrison Schmitt (1972)
“To the moon, Alice!”