Archive for September, 2012

A Chocolaty (End of) Summer-Time Salad or Side

Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

ChiliThe secret ingredient to my award-winning chili is a hint of chocolate. I’ve been told that the famous Cincinnati chili joint—Skyline—use a cocoa in their chili. Several of us in the test kitchen are always trying to discover new, less common ways for the use to use chocolate in savory foods. This is really nothing new for us, we’ve made Cacao-Studded Prime Rib, Corn Cakes, authentic Mexican Mole and even an Italian Salad Dressing kissed with the taste of chocolate. Don’t laugh unless you’ve tried it.

But now that we are nearing the end of the summer (though you wouldn’t believe it here in sunny Los Angeles), who wants to cook in a hot kitchen? Since I must get my quota of chocolate each day, I chose instead to develop a couscous salad with a luscious (I love the sound of the word luscious when talking about chocolate) blend of fruits, nuts, herbs, and—Big Surprise—CHOCOLATE! The flavor is very complex, but still summer-like with the orange zest, toasted pistachios, chopped mint, dried cherries, and cocoa. If you think there a lot going on here; you’re correct…but all works well and you will find it fragrant and fresh as each ingredient holds its own in every bite. Together they become nothing short of a beautiful, sensational symphony.

MintThe cocoa plays more of a supporting roll in this dish, rather than bold, center stage it plays in most desserts. The earthy cocoa acts more like a spice and produces a warm nutty background that balances the brightness of orange and mint. The best part is it’s so easy to make.

Cherry Pistachio Orange Cocoa Couscous Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 2 to 4, but easily doubled or tripled

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon, extra virgin olive oil, plus
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dry small pearl couscous
1/2 cup shelled, salted pistachios, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened dried cherries, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1/2 tablespoon orange honey

Directions:

  1. Combine the water, 1 teaspoon of oil, orange zest and salt in a medium saucepan; Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in couscous; cover the pot, and remove from the heat. Let it stand covered for about 5 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff the couscous lightly with a fork.
  2. Stir in chopped pistachios, cherries, cocoa powder, chili powder, mint and remaining tablespoon of oil. Add salt to taste. Taste and stir in honey if you’d prefer a sweeter taste.
  3. Serve it warm or chilled.

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Yogurt Ganache Covered Strawberries

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Wood-Fired Pizza OvenI never get tired working in our test kitchen dreaming up new chocolate ideas. It’s kind of like being in a space-age chocolate science fiction laboratory where we have liquid nitrogen canisters, chocolate tempering pots, enrobing machines and even a large wood-fired pizza oven we use to roast cocoa beans.

Long Stem StrawberriesLast week it was strawberries. This time of year in California strawberries are harvested aplenty. We made fresh strawberry white chocolate ganache, dark chocolate-frozen strawberry ice cream and chocolate-dipped fresh, long stem strawberries.

Chocolate Dipped StrawberriesMidway through the afternoon we discovered another tasty way to enjoy sweet, fresh strawberries! Strawberries provide Vitamin C, more antioxidants ounce for ounce than blueberries and many other nutrients, making them a great addition to a well-balanced diet – not to mention how great-tasting they are! Here’s a deliciously easy summertime dessert that you can make in minutes and it’s made with Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%), vanilla yogurt and strawberries of course!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup crushed chocolate wafers or animal crackers
6 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%), chopped
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 pound whole, long-stem strawberries, cleaned and dried

Directions:

  1. Place crushed wafer or crackers in a shallow dish; set aside.
  2. Gradually melt the chocolate in a microwave oven in 30 second bursts stirring at each break until the chocolate has melted.
  3. Remove from the microwave oven and add the yogurt to melted chocolate and stir until well combined and smooth.
  4. Dip one strawberry in chocolate and roll in crushed wafers or crackers; set on waxed paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strawberries.
  5. Refrigerate strawberries until chocolate is firm (about 30 minutes). Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

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Great News for Chocoholics!

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

How Eating Chocolate Can ‘Slow Down the Aging Process’

The Picture of Dorian GrayLet’s just say I am closer to 60 than I am to 50. I still don’t have any gray hair and I’m pretty free of wrinkles. I move a lot faster than most of the people around me half my age. I exercise at least 5 days a week and I don’t smoke, I don’t drink much and I have never done drugs. My partner Joan swears I’ve made a pact with the devil to stay looking so young.

We had a conversation this week where Joan was teasing me about promising my soul to the devil in order to live a life of perpetual youth and not have to worry about bodily decay and dissipation as in the book, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Now I can’t categorically prove that I don’t have a contract with Lucifer, but I can tell you that I do have access to lots of really great dark chocolate and the latest research claims that the absorption of cocoa flavanols—molecules contained in chocolate—improve skin oxygenation reducing the affects of external aging.

FlavanolsNow this is the great news older chocolate lovers the world over have been waiting to hear. Chocolate really is the latest super-food that scientists claim can slow down the aging process. Researchers based in Cambridge have made a scientific research breakthrough where they claim an ingredient transforms chocolate into an anti-aging wonder drug. Scientists at biotechnology specialist Lycotec have modified chocolate with an ingredient they have developed called Coco-Lycosome. This boosts the power of cocoa flavanols by up to 20 times compared to unmodified chocolate. A small chunk of modified chocolate has the same anti-aging benefits as two bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk, according to the researchers.

Lycotec founder Dr. Ivan Petyaev told The Grocer magazine: ‘Two bars a day may be good news for chocoholics but not everyone loves chocolate that much. But now, everyone can benefit from the intrinsic values of cocoa flavanols without compromising their health and habits.’ Dr. Petyaev added that the technology had no impact on the taste or texture of chocolate and that the ingredient was safe and accepted by the food industry.

Elephant ChocolateAt Choclatique we’re definitely on the right track with our Private Reserve (64%), Elephant (76%) and Q-91 (91%) dark chocolates. Even if flavanols are clunky molecules and have some problems with absorption, eating 100g bar a day of our chocolate should keep you looking young and beautiful—just like me.

But before you get too excited, remember to always balance the benefits with any possible detrimental effects. If you are looking at increased consumption of chocolate, you will see an increase in calories and fat as well.

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Joan-Made-Me-Make-Them: Mini Chocolate Boston Cream Pies

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Boston Cream PieWe always try to make a birthday cake for our co-workers. It’s always best to ask them what kind of cake they love so we can “surprise” them with it on their special day. Our Executive Chef, Jonathan, is a Boston Cream Pie kind of guy. We all got together and made his favorite with a little twist—all chocolate of course.

In 1996, the Boston Cream Pie became the official dessert of Massachusetts. However, you should know it’s really not a pie at all but a cake that has been split and filled with a custard or cream filling and drizzled or glazed with chocolate. The Boston Cream Pie was originally created by an Armenian-French chef M. Sanzian at Boston’s Parker House Hotel in 1856. I fully “chocolatized” the recipe about 140 years later and improved upon it in 2012.

Prep Time: 90 minutes
Ready In: 90 minutes

Yield: 24 servings

Ingredients:
1 package (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix
1 cup cold milk
1 pkg. (4 serving size) JELL-O™ Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding Mix
1 1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP™ Whipped Topping, divided
4 ounces Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips, plus another
6 ounces Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips, melted
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Prepare the cake batter following the directions on the box. Bake in 24 medium muffin pan cups that have been sprayed with pan release.
  3. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes to wire racks; cool completely.
  4. Beat the milk and chocolate pudding mix with wire whisk for 2 minutes or until well blended. Let stand 5 minutes to thicken.
  5. Meanwhile, use the serrated knife to cut the cakes horizontally in half. Gently stir 1/2 cup of the whipped topping into pudding mixture. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the pudding mixture onto bottom half of each cupcake; cover with top of the cake.
  6. Microwave the remaining 1 cup whipped topping and the chocolate in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended.
  7. Let stand 15 minutes to thicken. Spread onto cakes. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes.
  8. Before serving, microwave the remaining chocolate chips and oil in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 minute or until the chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 30 seconds. Continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended.
  9. Drizzle mini-cakes with chocolate syrup and serve.
  10. Store any leftovers overnight in refrigerator.

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