Posts Tagged ‘Cocoa’

The ChocolateDoctor’s Cocoa-Miso Glazed Halibut

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Japanese cuisine has developed over the past 2,000 years with strong influences from China and Korea. But it is only in the last 300-400 years that all the influences have come together to form what nowadays can be described as Japanese food culture.

The introduction of rice from Korea around 400 B.C. was most notable. Within a hundred years it became the staple food of Japan. Rice is used not only for eating, but also for making paper, wine, fuel, and building materials. Soon after the introduction of rice, soy beans and wheat were imported from China. These two ingredients became an integral part of Japanese cooking. Tea, chopsticks and a number of other important food-related items were also introduced from China which was thought to be the more civilized culture of the time.

Cooking “Japanese” is not hard, it’s just a matter of having the right ingredients (which include ingredients made from rice and soy) and enough time to do it right. You’ll love the flavors in Japanese food and you will be surprised just how simple most of the recipes are. This Valentine’s recipe is no exception—a beautiful piece of fresh fish and a little miso (soy), mirin (rice) and sake (rice). That’s all there is to it. Well, not quite; we added the cocoa powder. It seems that the cocoa, when added to the miso, mirin and sake brought a new dimension to the marinade. It made for a richer, fuller-flavored entrée. It’s amazing what a little bit of cocoa can do.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Marinade Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 cup nigori sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Choclatique Natura Cocoa Powder, sifted
2 fresh halibut fillets, about 1/2 pound each (you can use salmon, cod or other white fish)

Directions:

  1. Combine the sake, mirin, miso, sugar and cocoa powder in a small both and whisk together.
  2. Place the fish filets in a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over them. Distribute the marinade evenly and refrigerate for no more than sixty minutes—set a timer. Try to remove as much of the air as possible before sealing the bag.
  3. About 20 minutes before you are going to start cooking set the oven broiler on high and your top rack about 6 to 8 inches away from the heating element.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, remove the fish from the marinade and place on the baking sheet. Do not wipe too much marinade off the top of the fish.
  5. Place the baking sheet on the top rack and broil for 8-10 minutes or until the top of the fish starts to char. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Chef’s Secret: We tried this recipe with several different kinds of fish. Some of us preferred halibut (as this recipe is written) while others liked salmon or cod. This will work on most pieces of fresh fish. Not all sake is created equal. Nigori sake is sweeter, unfiltered sake that lends itself well to the preparation of this dish. The more common Junmai sake is fine to use in this recipe, but the Nigori better complements the chocolate notes from the cocoa powder.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Prescription to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Naturally with Chocolate

Friday, January 17th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

It’s the end of January—the holidays are behind us, yet the holiday bills lay before you. Vacations are over, the back-to-work grind is wearing on your patience, and two weeks into the New Year you’ve already failed on your resolutions, whatever they might be.

Sound familiar? There’s a reason these are the most depressing days of the year.

Here’s the solution? Eat more chocolate. I’m not kidding. There’s no better food to connect the dots between mind and body than the deliciously emotional, palpably physical response we all have to eating pure chocolate,” writes Will Cower, PhD, neurophysiologist, neuroscientist, and nutritionist in his new book, Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight. As gimmicky as it might sound, eating chocolate might be the best natural remedy for anxiety you’re not using and science has shown that it goes beyond the mere mood –elevating buzz you get from gobbling up a Crunch bar on the way home from work.

Cortisol and Cocoa
You’ve seen those awful weight-loss commercials. The part that is true is that stress prompts your body to produce cortisol. Research has shown that heavier women have higher levels of cortisol than women of normal weight. Cortisol also triggers the accumulation of abdominal, or visceral, fat, which builds up around your organs and can contribute to depression, along with heart disease and stroke.

In a 2009 study it was reported that people who ate about an ounce of chocolate a day for two weeks saw decreases in cortisol in their systems compared to its levels at the start of the study. Another study a year later showed that, over the course of 30 days, people who ate cocoa daily had 10 percent lower levels of anxiety and considered themselves 10 percent calmer than they had been at the start of the study.

The key to success is prevention, not reaction. Studies finding that chocolate has a positive impact on mood and anxiety all looked at consumption over the course of 30 days, while studies looking at people who consume chocolate in response to stress found those people generally feel as depressed after their chocolate fix as they did before it. They experience a short “mood elevation” that lasts about three minutes, and then disappears. That’s just about long enough to reach for another chocolate bar.

Eat Chocolate and Lose Weight
There are over 300 positive chemical compounds in chocolate. Eating chocolate over time allows one’s body to build up levels of cocoa’s polyphenols, which are responsible for regulating stress hormones. The cocoa polyphenols don’t immediately boost mood, satisfaction, calmness or contentedness. This happens only when chocolate is eaten slowly and steadily over a period of time. In other words, a patient chocolate eater is a happy chocolate eater.

Eat It Right
You won’t reap the mood-boosting benefits of chocolate by reaching for that bag full of fun-size caramels and nougats, or even by eating a chocolate bar a day. If you want chocolate to truly make a difference and leave you happy and less stressed, your approach to eating it needs to be a little more nuanced.

Dark vs. Milk
Dark chocolate is less stressful than milk chocolate, for lots of reasons. Milk chocolate is loaded with sugar and other additives, while also being devoid of most of cocoa’s healthier components. The milk in milk chocolate tends to blocks the body’s absorption of the antidepressant antioxidants. Studies analyzing the healthfulness of chocolate rely on dark chocolates with at least 70 percent cacao or even unsweetened 100-percent cocoa powder. Functional chocolates such as Choclatique Q-91 or Choclatique Elephant Chocolate (76%) are perfect for this need.

Eat Small Amounts
Once you find a chocolate you like, take it in small doses. To battle stress and anxiety—take one ounce a day for at least eight weeks. But divide that one ounce into five portions a day. That will be roughly the size of the end joint on your thumb. Stick with an ounce a day. There isn’t any evidence that eating more is a benefit that will make you feel even better.

Eat It Slowly
Don’t chew, or even suck on, your chocolate pieces. Savor the flavor by letting the chocolate sit on your tongue and melt slowly. The added time you spend slowly tasting your chocolate is time you’re not popping more into your mouth. The flavor lingers and your brain thinks you’re eating the entire time so you’re less likely to overindulge.

Choclatique Dark Chocolates are low in sugar and high in cocoa mass. They are slowly-roasted all the way through. There in no “green” left in the bean. This leaves a very pleasant, fruity flavor in your mouth with cherry, berry, and fruit wine notes—it is never bitter or brittle. Even Choclatique Midnight Unsweetened Chocolate (100% cacao), used primary for baking and cooking, has a tolerable flavor. But, if you’re not into dark chocolates, try using cocoa powder like Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. About half cup, or eight tablespoons, of 100 percent unsweetened cocoa powder will give you the same nutrients and mood lift as the one ounce of dark chocolate a day. Add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to your morning oatmeal, use a few teaspoons in your favorite vinaigrette, or cook with it. Avoid “Dutch” cocoa, which has been heavily processed which loses many of the benefits you are looking for.

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About Ice Cream

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Ice CreamI love ice cream! No ifs ands or buts about it. I am one of those “a pint is not enough” men. No matter what size the container, I can usually finish it in one serving. Okay, I have to admit, as I have gotten older, I do struggle a little with the gallon size. I also have to confess that it is a struggle to maintain my high school, athletic figure. Yeah, I’m sure you can imagine the guy who eats Choclatique chocolate all day has got to look like the “blob” that swallowed Hollywood. I digress…

I have been on the low carbohydrate Choclatique Q-91 diet since the beginning of summer. I haven’t had a “lick” of ice cream or much of anything else I love for over two months. I have lost about 16 badly needed pounds, but I still have another 12 to go. I get obsessive-compulsive about things like diets and nothing can even tempt me-even all of the great new luscious marshmallow flavors they are turning out of the Chocolate Studio this afternoon. If I can’t eat any ice cream at the moment, let me at least write about it.

THE BASE MIXTURE

Ice cream is a simple combination of dairy products, sweeteners, and flavorings. There are basically two kinds of ice cream: Philadelphia-style, which is made with various combinations of milk, cream, flavorings, and sugar; and custard-based, which is made with egg yolks, sugar, some milk, a lesser amount of cream, and similar flavorings. Custard ice creams, sometimes called French ice creams, are whipped before they are frozen. With the exception of the egg yolks in the custard ice cream, basically the ingredients for both are the same, although the proportions are different.

THE FAT’S WHERE THE FLAVOR AND TEXTURE ARE AT

Ice Cream SundaeWe all love ice cream that is smooth and velvety. Ice cream has to contain a certain amount of butterfat to be so smooth and creamy. The butterfat in ice cream comes from the milk products in the mixture, and the higher the butterfat content, the richer the ice cream. The amount of butterfat in commercial ice cream is regulated by the FDA. For vanilla ice cream, the standard is at least 10 percent; for chocolate ice cream, it is at least 8 percent. Many ice creams that you buy in the store barely reach that minimum, while others reach 15 to 20 percent. When making your own ice cream, you can increase the butterfat content even more, resulting in the smoothest ice cream you’ll ever eat.

If you’re making your own ice cream, here are the ratios you need to follow. There are three cups of heavy cream and one cup of half-and-half in most Philadelphia-style ice cream recipes. There are two cups of heavy cream, one cup of half-and-half, and four egg yolks in most custard-style ice cream recipes. These standards yield ice cream that far surpasses any of the commercial brands, some of which substitute chemical additives, gelatin, and other stabilizers to provide smoothness and body. We don’t believe in better living through chemistry.

ice_cream_kidSmoothness in ice cream is achieved only with some sacrifice. That same butterfat that makes the ice cream so tasty can also be a problem for people with high cholesterol levels. You could reduce the amount of butterfat in the ice cream by substituting half-and-half for the cream and milk for the half-and-half. The problem is that you’ll get an icier ice cream. The ice cream just won’t be as smooth. It tends, especially in home ice cream freezers, to become icy and granular when there’s too much water and not enough fat in the mixture. If you want smoothness, the only solution is to eat very, very good ice cream—and only eat a little bit of it. Ice cream that’s well made (or anything else, for that matter) need not be eaten to excess to be satisfying. In France they serve ice cream in tiny cones. The cones are perhaps an inch and a half in diameter at the widest point. They are perfectly satisfying.

OVERRUN—IS THAT JUST A LOT OF HOT AIR?

If you simply mixed up a batch of cream, sugar, and flavoring and then froze it, you would get a solid block that you’d have to chip at with a chisel. The mixture has to have some air added as it freezes. This is the second most important factor in making good ice cream. The air lightens the mixture and increases its volume while keeping the cream soft. Too little air makes a solid ice cream; too much results in frozen foam.

Some commercial ice cream makers use an air pump, which pumps air into the mixture as it is being frozen. Home ice cream machines do a similar process mechanically by stirring a small amount of air into the mixture with the beater as it freezes. To some extent you can control the amount of air being incorporated and thus control the density of your ice cream.

The percentage of air that is whipped into ice cream is referred to as “overrun.” The FDA has standards for the weight of ice cream, and these weights are a direct reflection of overrun. A gallon of commercial ice cream must weigh at least 4.5 pounds. The ice cream you make at home will weigh twice that. Some popular brands of ice cream advertise a low overrun—for example a 20% overrun. That means for every 100 ounces of cream mixture, they beat in enough air to produce 120 ounces of frozen ice cream. Try testing this yourself. Hold up two different containers of ice cream at once and notice which is heavier. The heavier one has the lower overrun, which means you’re getting more ice cream and less air for your buck.

INGREDIENTS—ONLY THE BEST WILL DO

It pays to use only the best ingredients. Why spend all that time and effort to make something that is second rate? If you want second-rate ice cream, you can find that easily at the store. Go that route and along with second-rate taste, you’ll get junk like homogenizers, stabilizers, and emulsifiers; corn syrups instead of sugar; and artificial flavors instead of real flavors. The freezing process tends to bring out all the imperfections in ingredients. If you compromise on quality here, you’ll taste it later.

FOOD SAFE & FLAVOR

Remember that in making ice cream, you are working with dairy products (milk, half and half and cream) and eggs that when not totally fresh, can have higher counts of bacteria and possibly get you sick.

If you are going to use the freshest cream, half-and-half, and eggs, you should be using only real vanilla or vanilla extract. Vanilla reinforces the flavor of the cream and gives the ice cream its characteristic dairy taste. It also enhances the flavor of chocolate ice cream. Phony vanilla just doesn’t cut it and it leaves a metallic aftertaste.

If you’re using chocolate, it should be the best. We recommend using Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%); Choclatique Prestige Milk Chocolate (32%); or Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate (33%). For cocoa, use Choclatique Red Cocoa Powder. It is a light, Dutch-process cocoa that still gives a nice, warm brown color and enhance the chocolate flavor.

ORTS, CHIPS, BITS, PIECES, TEXTURIZERS AS INCLUSIONS

Strawberry Ice CreamInclusions are those things (fruits, nuts and chips) that you can add to ice cream to give it that Ben & Jerry’s texture. I prefer to only add frozen inclusions. Adding room temperature inclusion may develop ice crystal in the ice cream and delay the freezing process. At the very least make sure anything you add is well refrigerated. And always start with the coldest mixture of dairy products.

You can add in unsalted nuts, dried fruit, chocolate Choclatique chocolate chips, fresh candy or crisp cookie pieces. These are added just before the ice cream is packed for hardening in the freezer.

THEM NEW-FANGLED MACHINES

Ice cream is made by stirring the cream mixture while it freezes. The mixture has to be cold, stirred constantly and not too quickly, but at a pace that allows the cream to freeze without becoming solid and without separating. For the home, there are basically only a three kinds of machines.

Old-Fashioned Hand-cranked Ice Cream MakerThe old-fashioned hand- or motor-cranked machine is essentially a canister that is held within a larger bucket. By turning the crank, you are able to turn the canister, which has a beater, or dasher, inside it to stir the cream. Between the canister and the bucket, you pack in layers of crushed ice and salt. The salt keeps the ice cold. Salt lowers the temperature of the ice while melting it, thus making a very cold casing around the canister to help freeze the cream.

Ice Cream MachineIf you don’t want to make a production out of it at the 4th of July picnic and mess with all the salt and ice, then the frozen core machine is just what the doctor ordered. The core is pre-frozen in your freezer. Then just fill the bowl with the cream mixture and turn it on. It will yield between a pint and a quart in about 20 minutes.

Ice Cream MachineIf you want to spend about a zillion dollars, there is yet another type of machine available—the self-freezing variety, with a canister inside the machine and with the freezing coils wrapped around the canister. It is a mini electric freezer with a small compressor and everything. The cream mixture is stirred inside the canister as it is frozen, without need for salt or ice. The big advantage of the self-freezing machines is that they are quick, easy to clean and virtually foolproof. Most people can’t make a mistake.

PACKING IT IN

Mmmm....Some people like to eat the ice cream fresh, right from the bucket. Others like to chill it to make it quite hard. When ice cream comes from the ice cream making machine, regardless of the type of equipment, it is light and fluffy and at about 17ºF. When you pack it in containers to store in the freezer, it hardens (if your recipe is good, the ice cream should remain creamy and smooth). The best storage for ice cream is about 0º to -10F°. Pack it tightly in airtight containers and top the ice cream with a layer of food film, tapping it down to cover the surface. Place the cover on top of the container on to seal. Label, date and rotate. Just because it is kept in the freezer doesn’t give it the shelf life of plutonium.

When ready to serve, take your ice cream container out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to slightly soften. If you can’t wait, put it in the microwave for about 15 seconds at 50% power.

So here we have presented some simple tips to eat healthfully, stay fit and above all have fun in your kitchen.

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