food for thought
We are completely gluten-free in our cooking and I am always concerned about the safety as well as the quality of the food we serve. I have celiac, and my son was a severely celiac child, so I know the consequences of not eating safely. One of our patrons recently raised their own concerns in describing their reactions to distilled white vinegar, and this spurred me to renew my research and now to share with you my conclusions.
Whether called “Theobroma: Food of the Gods” as its formal scientific name, or “Food of the Heart” as we all know around Valentines, chocolate is a favorite gift of love.
In its raw form, you can send the message of heartfelt love that is an incredibly rich supply of magnesium and other essential minerals (calcium, zinc, iron, copper and potassium).
Spicy Raw Chocolate Truffle
½-cup solid cacao butter
5 Tablespoons cacao powder
1 tsp Vanilla powder or raw seeds from bean
Dash of salt
Cinnamon and cayenne to taste
2 tablespoons of raw honey (Manuka works well, but a local raw honey is best; or
substitute agave or coconut palm nectar if preferred)
Optional – garnish with green Matcha tea powder, cacao powder or cinnamon
Chill the ceramic plate or mold.
Melt the Cacao butter using double boiler. After it’s melted, remove it from the heat and fold in the vanilla, cacao powder, and salt. Add the sweetener and spices while still folding to combine.
Spoon the chocolate out onto a plate, and let it chill for 20-30 minutes in refrigerator. Remove it from the refrigerator, and break the chocolate into pieces at “normal room temperature”. The chocolate will begin to melt the longer it is at room temperature, so if it begins to get too soft to form into truffles, put the mixture bag in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and start the process over again.
An alternate way to form the truffles is to pour the chocolate directly into a mold, and let it chill completely. Add the Matcha, Cinnamon, or Cacao powder to a sieve and shake lightly over the truffles to garnish.
Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
Years ago, as my curiosity in all things food was still in its figurative “awkward teenager” years, I had a co-worker that, in passing conversation, told me that she was a Celiac. Those many years ago, I had no idea what that meant, so when she explained to me that she couldn’t eat anything with gluten in it, I dug a little deeper in my own time to understand a more what that meant. With very obviously limited research completed, I remember thinking to myself, “she literally can’t eat anything! Everything has gluten in it. How can you LIVE without bread?!”
When speaking to a group recently about different kinds of cooking oils, focusing most specifically on olive oil and its grading level, I was asked the question, "what's different about light olive oil?" To which I dryly responded...
"It's a farce."
Minds were blown. The bulk of the group couldn't believe it at first, until I started explaining what's really going on with "light" olive oil.
Taco Tuesday should offer up the ability to have some fun with the food you serve, and maybe try to think outside the proverbial taco-box, don't you think? We should stretch outside the realm of what is typical taco-fare sometimes, shouldn't we?
Now, don't take my blasphemy as a slight against Mexican food, because in no way is it intended that way (Mexican food is near and dear to my heart)... as a cook, I just always look for a way to play with my food.
So, without further delay, I give you the Cheesesteak Taco.
Here's a bit of reading and watching material to get your Monday off to the right start...
Cook It Raw released a trailer for its latest installment in South Carolina. For those not familiar with Cook It Raw, it gathers together some of the most talented Chefs in the world together to discuss a variety of issues as they apply to food, with the event culminating in a large meal, to which each Chef contributes one drool-worthy dish.
The New York Times did a great piece about Roy Choi, one of the OGs of the food truck craze and creator of the K-Taco, and his recently released memoir and cookbook.
Alchemy Restaurant's own Ricardo Heredia won the Bacon category of the World Food Championships in Las Vegas last week. Check out his profile here...
Perennial local and national brewing powerhouse Lost Abbey is known for its Belgian influences, but in the next few weeks, don't be surprised if you suddenly find their new IPA, Merry Taj, on the tap list at your local beer bar.
Wondering how to cook that turkey for Thanksgiving? Want to try a different way of using that turkey fryer you bought a few years ago that doesn't involve buying (and eventually disposing of) five gallons of cooking oil? Check out part one and two of Alinea in Chicago's world-renowned Chef and owner working through some different techniques and twists on dishes for the upcoming holiday, and how you can potentially apply them in your home.
Lastly, if you are interested in helping the relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan, local group Gawad Kalinga offers a means to help by sending food packs to help the thousands of people in need in the Philippines.
Let’s play a game of food-word association: what’s the first thing that comes across your mind when someone says “New York?” How about “Boston…” or “Chicago…” maybe “San Francisco?”
There are obviously a ton of answers, but for New York you may have been saying pizza or hot dogs… For Boston, maybe clam chowder, for Chicago, deep dish pizza, and for San Francisco, maybe sourdough bread.
Alright, same game… San Diego.