Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Chicken Fricassee

I don’t feel like I have been all that productive this week as I have been dealing with a flare up.  It’s just one of those things.  One day you feel decent, the next day you feel like you got hit by a truck.  Gone are the days where I feel like a rockstar.  I’m just glad for the days where I don’t shuffle like an old man.  

My kids tell me to hobble like the wind which reminds me of soft rocker Christopher Cross.  I’m then reminded of a quote from Butthead.  Regarding soft rockers, he said, “They decided to rebel against their parents by making even softer rock.”  That’s the mark of ultimate rebellion.  Nevertheless, “Ride Like the Wind” and “Sailing” have been stuck on my mental playlist for 34 years.  I try to push it out with Metallica or Dave Brubeck, but Christopher Cross usually wins the Battle of the Bands inside my brain.

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Around 11:30 last night I was inspired to make chicken fricassee…with chocolate.  I nearly jumped into my soccer mom minivan to score some chicken thighs and chocolate last night, but I was able to resist the temptation until this afternoon.  I know, chocolate chicken just doesn’t sound all that appealing.  It’s not like chocolate fondue or anything, just enough to add a touch of panache.  My biggest critics are my kids and they thought it was great.  If my kids like it, it’s a big win for me.

Ingredients

6 chicken thighs

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

1 cup flour (for dredging the chicken)

2 slices bacon

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup flour

5 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 ounce 70% dark chocolate

1 tablespoon chicken base

3 tablespoons A1 steak sauce

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 pound linguine (or pasta of your choice)

Seasoning Blend for Chicken

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

I love anything with gravy.
I love anything with gravy.

Method

Rinse chicken and remove excess fat and skin.  Pat dry with a paper towel.  Rub seasoning blend into chicken and coat with mustard.  Allow chicken to marinate for 30 minutes.

Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

Render fat from two slices bacon in a cast iron dutch oven.  Remove and add 1/2 cup vegetable oil.  When heated, add chicken, skin side down.  Cook in two batches.  Allow chicken to fry over medium heat for four minutes and turn.  Allow to fry three minutes longer.

While chicken is frying, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove chicken and pour 3/4 cup flour into pot.  Combine oil and flour to make a roux.  Turn heat down to low and stir continuously until roux is a dark brown, about the color of milk chocolate.

Once the roux is sufficiently dark, add sliced onions.  This will stop the browning process.  Saute until onions begin to soften and add garlic.  Continue to cook until fragrant and onions are soft.

Add water and stir until roux has completely dissolved, resulting in a smooth gravy.

Add bay leaves, chocolate, steak sauce, thyme, black pepper, white pepper, chili powder, paprika, oregano, parsley flakes, and cayenne.  Blend well and and taste.  Make adjustments if necessary.

Mince the two slices of bacon and add to the gravy.  Also, introduce the par-fried chicken to the pot.  Cover and place in oven for 45 minutes.

About fifteen minutes before chicken is ready, prepare pasta according to the directions on the package. Enjoy.

Chocolate chicken fricassee on a bed of linguine.
Chocolate chicken fricassee on a bed of linguine.

Homemade Raw Vegan Chocolate

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I have to admit that this is the first vegan recipe I have ever tried.  I had a recipe to test for a freelance piece and I decided to toy with it.  Normally, I’ll bite a hunk of dark chocolate and it has the ceraceous consistency of those wax lips you get around Halloween.  It takes forever for it to begin to melt which is when you can finally say Unleash the Kraken!!!  Um…I…I mean…flavor.  If you start screaming about krakens you might find yourself in a padded cell.  Without chocolate.

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The chocolate here is about half cacao butter.  You can take a piece from the freezer and it immediately begins melting.  This is desirable as you are struck with the chocolate jolt and you don’t even have time to think about krakens.

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup cacao butter
  • Celtic sea salt for sprinkling(you can use pink Himalayan salt or some large grained salt.  Just don’t use iodized salt.  It will make you cry.)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (I couldn’t find this so I used turbinado sugar.  I couldn’t get the chocolate warm enough to melt the sugar, though.  Well, I could have heated it enough, I was just concerned that I was going to irreparably damage my raw chocolate.  Why buy raw chocolate if you are just going to cook it?  This batch was grainy but delicious.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (I have some really nice extract from Honduras, but McCormick will do nicely)

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Method

The best way to render the cacao butter is to grate it so that it melts easily.  As you grate the cacao butter, heat a pot of water until it is steaming.  You don’t quite want it at the boiling point.  The cacao is cold pressed and the object is to keep the temperature as low as you can so you don’t destroy the nutrients with heat.

To be honest, my first notion was to microwave the cacao butter until I researched it.  Heat it slowly.  The heat destroys flavinoids or something.  Hey, I just scanned for the best way to heat cacao butter.  I never planned on learning.  If you are interested in the nuances of raw cacao, I’m sure Google will accommodate you.

Using a heat resistant bowl, like Pyrex or stainless steel, melt the butter by placing the container in or on top of the pot of hot water.  Or if you want to be fancy, a double boiler will do nicely.

Once melted, add all ingredients and mix thoroughly with a wire whisk.  When everything is fully incorporated, pour into molds like ice cube trays.  I poured my chocolate off into an aluminum pan.  Then you want to sprinkle some salt over the top.  Chocolate that is highlighted with sea salt is something you want to enjoy.

Place your container into the freezer for around 20 minutes or you can let it cool in the refrigerator for about two hours.  You do the math.  20 minutes or two hours.  I put mine in the freezer too.

All photos courtesy of Stacy Crumpley.
All photos courtesy of Stacy Crumpley.

Next time I’m not going to fool with vegan pretexts.  I’ll use honey to avoid the grainy texture and I’ll punch it up with a dose of sriracha.

Cinnamon Chocolate Cake

Note:  the featured image above is from a full sheet cake.  the cake wasn’t thick as I didn’t have a high walled cake pan.  Cakes are better when they are so tall they won’t fit into your mouth unless you unhinge your jaw like a rattlesnake.  Photo was taken by Josh Guthrie.

Over the past few weeks I have been looking up cake recipes and even had a few ideas of my own.  My family loved the chocolate-peanut butter cake with banana frosting.  Personally, I thought it was too sweet and the peanut butter seemed to overpower the banana.

This isn’t a cake recipe, but recently I made peanut butter-bananas foster chimachangas with marshmallow.  That was our supper one night.  Again, the family loved it, but it was too sweet for me.  I’d like to revisit both  make some adjustments to make these winners.

I have an exceedingly hard time following recipes.  Yes, I can read.  Yes, I can follow simple directions.  Just not in the kitchen.  Does that happen to you?  At the last moment, I always have something I want to change to make it better.  With this impromptu baking I have learned that cakes, breads, etc. can be very forgiving.

I did find a recipe that was anomalous.  It was a cake recipe that I had no desire to change.  I have make this cake four or five times in the past month mostly for me to gorge on, but the family loves it and so does everyone else who has tried it.

I cannot eat enough of this cinnamon-chocolate cake.  Instead of walnuts I used pecans. That’s what was in the pantry. Today’s cake was a little different as I only had enough granulated white sugar for half of what the recipe calls for. The other half was brown sugar.  See, these changes were out of necessity, otherwise I would have *gasp* followed the recipe as written.

I just ate a piece and it was moist and airy.  Doesn’t Mexican chocolate have cinnamon in it?  This recipe just has enough cinnamon to wake up the chocolate.  Chocolate is great.  The cinnamon enhances the chocolate flavor that you cannot rest until the cake is devoured.

Today's cake.  I made this four times or so in the past month.
Today’s cake. I made this four times or so in the past month.

I really wish I could take credit for this cake. I’m considering a cinnamon-maple cake with coffee frosting. If it’s worthy of sharing, you’ll be the first to know.

The Brownies I Can’t Forget

There was a time where I had an incredible memory. I knew everything there was to know, or so I thought. The most vivid memories revolved around food. For the past three years or so, I have documented my life with food pictures. Most of my pictures are of my kitchen creations, but there’s also a smattering of other memorable meals.

These past three years it seems that my life memories are disappearing. I’m forgetting even the context of food pictures. Who made it, how it tasted, where it was eaten seems to be slipping. I’ve decided that I need to capture the context before these food memories disappear altogether.

This house is missing the ground floor.

January 2012–I headed to Trussville, AL to volunteer with Mercy Chefs to feed hot meals to the tornado victims. When I arrived, it was determined that Mercy Chefs wasn’t needed as Samaritan’s Purse had the situation under control.

I just drove nine hours from Shreveport . I wasn’t going to turn back so I was allowed to volunteer in the kitchen as a Samaritan’s Purse volunteer.

We provided most meals but some meals were served by local organizations. Grace’s Kitchen served up some delicious meals a couple of times during the two weeks I was there.

This trip is beginning to get fuzzy already, but I don’t think I could ever forget the cappuccino brownies.

I remember them vividly. I was sitting at a long table with maybe thirty volunteers, most of whom I had never met. I sat across from this guy that moderately resembled Harrison Ford. He was telling me that he was an electrician and he traveled and volunteered his time.

Maybe he was a plumber, I can’t say I wasn’t really paying attention. Something about being a former alcoholic and whatever else he was saying about carpentry or Hungarian ice wrestling. I was too busy thinking about these brownies to pay him much mind. I’m surprised he didn’t mention my glazed eyes.

These cappuccino brownies floored me. I knew I had to have them again. Fortunately for me, they posted the recipe on their website. I don’t even have to suffer through a conversation with some Blade Runner wannabe.

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My friend, Josh, shot the picture of the brownies. I was able to pay him in brownies.