Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Divine Chocolate...

“Chocolate is a divine, celestial drink, 
the sweat of the stars, 
the vital seed, 
divine nectar, 
the drink of the gods, 
panacea and universal medicine.”
 ~ Geronimo Piperni

The magic & mysticism behind the world's most sacred food...

Although I'm not of Mayan descent, I still appreciate the cultural origins that have inspired centuries of variations on the traditional food of the Gods of Mayan tradition, and just to celebrate this, I have been experimenting with some of the not-so-sweet versions of a Mayan chocolate drink with chili, as is deemed to be truer to the sense of the Maya, and less of the European or Colonial senses.  Please share in this celebration!

Unsweetened Chocolate - 3 1/2 oz., chopped
USDA Organic Agave, 1 - 4 tbspn
Chili Powder - Ancho, 1 - 3 tbspn
Vanilla, 1/4 tspn

Heat & whisk the chocolate chunks until melted
(and yes, you do need to chop up the chocolate first!)

Slowly add a cup and a half of water while stirring over low heat.

Add in the remaining ingredients...

~Chili Powder

This is all to taste, of course, and is purely a matter of preference 
regarding sweetness & spice

Valrhona chocolate is definitely a favorite of most chefs, but I prefer using products that are allied with environmentally friends organizations when possible, such as Vintage Plantations Artisanal Chocolate
and so I always want to see if I am able to replicate something just as delicious and presentable... 
but the brand is entirely up to the chef!  

Agave is a natural sweetener that I prefer to use in drinks 
due to its not so potent flavor as well as health benefits!

Chili Powder is varied in degrees of hotness!  Proceed with caution!

To make chili powder from scratch, lightly toast chili peppers in dry skillet for 5 - 10 minutes, 
cool, discard seeds, then grind by hand with a mortar & pestle, or blend in a spice grinder.

Vanilla extract may be used, or vanilla bean... again, preference reigns!

Mexican legend says that should a woman make a fair amount of foam for her hot chocolate, she would reap the rewards of a wonderful mate.  The mother of the prospective suitor would be the judge of the froth. The tool that has been passed on from these women is the molinillo, which kind of looks like some sort of implement for giving a back massage, but alas, is the refined creation of those resourceful ancients for producing the best froth in town!  Of course froth is not necessary, but does make for an extra special treat!

“I believe that being happy is the only important thing. 
Simple as a glass of chocolate or torturous as the heart. 
Bitter. Sweet. Alive.” 
Joanne Harris, 'Chocolat'

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape - 
the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it - 
the whole story doesn't show."

                                                     -  Andrew Wyeth 
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