Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cooking With Chocolate

Just recently, I turned my kitchen into a laboratory. I sincerely believe, most people are beginning to think I’m a Culinary mad scientist.
I’m a chocoholic and I’m not afraid to admit it. But I have always wondered, if there are better ways of cooking with chocolate, other than just cookies,cakes and other desserts.
Here are the results from my adventurous endeavor.

Chocolate: Chocolate Risotto
Enjoy a rice pudding style dessert made with chocolate. How many times have you made risotto only to wonder how good it would be with chocolate? Here's your chance as I show you how easy it truly is to do. Lately, this chef has been exploring how to use chocolate in savory dishes too, employing chocolate as a spice. Be sure to check out the other recipes in this post to enjoy more of this chef's creativity.
2 tbsp. butter
½ c. Arborio rice
4 c. milk
2 tbsp. sugar
1 c. bittersweet chocolate, finely grated
Walnuts for sprinkling, quartered
Similar to a regular risotto process, melt the butter in a hot pan and add the rice. Stir for about a minute or until the rice is translucent. Pour a cup of milk into the pan and stir until the milk reduces. Add the sugar and stir continuously. As the milk evaporates, add another ½ cup of milk to the rice and continue stirring. Repeat this process until the rice is at the 'al dente' stage.
Add the chocolate to the rice, and stir until the chocolate has melted and the milk has reduced to a creamy consistency.
Serve the dessert immediately in cups and finish with a sprinkle of walnuts on top.

beef stew with chocolate

Beef Stew with Chocolate
This Chef is on a roll with awesome savory recipes using dark chocolate as a star ingredient. This has shaped up to be Chocolate Week at this blog! I've been hunting some great and easy savory dishes to make with dark chocolate. Too often, especially we Americans, think inside the chocolate box when it comes to using chocolate in our cooking. I've often wondered what we could do with chocolate minus the usual suspects paired with it: milk, cream and sugar.
Besides, the health community is always telling us to eat more dark chocolate because of the health benefits. But who really wants to be found day after day nibbling on a huge hard bar of messy cooking chocolate? Now, is that terribly original? Savory recipes using chocolate are the best answer to give us variety and explode our imagination!
5 tbsp. virgin olive oil
4 oz. smoked pancetta, cubed
Flour, for dredging
2 lb. stewing beef cut into 1-inch cubes
4 fresh sage leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 c. sherry
4 c. vegetable broth
2 c. chopped finest quality plain dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa)
In a saucepan, heat up the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has been rendered down.
Place the flour in a shallow bowl or dish. Dredge the beef in the flour, shake off any excess flour, and add the beef to the hot pan. Sear the beef, stirring well so that all sides are browned. Add the sage, thyme (without the stem), and salt, to taste, to the saucepan. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and stir to pick up any brown bits. Once the sherry has reduced, add a couple ladles of vegetable broth and let reduce. Continue stirring and add the chopped chocolate. Once the chocolate has completely melted, add a few more ladles of vegetable broth.
Allow to cook for 1 hour on medium heat, adding more vegetable broth, if necessary.

shrimp drizzled with chocolate

Sauteed Shrimp Drizzled with Chocolate
Check out this unusual dish employing chocolate as a spice. This blog is as mesmerizing as Food Network where you can park on the couch and watch endless great cooking shows in succession. Sooner or later you have to force yourself to get up and start cooking all your favorites!
The beauty of Italian food is its simplicity and easy to create. Using the freshest ingredients and only a few spices it's pretty amazing what tasty dishes you can create to please the whole family.
Well, this week I got adventurous and wanted to prove you can use chocolate in more than just sweets. It can be used in savory recipes and it just so happens I've been on the hunt for savory dishes employing the use of dark chocolate. We all think of Mexican cuisine and ancient Mayans using chocolate in savory dishes but certainly not Italian. Daring to push the borders of the status quo is what I like to see in the food arena, especially when it's done with so few ingredients like this recipe. I prepared this dish for a Chocolate Theme Party and it was served as an appetizer.
1 c. chopped finest quality plain dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa)
½ c. milk
3 tbsp. virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 c. white wine
Small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Combine the chopped chocolate and milk in a stainless steel bowl. Rest the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
In a frying pan, heat up the olive oil and saute the garlic until soft. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are pink and just opaque. Add the salt and wine, and let reduce. Then add the parsley. Plate and drizzle with melted chocolate.

chocolate soup

Chocolate Soup
4 c. light cream
5 ½ oz. Chocolate pudding
1/3 c. crème de cacao
2 tbsp. Amaretto
½ c. toasted almond slivers or coconut
In a medium saucepan, combine 3 cups of the light cream and the package of pudding powder. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture has come to a full boil. Remove from heat. Add the remaining cream, crème de cacao and Amaretto. Heat with the chocolate.
If to be served cold, chill in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours. Pour the cold soup into chilled bowls. Sprinkle toasted almonds or coconut over the surface and serve. To serve hot, present I heated bowls and garnish with the almonds or coconut.

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