Thursday, June 12, 2014

Chocolate Unit Celebration

Even though our Chocolate Unit really ended a few weeks earlier, when we got back from our trip to Oregon, the children insisted that we have a final celebration of some sort. I was curious to see what kind of interesting chocolate recipes we could find, so we picked a day and set to work making a meal where every dish included chocolate!

Here was our menu:
  • Chocolate bacon appetizers (these were interesting; the bacon had a rub of cocoa powder, brown sugar, and chili powder on it and then got baked in the oven. The sugars kind of caramelized and gave an almost barbeque-sauce-y taste? We liked it.)
  • Savory cocoa dinner rolls (they had red onion and goat cheese in them, and then we put mustard and ham on them like sandwiches. They were really good—not at all what you’d expect. The cocoa powder didn’t really give them a chocolate taste, but more of a dark taste—like pumpernickel or rye or something. They would be really good with a dinner of cooked ham, I bet. But they weren’t as good for leftovers.)
  • Chocolate Molé Soup. (Inspired by Chili Ancho Sopa de Chocolate, but I changed the recipe so much I didn't feel I could in conscience call it the same dish.) This was quite good. Almost like tortilla soup, and we served it with avocado and sour cream and tortilla strips on top. Yum. My recipe is below.
  • Hot chocolate
  • Tiiiny little bowls of chocolate mousse
  • And our chocolate Sebby cake

The boys decorated with a banner (it's very detailed and you can't see all the elements, but it involves a Cacao Tree Titan growing in the Temperate Rainforest, and someone looking at it in astonishment, and a greenhouse with watering and humidity controls, and Ritter-sport chocolate bars, and banana slugs, and so forth. The usual.) They also placed various chocolate ingredients in little artistic vignettes around the house.

After dinner we watched "Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (the old one, of course).
Savory Cocoa Dinner Rolls
Tiny Chocolate Mousse
Molé Soup

And here's how I made that soup:

Chocolate Molé Soup

1 onion
1 red sweet pepper
2 T. olive oil
4 roma tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can green chiles
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cumin
5 pinches ? chili powder—you can make it spicier, of course
6 cups chicken stock (or water and bouillon cubes)
1 1/4 c. semisweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional, for garnish: Sour cream, sliced avocado, cilantro, lime, cotija cheese, fried tortilla strips or crumbled tortilla chips

Cut the onion and pepper up and cook them in a pot in the olive oil until they are getting black.

Add the 4 Roma tomatoes, cut up in pieces, and 1 can diced tomatoes.

Sauté just a bit more, then add the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen all the blackened bits (adds such great flavor, yum!). Then add the green chiles, cinnamon, sugar, cumin, and chile powder. Let it simmer for awhile (20 min?)

Blend it with the immersion blender, or in batches in the regular blender, until it’s smooth. Return to pot and turn heat on low.

Add chocolate and stir till melted; add salt and pepper and more chile powder to taste.

Serve with sliced avocados, cilantro, lime, cotija cheese, sour cream, and tortilla strips.

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