Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

This is probably going to sound irrational but I am deathly scared of microwaves. I hate them. They freak me right out. Oddly enough, I still use them, for tasks like melting butter and reheating leftovers, but I make sure my head is well out of the vicinity. I don’t want to lose any brain cells from the radiation. See I read in my health psychology textbook this semester (thus spawning my present debacle) that there is currently no evidence to show that radiation from devices such as microwaves is carcinogenic. However, I cannot say that I believe it, not for a second. The text also said that living near a nuclear plant is nothing to be fearful of. Yet my skepticism persists.

I decided to do some research of my own and found some conflicting results. First of all, microwaves can be used to treat cancer, through radiation. Even knowing that radiation is a common method of treatment, I cannot say I ever thought about specifically what type of waves would be used in the process. Is it not contradictory that the same radiation that may cause the abnormal cells to form in the first place is also used to kill them off? I know that is simplifying everything quite drastically but it is interesting how different types and levels of exposure can lead to completely opposite consequences.

When it comes to the microwaves in our kitchens potentially causing cancer, well I am sorry to say, but the jury is still out on that one. The problem is, the only way to truly test such a hypothesis is to split people into 2 groups, isolate half in a room with no microwave and half in a room with microwaves (microwaves that are running, that is). All you have to do is leave them in there for a couple of years and see which group has a higher incidence of cancer. Totally ethical procedure, no doubt. Sure we can study rats and such in a similar manner, but it is still difficult to pinpoint a single cause and remove the effects of all other factors like genes and chemical abnormalities. Plus, microwaves really are not that old. The first one was sold in 1947, according to Wikipedia. In that time, there have been plenty of other potentially carcinogenic inventions accounting for a higher prevalence of different cancers in today’s world than ever before.

So will we ever know? Unfortunately I cannot answer that question for you. Personally, I am going to continue to steer clear of my microwave at all costs. It is quite easy to do when you can make simply no-bake food like this chocolate coconut chia pudding. Isn’t chia supposed to be like the newest, greatest superfood too? With any luck, it will have some cancer-fighting properties to combat the dreaded microwave.

Chocolate Coconut Chia PuddingChocolate Coconut Chia PuddingChocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 4-6 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the coconut milk, agave and cocoa powder until smooth. Taste and add more agave if you want it sweeter.
  2. Stir in the chia seeds. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or preferably overnight, until the chia gels and the mixture reaches a thick, tapioca pudding-like consistency. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
If you don't like the tapioca-like texture, blend the pudding with an immersion blender or regular blender until it becomes a smooth, chocolate pudding.

Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

5 Minute Chocolate Pots

5 Minute Chocolate Pots

Valentine’s Day is coming up and I can think of no better excuse to consume copious amounts of chocolate. The reality is, I never need an excuse to consume copious amounts of chocolate. However, the need is especially strong on a day that is essentially designed to make single people feel miserable about themselves. 5 minute chocolate pots to the rescue! (and don’t worry about me, I am quite content without a boyfriend to worry about, despite my mother’s incessant need to rectify the situation)

Green & Black’s sent me a few different recipes for Valentine’s Day but this one really caught my eye. Why hello there 5 minute chocolate pots. Sure the “5 minute” part was enticing but I was more intrigued by the addition of hot water to the mix. Typically combining chocolate and water is a huge no-no. Like a “go cry in the corner, this is a disaster” no-no. Like a “throw a temper tantrum because all of your chocolate seized” no-no. Even after seeing Heston Blumenthal make chocolate mousse with water, I was still skeptical about this. Ultimately, I did not want to have to throw 2 whole bars of chocolate in the garbage if it failed to work. How pitiful would that be? Thankfully that was not the case. It was a close call though. The chocolate was on the verge of seizing – I could tell because it slowly started to solidify, becoming less and less pliable. Noticing this, I figured that water was not hot enough so I brought it back up to a boil before continuing to pour it in. Problem solved. So if this happens to you, don’t panic. Work slowly, but deliberately and make sure that any liquid you add to the chocolate is hot. Otherwise, you are not going to like what happens next. With that bright and optimistic possibility in mind, let’s make some 5 minute chocolate pots! Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as I am making it out to be, I promise.

5 Minute Chocolate Pots5 Minute Chocolate Pots5 Minute Chocolate Pots

5 Minute Chocolate Pots
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Adapted from Green & Black's
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 7 oz (2 bars) Green & Black's 70% dark chocolate
  • ⅓ cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream, warmed slightly
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • fresh berries, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Once it has melted, set the bowl aside.
  2. Take ⅓ cup of water from the bottom of your double boiler and dissolve the white sugar into it. Bring it back to a boil to make sure it is piping hot. Gradually drizzle the boiling water/sugar mixture into the chocolate, stirring constantly. Don't add more until each addition is fully incorporated, as you do not want the chocolate to split or seize.
  3. After you have added all of the water, you can add the cream in the exact same fashion. Make sure you warm the cream (just pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so) as adding cold cream to chocolate could also lead to it seizing up on you.
  4. Once the cream is all mixed in, stir in the vanilla.
  5. Portion the mixture into ramekins.
  6. Let them cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating. Serve with fresh berries and/or whipped cream.
Notes
*These solidify quite drastically in the fridge, becoming more like a chocolate pate. If you want a looser texture, pop them in the microwave for literally 5 seconds prior to serving.

5 Minute Chocolate Pots

5 Minute Chocolate Pots

Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta

What do you do on Saturday?
Sleep in?
Study (or pretend to study while you actually browse the interweb)?
Catch up on work around the house?
Or maybe do nothing at all?

Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta

Those all sound like valid, sane options. But the life of an insane, food blogging student doesn’t always work that way.
Instead, it looks more like this:
Wake up before 8. Stay in bed for awhile solidifying your recipe ideas. Get up, because you want to actually be able to eat the breakfast cookies you are about to bake for breakfast, not lunch.
Bake some cookies, cool some cookies. Make some more cookies (that are actually fancy cookies called “tuiles” not normal cookies – and if my Mac autocorrects “tuiles” to “tuples” one more time I am going to lose it!). Burn some cookies. Clearly both my oven and my computer have it out for me.
Move on to making chocolate chai panna cotta. Cookies are still cooling. Rummage through the cupboard and pick out fancy wine classes to serve the panna cotta. Finish and refrigerate the chocolate chai panna cotta, back to the cookies (the non-tuile, not burned ones, you with me?).
Picture time. No family, you can’t eat any yet because there are only 8 and I need them for pictures. Ok fine, 5 will be enough, go to town. Strike a pose cookies, looking good out there! Take about 100 shots which will eventually be edited down to 5 or 6.
Pictures done, props away, dishes in the dishwater. Can I eat my breakfast cookie now? Only 9:30am, still breakfast time, right?
Go get groceries because I ran out of milk making chocolate chai panna cotta and also need food to make dinner. Come back home, eat lunch, back to blogging. Stock up on posts for the week and take pictures of completed panna cotta (only about 30 this time). Upload and edit pictures.
And type up this dramatic little tale. I’m going to confirm my insanity here because I have to admit, I love it. It makes me sad when I don’t have time during the week to contribute to my blog as much as I would like to. I feel as though I have to compensate for that by the time the weekend rolls around.
But then come Sunday I am about ready to do nothing at all. Maybe I still have a tad bit of sanity left after all.
Yeah…probably not.
Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta
Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta
Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta

Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta
Serves 4 (but I only had 3 pretty wine glasses so I omitted the extra, boring glass I had to use in the pictures)

Ingredients

2 cups milk
1 chai tea bag
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. or 1/2 tbsp. gelatin
3 tbsp. cold water

Instructions

1. Bring the milk to a boil. Add the tea bag, remove it from the heat and allow it to steep for 15-20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile bloom the gelatin by sprinkling it over 3 tbsp. of cold water. No need to stir or anything, just let it sit for 5-10 minutes and absorb the water. Set it aside until you are ready to use.
3. Once the milk and tea are done steeping, remove the tea bag. Add the sugar, chocolate chips and vanilla to the milk. Return it to low heat and stir constantly until the chocolate chips are fully melted.
4. Off the heat, whisk the bloomed gelatin into the hot milk mixture. Portion the liquid into 4 serving vessels of your choice (I used wine glasses but ramekins or bowls will also work).
5. Cool slightly at room temperature so you don’t put piping hot liquid into the fridge and cause condensation. Then you can cover each glass with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. You can even make this dessert a couple days in advance and have it all ready to go.
6. Serve with fresh berries and honey tuiles (see recipe below)

Honey Tuiles
Makes 20-25

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1/4 cup flour

Instructions

1. Heat your oven to 400F. Meanwhile, heat the butter, sugar and honey in a pot over medium high heat.
2. Onces it begins to bubble (the butter should be all melted and the sugar dissolved), remove it from the heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth.
3. Dollop about 1 tsp. of the batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet for each tuile. Be sure to space them out as the batter will spread – a lot. No more than 5-6 per cookie sheet should do it.
4. Bake at 400F for 5-7 minutes (but probably closer to 5). Watch these babies like a hawk, they will go from golden to burned in a second.
5. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for 1-2 minutes before shaping them as desired. You can leave them flat or make little cups by draping the tuiles over an upside down mini muffin tin. Or you can wrap them around the handle of a wooden spoon, essentially making little tuile cigars.
6. Cover and keep at room temperature until you are ready to serve the chocolate chai panna cotta.

Avocado Creme Brûlée

Avocados.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Guacamole perhaps?

Simple mashed avocado on toast does the trick too.

But what about dessert?

Avocado creme brûlée?

It’s not scary, I promise. Please don’t run away, it’s delicious, I swear!

The perfect, no-bake, summer dessert.

Color – gorgeous.

Texture – surreal.

I may never go back to traditional, custard-based creme brûlée.

It’s that good.

Avocado creme brûlée
Avocado creme brûlée

Photos updated Nov.11/2013

Avocado Creme Brûlée
Adapted from Food Republic

2 very ripe avocados, halved and cubed
1 lime, juiced
2/3-3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, regular or low fat

Scoop the avocados into a bowl. Combine with the lime juice and 2/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk. Puree with an immersion blender (if you don’t have one you can also blend everything in a food processor or blender) until smooth and creamy. This is where you have to taste to see if it needs more sweetness. Depending on the size of the avocados and your palate, you may or may not find that it needs more sugar. If so, add more sweetened condensed milk as needed and blend to ensure everything is incorporated. Portion the works into ramekins (this made 3 for me put you could stretch it to 4 smaller servings). Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until thoroughly chilled. Prior to serving, sprinkle the tops with sugar and brûlée using a blow torch (or broiler if that’s the way you roll). It will have you wondering why you never used avocados in dessert before, that’s for sure.

Avocado creme brûlée

 

Rhubarb Eton Mess

Spring is here my friends! 25 degrees in Calgary in May? I’m not sure I believe it either but it has happened. Unfortunately it’s a little cooler today but it’s not snowing so I’m not complaining (Calgarians are famous for whining that it’s too cold and then they can’t take it when it gets hot, sorry Mother Nature, you can’t win).
Anyways, for me, spring means rhubarb. It’s one of those things that isn’t around for long though so you have to get your fix while it lasts. Get all rhubarb-ed out and then you won’t have to eat it for the rest of the year!
I kept things simple stupid for dessert last night and made my take on Eton Mess. It’s a traditional British dessert usually composed of strawberries, cream and meringue. Yes, I understand that I’m only using one of those 3 components in my recipe but that’s why it’s in quotations.
When I worked at Boxwood last summer we had a rhubarb Eton Mess on the menu. All I really altered from that recipe was the crunch factor. Instead of meringue, I topped the cream with a toasted oat crumble. It gave it that granola kind of feel. Actually my mom’s first request was, “can I have this for breakfast tomorrow?” Unfortunately there were no leftovers. But that’s what’s nice about this dessert; it’s not too sweet that it couldn’t double for breakfast the next day. It’s an appropriately “spring” end to a meal this time of year!
Rhubarb Eton Mess
Rhubarb Eton Mess

Rhubarb Eton Mess

Poached Rhubarb

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3-4 stalks of rhubarb, peeling and diced

Bring the sugar and water to a boil to fully dissolve the sugar. Add the rhubarb and cook over medium heat until it JUST begins to soften (no more than 5 minutes or so). Then remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. This way the rhubarb absorbs the syrup without completely disintegrating. Any rhubarb you don’t use immediately can be refrigerated in the syrup. Also, leftover syrup is great for flavoring cocktails. You could even make a springy rhubarb lemonade with it! Another idea I came up with and can’t wait to try is reducing the syrup until all of the water evaporates and then using the flavored caramel to do whatever you like (I’m going to try candying almonds!).

Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla paste (or extract)

Whip the cream to soft peaks using a whisk or electric hand mixer. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

Oat Crumble

1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp. brown sugar

Toast the oats and sugar in a pan over medium heat. Pay close attention because once the sugar melts you want to take it off the stove and get it onto a plate to prevent the sugar from burning (make sure you are also stirring throughout this process so all of the oats are evenly coated in brown sugar). Cool slightly before assembling.

To serve: Rhubarb on the bottom, then whipped cream, then crumble. That’s all she wrote. Thanks Guy Fieri for getting that tag line stuck in my head. Now we’re all on our way to flavortown! Nope, not allowing myself to stoop to that level.

Rhubarb Eton Mess
Rhubarb Eton Mess