The Story of My Cocoa

Since, I am Food Writing and not, I repeat, and not writing a Recipe Book… let’s discuss and write food…

We have classifications for a gazillion things in life…I am not giving you any new information here…I know…

But when it comes to food, I show absolutely NO bias. I drool over them all! ahhh..Food! Just the smell of it would calm my husband down…no matter how much I have blown that day!

Hence, there’s no question of which cuisine am talking about, each day…

The story of my life began and paused when I got married…it was not only a life changing event but also a career reversing one!

From a busy 24/7 week, suddenly I wake up to nothing! I had nothing to do and the whole day was mine and mine alone. The clock wouldn’t go past the most unproductive boring noons…and all I could see was a garden fly that flew past me every day…whose lines on the wings I started to count eventually…

…as this ominous routine continued, having moved to the US, I had all the cooking to do, all by myself! what started as a compulsion, became a hobby and eventually Cooking grew on me! I am telling you…when you start cooking, eons pass by like seconds…it isn’t easy, it isn’t quick..but it’s really worth your time and efforts!

I have now come to that point in life where I wouldn’t consider tolerating anyone else in my kitchen, my kitchen is mine to be! (I am just left with one crucial lesson: if only I knew how Giada manages to stay so glamorous and slim after having tasted her cooking, every single day, or that’s why she stays slim…envious I am, but she is one of my favorites…so long live Giada and her unseen hip!)

By the way, have you ever wondered why Chocolates taste so good? No wonder they are called the food of the Gods!

But why am I talking chocolates after having justified my kitchen love? Because, I am intending to do some chocolate-related-baking-cooking-talking today! How else do I start a blog! I wasn’t born to be Wikipedia! what’s in ‘this’ name anyway (I got this stuff from there, though)

– originally cocoa was called CACAO, which came from the word Ka-Kow (Theobroma Greek word meaning food of the Gods!)

– the other version for the name theory: drink made from the cacao bean which was called xocolatl (meaning bitter water, true chocolate is bitter)

having announced today’s topic (I am not really getting around to writing every day of the week..but when I do write, I would just address it as today!), I would have posted all the recipes I have mastered till now, if not for google. Really and truly, google has an encyclopedia of chocolate cake recipes…I would just like to give you a preamble here…Just so to lure you into reading my future posts, no pun intended…I am being honest!

Overview of My Recipes

1. chocolate sauce – cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, vanilla extract, cream/milk, little sugar. microwave on high and give it a stir. happens in 2-3 min! you can make bread sandwiches, apply on pancakes etc

2. chocolate cake – self rising flour (i don’t use eggs for most of them), vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa powder (hershey’s)

For CAKES: always use vegetable oil not butter

3. Extra rich chocolate cakes – freshly brewed coffee and/or buttermilk to the above mix

4. pancakes – add chocolate chips to the batter

5. variations in cup cakes/cakes – add crushed oreos, make cream filling, add peanut butter, chocolate chips, do layers of cake and cream, use cherries for black forest

6. hot chocolate – cocoa powder, half-and-half/cream, sugar, chocolate sauce, milk

7. fried bananas – in butter, fry banana slices, brown sugar, chocolate chips, nuts

8. wantons – fill with mixture of any fruit (bananas, strawberry, pineapple), chocolates, brown sugar, butter and fry them

9.  ice cream – condensed milk, cream/milk, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, nuts for decoration

Again, I am not going to say the “you-know-what” stuff again, Yes! It’s all plain creativity…you can create your own concoctions!

so let me get to the point…the real story of chocolate

Oreo Chocolate cup cake

It was first discovered in 1400 B.C by Aztecs? Maybe in South America. Chocolate was obtained from the cacao tree, native to South America (where it was found in abundance in Amazon. Ecuador produces the best bean in the world till date).

(Although there is a fact on the fly that about 70% of world’s cacao is grown in Africa, today! you may never know what treasures these so-called-third-world-countries hide…SAD!)

This time the stealing happened from USA – Columbus came on an exploration and took back cocoa bean to Europe. Those people got the better of it and started making chocolate, the bars of which were first seen in 1910. Switzerland still makes the best chocolate in the world and it is the largest consumer of chocolates, although US is the largest consumer of candies

You KNOW WHAT! after all this fuss, white chocolate (which is not chocolate at all) is consumed more than plain chocolate…and I don’t believe I have been swallowing milk chocolate all these years, oblivious to all these facts!!

Just check this out…

Black Magic Cake

Nutritional Facts  – Dark Chocolate (and so they worship!)

huge amounts of disease-fighting Flavonoids (also known as Vit P, substance responsible for the plant’s  coloration and higher content than any other food) which are known to

lower blood pressure

control stress on heart

keep blood vessels elastic

rich in anti-oxidants that do the following:

improve blood pressure

prevent blood clots

slower oxidation of LDL (low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol)

reduce inflammation

reduce the risk of heart diseases

lower insulin,readcontrolsdiabetes

– contains chromium that lowers blood sugar

– MOST IMPORTANTLY chocolates contain antibacterial agents that control tooth decay, not promote it

(what I personally want to hear after sinning) for weight-loss

– contains fiber, phosphorous and calcium

-helps in brain development and is a great mood booster

Hence…ideally…buy dark chocolates that contain at least 65% cocoa content and here’s what you have to look for

The darker the chocolate, the better and dark chocolate means more of cocoa content (parents!! FEED YOUR KIDS DARK CHOCOLATE, EVERY DAY! but don’t discuss me with their dentists…I am talking just 1-2 pieces a day!)

best quality chocolate = cocoa+cocoa butter+ lecithin+sugar+/-vanilla

(cocoa – cocoa solids, cocoa butter – cocoa fats, lecithin – fatty substance found in animal/plant tissues, sugar – sugar, vanilla – bean extract)

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

lesser quality chocolate = all the above +food starch+artificial flavorings+/-milk solids+/-milk fats (this is by far the first time I have heard something low about milk…milk can never get along with cocoa because the collaboration might lessen the human body’s ability to absorb the anti-oxidants in chocolate and not anything derogatory on the part of milk)

conclusion: If you really want to get all the benefits from chocolates – go for vegan chocolates!

now I am definitely not promoting the sales of any single company or store and trust me I don’t get paid (hurts!) not a single dime, really, not a dime, even if I shout my soul out and patronize some brands…

:O)  but, here we go with a list of the good vegan brands of chocolates available at any/all grocery stores:-  CHOCOLOVE, TRADER JOE’S BRAND, NEWMAN OWN’S FANNY MAY’S, GREEN & BLACK ORGANIC, RITTER SPORT, WHOLE FOODS BRAND ETC

As we reach the end of this delicious chapter…let me tell you an interesting fact!!

The world’s most popular chocolate brands (not dark chocolate) would be:

M & M – USA

Nestle (Swiss) and Cadbury’s (Britain)

and The world’s largest consumers would be

Switzerland

Britain

Belgium

and you were thinking all this while that you eat more…

So..until I come up with my next food list…Hope you enjoy reading my articles..it’s going to be food and talk…and only food talk all the way, Signing off…

sources

http://www.enjoydarkchocolate.com/

http://www.readersdigest.com.au/dark-chocolate/

http://www.chronic-inflammation.com/dark-chocolate-facts.html

http://www.chronic-inflammation.com/dark-chocolate-facts.html

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=dark%20chocolate%20facts&source=web&cd=3&sqi=2&ved=0CE8QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.enjoydarkchocolate.com%2F&ei=zmVZT63uGciOsAL249DODQ&usg=AFQjCNGthEakv9NXaf4VK2S2hzmBOLHUzw&cad=rja

http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/jun2009/gb20090624_590587.htm

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/shoppingproducts/f/veganchocolate.htm

http://www.facts-about-chocolate.com/where-does-chocolate-come-from/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate

LIFE IS GOOD – health and wellness magazine of the gulf coast

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