… without turning up the heat
by Eliza Ward
Chocolate is good for you…really! At least that’s what the experts say. Chocolate is a wonderful treat, some even think of it as a splurge. But did you know that it’s also loaded with heart-healthy, skin-healthy, brain-healthy, libido-healthy polyphenols – along with over 300 other chemical compounds – many of which are good for our bodies? (Click here for a list of some of the health-promoting compounds found in chocolate.)
I was reminded of chocolate’s many virtues earlier this week when I received Cal Orey’s new book, The Healing Powers of Chocolate (Kensington Health, 2010). The health claims were re-enforced again when I read about a new study published recently in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. They found that many of the beneficial compounds found in chocolate, such as catechin and epicatechin, are metabolized more effectively when eaten with sugar! Although not a license to over indulge in the dark stuff, I think we should embrace what the experts are saying – especially when it comes to something as delicious as chocolate.
But, alas, it’s August, and somehow that luscious bar of dark chocolate just doesn’t seem that enticing when it is 90-degress and 90-percent humidity. To me, chocolate
connotes cool crisp winter days: a hot cup of drinking chocolate in front of a warm fire, a luscious piece of gluten-free chocolate brownie, an after-dinner brandy aperitif with steaming chocolate soufflé, or a perfect piece of dark to accompany my demitasse of espresso. During the hot days of summer, I am more likely to dream about a rag-top road trip down Route 66, a refreshingly cool Singapore Sling at the Long Bar, or a sockeye salmon burger grilling up on the barbie – than a piece of gourmet chocolate. (Not entirely, actually… If someone offered me a nice piece of chocolate in the summer, I certainly wouldn’t want to be rude…)
But, what of those lovely phytonutrients that chocolate is so chock full of? Are we to forgo those healthful compounds – which help fight heart disease and cancer,
diabetes and high cholesterol – just because it’s hot outside? How do we “chocolatarians” get our daily dose of life-giving, age-reversing, mood-enhancing, libido-increasing chocolate when our favorite eating bar just can’t take the heat?
My recommendation is to reach for a bag of ChefShop or Valrhrona or Agostoni cocoa powder instead. Filled with all the same nutritional perks as bar chocolate – except for that nutrient called sugar – and packed with so many quick and easy ways to get your beloved cocoa fix without the melt. Here are six ideas on how to inject some cocoa in your diet this summer, along with some recipes to get your creative cocoa juices flowing.
6 Ways to turn up the cocoa and down the heat
1. Rub cocoa on your beef or chicken
The Chocolate Spice Rub was inspired by in this year’s edition of The Saveur 100 (Saveur Magazine, January 2010). This version included ground coffee, which is optional.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Chocolate Spice Rub Recipe
Cocoa and Curry Rubbed Chicken Salad Recipe
2. Sprinkle cocoa on your vegetables
Cocoa tastes good on just about any veggie that can handle a heavier, warmer spice, like cinnamon or cumin. Here are two ideas, the first of which is one of Shauna Ahern’s (GlutenFreeGirl.com) favorites – and mine too. The cocoa and smoked paprika combination is a great way to give a little kick to an otherwise nutritious but mild veggie.
Roasted Cauliflower with Cocoa and Smoked Paprika Recipe
Roasted Carrots with Cocoa and Coriander Recipe
3. Add cocoa to your morning fruit smoothie
Summer is a great time to start a fruit smoothie habit, since there are so many fresh and local fruits to choose from. While you are at it, why not add a little cocoa powder into the mix? It’s a get way to get your daily dose of fruit and chocolate all in one gulp. Here are two recipes from Gabriel Constans’ new smoothie cookbook, Luscious Chocolate Smoothies (Libertary Editions, 2009)
Moon and Star Berries Smoothie Recipe
The Sweetie Smoothie Recipe
4. Make cocoa part of your daily oatmeal routine
We sell the world’s most amazing oatmeal – Organic Pinhead Oatmeal of Alford. Many of you habitual oatmeal eaters are already addicted to it. But, have you thought about adding a little cocoa to the mix? Add a little zip to your already healthy morning routine. It’s so easy – and you can easily adjust the amount of sugar to meet your individual taste.
Chocolate Pinhead Oatmeal Recipe
5. Cocoa-up your afternoon pick-me-up
Need a nip of coffee in the middle of the afternoon to get your through the day? Try making your own and save a few (star)bucks. Here are two slightly different iced coffee ideas to try. And remember, the better the cocoa, the better the outcome – really!
Iced Mochaccino Recipe
Mocha Granita Recipe
6. Top off the day with cool cocoa dessert
Okay, so these might require a few minutes in front of the stove. And, surprisingly, although the ice cream only requires cocoa powder, the sorbet recipe requires a bit of dark chocolate to help give it that creamy texture. But once made, these cool chocolate delights are so easy to eat – and eat – on any hot evening. The chocolate sorbet is perfect for anyone who wants to avoid milk – like my daughter. So easy to make if you have the right equipment and so much better than the grocery store varieties. I recommend using pastured milk from your local dairy – as pastured milk is much healthier, and my kids find it much less irritating to digest.
Chocolate Sorbet Recipe
Basic Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe
Cocoa powder just might be the best cure for your summer chocolate cravings; no need to crack an egg, turn on the oven, or pay to fly your beloved bar chocolate cross country during the hotter months. Treat yourself – not UPS.
ChefShop Cocoa Powder at its best
ChefShop Cocoa Powder: This dark, unsweetened cocoa powder is in a class unto itself. ChefShop, based on Pernigotti’s old formula, removes less fat from their cocoa (22-24% cocoa butter. Most cocoa powders are 10-11%). That means, more of the good stuff (cocoa butter!) and much more creamy delight!
(c) ChefShop.com, 2016