Wednesday, February 27, 2013

raw chocolate

Dreams should be made of baby animals, chocolate fountains, and endless buffets.  Who's with me?

I know you're picturing it in your mind.

All of your favorite foods lined up as far as the eye can see, chocolate spilling out like hot springs, and the fuzziest little wide-eyed animals wagging their tails and purring at your feet.  In happy dreams, animals don't do anything unsavory, by the way, they just love you and they're cute all day long.  I can also imagine myself dipping marshmallows and bananas and pitching peppermint coins in to a fountain.  Maybe I'd dip a toe.

Sadly, I can't control my subconscious mind, but I do have a conscious choice in how a particular Monday night in February might go.  On one such Monday night, two weeks ago, I decided it should include chocolate.  No fountains, but plenty of the good stuff to go around. The creating part was new to me, but the eating part wasn't.  

Jennifer Wegryn is someone who inspires me and challenges me in the way she lives.  She is a raw foods educator, a nutrition coach, and a vegan foodie.  She teaches raw foods classes in her home, posts recipes and insights on her website and blog, and organizes regular Meetups in the Akron area.  And she's delightful.  

This month, she hosted a class on preparing raw chocolate desserts. It was right before Valentine's Day, and a perfect little night out for me to learn something new, meet new people, and eat sweet things. Tables were set with tablecloths and pre-made treats when everyone arrived, with Jennifer's prep and demo station at the front.  

Some of the ingredients she had were unfamiliar to me (coconut nectar, palm sugar, cacao butter, maca, lucuma powder, and cacao paste), but the kitchen equipment she used were all something I've considered buying before (Vita-Mix, dehydrator, ice cream maker).  I just added an ice cream maker to my Amazon Wish List, which is definitely  something I'll want when the sun comes out.  

We learned how to open a Thai coconut, how to "paddle" and "row" a mixture in the Vita-Mix to incorporate air, and how to make a "caramel" sauce using agave and lucuma powder.  I was fascinated by all of it and jumped at every opportunity to "assist" Jennifer in the preparations.  

While the recipes weren't terribly difficult, they were time-consuming and will take practice.  The best part about the "superfudge" (made with goji berries - yum!), ice cream (no milk involved - amazing!), and chocolate-dipped strawberries, is that none of it contained traditional sugar.  Every ingredient we used was nutritionally beneficial, which meant good for me and wouldn't induce any sugar crashes or mood swings.  I brought the leftovers home for my hubby and he ate every bite ("the husband test" is my best gauge for nontraditional cooking).

All of the recipes we created that night were from Matthew Kenney's cookbook called "Raw Chocolate," and Alissa Cohen's book, "Raw Food for Everyone."  I'm not saying Ani and I broke up, but we are on a break.  Her books and writing style are missing something to me, and lack organization.  I need organization, accessibility, and the full-color photos that boast in Matthew Kenney's cookbooks.  Ani has the photography down, but there's something about having every element in place.  Matthew's work is beautiful.

So, I like traditional cooking (on a stovetop, baking in an oven) and an occasional slab of ribs too much to go completely raw or vegan, but the variety is exciting to me.  
And chocolate that works with my body?  That's just downright dreamy.

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer featured this post on her Food2Live4 Facebook page! What an honor, thank you! :)