Everyday Gourmet

Everyday Gourmet
We've got a whisk, and we know how to use it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just in Time for Valentine's Day: I Don't Love Chocolate

I know. I know. I am in the minority. I am weird. I do not know what is really good or good for me. Nevertheless, I really do not love chocolate. The reasons for this food bias may be any one or all of the following. First reason is genetic. My mother and my grandmother, the matriarch of the kitchen in our family, did not make chocolate things. and a biology teacher told me that not liking chocolate is genetic. Second reason is Chocolate Soda. I had to pay for a Coke or Dr. Pepper. I could have Chocolate Soda for free at my dad's store; so, I would try one occasionally. BAD. Third reason is my appendix.  An appendicitis attack was misdiagnosed as a virus. My treatment was, you guessed it, chocolate-flavored medicine. BAD..

The story of cocoa is a long and interesting story.  An extensive time-line of the discovery and development of chocolate is on The Gourmet Chocolate of the Month www.chocolatemonthclub.com/chocolatehistory.htm).

A quote from that website: Chocolate has impacted the ways in which some humans worshiped and expressed their values.
Certainly chocolate has become an important part of our food experiences.
 Another quote from the website: Secret Techniques in blending and roasting beans, traditional family recipes and creative interpretations and innovative candy making techniques  have been handed down generation to generations.

Chocolate's reputation as an aphrodisiac has flourished at times in history. Currently we look at the medical benefits of the bittersweet in helping the body with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Remember, only the unsweetened!!!

From the Mayans in Central and South America to the Aztecs to Spaniards to other European countries to the world, chocolate has made important contributions to economics, traditions and gastronomic endeavors in our world          

Now it's not that I never eat chocolate. I do have a favorite Brownie Recipe from "Keepers,"  a book self-published by my friend, Frances Payne. (Her comment about the recipe: This is Marie Wiggnins' recipe and I don't believe that I have ever tried one that is any better. If you get a real craving for chocolate, it is guaranteed to give you that chocolate fix.) I know you don't who Marie Wiggins was, but it doesn't really matter. The brownies are g-o-o-o-d.


4 eggs,slightly beaten                                           3 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar                                                        2 sticks butter
1 cup flour                                                           1 cup nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 stick butter                                                     1 square unsweetened chocolate
1 pound powdered sugar

Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add the sugar; continue to stir well. Mix flour and salt and add to the creamed mixture. In the meantime, melt the two sticks of butter and 3 squares of chocolate over low heat until blended. Cool slightly and add to the other mixture; add nuts. Pour into a greased and floured 10 X 15 inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 325F. for 35 minutes. Cool slightly and ice.

To make icing, melt the margarine and chocolate, add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and spreading consistency. (This is a little dry; so, I add a little cream.)


12 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped or 12 oz. dark chocolate morsels
Small balloons. Blow until about 2-1/2 inches in diameter.
Parchment paper

Melt 1/2 chocolate a small double-boiler. Stir until smooth. Add the remaining chocolate , melt and mix until smooth
Blow up balloons to about 2-1/2 inches in diameter and tie.
Drop a teaspoon of the chocolate onto the parchment paper to make a disk.
Dip the balloon into the chocolate to cover 1/3 of the balloon.
Place place each the disk set.
Chill. Pop the balloon and remove.
Viola!! A chocolate bowl
Makes 8 or 10 bowls..

How to make a moo--no, a mousse

2 T. butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
3 eggs, separated
1/4 c sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Melt butter with chocolate in a double-boiler.
Slightly whisk egg yolk and add to the butter, melted chocolate mixture.
Beat egg whites for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 sugar. Then, beat another 3 minutes until stiff peaks form.
Beat cream for 1 minute. Add remaining sugar and vanilla until soft peaks, about 2 more minutes.
Add beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture, fold gently. Then, fold in whipped cream in the same manner.

Spoon the chilled mousse into the chocolate bowls.  Garnish with a fresh raspberries and mint.

We're trying this tonight. Hope it works for us and you, too.

Happy eating,

Jo Ann Miller,
ABW and Consultant
Gourmet Gallery



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Looking Back at Christmas

Looking at Back at Christmas. Perhaps just 11 days after Christmas 2011 is not long enough to give any perspective to the holiday. Yet, this is my self-assigned task today. All of the important statements about the significance of Christmas have been stated and restated.  We're in the newest new year, resolutions are made, or not,  and we move on to whatever the year, the day, the moment brings.

This Waco Miller Family celebrated Christmas twice.Christmas Eve, after church, we went to Karyn's for a rather impromptu party. (Somehow we always manage to go there for a party.) Some gift-giving took place at that event. And on New Year's Day all of the ones in town came to my house. For several years we've just given stocking-stuffers and donated to a charity of our choice.Those have included the John Tracy Clinic, Montgomery County Clinics, Asbury House Child Development Center, Family Abuse Centers and others.

However, over and above the gifting and any other occasion of getting together, I must admit that the real emphasis is always on FOOD. Oh, big surprise! Let's face it. So much tradition hinges on the food that we eat and that connection to the special day. In the old days we ate what was in the garden, the yard and the smokehouse. Celery was not in our dressing until Aunt Nellye brought it from Houston. We didn't raise turkeys; so, the hen went into the boiling pot, was de-boned and put into the dressing. Consequently, I am really not a turkey fan. The dressing--not stuffing since there was nothing to stuff--was made of cornbread and biscuits, onion, apples, eggs, butter, the chicken broth--I don't remember any spices. Oh, and celery when Aunt Nellye brought it. And so forth, and so forth and so forth.

This year when the turkey ordered for Thanksgiving did not arrive until two weeks after, an HEB turkey that didn't wander around in a yard or pasture somewhere was our entree. BUT for Christmas we had  turkey again.  This one had been free to roam. Was it better? I don't know. I ate the spiraled sliced ham, black-eyed peas with pea sauce* and scalloped potatoes, cornbread and butter, bread-pudding with whiskey sauce. Two pinot noir wines from the wineries we visited this summer along with a champagne toast and the inevitable Kendal Jackson chardonnay were also present at our gathering. (This was not a tradition in my own family. My mother would heartily disapprove.)

 Pea Sauce. It is a fresh addition to the peas and could be used on any kind of field or beans. (Borrowed from a class participant.


2 red onions
3 tomatoes
2-3 green bell peppers
1/4 cup sugar
White vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice vegetables. Add sugar. Cover with vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Simple and simply delicious. If you like "heat" with the peas, dice a hot pepper. This makes it like a pico de gallo.

My Favorite Cornbread
"Joy of Cooking"

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 tablespoon sugar
 A scant teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 egg

Thoroughly mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl beat together the milk, egg and oil. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until all dry ingredients are moist.
Bake in a heated, greased cast iron skillet at 425 F until lightly brown on top.
Turn over in the skillet, slice a wedge and butter. Eat. Wonderful!!!
I sometimes use the cornbread stick pans. Be sure that they are well-seasoned and have plenty of time to heat in the oven with a liberal teaspoon of oil in each stick. So good because there is a lot of crust.

Again, happy eating.

Hope I am through with turkey for the year. Happy cooking to you. Let me know what will be cooking at your house this New Year.