Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Mardi Gras Chocolate Party

Another Mark, not my sweetheart, who I usually refer to in these pages, but one of my fellow foodies-about-town (although currently living about 2/3 in Chicago, and only 1/3 in MadTown) throws an annual, Mardi Gras-themed party. He makes vats of gumbo; everyone is supposed to bring chocolate. I didn't go last year; as I recall, the weather was kind of awful.

This year I went - after a day spent at a UW-Extension meeting about how to set up a kitchen incubator for small processors who want to turn local produce into value added products, like local tomatoes made into salsa, but that's another story.

I made a flourless chocolate cake, and made whipped cream to frost it with when I got to the party. Lee (who makes jams, Pamplemousse Preserves is her company), the woman I went to the kitchen incubator meeting with, was talking about making liquers, and I decided to put a slug of Godiva chocolate liquer into the whipped cream. When I removed the beaters, a little liquer that had splashed onto the bottom of the mixer dropped down onto the whipped cream, and it looked nice, so I decided to take the whole bottle to the party, and drizzle chocolate liquer over the top of the whipped cream, after I piled the cream onto the cake.

This is the last bite - it was 1/4 gone before I had my coat off.
I still don't know how to use my fixed lens - but I have a theory that if I adjust the way the autofocus works, so that it is more aware of this lens, I might get better pictures. There are instructions for doing this in the manual for it, anyways.

The cake is the easiest recipe imaginable - melt 4 oz. of bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate with a stick of butter. Mix in 3/4 cup sugar, 3 eggs, and 1/2 cup cocoa. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes at 350. I used Dagoba 59% chocolate - it's perfect because it comes in a 2 oz. bar, so you just get two. I added a pinch of salt and the above-mentioned liquer in the whipped cream - but I think various extracts and flavored chocolates would be delish - a little coffee; use orange chocolate; a little almond extract ....

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