The assignment for March 2012 was Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Funny thing - I cooked and served an all-chocolate picnic dinner when two of our best friends played Oompa Loompas in a local theatre production of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." I figured I would share that menu and recipes for this month. I got creative with the chocolate, using it in everything from the soup to the grill.
(click the name of the recipe)
Toast a slice of bread (I used ciabatta) till it's crisp. Let cool. Then spread a layer of nutella or melted dark chocolate on the crisp. Top with sliced pears and crumbled gorgonzola.
That was all I cooked for our 'picnic with the oompa loompas'. For dessert, I served different kinds of chocolate bars, mostly from Vosges Haut Chocolat. All were unique...just the kind of imaginative combinations that Wonka might have enjoyed.
Anything made by Vosges will be Wonka-esque...the "Enchanted Mushroom" bar paired dried reishi mushrooms and walnuts in dark chocolate. The "Woolloomooloo" features macadamia nuts, coconut, and hemp seeds in milk chocolate. And, my personal favorite: the "Black Pearl" contains ginger, wasabi, and black sesame seeds.
There are several things I like about this book. Though the plight of the Bucket grandparents is depressing - all four confined to a single bed that they never leave - I like that they all live together. Extended family, if you have that luxury, adds so much to kids' lives.
I like the message of the story - you get what you deserve. For instance that little brat Veruca Salt demanding, "I want an oompa loompa right now!" She was definitely worthy of being deemed a bad nut by the nut-police. Or the impetuous Violet Beauregarde who chewed and blew herself into a bubble. Maybe you shouldn't grab things without asking.
Be respectful. Be polite. These are all good reminders for our children...and sometimes for us. I am looking forward the next Cook the Books pick.