Skip to main content

Adventures in Cacao

One of the reasons that I teach elective classes at the boys' school is that it keeps me learning. In seeking to create a fun, educational trimester for a dozen little kids, I get to read, research, and explore on my own beforehand. When I was first teaching, I picked subjects that I knew well; I didn't have to step too far out of my comfort zone to teach a trimester of Italian language and culture, ocean conservation, or silk-painting. Then the boys began requesting things. After we visited the King Tut exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, Riley asked if I could teach a class about Egyptology; and because Dylan loves all Australian animals, he talked me into teaching an Outback Adventure class. I didn't know much about either of those subjects, but I do now and we had a blast while we all learned!

This time around, I wanted to teach a class about chocolate. Being an International School, one of the requirements for the elective proposals is that there be some international component. So, I decided to teach a global history of chocolate - from the Mayans and Aztecs to Europe to the cacao colonies. It should be fun. And I am lucky enough to have a friend who is a cacao farmer. He offered to skype with my class from his farm in Hawaii. Here's a photo from one of his trees. Thanks, Seneca!

What it means for my cooking adventures this month...you guess it: chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. I definitely think that this trimester is going to require an increased diligence in my bootcamp attendance. Stay tuned for my cacao cooking capers. I started tonight!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an

Aloo Tiki {Pakistan}

To start off our Pakistani culinary adventure, I started us off with aloo tiki - potato cutlets. I'm always game for tasty street food. I found a couple of different recipes and incorporated those together for this version. Ingredients 6-8 small red potatoes, scrubbed 1 T cumin seeds 1 T fresh chopped parsley 1/2 t ground coriander 1 t minced garlic Procedure Boil the potatoes until they are tender. Drain and let cool. Mash the potatoes. Traditionally they are mashed without their skins. I left the skins on. In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds on high heat until the begin to give off an aroma and begin to darken. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to keep them from cooking any more. Blend all of the spices into the mashed potatoes, then shape into small patties. If you wet your hands, the potato mixture won't stick to them. Heat a splash of oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Dip each patty into beaten egg and carefully place in the oil. P