Thursday, March 31, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
24 fresh mint leaves, in mint condition
1/3 cup fair-trade dark chocolate chips
Melt the chips in a double boiler or in a small mug in the microwave on medium power in 30-second intervals until melted.
Gently hold the leaf by its tip as you dip the leaf, starting with the stem, into the chocolate. Be sure to leave the green tip exposed (as much green as you want). Then lay the leaf on a sheet of wax paper to dry (it's cheaper than parchment).
Gently rub a thin layer of chocolate on the mint leaf with the back of a spoon or a brush so you can see the leaf pattern through the chocolate. Then lay the leaf on a sheet of wax paper to dry.
*Try one leaf first, and if the chocolate needs thinning, add about 1/4 teaspoon of heated butter.
Chocolate-covered mint leaves will last a couple of days in the fridge, but it’s best to serve them the day you make them.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
If you ask me, Thin Mints should a) keep you thin, and b) be mint. With their hydrogenated oil and high-fructose corn syrup, the original fails on both fronts. What could be more svelte and refreshing than a chocolate-covered mint leaf? (See recipe) This zero-calorie leaf dipped in organic, child slavery-free dark chocolate is chock-full of flavonoids, antioxidants and polyphenols. Brilliant in its simplicity, (it's hard to be humble when you're a visionary), it is both nutritionally and aesthetically pleasing. Never mind that you have to eat a whole plant to be satisfied. A chocolate plant-based diet is good for you.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
You think I like being a cookie curmudgeon? I want to support these young girls on their path to propriety before the tats and nipple rings lead them astray as much as the next guy. I just don't want to be a party to this kind of “food” that our society so eagerly embraces. This week, however, I was obligated to buy a box, and when I offered my friend a cash donation instead, well, that was too complicated. He just wanted to sell me a box of cookies. So I caved. And surprisingly—sweets binger that I am—after my first Samoa, I didn't want any moa. I said no moa. Something seemed off. It had a cardboardesque quality to it as if it had been engineered in a lab. It still had that new beaker taste. I envisioned some mad food scientist in a lab coat and goggles hovering over his boiling glass ensconced in Samoa steam. As I was compartmentalizing each cookie component in my mouth, I wondered where the caramel was that used to be so prominent? Was my box just a result of a bad day at the lab or had the recipe changed? Isn’t that the point of processed food—to achieve a reliable level of sameness?
Since two different
beakers bakers make the cookies, I did a little research on the Samoas® and found that each baker has different cookie names with slightly different ingredients and nutritional information for the very same cookie. For instance, ABC Bakers calls them Caramel deLites® and the ingredient list says: Artificial color (red #40 lake, yellow #5 lake, blue #1 lake, blue #2 lake), yet the Samoas from Little Brownie Bakers makes no mention of artificial color at all. So to the unsleuthed ingredient eye, one would assume the colors are as natural as the blue sky of Samoa.
On the Girl Scouts FAQs, I was surprised to find that they address some of my concerns about hydrogenated oil, high-fructose corn syrup, free-trade chocolate, etc., but mostly they make excuses for the ingredients. Apparently, you can claim zero trans fat when there is actually 0.5%, according to FDA labeling rules (Gotta love those processed-food lobbyists). And you know the cookies couldn’t be too healthy when their crack legal team is advising you to eat them in moderation. That’s a little like telling Charlie Sheen to only have one porn star a night. And zero trans fat when there's really some in there? That’s like saying Sheen only had a tween, so she doesn't count. In the meantime, I’m working on some fresh ideas for a Girl Scout cookie makeover. I bet you can hardly wait.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Wild Mushroom Man, Mendocino, California