Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Later that day I pondered the topic like I would scrutinize a truffle. After all, I had gone to Vinegar World and Olive Land in my two books The Healing Powers of Vinegar and The Healing Powers of Olive Oil. Would my publisher really be interested in sending me to Chocolate Nirvana? Or was my idea just a sweet pipe dream of a self-professed chocoholic?
I decided I had nothing to lose, so I sat down in my study and wrote a quick query regarding writing a book on chocolate. A few hours later, I received a response from my editor. Within a couple of weeks, the idea was sealed into a chocolate book deal. At last, I was given the go-ahead to write the book I had wanted to pen for more than a decade.
Back in 1999, I pitched the idea to another editorial consultant when I was writing those mini mags sold at grocery store checkout stands. My editor showed interest, but my chocolate-book idea fizzled like hot chocolate gone cold.
Ironically, in both books on disease-fighting antioxidant-rich vinegar and olive oil, I did mention chocolate (also chock-full of disease- fighting antioxidants). And, as a health-conscious Californian and self-professed chocolate lover, I have touched on the once forbidden food in health articles. But I noted only chunks of its virtues, from how the good-for-you fatty food can boost your energy to how it can rev up your libido (maybe).
The amazing part is, I was assigned to write a book about my passion and this is how The Healing Powers of Chocolate became one of my favorite love affairs and was finally written by me, a health author who simply loves chocolate.
By being a San Francisco Bay Area native (a popular home of experienced chocolate makers and artisans), I was given the opportunity to share the real chocolate world through my research of famous chocolate makers.
I immediately began my mission and set out in the real world and cyberspace to discover the past and present standout benefits of chocolate: heart health, weight loss, home cures, beauty uses, and so much more. And never did I imagine what a wealth of information is in the wide, wide world of chocolate.
I took the holistic route and confirmed my instincts that chocolate is good for the body, mind, and spirit. I delved deep into the cutting-edge health benefits, original and edgy home cures, and anecdotes from both famous and everyday people, past and present.[Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Chocolate by Cal Orey (Kensington, 2010)]
Friday, January 22, 2010
Banana Cake With Chocolate Streusel
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Chocolate is More Than Just Romantic--It's Spiritual
Friday, January 15, 2010
By The Writing Gourmet
2 cups low-fat 2% organic milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups fresh whole cranberries
3/4 cups walnuts, chopped
3 - 4 tablespoons premium maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon and granulated sugar
It's no secret. I'm going through a Scones 101 phase. I've graduated from the easy to make and bake dropped scones to shaped scones. Cooking and baking can be a challenge. But once you try something new that seems difficult to do (the fear of unknown) and accomplish it with flying colors, it can be empowering and even builds confidence, especially for this former anti-bakeress. So, last night was exciting for me to take a mini break from the chaos in the world and enter the world of scones...
The Haiti earthquake is on the minds of people worldwide. As a quake sensitive and one who sensed the oncoming 7.1 deadly Loma Prieta aka World Series temblor that rumbled throughout the San Francisco Bay Area--flashbacks of the disaster are returning. I've been interviewed on the radio (another program tonight) and newspapers to discuss some of the similarities of the two catastrophes: the collapsed buildings, countless aftershocks, chaos, fear, trapped victims, and question of "What's next?" for the victims and survivors. My heart aches for all affected by this great disaster. I get it.
Last evening was the first time I took time out to visit the kitchen since the quake hit Haiti on Tuesday. Cooking and baking can be like exercise (something you do to calm the spirit during lifes' tragedies). Yes, swimming and walking the Brittanys are next. And a photo to be taken at the local newspaper this afternoon for a new food column. (There goes the swimmer's endorphin high.)
3 1/2 cups 100% natural whole wheat flour
1 cup low fat, all-natural vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons allspice
1 tablespoon baking powder
a dash of Mediterranean Sea Salt
(or substitute blueberries)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salts. Add chunks of butter (sliced in small squares). In another bowl combine yogurt, and milk, and stir till a dough-like mixture forms. Fold in apples. Form into a round ball (knead several times) and place on floured board or cookie sheet. Shape into a large circle. Cut in half. Then cut in half again and again for mini triangle shapes. Brush tops with a mixture of one brown egg and two tablespoons milk (2% low-fat). Use a spatula and place triangle shaped dough pieces onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. (Keep in fridge as you bake each batch.) Bake till brown and crusty, about 15 minutes. Cool and drizzle with a glaze (1 cup of confectioner's sugar mixed with 2% low-fat milk). Makes 16 to 32 (mini scones).My days of buying pre-made adorable Starbucks scones may be over. It's fun to do at home and they taste light, fresh and fruity, crispy, and are pretty. These apple sweeties are going into the freezer so I won't be tempted to eat more than one at a time. They are a sweet treat for breakfast, brunch or afternoon snack with cup of healing chamomile or green tea. No, sweet scones cannot heal woes linked to the aftermath of an unforgettable quake. But making and savoring this spicy sweetbread can help to soothe the mind, body and spirit during troubled times-- like now.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Golden State Brulee
1 cup 2% low-fat whole evaporated milk
1 cup 2% low-fat organic milk
1/2 cup sweet condensed milk
3 large brown eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup premium maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
I put a small serving on a white plate and topped it with sliced Honeycrisp apples, cranberries (sprinkled with sugar), and oranges. The condensed milk gives this light and fresh custard a creamy edge paired with a dollop of whipped cream. Meanwhile, the dogs are sleeping, my cat is calm. The fire is toasty. The Golden State survived the earthquake. Life goes on. Now, I just have to write my article due yesterday about the myth of California falling into the Pacific Ocean. Chamomile tea is calling my name. And my Creme Brulee is a welcome comfort food after sensing this temblor and empathizing with the people who endured this ordeal in my home state. We are Californians living in Earthquake Country. We know the drill.
1 six ounce can white albcore tuna
1 cup organic mozzarella and/or Monterey Jack, shredded
1/2 cup 2% low-fat evaporated milk
1- 1/2 cups fresh cruciferous vegetables, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
Boil pasta al dente. Drain. In a mixing bowl combine cheeses. Add pepper and nutmeg. Mix well. In a rustic Earthenware casserole dish I layered ingredients: pasta, veggies, cheese. The top layer will be topped with cheese and chips. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Serve with hot garlic bread made with whole grain French bread, butter, fresh garlic and parsley. And a spinach salad drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar is optional.