Now that the Superbowl is over it's time to pay more attention to your Sweatheart. It is the month of Love and one of the highest months of consumption of chocolate besides Halloween and Mother's Day. So how about taking chocolate up to the next level and cook with it instead of just buying it and giving it away. Yes it's more work but it will earn you Big "Brownie" points with your sweetheart.
I was asked by Green & Black's Chocolate to make a meal that was created by a fellow blogger but I decided to whip up my own recipes instead. This is what I came up with.
I wanted to participate in this because I like that Green & Black's is high quality Fair Trade and Organic and they taste amazing with some great flavours. I received the Burnt Toffee, Ginger, Maya Gold and the Dark Chocolate to make these recipes. I made an appetizer, main and dessert. Although the appetizer is probably more of a dessert but it's Valentine's Day...eat 2 desserts the chocolate is good for you.
Ginger Chocolate Walnut, Ricotta in a Filo Bowl with a Blood Orange Glaze
I came up with this Filo Ricotta recipe because I thought of what I had on hand and what pairings would go well with Ginger Chocolate. This is a bit of a re constructed Cannoli with the flavours but not in presentation or form.
3 squares of Green & Black's Ginger Chocolate
1 small container of Ricotta cheese get the smooth one.
1 pkg of filo pastry
1 tbsp walnuts (optional)
2 blood oranges
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tbsp honey
Roll out a defrosted package of filo pastry on a baking sheet and cover with a damp tea towel to keep it from drying out while you prepare the filling.
The filling: Grate 2 squares or as much as desired into the Ricotta cheese using a microplane grater. Add the zest of 1 or 2 blood oranges depending on the size of them. Add a teaspoon of honey and a half a tablespoon of crushed walnuts. Mix well.
Assemble the filo sheets by brushing one sheet of filo with melted butter and then adding another sheet on top then brush butter on top and fold over. Cut 2-4 squares depending on how big you want to make them or how many people you want to serve. I suggest that you add a half a tablespoon in the middle of one of the squares and then wrap it up like a parcel. I made mine in a ramekin and then took them out and baked them further but they turn out better when cooked on a cookie sheet so you can pull the filo up and twist the top to make a presentation parcel. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees until it browns on the edges and gets crispy. Maybe about 10-15 minutes. keep checking because they can burn easily.
In a little pot add the juice of the blood oranges and the remaining honey and reduce until it turns into a syrup consistency. You can add more sugar or honey if you like it sweeter. This is the glaze.
Take the filo out of the oven and place one on a large plate and drizzle the glaze on the plate in a heart shape or however you want to decorate it. Leave a bit to drizzle on top of the pastry. Top with crushed walnuts and add a square of the Ginger Chocolate on top or you can grate it or add shavings to decorate. That's it and it tastes delicious.
Chicken with a Mole sauce and spicy black beans and rice
This is my version of a Mole. I am no expert in Mexican food so I looked at a few recipes and did it my own way. I omitted the tortillas that I saw in different recipes and I couldn't get all of the chili's suggested but this tasted good so it worked for me.
2 Mulato dried chilies
2 Ancho dried chilies
1 Chipotle dried chili
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of raisins
1/2 cup of almonds
1 box of chicken stock
1 tsp of cumin
1/3 of a bar of Maya Gold Green and Black's Chocolate
Soak the dried chilies in boiling water for about a 20 minutes or until soft. Cover completely with water and set aside.
Take the outer coating off the tomatillos and the onion and cut in half and place on a baking try and broil in the oven until they char or bbq them if you can.
In a blender add the soaked chillies and the soaking liquid but make sure you have pulled out the stems and leave any seeds that remain at the bottom. Add the charred onions and tomatillos to the blender and the raisins and almonds and garlic. Blend until smooth and add chicken stock until you get the consistency of a thick sauce. Pour into a stock pot and add the cumin and cinnamon and simmer for about 15 minutes and add the chocolate in the last 5 minutes of cooking to melt and blend into the sauce.
I pan fried chicken breast and added the Mole sauce on top but you can certainly pour the mole sauce in the pan with the chicken and cook it with it to permeate the chicken.
I served it with rice and Spicy Black beans. You might want to make a salsa type of salad if you want something lighter. I won't bother with the Black bean recipe but just to say that I cooked dried beans in chicken stock and added chilies and other spices.
I garnished with cilantro and cut hearts out of red peppers. You can get creative here if you like.
Burnt Toffee Chocolate Mousse
I am not going to provide the Mousse recipe that I made because I wasn't happy with the consistency. It was too grainy and not light. I wanted to make my mom's version but I haven't had it in over 10 years and couldn't remember exactly how she did it. Let's just say you use eggs, whip cream, chocolate and butter to make it. I have made a mousse recipe in the past that turned out better than this and I made try and work on this to see if I can get it closer to my mom's version. I used the Burnt Toffee chocolate which tasted great but I would probably recommend this for the filo pastry recipe more than a mouse because there are the bits of toffee so it isn't as smooth. I wanted to use the Blood Orange Chocolate but it wasn't available. I also used some of the Dark chocolate with this which I would recommend and add some brandy to really enhance the flavour. My mom added Brandy, that's the part I remember.
Some of these are labour intensive and the Mole has a bunch more ingredients for the traditional version but I wanted to give you ideas of creating a Valentine's Day Dinner for someone you Love. You can make it for yourself if you don't have a sweetheart. I ate this all by myself and enjoyed it.
Dark chocolate has a lot of health benefits so it's a great thing to cook with and you can experiment. Chocolate is great in a BBQ rub too and then there is always Hot Chocolate or Smores.
Get in the Kitchen and Get Creative with Chocolate. Your sweety will LOVE you for it.
Green and Black's was established in 1991 in England and has become a world leader in Organic fair trade chocolate.
for more info: www.greenandblacks.co.uk & www.facebook.com/GreenandBlacksCanada
Disclaimer: Green and Black's chocolate was provided but the recipes and opinions are my own.