Friday, January 26, 2007

Yippee! Chocolate and Wine!!!

First the Endive Report: Not bad. Not good, either. Actually it tastes a lot like cabbage. I like cabbage raw, so I'm thinking endive might be a good addition to salads. Ed just flat out hated it.

I've heard about a new diet: The non-diet. Again going on the premise of Europeans eat well and stay slim, Dr. Philip Tirman has written a book, "The Wine and Food Lover's Diet: 28 Days of Delicious Weight Loss." It sounds promising. Delicious food and reasonable portions. It also offers up an idea we've heard before -- eating food in the right combinations. According to Dr. Tirman, he lost 35 pounds over the course of two years; the first 20 in a few months, the last 15 more slowly.

I'm intrigued and thinking about picking up the book. According to an article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Dr. Tirman has done a lot of scientific research before putting this book together. While I'm not sure I buy into the idea of combining foods, I think a diet that offers up recipes that taste good and keeps you from feeling deprived has a better chance of success. Here's a look at one of the recipes:

Flourless Chocolate Cakes
(Serves 5)
Tirman notes that the original recipe for this dessert (from Marin restaurant Marché aux Fleurs) uses a little flour. He substitutes almond meal for nutrition, texture and flavor.

¼ cup whole hazelnuts
½ lb. dark chocolate (at least 60 percent cacao), coarsely chopped
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup Splenda
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup almond meal
3 eggs
¼ cup heavy cream (plus optional pinch of Splenda to sweeten)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts, stirring constantly, until they just begin to turn light brown, about 5 minutes. Immediately enclose the nuts in a clean kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove the dark brown skins. Do not worry if tiny pieces of skin remain. Pour the nuts into a colander and shake to separate skins from nuts. Coarsely chop the nuts and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl suspended over, but not touching, barely simmering water in a saucepan, melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside; cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a hand-held mixer, whisk together the ¼ cup Splenda, sugar and almond meal. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture. Divide the mixture among five 1-cup ramekins, filling them three-fourths full. Bake until the cakes begin to crack slightly on top, 18 to 22 minutes.

While cakes are baking, in a small bowl, whip the cream with the vanilla and a pinch of Splenda (if using) until soft peaks form. Run a small, sharp knife around the sides of each cake and invert onto a dessert plate. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a scattering of hazelnuts. Serve warm.

Yum!! After I check out the book I'll let you know what I think.


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