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Cooking with Chocolate 

Where: Concord Public Library, 45 Green St., Concord 
When: Thursday, Dec. 1, 6 to 8 p.m. 
Cost: Free, but registration is required
Contact: concordpubliclibrary.net or 225-8670
 
Mole Sauce
Courtesy of Liz Barbour of the Creative Feast (Makes 3 cups)
 
¼ cup almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon chili powder 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
4 tomatoes from 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
⅓ cup of raisins
1 tablespoon molasses
1 small corn tortilla, torn into pieces
2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 ounce dark chocolate, 72 percent
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
 
1. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until they begin to brown. Remove the almonds from the pan and put the sesame seeds in and toast for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. When cool, place toasted almonds and sesame seeds into a food processor and process until fine.
2. Heat the oil and the onion over medium-low heat in a large sauté pan. Cook for 5-8 minutes until onions are soft and translucent. 
3. Add the garlic, chili powder, cinnamon, cloves and fennel seeds. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato, raisins, molasses and balsamic vinegar. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
4. Add the tomato spice mixture, tortilla, and ½ cup of broth to the ground almonds and sesame seeds and process all until pureed. Return the mixture to the sauté pan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Add the remaining 1½ cups broth. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow flavors to blend. Serve hot over chicken, pork or roasted vegetables. 




Chocolate for dinner
Demo and tasting highlights chocolate in savory dishes

11/24/16
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 It may seem strange to include something as sweet as chocolate in a savory entree-type dish, but Chef Liz Barbour of the Creative Feast in Hollis is going to prove that chocolate can indeed enhance the flavors of such dishes during her Cooking with Chocolate program, happening at the Concord Public Library on Thursday, Dec. 1. 

Barbour will give a cooking demonstration and tasting of non-dessert recipes, using chocolate as a main ingredient. 
“There’s been a lot of excitement around chocolate, especially now that we have these craft chocolate places that make their own,” Barbour said. “People are enjoying chocolate on the sweet side, but there’s plenty [of recipes] that use chocolate on the savory side, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” 
Barbour will start the program with a brief talk about chocolate, what kind to use for the dishes you want to accomplish and techniques for cooking with it. Then, she will demonstrate how to prepare two recipes, which she said will probably be a chocolate chili and a chocolate mole sauce. Participants will have the chance to try samples of the dishes, ask questions and take recipe instructions home so they can try them out for themselves. 
Barbour said incorporating chocolate with savory works out well if you use a dark, high-percentage chocolate, which has a lot less sugar than milk chocolate.
“It should be a subtle flavor that enriches [the dish],” she said. “The darker bitter chocolates add a stronger chocolate flavor as opposed to sweeter chocolates with more sugar, which give it a more caramelly flavor.” 
Not only can chocolate add a unique quality to a savory dish, but it can also directly complement the salty or spicy flavors and achieve a level of richness that is desirable in that type of dish. 
“In Asian cooking, they’ll often use soy sauce or miso paste to create that underlying umami flavor that people love. In Italy they’ll use anchovy paste for that,” Barbour said. “In the case of these dishes where chocolate is used, it’s used to create that same kind of underlying richness.” 
Just as chocolate doesn’t have to act as a sweet flavor in a dish, it also doesn’t have to add the smooth and creamy texture it’s often associated with. The cocoa powder typically used in baked goods would not work in something like a chili, which is made up of solid, separated pieces and gives the powder nothing to bond with to create that texture. In her chili recipe, Barbour uses a bar of dark baking chocolate. 
“You want to use something that will melt easily,” she said. “Chocolate is very dense when it melts … so I add only one to two ounces, just drop it right into the big pot of chili, and it’s going to add a deep color and richness to it.” 





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