Dinner club theme this month: Chocolate. My responsibility: Vegetables. Help, please??



betteirene January 6, 2011
Thanks, everyone, for the high fives.

cheese1227--how very cool to live within smelling distance of Hershey! The recipe as printed above has a couple of my tweaks from the original. When I give out a recipe, I try to do the original and then tell the tweaks, but I thought the answer was already too long, so I skipped a few of my other changes.

The first time I made the rub, I couldn't tell the difference between "Heath" and "sweet," so I began substituting brown sugar.

I don't always have coffee beans, but I always have Nescafe (it's the best for Turkish frappe), so I use a teaspoon of instant coffee granules if I'm out of beans.

And no, I don't count out exactly 15 grape tomatoes; I don't like the color of red onion after roasting; I love roasted carrots and potatoes. My vegetable tweaks include substituting quartered yellow or red plum tomatoes, whole Sungold cherry tomatoes or very thin wedges of green tomato (in lieu of the mango); using the white bottoms of unsliced green onions (saving the green tops for slicing to garnish this or another dish); adding parboiled tiny unpeeled potatoes and/or carrots or squash cut the same size as the potatoes; and tossing the vegetables with just enough vegetable oil or light olive oil to film them (less than a half cup for two quarts of mixed vegetables) and the juice of one whole lemon or Persian lime or Meyer lemon. I parboil the potatoes and carrots by placing them into a pot of water to cover, bringing it to a boil, turning off the heat and allowing the vegetables to sit for 5 minutes, then draining them. I do this so that the other vegetables don't get overcooked.

I usually use the smallest white button or cremini mushrooms I can find if portobellos aren't available.

Oh, and I use 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) of Morton Kosher salt instead of the "salt" specified in the recipe.

The mango pieces will keep their shape if the mango you select is not ripe or at all soft. It's sour, but it mellows during the roasting. I like the combination of sour and salt, and I like it better with a little heat, which you could increase by adding more red pepper flakes.
avimom January 6, 2011
Here's recipe for a chocolate and orange basalmic vinigrette:
cheese1227 January 6, 2011
Thank you all!!! I love the chocolate vinaigrette idea for a salad. I think I need to stay away from the chocolate/chili avenue because the hostess is working on a propper mole.

betteirene -- I live 30 minutes for Hershey so this recipe woudl be appropriate for sure! This recipe came up in my Internet search but I was very curious to know what the heck the toffee pieces are in there for (caramelization??) and whether or not the mango goes too soft while the other veggies are roasting.
happycao January 6, 2011
seriously betteirene! have you won a viking yet? your answers are so extensive!
Greenstuff January 5, 2011
If you can get the cacao nibs that Sadassa_Ulna mentioned, they are excellent tossed with green beans. Steam the beans, then briefly saute them with oil oil and nibs. Maybe a splash of balsamic or other sweetish vinegar.
drbabs January 5, 2011
betteirene, you rock!
JenniferF January 5, 2011
I think I saw a recipe for an arugula salad with some shaved dark chocolate. Maybe in Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life.
mrslarkin January 5, 2011
Oh, looks like someone got the short end of the stick!

How about chocolate-zucchini cake?
betteirene January 5, 2011
I always add a tablespoon of cocoa to my chili, along with a pinch of cinnamon, and I think it was pierino who persuaded me to add some form of coffee for an additional layer of flavor, so I began adding leftover cold coffee to the pot with the tomatoes. It's impossible to guess what's in my chili; the cocoa/cinnamon/coffee work together really well to round out the chili flavor, so you would never say, "OMG, there's chocolate (or cinnamon or coffee) in here!"

It shouldn't have taken a nudge from pierino (Thanks, BTW) for me to start adding coffee to chili. I've mixed chocolate and coffee for years in cakes and frostings and spice rubs.

And here's one of them, from one of my favorite food providers: Hershey. I usually use this rub for just-picked vegetables from my garden and grill them over charcoal, but it also works for oven-roasted store-bought vegetables in the winter. And this rub is also wonderful on skirt steak with lime. (If you don't have a bag of Heath bits or a Heath bar in your pantry, the recipe also works if you substitute 1/3 cup of light or dark brown sugar. Don't let the Hershey people in on this secret.) Please, whatever you tweak, don't omit the mango, which is often used as a vegetable in Latin and Asian cuisine, which is one reason the recipe appealed to me--I grew up eating green mangoes in Filipino food. Besides, it will up your street cred among your dinner club peers, don't you think? You know what else would be fun? If you could surprise them with vegetables molded from colored white chocolate. Food pun!

Tex-Mex Spice Rub
1/2 cup Heath Bits-O-Brickle Toffee Bits
1 tablespoon coffee beans
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa

Place toffee bits and coffee beans in food processor or blender. Cover; process until mixture is very fine. Add remaining ingredients and pulse two or three times until well blended. Makes about 2 cups. Store in cool dry place in an airtight container for up to four months.

For the Vegetables:
2 tablespoons Tex-Mex Spice Rub
1 yellow pepper, cored and seeded
1 red pepper, cored and seeded
1 large red onion
1 mango, firm but not hard, peeled
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
15 grape tomatoes
1 large portobello mushroom , sliced lengthwise
3/4 cup vinaigrette dressing, purchased or prepared

Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut yellow pepper, red pepper, onion, mango, yellow squash and zucchini into 1-inch pieces. Place in large bowl. Add tomatoes and mushroom. Pour vinaigrette dressing and spice mix over vegetables; toss gently. Spread vegetables in shallow baking pan. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until vegetables are fork tender. Serves 6.
nutcakes January 5, 2011
What a challenge. Maybe this will inspire
beyondcelery January 5, 2011
The other night I cooked quinoa (1 cup) in coconut oil, with cacao nibs (3 tsp), salt and pepper, and a dash of lemon juice. It was delicious! Maybe that can inspire something?
Verdigris January 5, 2011
For a lark once I melted some chocolate chips and added the to a prepared raspberry vinegrette. It was awesome over mixed greens a few berries and a few pecans.
Sadassa_Ulna January 5, 2011
This recipe has a cacao nib vinaigrette, which you could probably put on various salads or cooked veggies?
JessieLK January 5, 2011
There's chocolate wine that you could work with, by Chocovino. It's thick, tastes more like Kahlua. I've seen it at a few big chain grocery stores. I recently had brussel sprouts braised with a chocolate vodka with pomegranate seeds that was good. Something mexican with chilis would probably be really good. I feel like I've had a chocolate infused squash too that was good. This sounds like a fun challenge!
cheese1227 January 5, 2011
I forgot to mention that the hostess is serving mole as the main. So I've got to stay away from that. I've read that chocolate and roasted cauliflower works, has anyone tried that?
VanessaS January 5, 2011
101cookbooks has a recipe for mole baked beans with winter squash, and there's chocolate in the mole. That sounds like it would be good. Here's the link: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/borlotti-bean-mole-with-roast-winter-squash-recipe.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+101Cookbooks+(101+Cookbooks)
POTATO January 5, 2011
You could take the easy way out and so a Zucchini or Pumpkin bread/muffins with chocolate chips/swirls (is that cheating?)! How about wow them with a fresh salads drizzed with a chocolate vinaigrette.
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