Chocolate Dinner Menu

(Originally Posted 8/13/2014) Yesterday, Marketplace radio did a story on Chocolate Fried Chicken. Which is. . .well, chocolate fried chicken. Apparently, not gross. And while I’ve heard objections to chocolate in random products as gimmicky (on a related note, see below for chocolate bacon bar recipe) the truth is that it’s just an awfully versatile flavor.

A few years ago I did an all-chocolate menu for a dinner party that shows off a few of the options:

  • Chocolate Bread with Cream Cheese and Raspberry Jam: This bread is savory, not sweet. I admit that I sort of make it up each time I bake it, but here’s a written down recipe that looks close to what I do.
  • Chocolate, Brie and Basil Panini: Cut into small squares. With the option above, it makes a chocolatey bread basket (or just choose one of the two if you don’t want to gild the lily)
  • Chicken in Mole Sauce with Rice: When I looked for an online version of a mole recipe, I actually found this whole list of savory chocolate entrees (including mole).
  • Grilled Lettuce with Venetian Sweet & Sour Sauce: I used the How to Grill book by Steve Raichlen. I don’t like to type out other peoples’ recipes on my site, but this one does appear on other sites if you want to look at it.
  • Coffee & Cacao Roasted Carrots with Chicory Granola: From the Splendid Table. You’ll note that the original doesn’t have chocolate, but I had a surplus of cacao nibs for various reasons so I substituted those for some of the coffee beans.

Do we need to go into dessert options? I mean, they’re endless. Chocolate Dipped Bananas would be a good one. If you feel adventurous (as I usually do) there’s Tobacco Chocolate Truffles in Jennifer McLagan’s upcoming cookbook Bitter (tabacco as dessert ingredient is written about in this New York Times article). Below is my Chocolate Bacon Bar recipe, which I wouldn’t use to end this particular menu, but now seemed like an appropriate time to mention it.

Chocolate Bacon Bar

  • 2 cups high quality dark chocolate chips or choppped chocolate
  • 1 scant cup tamari roasted almonds, coarsely chopped. Yes, I mean tamari almonds. Dry roasted salted almonds can work, but. . .
  • 6 strips of bacon, fried until crispy, chopped similarly to the almonds. Obviously different bacons cook up differently. The bacon when piled loosely should eyeball about the same as the almonds. Make sure it is very crispy, because you don’t want a difficult-to-chew hunk of bacon fat in your candy bar.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler – if you are worried about how it will ultimately look, temper it, but I don’t. Stir in the almonds and bacon. Spread over wax paper on a cookie sheet and let cool.

 

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