Home-Made Chunky Dark Chocolate Butter


ChocolateButterDesert

UPC’s Crunchy Dark Chocolate Butter

I love indulging. Some of my favorite indulgences, as we’ve covered here in this blog, are life’s simple pleasures. This is obviously not a complete list, but certainly these items will make the top of my list: chocolate, bacon, chocolate bacon, smoked salmon, good wine, good tequila, good rum, sleeping soundly and waking up refreshed, and staying up all night just to watch the sun rise. As far as I’m concerned, the above list of indulgences should be on EVERYONE’S list! Ok, fine, I’ll give that some people just don’t like salmon. My wife doesn’t like salmon, and smoked salmon is even worse to her. While this is intriguing to me, particularly as a pleasantly munch down on some spicy smoked salmon, and she makes faces at me, I don’t particularly mind. That just means I get to keep it to myself! Fortunately, we share interest enough of our other indulgences that this has never been an issue. So, today’s recipe, hopefully, will become a regular indulgence for you all as it has become for me.

I’ve been working on this recipe for months now, and while you’ll see that it is quite simple, putting the pieces together has been a real challenge! Chocolate is amazing, in all it’s forms. It can be a real challenge to work with, though, because getting your recipe just a little bit wrong can result in it being quite bitter. While I love chocolate, and even really really dark chocolate (I eat the good baking chocolate bars straight – but only the good ones), I don’t love bitter. There are definitely some recipes that bring out the bitter in chocolate more than others. Not this one though. This recipe produces the kind of indulgent decadence that I can really look forward to!

UPC’s Crunchy Dark Chocolate Butter; What you’ll need:

  • ChocolateButterDesert_CocoaNibsAndChocolatePowder1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Carob Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Nibs
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1 Storage Jar (a nut-butter jar?)

Serves: Umm… Only 1!!! 🙂
Prep time: 10 minutes.

1. Mix the cocoa powder, carob powder, and cocoa nibs thoroughly.

2. Pour the mix into the jar, then add the coconut butter and the coconut oil on top, in that order.

ChocolateButterDesert_PreMixed

As the coconut oil melts, it will loosen up the coconut butter for stirring.

3. Close the jar and place it somewhere warm so that the coconut oil can melt, and the coconut butter will soften.
Note: If you can’t think of a good warm place to put it; you can easily just throw it in the oven on the lowest heat setting for 5-10 minutes.

4. Let it sit until the coconut oil has completely melted, then begin stirring.

ChocolateButterDesert_Mixing

Start to stir after the coconut oil has fully melted.

Serving:

Since it’s warmer now, it’s the optimal time to serve it over your favorite fruit! This will be amazing over nearly any fruit, but particularly strawberries, raspberries, mangoes, and pineapple.
If you’d prefer to eat it in a more solid state, just let it sit at room temperature for a while, then dig in! It will be thick, like coconut oil or macadamia nut butter, and perfect for eating with a spoon!

ChocolateButterDesert_Spread

Freshly made, still warm Crunchy Chocolate Butter over Starfruit!

Questions:

  • Do you like your indulgences?
  • What are your 3 favorite indulgences?
  • If you could take one of your non-food indulgences, and compare it to a food, which food would it be most comparable to?
  • Are there any indulgences that you used to enjoy but don’t anymore?
  • Why don’t you enjoy them anymore?
  • Do you miss them? Or have you replaced them?

What’s For Lunch? Smoked Salmon Bento Box


SalmonBentoBox

UPC’s Smoked Salmon Bento Box

Ok, I’ll admit it… I’m an addict! I’m an unmitigated food addict. It’s always been my “drug of choice,” so to speak, and that hasn’t changed one iota over the years. And I love it!!

“I’m UPC, and I’m an addict.”

“Welcome UPC.”

All jokes (mostly) aside, these Bento-Box lunches have been leaving me seriously looking forward to my lunch every day! It’s not like I don’t normally enjoy my food. Of course I do, it’s made by my favorite chef! No, this is another situation entirely. I thoroughly enjoy the idea of being in a position to easily, painlessly carry a full meal, and a full-looking meal, all the way to work with me to eat at my leisure. It’s truly a delight.

Smoked Salmon Bento-Box; What you’ll need:

  • Smoked Salmon:
  • 12 oz Smoked Salmon
  • 2 oz “Glaze” (Apple Cider Vinegar (or any flavor), Olive Oil, Black Peppercorns, Whole Mustard Seeds; mixed together and soaked for a day)
  • Salad Eggs
  • Salad:
  • Favorite Mixed Greens
  • 1 cup Celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Green Onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 large Avocado, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Serves: 2
Cook and prep time: 30 minutes

1. Prepare the Salad Eggs. I used ham, basil, and carrots for this Salad Eggs dish.

2. In a pan, sear the smoked salmon on high heat for about 1 minute per side.

3. After turning off the heat, paint the salmon with the glaze, leaving the salmon in the pan so that the glaze can thicken in the heat. Let the salmon sit in the glaze for 2-3 minutes per side.

4. Slice the salmon and put it in the Bento Box.

5. Mix the salad ingredients and add them to the Bento Box.

6. Add the Salad Eggs to the Bento Box. And bring it to work to enjoy!

Questions:

  • What kinds of lunch foods get you excited?
  • Do you ever eat seafood for lunch?
  • Do you prefer smoked salmon, or another preparation method?
  • Do you prefer a different salmon preparation for a different meal? Have you ever thought about it?

What’s For Dinner? Seafood with Avocado Sauce, Olives, and Roasted Carrots


SeafoodWithAvocadoSauce

A few personal updates, just to keep you all up to date with my life. The goslings on the run to work are getting a bit older. They are adorable! And they litter the walkway that I run on with their droppings – and it’s annoying! With running in mind: I am still running to work! As I was hoping would happen, the “summer mornings” settled in and the brief period in the morning is still tolerable for a jog to the ferry. It’s been in the high 60’s and humid enough to keep my face nice and cool – which does help keep my body temperature manageable. And I didn’t feel like making lunch this morning. I know, shocking right?! My wife was shocked too! I still did breakfast, as usual, but I just wasn’t inspired to cook up anything for lunch… I don’t know why. Maybe I’m tired?

Scallops, Calamari, and Shrimp with Avocado Sauce; What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb of Assorted Seafood (obviously, wild-caught if possible)
  • 2 large Avocados, mashed
  • 4 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • Marjoram, Cumin, and Sea Salt to taste
  • Chopped or Baby Carrots
  • Green Olives

Start the seafood in a pan on high with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. There is a lot of water in seafood, so you don’t need much oil to really get the cooking started – and once it’s started, the water in the seafood will keep the pan moist enough on it’s own. This is especially true if you’re using frozen seafood, as I most often do. Stir this regularly, and remove from the heat about 1 minute after it starts to sizzle. This usually takes about 10 minutes on my stove.
Cooking “seafood” but not fish is quite easy, in my opinion. It doesn’t take long, so there’s no need for over-preparation. It tastes amazing when it’s cooked in coconut oil, so there’s no need for anything more elaborate than that. Ultimately, keep it as simple as possible, and spice lightly.

Once the seafood is cooking, start preparing the other ingredients. In another pan add the carrots with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Cook these on medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally. These will be ready to eat once the seafood is ready.

After getting the cooking stuff all started, turn your attention to the Avocado sauce. Cut up the avocados and put them in a mixing bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and the spices. Mush these down and stir it up until you have a semi-liquid sauce, well spiced. Make sure to taste this regularly – it takes a lot of taste testing to get the flavor just right. And besides: who would want to miss the taste testing?!
Serve the sauce on the seafood. This is probably the most important part of the meal prep! The seafood is good. But you’ve had that before, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve had it recently. But the seafood with the sauce? Now that’s something new and exciting – don’t miss it!

Questions:

  • What are your favorite sauces?
  • Do you serve them on the meal, or on the side? Why?
  • Do you know how to make the sauce? Or is this something that you would like to see recreated – and shared with you?