May 27, 2010

chocolate blackout

Just the other day I wrote about balance and today I'm on about a chocolate bomb. Some might call me a hypocrite but I would beg to differ - there is no yin without yang, no good without evil - and it's all about balancing equal and opposite qualities. Besides, I'm too deep in my chocolate coma to really care.

Cook's Country Chocolate Blackout Cake is unquestionably the most intense chocolate cake I've ever had, let alone made, with 2 layers of moist chocolate cake sandwiching dark chocolate pudding.  The same pudding covers the entire cake and is then covered by a final layer of shaggy cake crumbs.  Truly to die for.

According to Cook's Country, "blackout cake got its name from the blackout drills performed by the Civilian Defense Corps during World War II.  When the navy sent its ships to sea from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the streets of the borough were "blacked out" to avoid silhouetting the battleships against the cityscapes of Brooklyn and Manhattan.  The cake was so named because of its darkly chocolate - practically black - appearance."

A romantic story or brilliant marketing (weren't sugar and chocolate rationed during the war?), we're still talking about it decades after the cake was made famous by Ebinger's bakery in Brooklyn, becoming the stuff of legend when the bakery closed, bankrupt, in the early 1970's.  According to internet lore, the Ebinger recipes have been kept under lock and key all these years but that hasn't discouraged countless fans who have been trying to recreate the recipe ever since.

While I can't attest to the authenticity of the Cook's Country recipe it's a great chocolate cake and, in my humble opinion, an important part of a balanced diet.

May 24, 2010

happy victoria day

Happy Victoria Day Canada and welcome to the unofficial start of summer in the city!

May 22, 2010

balancing act

"Ten years ago I turned my face for a moment and it became my life."  David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America

How did I get here?  Where did the time go?  These are the questions that have been circling my brain lately, feeding my recent obsession with healthy eating.

I've always been a whole foods fan - processed food makes only an occasional appearance in my home - but nevertheless I was feeling unhealthy and the needle on the scale kept creeping north.   While I wasn't looking my life, and my diet, had slowly become dangerously out of balance.

So began my journey to regaining that equilibrium, starting with my diet.  Out with the bad carbs that had been dominating my diet for a very long time, in with the pulses, greens and proteins.   After a few days I already had more energy and after 8 weeks I feel like a different person.

My new favourite side dish is a salad made with a variety of pulses - chick peas, beans and lentils - with parsley and shallot.  And the best part is that I can make it ahead and have leftovers in the fridge for a few days afterward.

Three bean and lentil salad

Serves 8 - 10

1 can each of chick peas, black beans, lentils and red kidney beans (no salt added if possible)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 medium shallot, minced
salt to taste

Drain and rinse beans and lentils.  Toss in a large bowl with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavours to blend.