My Madre Chocolate Farm Tour

I chose Madre Chocolate to include in my Vegan Mexican Pop-up Dinner after learning all about how they make the chocolate bean to bar. They are very supportive of fair and clean food from the farmers to their own production. I’m so excited to use their Xoconusco chocolate in my mole sauce!

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Vanilla beans

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A cacao tree on the Windward side

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Another cacao tree on the same farm

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Dave was telling us about lilikoi which they also use in their chocolate

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Cacao seeds are purple on the inside before they are fermented and roasted.

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Dave was explaining about the roasting process

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Here’s a close-up of the cacao pod, roasted beans, vanilla, and cocoa butter.

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Some of the finished product on display for sale in their Kailua shop.

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Grinding the cacao takes days!

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Dave, pouring the chocolate into molds

Learn more about the dinner on my EVENT PAGE

Eventbrite - Mexican Pop-Up Dinner

What is mole anyway?

“What is mole? Mole generically means “sauce”. Modern mole is a mixture of ingredients from three continents, North America, Europe and Africa, making it the first international dish created in the Americas. Moles come in various flavors and ingredients, with chili peppers as the common factor. The ingredients are all roasted and ground into a fine powder or paste depending on the ingredients used. This roasting and grinding process is extremely laborious and if done by hand, takes at least a day. Traditionally, this work was shared by several generations of women in the family, but after the arrival of electric mills, it became more common to take the ingredients to be ground. Moles made in families are all different, as each has had its own varieties passed down for generations, with the making of it reserved for special events in large batches.” (From Wikipedia)

I first had enchiladas al mole when I lived in Eugene, OR. There is a large Mexican population there so the restaurants are amazing, and my dear friend Mario (and his wife Jenny) used to treat me to his mole and homemade salsa while we listened to salsa music from all over the world.  I’ll be serving this tasty sauce over a pinto bean burrito, with a side of MA’O Organic Farms Sassy Salad.

xoconusco

Learn more on the EVENT PAGE

or

Eventbrite - Mexican Pop-Up Dinner

Cookspace Hawaii

When my friend Ashley sold her share of Baby aWEARness, my space for cooking demos went “aloha”!  I was trying not to worry about this (even with all the people asking, “Why isn’t anything on your calendar?” when one day, Melanie Kosaka called me and let me know about her new business Cookspace Hawaii that was coming on-line in the spring of 2013. Holy Wow! What manifesting luck was that?!  I recently had my first class there, which was a private corporate bonding event, and this space simply a dream come true.  Hope you’ll come check it out on 3/17 when I teach my Go Green Cuisine cooking class!

 

Mexican Pop-Up Dinner

I’m really excited to include Madre Chocolate‘s Xoconusco chocolate in my next pop-up dinner (Vegan Mexican) featuring their chocolate in a mole sauce.  In case you haven’t heard about them yet, their chocolate is made “from bean to bar” in Kailua.  I’ve taken a farm tour with them to learn how they grow the cacao as well as attended a chocolate-making class and had a complete blast. Each time, I learn so much.  Listening to them talk about flavors in chocolate reminds me of wine tasting, or learning about subtle nuances in coffee roasting to create certain flavors.

madre chocolate

Find out more about the Pop-Up dinner here: http://www.macrobiotichawaii.com/event/veganmexican/

Photos of 1/24 Pop-up Dinner

Here are some photos taken by various people from the pop-up dinner on 1/24 at Taste.  Thanks to everyone who attended. It was so much fun.

(Various photos by Amanda Corby, Kaimana Pine, Melissa Chang, Megumi Kurachi)

Today’s Inspiration

Monday wasn’t the best day for me, but my father always says, “Get a good night’s sleep. Things will look different the following day.”  Hearing his voice, I went to bed early and when I got up on Tuesday and went outside, the first thing I saw was my orchid had bloomed in triplicate!  So beautiful!  It really was a great way to start the day.

Other simple pleasures of the day came from a phone call from two people who were  updating me about their lives, expressing their happiness, growth, and changes.  The personal connection and time spent sharing stories as well as celebration of another person’s success was very healing.

Later, I went  grocery shopping to restock on staple items and things to cook with this week. For some reason, I’ve been thinking about Turkey, a country I’ve never been to yet, but would really love to see at some point.  While I was grocery shopping, I was thinking about Mediterranean food, so picked up a variety of things that sounded good such as olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, local cucumbers and tomatoes, and artisan quality fig walnut bread.

These were transformed into “mezze” for my meal, and for dessert, some lilikoi that a friend shared with me from her garden along with a little bit of dark chocolate.  She gave me baby plants that popped up out of her yard, and at long last they are fruiting, so my own will be ripe very soon.

All of the small stuff brightened my day!

 

Benefits of Cooking and Eating at Home

The magazine Whole Living reports that when women who are trying to lose weight eat meals they’ve made at home (especially lunch), they drop 5 pounds a year more than women who eat out. Those who eat regular meals every day lost 8 pounds more. (This is probably true for men as well given that restaurants in general tend to add a lot of fat, salt, and sugar to their food to make it taste better.)

Here’s an example of a quick, easy, and healthy meal that I made after the Thanksgiving holiday to carry to the beach. It’s a chilled soba noodle salad with tofu, veggies (like cilantro, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and wakame), with peanut sauce.  This is as simple as boiling the noodles, chopping the vegetables, and mixing together the ingredients for the dressing!

Holiday Cooking Class (a few select photos)

Here are a few images of the food from today’s side dishes class.

The menu was:

Holiday Rice
Artichoke and Heart of Palm Salad
Pumpkin Coconut Bisque
Christmas Parsnip Soup
Sweet Potato Casserole with Mapled Pecans
Oven Baked Squash

Also the second side dishes class included: Cranberry Chutney; Green Beans w/Pumpkin Seed Dressing; Mashed Potatoes w/Shiitake Gravy; Olive, Onion, Walnut Pan Bread; Brussels Sprout Salad.

Apple Pie is on the dessert menu ?

Healing Foods: Parsley

If you’ve been to my cooking classes,  you probably know how much I love parsley! Here are the reasons why:

Parsley’s volatile oils qualify it as a “chemoprotective” food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke). In addition to its volatile oils and flavonoids, parsley is an excellent source of two vital nutrients that are also important for the prevention of many diseases: vitamin C and vitamin A (notably through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene). Some studies indicate that vitamin C-rich foods, such as parsley, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.