Coconut Oil Chocolates

This, as you may have guessed, is the first installment of my new blog “Tasty Meditation: Tales from a Gluten Free Kitchen”.

I’ve been debating for a while now how I would like to share my culinary explorations. I am incredibly passionate about gluten free cooking and baking. I love trying new recipes and discovering why some recipes work and others do not. For the past few years, I have been sharing recipes and dinner party stories with my yoga and fitness students. But I wanted to do something more – A blog? A youtube cooking channel? A podcast? Many of my students have suggested that I open up my own restaurant – a suggestion that I’ve stamped a firm “no” onto. But if I put something out into the vast world of the internet, what can I say that hasn’t already been said? Will people read or listen? And (gulp) if I give away my secret recipes will my friends stop coming over for dinner parties and start making my delicious food themselves?

The reality – if I cook it, they will of course come. And I have things to say. I have things to share. I am Italian, and we know that good food is about sharing it with others. And that is what I truly love to do.

I was finally inspired to put my blogging plan into action after a series of dinner parties that I hosted. My guests and I are quite the amusing group:

I myself have Celiac Disease and am 100% gluten free.

My boyfriend is a somewhat picky eater who hates fish and won’t touch most vegetables.

Emily is a vegetarian and is lactose intolerant.

And Don has a nut allergy.

My yoga students laughed out loud when I told them about this eclectic group. “What do you eat?!?!” they exclaimed amidst good-natured giggles. “We eat like kings!” I replied. The circumstances did force me to get a little creative, but in the end we ate the most delicious allergen-friendly dishes.

Being a person with food restrictions, I have been to parties and events where there is little for me to eat, and I am made to stare longingly at a forbidden slice of pizza or piece of cake. Do I mind? Most of the time the answer is no. The company is more important. But I can say that it is so nice when I’m at an event where the hosts are allergen conscious, and I have a table full of mouth watering choices presented to me. So of course I want everyone to be able to eat everything that I cook for my dinner parties and (what’s more) feel safe in doing so. No one is excluded. It becomes a night of wonderful company and amazing food.

The goal of this blog? To share recipes (my own as well as others that I’ve tried and perhaps adjusted), cooking tips, dinner party experiences, news from the gluten free community, and general musings. All recipes will be gluten free, many of them will be allergen friendly.

And finally, why call it “Tasty Meditation”? Cooking relaxes me. It focuses me. When I’m baking I know that if I add ‘one half cup of this’ and ‘three tablespoons of that’ I know how it will turn out. It becomes a meditative experience, and one that I immensely enjoy.

To kick things off, I’ll share one of my new favorite chocolate recipes. Variations of this have been floating all over the internet lately. My variation comes from Lauren Goslin. Her original post can be found at http://mylifewithfoodallergies.com/index/5-ingredient-healthy-homemade-chocolate/

Coconut Oil Chocolates

IMG_4159

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup coconut oil

2 tbsp maple syrup

¾ tsp vanilla extract

Dash of sea salt

Mix all ingredients together. If it begins to clump, that means that the cold temperature of the maple syrup is solidifying the coconut oil. If this happens, warm the bowl itself for just a few seconds and continue mixing. The mixture can then be poured into a chocolate mold. Another option is to line a medium size Tupperware container with plastic wrap and pour the chocolate onto the plastic. Either way, place the chocolate in the freezer for ten minutes. If using Tupperware, break the chocolate apart to create chocolate bark. Store the chocolate in the freezer. Be aware that coconut oil freezes very quickly and melts just as fast, so if you leave your chocolates out on a plate at your next dessert party you will find yourself with a big chocolate puddle.

What I love about this recipe (besides that it is probably the most delicious chocolate that I have ever tasted) is that it tastes clean and pure – this is the comment that I have received from everyone who has tried it. Also, the ingredients are simple – no food dyes, soy lecithin, or other odd additives. You know exactly what you’re eating. And it’s healthy! If you read up on the benefits of coconut oil and cocoa powder you will be overwhelmed by the nutritional punch they offer.

These chocolates have been a huge success at all of my most recent events. So give it a try! If you do and decide to tweak the recipe, comment and let me know how it turns out. Or simply enjoy the picture. They do look amazing, if I say so myself.


Happy eating!

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