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Mystery ingredient? Cocoa.

Mystery ingredient? Cocoa Not just for desserts, cocoa--used sparingly in these sauces for vegetables--adds a subtle depth and rich color.

Mexican cooks have long employed chocolate in many dishes, where its presence is undetectable except as part of a grander complexity of flavors.

Although unsweetened cocoa, the defatted powder from chocolate, has a bitter bite, it mellows when paired with naturally sweet carrots or yams.

Cocoa-glazed Carrots and Onions

10 ounces fresh pearl onions (about 1-in. diameter), or 1 package (10 oz.) frozen pearl onions 1 pound baby or small carrots, peeled and ends trimmed 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Place fresh onions in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes; drain, then pull or slip skins off onions and discard. Also trim onions' root and stem ends.

Place fresh or frozen onions in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan. Barely cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pan and simmer gently until the onions are tender when pierced, 8 to 15 minutes. Drain; pour onions from the pan and set them aside.

If using baby carrots, leave whole; cut small carrots diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Put in frying pan used for onions, barely cover with water, and bring to a boil on high heat. Put lid on pan and simmer gently until carrots are just tender when pierced, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain carrots and set aside.

In the frying pan, combine butter, lemon juice, honey, cocoa, and ginger. Stir over medium-high heat until smoothly blended. Add carrots and onions. Stir gently on high heat until sauce is thick enough to cling to vegetables, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour into a bowl. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Per serving: 93 cal.; 1.5 g protein; 4.1 g fat; 14 g carbo.; 79 mg sodium; 10 mg chol.

Mahogany Yams with Orange

To help keep yam slices intact, use a wide spatula to turn them in the pan.

1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts 3 tablespoons butter or margarine 2 pounds yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices 1/2 cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate, or orange-flavor liqueur 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1-1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a 10- to 12-inch pan, cook pecans over medium-high heat, stirring often, until toasted, 2-1/2 to 3 minutes. Pour nuts from pan and set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add as many yam slices as will fit in a single layer and cook until slices are lightly browned on bottom, 5 to 7 minutes. With a wide spatula, carefully turn slices over and cook until browned on bottom. Transfer with the spatula to a plate. Melt the remaining butter and repeat steps to cook the remaining yams.

Return cooked yams to pan along with orange juice, brown sugar, lemon juice, cocoa, lemon peel, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Turn yams with spatula until evenly coated with sauce. Gently simmer, covered, until yams are tender when pierced, about 15 minutes.

Uncover and cook over medium-high heat, turning yams often with spatula until sauce is thick enough to coat them. Spoon into a serving dish and sprinkle with pecans. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 241 cal.; 2.5 g protein; 7.7 g fat; 42 g carbo.; 56 mg sodium; 12 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 1989
Words:600
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