milk chocolate and chocolate and zucchini

May 31, 2007 at 6:01 am (mirepoix)

what a mouthful.

2 of my present faves:

milk chocolate brownies

This is one of my most favorite recipes. For Christmas, I gave all my family and friends bags of caramel filled chocolates. I went crazy at Spun Sugar in Berkeley and bought chocolate candy molds and 10lbs of dark and milk chocolate. Lemme tell you, candy making is no easy task. Proper tools are essential, like pastry brushes, offset spatulas, squeeze bottles and lots of counter and fridge space. In the process, I exploded a thermometer while trying to get sugar into the hard-ball stage, getting cherry red volatile liquid all over the place (I used the chocolate thermometer instead of candy thermometer).  I learned to temper chocolate, caressing it into the perfect temperature with the help of some advice from Alice Mendrich.

After the candy making bonanza, I was left with a whole stash of milk chocolate obon wafers from Guittard that I found myself dipping into more often than I’d like to admit. Needless to say, when I stumbled upon the last page of the February 2007 Gourmet magazine devoted to milk chocolate, I dove into making a batch of these brownies. since then, I’ve made about 4 batches ( :

1 stick unsalted butter

8 oz. yummy quality milk chocolate, chopped (i like guittard)

3/4 c light brown sugar

1tsp madagascar vanilla powder

2 large eggs

3/4 c ap flour

1 tbs unsweetened dutch cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

do it:

1. butter + flour 9×9 baking pan

2. sift dry ingredients into medium bowl.

3. melt butter and 4 oz. choco. cool to warm temp.

4. stir in brown sugar to melted chocolate mixture. add 1 egg at a time. mix till glossy.

5. stir in half choco mixture into flour mixture. mix. stir remaining choco mixture and combine well.

6. spread into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 22 min. enjoy.


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May 25, 2007 at 6:45 am (mirepoix)

If you were re-routed through West Oakland via West Grand Avenue soon after the collapse of the MacArthur Maze you may have seen posters stating “Welcome Thru West Oakland” and “Enjoy Our 53 Liquor Stores”. This witty street humor took advantage of the heightened traffic along West Grand Ave to point out a critical and humorless problem in West Oakland.

Not only is West Oakland overrun by an inexorbitant amount of liquor stores… the number is growing. A 1998 community food security assessment of West Oakland conducted by the U.C. Cooperative Extension found that, at that time, there were 43 liquor stores scattered across West Oakland (Farfan-Ramirez, 1998). Now, as evidenced by these clever posters targeted at unsuspecting commuters, the number of liquor stores has actually risen in the last 9 years!

It seems odd that, despite all of the attention and noise that this issue has generated in Oakland, the count of liquor stores is still on the rise. What will it take for our city leaders to stop supporting policies that benefit and expand liquor stores and intervene in the crisis of health and the disparity in healthy food access that this growing trend indicates?

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