dorchadas: (Kirby Spaceship Happy)
It's farmer's market season, and we live pretty close to a large farmer's market. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd had the idea to start going there every Wednesday and make dinner using fresh ingredients from the market, since right now she's working the summer school shift and so gets done with work just after noon, and yesterday was the first dinner she made. And it was delicious.

Food pictures )

Everything tasted amazing, and it wasn't particularly expensive either! Less expensive than going out to dinner, which only makes sense since we had to cook and clean it up. This was a trial run to see if we wanted to make it a Wednesday tradition, and it came off splendidly. And tasty.  photo Emot-happycat.gif
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
This weekend [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I are in Portland for a wedding! I'm sure I'll be writing all about that tomorrow when I have more time to write, but at the moment we're sitting in my sister's apartment, where she kindly offered to put us up for the weekend, and eating chocolate. We walked downtown yesterday to one of Portland's farmers' markets, and after buying smoked salmon and a load of spiced cheese curds, my sister said that she and her boyfriend were going to go to Moonstruck Chocolate for dessert, so we tagged along. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd jokingly said that we should do a Darker than Black about the truffles we are, but then I noticed they had chocolate bars.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
​I will warn you now, dear reader, that this is my most biased review yet. How could it not be? I've been eating See's marzipan dark chocolates for almost as long as I can remember. My grandparents always gave boxes to me and my father at birthdays and holidays, and then my father continued the tradition whenever he went west to visit them, and I'm sure that should I have children they will also be receiving boxes of See's from me on appropriate events.

I mostly hate #brands and I follow See's on Facebook, such is the depth of my love.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I was going to write a story about the chocolate store that we went to in River North before it closed, while [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was in grad school and we wanted the occasional treat that was delicious but still at mass-market prices. Occasionally I'd meet her there after an evening class or, when I got a job, after work. We'd get sundaes and eat them together, walk past the horse carriages that carry touristspeople on rides in River North, and then go back to our apartment.

But it turns out that I'm misremembering and that was a Ghirardelli. Oops.  photo 3327b7f6b45a33781e80dce4e4461510-d4ipx9c.gif
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
Apparently I'm starting some kind of sea salt-themed section in Darker than Black. We got a Raaka Pink Sea Salt in our latest chocolate shipment, but we already did that a year ago. There's another sea salt-themed bar waiting as well, but as I was looking through the pile of dark chocolate to see what there was to do, I decided on this one since it was a present. Thanks to [facebook.com profile] topher.elderkin for providing it!
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I never used to have to worry about chocolate oxidizing because we would always eat it too quickly for it to matter. Oops. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd is pretty sure we bought this chocolate in December. And to think that we were doing so well with getting through our backlog!
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dorchadas: (JCDenton)
Last night after Japanese class, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I stopped by the local watering hole for dinner, since we haven't spent much of our restaurant budget for this month and we both really wanted hamburgers. It's funny--I'll go weeks without eating any bread at all because I don't want any, and all it takes is one holiday saying I can't eat bread to make me want to dig into a nice sourdough with loads of butter.  photo emot-v.gif

I got a steak sandwich, the same food I got the first time I ever went there years ago. That time I made the mistake of ordering it rare, because it's steak, right? That's what you do. Well...sure, if you're eating it with a knife and fork. With a steak sandwich it meant I tore the bread to pieces trying to rip off chunks of steak with my teeth, and this time I learned and ordered it medium.


Though looking at it now, it makes me want a cheesesteak...

During Japanese class, I talked a bit with Aya-sensei about Pesach foods and she was pretty dismissive of matzah for not tasting like anything. And mostly she's right, though [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd did manage to find a brand that was olive-oil-and-herb flavored that was pretty good on its own. But just yesterday, I learned that cracker matzah is an invention of the modern age due to transportation and storage concerns, and that previous matzah was all soft like chapatis or tortillas! The source I read is here, though there's also RealMatzah.com, which looks like an Angelfire page from the 90s but has plenty of rabbinical opinions on soft matzah.

Some googling found a bakery in New York that makes it and ships it overnight, but there's no products listed on the website so I'm not sure if it's still in business or not. Maybe we can try making it ourselves, now that Pesach is over and there's no halakhic concerns if we screw up the recipe.
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
Originally, I was just going to skip this week. Then I was going to use some candy that we had gotten in our Japanese candy shipment that didn't have any chametz in it, but did have mochi and strawberry and looked like it would be a pink explosion. And then, as we were walking by a display of Passover goods in Whole Foods, I saw these. Chocolate? Yes. Seasonably appropriate? Yes. Worth spending an entry on?

C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER.
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dorchadas: (Chicago)
[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I just got back from a brunch at Elizabeth themed around Game of Thrones:


Brioche bread with salted butter. Right: "foie growl" and raspberry jam. Left: poached egg and asparagus with elderflowers.

It was really good! We went there back in October for another brunch, that time with friends and a drink pairing, but this time it was just the two of us. And the food was still very tasty, but other than the decor I'm not sure what was supposed to be Game of Thrones-themed?

There were house banners hung on the walls, fur covers on the seats, leather silverwear cases, and various Funkopop Game of Thrones characters around...but a lot of the food was the same as it was when we went a few months ago. That foie gras owl next to jam with bread was one of the courses, as was the stinging nettle pasta with cheese. And the yogurt starter, though a few months ago it had an olive reduction and this time it had candied ginger and strawberries.

I suspect part of it is because of our dietary restrictions. Elizabeth posts on their website that they can't accommodate dietary restrictions, but both times we went it wasn't a problem. We told them no pork or shellfish and they graciously complied, but I noticed that the table next to us, for their own version of the above dish, got dark rye bread with breakfast sausage. I bet their bread was fried in pork fat or something similar, so it's possible that the lack of Game of Thrones connection was due to our request.


Front: Lemon curd with bee pollen topping. Back: Whiskey-glazed donuts.

It was still delicious and I recommend it if you can get tickets. But Game of Thrones? I'm not seeing it.  photo shrug2.gif
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
It's been a while! Various things came up, we had packed weekends, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was gone for a retreat, she made me a tasty olive oil cake with no chocolate whatsoever--yes, I do sometimes eat desserts that contain no chocolate at all!--we had a Call of Cthulhu game...you know, things. But this weekend we didn't have much to do other than one thing that I'll probably also write about tomorrow, and so I took down some chocolate from our supply, opened it up, and we tried it.

I should have skipped another week.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
This is going to be a shorter post because we've both had a lot to do today, but I didn't want to go another week without trying more chocolate! The chocolate is piling up faster than we can eat through it. Pretty soon, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's spring break is coming up and I took several days off to coincide with it, so we might do some Darker than Black supplementals during that week to make our way through the excess. Or we might just decide to start eating some of the chocolate. Either way, we'll definitely use our days off to eat dark chocolate. Just like we use our workdays.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
Yesterday, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went with my parents to the orchid show at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The weather wasn't great for garden-viewing, but fortunately this was an orchid show, so all the flowers were indoors. When I was a child, I hated looking at flowers, hated being dragged along with my parents to flower shows, and didn't understand why they cared. There are a lot of things parents tell children that they'll understand when they're older only because they don't want to actually answer them, but sometimes, it is true.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
It's been a while, but we're back! This is a bar I've been wanting to try for a while as well, since part of the reason I wanted to write about dark chocolate was to see if there was anything to the single-origin trend. Does chocolate, like wine, have terroir? The advertising certainly makes a bit deal of it, and I'm exactly the kind of person those claims are targeted toward--as I've told [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, the way to get me to eat pizza is to call it "flatbread" and charge twice as much for it. So when my parents gave me this bar, we put it aside and waited for the right time. That time is now.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I was wavering on doing Darker than Black this week, but since [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd will be gone for a large part of next weekend, we decided to go ahead with it. And also since every time I stopped paying attention to the internet for more than thirty minutes at a time, I'd come back thinking, "So are we a fascist dictatorship yet?" And last I checked, the answer was, "Maybe, we need more time to determine that." So chocolate seems like a good idea.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
Monday isn't the usual day, but I already skipped last week and I didn't want to skip another week.

Over the end of the year, we had a lot of candy and other desserts that wouldn't fit Darker than Black, so we stopped updating quite so much other than the marzipan, which only barely qualifies here. But now we've worked our way through everything except the giant bag of frozen Halloween candy that my parents gave me after they realized there was no way they could eat it, and due to the hiatus, we've built up our backlog again. Hopefully we can get through it before it goes rancid.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I've loved marzipan basically as long as I can remember. My father always used to get boxes of See's candies for any holiday or birthday available, and eventually I developed a taste for them too. I presume that my father picked up his love of marizpan from his time living in Germany, and that's also why he pronounces it without the R (which is much more subtle in the German pronunciation). As I mentioned in Week 33, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I go to Christkindlmarket every year and get food, and there's a giant marzipan display in one of the buildings set up by a candy-maker. So of course, I had to get some marzipan bars to write about.
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dorchadas: (Perfection)
This week [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I received our shipment of mirin, the sweet cooking sake that we use to make some meat and all the だし巻き (dashimaki, "dashi-flavored fried eggs"). It took us months to use up the last two bottles and this time in a fit of exuberance, I ordered five, which will probably take us years to use. Fortunately, since it's mildly alcoholic, it's not going to go bad. But because we ordered them close to the new year, they sent along packets of spices for お屠蘇 (otoso, "spiced New Year's sake").

I'd never even heard of this before the packets arrived. It's not something I was familiar with in Hiroshima, though it's possible that I just never noticed it. I could read enough on the packaging that I understand the recipe from the spices comes from Three Kingdoms-era China, and became popular in Japan during the Heian era, and we had to look the rest up online. And then we had a bottle of sake around, and we're going to a party tonight, so we took out some of the packets, put them in a bowl with some sake, and set it to soaking:


It should have just enough time soaking for the flavor to really permeate it, and then we'll bring it along to the party and drink it at the turning of the year. Hopefully it will drive out the evil of 2016--屠, "to slaughter," 蘇, "to be revived"--and taste good to boot!
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I don't celebrate Christmas, but every year we go to Christkindlmarket in Chicago for the German food and crafts. A lot of it we can't eat because the Germans are fond of their pork, but the Döner Men have a booth there where they serve chicken kabobs that are wonderful with some spiced apple cider and a cold wind blowing around you. Though honestly, I could do without the last part.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
It's a yearly tradition for [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and a friend and I--and I can say that, because this is the third year we've gone--to go to Svea in Andersonville for brunch. They have a Christmas Plate they offer for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas that's $16.50 for a giant smörgåsbord with pickled herring, cheese, ham, korv, limpa bread, potatoes, meatballs, tomatoes, and a glass of glögg. It's also the time of year that the owner comes out and sings songs whenever someone orders lutfisk. It's amazing and I'll be really sad if the restaurant ever closes.

This year, after we finished eating, we all went to the Middle Eastern Grocery Store next door to pick up some hummus and cheese (and baklava at my urging), and I noticed some chocolate by the cashier. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd suggested it for Darker than Black but was worried because it was only 60% cacao, and normally that would be a bit low, but I want a bit of variety here and I have seen that chocolate before and wanted to try it, so we bought it. And then moved it to the top of the list, since the only other chocolates we had aren't as interesting as this one. I mean, it's in Turkish! Who knows what it contains! Certainly not me. I don't speak a lick of Turkish.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
A while ago, we signed up for a service called Shoshbox that delivers a monthly shipment of Japanese candy. It's since merged with Tokyo Otaku Mode, and we've upgraded to a larger box size, but it's nice every month to get a shipment of candy even if a lot of it isn't to my taste. The gum goes to [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, as do some of the more cracker-like snacks, and sometimes we get something amazing like the 菓実グミパイナップル (kajitsu gumi painappuru, "Real fruit gummy pineapple"), which actually does taste like it has real pineapple inside. And, very rarely, we get something that's suitable for Darker than Black.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I know we do a lot of chocolate from Raaka, but hear me out. Part of it is just because I have a chocolate subscription from them, so we get a lot of chocolate already, and I do try to mix things up. This week, though, there's a reason why we did this particular bar.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I used to drink a lot of coconut milk. That drinkable kind that came in milk cartons, because I don't like cow milk that much despite how much I like cheese and yogurt. I think it stems back from when I broke my leg. Before then I could drink pretty much whatever I wanted as long as it was fruit juice or water--no pop in our household--and after, my parents made me drink milk at basically every meal to make sure that I got enough calcium to heal my bones. And I mean, I suppose it worked from a folk wisdom perspective. I'm nearly two meters tall and haven't broken a bone since then. Might as well have been all that milk as anything, but that does mean I'm left with a dislike of milk that lingers to this day. I have one cup maybe quarterly and then I'm good.

Coconut milk, though. Yum.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
This is another one of the weeks where we go back through the bag and pick out one of the chocolate bars we've meant to do for a while and eat it before it comes completely bad. Only somewhat bad. I knew intellectually that chocolate could oxidize and get brittle and taste a bit off, but before I started buying chocolate specifically for Darker than Black, I hadn't actually seen it other than the one time that a chocolate bar got lost in the back of the pantry for a couple months before we realized it was there and I dug it out to eat after dinner. The lifespan of chocolate in our household is generally measured in days or weeks, but at one chocolate bar per week plus the occasional break, it can last a lot longer in the backlog bag.

We're nearly through the whole backlog, though, now that I have a better sense of how quickly we go through chocolate. And now that if it looks like it's taking too long, we start eating the backlog and not writing about it. Hey, we can always buy more chocolate, right? I don't see a problem here.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
So last time I posted a Darker than Black entry, [twitter.com profile] twentysidedcat expressed astonishment that I was writing about chocolate that he would actually want to eat! I mean, isn't this called "Darker than Black"? Shouldn't this be about chocolate that curdles milk if placed within 10 yards, that travelers keep in their pockets to ward off the evil eye, and that which can only be eaten after secret rites are performed under the waning autumn moon?

I mean, those weren't his exact words. It's just what I took from it.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
This will be slightly shorter than the usual Darker than Black because I just wrote five and a half thousand words about video games. But I haven't done this in two weeks and wanted to get back into the the habit. Of writing, I mean. I never got out of the habit of eating chocolate.

The packaging claims that this company was started by former Peace Corps volunteers started the company in order to make chocolate "as a vehicle for social impact" in Madagascar. Going online, I found a whole page on their website here dedicated to the topic. I do not know enough about chocolate processing or about Madagascar's economic situation to comment on whether that is a worthwhile goal or a worthwhile way to go about it. But it's good chocolate.
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