New Year, Old Bread, Claudio Corallo Chocolate, and Coconut Oil
A while ago--I can't remember exactly when, but I can tell you it was another year--a man who had recently left his family's scrap metal business to pursue a career as a scrap metal sculptor asked me what I wanted in life. "I want to always have new experiences," I said. "And I want to have a constant sense of who I am and what I'm doing."
"Are you listening to yourself?" this guy asked me. "How can you always be doing something new and be constant?"
By harvesting contraction, I suppose. And by recognizing the human willingness to become trapped in such contradiction. I'm leery of announcing that I want anything in particular for or from the year 2009 (and yet this very writing suggests that I am somehow compelled to announce that very thing), but what I want hasn't changed much since that conversation with the sculptor: change, consistency. And, in fact, I have the same plans for Chocolate in Context, as the blog moves from 2008 into 2009. I'll still be writing about chocolate as it relates to cooking, travel, society, pleasure, pain, and other things. I'll make announcements, changes, regular updates, irregular updates. I'll rest comfortably on what I've already done, and then do something uncomfortably different.
As you, reader, look forward to everything new in 2009, you'll no doubt have to rely on a couple of things that are old as well. As you begin to think through that contradiction, I recommend that you whip up a batch of Lunatic French Toast, developed by Robinson Crusoe-esque chocolate maker Claudio Corallo (he lives on the volcanic African islands of Sao Tome and Principe). The recipe calls for coconut oil (which gives the breakfast dish a wildness that's almost symbolic) and "old-ish bread," which you may have left over from 2008. Claudio Corallo's US distributor, James Clark (whom I interviewed a few months ago) generously shared the recipe:
Lunatic French Toast
1/2 cup milk
Slices of old-ish bread
Coconut oil or butter
Your favorite Claudio Corallo Chocolate
Whisk the egg and milk together. Heat a heavy skillet and melt some coconut oil or butter in the bottom. Soak your bread in the "custard" and fry gently on both sides over low to medium heat. When each slice is done, remove it from the pan and place on top a piece of chocolate the size of a pat of butter
After a minute or so, the chocolate should be melted enough to spread over the top of your French Toast. You won't need any syrup. If you are using the 100% cacao, you might enjoy sprinkling a tiny bit of granulated sugar on top. Now think about it: your bittersweet chocolate is less insulin-y than a gob of syrup would have been, you have protein from the egg...nutritionally you're set, and if you used coconut oil, you're jammin'. But obviously nobody eats French Toast because it's good for you...