It’s November 4 – L’Observateur


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Chocolate hasn’t always been the sweet dessert people eat today. The history of chocolate dates back to 1900 BC, when the Aztecs believed that cocoa beans were a gift from Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom. Chocolate was made into fermented drinks and cocoa beans were also used as a bargaining chip because they were of great value.

According to the History Channel, some ancient civilizations viewed chocolate as a mood booster and aphrodisiac. Chocolate was believed to have mystical properties and was so revered that it was reserved for rulers, warriors and priests.

It wasn’t until centuries later that edible chocolate became popular among the masses. Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten invented the cocoa press, which could process extruded cocoa butter, paving the way for the modern era of chocolate as a confectionery ingredient and gift.

Choosing the right type of chocolate may require understanding a variety of terms related to chocolate.

· Cocoa powder: This is the raw, unsweetened form of cocoa made from partially defatted chocolate liqueur. Dutch processed cocoa powder (alkalized) is sweeter and less acidic than natural cocoa powder.

· Unsweetened chocolate: “Bitter” or “baking chocolate” are other names given to unsweetened chocolate. It is best used in baking when it can be combined with sugar and other ingredients. It is also the basic ingredient in most forms of chocolate, with the exception of white chocolate.

Dark chocolate: Chocolate that contains only chocolate liqueur, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, and lecithin is considered dark chocolate. No dry extract of milk is added. The higher the percentage on the packaging, the more bitter the chocolate.

· Milk chocolate: In addition to the ingredients of dark chocolate, milk chocolate also contains milk solids or condensed milk. It is sweet and tastes like mild chocolate.

Bitter and semi-sweet: These chocolates are sweeter than dark chocolate, but not as sweet as milk chocolate. Many chocolate manufacturers make their own formulations for these types of chocolate, varying the amount of cocoa solids they contain.

· Couverture chocolate: An expensive chocolate, it is coveted by professional bakers and pastry chefs. It contains a high percentage of cocoa butter and chocolate liquor, which helps it melt evenly. It is ideal for tempering and can coat sweets gently.

· Ganache: Ganache is a whipped topping, frosting, frosting or sauce that is used in various desserts. It is made by heating cream and pouring it over chocolate of all kinds. Once cooled, it is malleable but not runny, which is why ganache is often used in making candies or toppings.

· Truffle: A chocolate truffle is made from a ball of ganache rolled in cocoa powder. Truffles can be made from any variety of chocolate.

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Preparing for Thanksgiving: applications

Thanksgiving is foodie heaven. Even though the turkey and side dishes are the crowning glory of Thanksgiving, hungry guests will need something to soothe them until the piece de resistance is ready. In such situations, tasty but not too filling appetizers can do the trick.

Charcuterie boards and tasting menus continue to be all the rage. In addition to a platter of fruit slices, figs, aged cheeses and crostini, treat guests to “Mini Cheese Ball Bites”, which offer various textures and flavors in bite-size portions. Enjoy this recipe, courtesy of “Spectacular Spreads: 50 Amazing Spreads for Any Occasion” (Rock Point) by Meagan Brown.

Mini Cheese Balls

Makes 12

8 ounces light cream cheese, softened

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons of chopped and drained peppers

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of paprika

Pinch of kosher salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup chopped chives

12 pretzel sticks

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar, chili peppers, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Place the crushed pecans and chives in a small bowl. Put aside.

Roll cheese mixture into twelve 1-inch balls. Evenly coat each ball with the pecan-chive mixture. Squeeze a pretzel stick on top of each cheese ball just before serving. Serve at room temperature or cool.

On November 4, 1869, Rutgers defeated Princeton 6-4 in America’s first-ever college football game. It was a grudge match precipitated by an 1866 baseball game in which Princeton won in a 40-2 rout. But football was different back then; it was played with a soccer ball.

Rutgers’ description of the football game virtually admits that the players were engaged in a version of football: “The ball could only be advanced by hitting it with the feet, hands, head or sides. (Adapted from the London Football Association.)

The NCAA Football Record Book recognized it as part of college football history until the 1880s; then, a great Yale rugby player, Walter Camp, pioneered the rule changes that slowly converted him to American football.

The Hall of Fame provides another piece of American football history; John Brallier, a quarterback from Indiana College in Pennsylvania, became the first “professional football player” when he accepted “$ 10 and” cakes “(expenses) to play for the city team. de Latrobe, Pennsylvania, against neighbor Jeannette on September 3, 1895.

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends How Football Became Football: 150 Years of the Game’s Evolution by Timothy P. Brown

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