Island Ahi With Spicy Cacao Sauce

This is all about an event thought up by Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy and Marc of No Recipes (who is hosting this one). Each month a different movie is selected for everyone to watch and be inspired to create a recipe from. This month's movie is Chocolat.

I was going to call my sauce a curry, as I did in an earlier version posted this year, but on second thought, the origins point as well to South America, home of cacao, and the moles of Mexico, where cacao is often an ingredient. A mole is traditionally a very complex assortment of ingredients, time-consuming to prepare. Most Mexican restaurants don't bother, aside from guacamole that is. Although, there are some fairly simple moles in the book of Frida Kahlo's recipes. Perhaps my concoction is an aberration, not Mexican, or Indian or even Eurasian. Though sauce is such a mundane word. Oh well. This recipe, however, has aside from some Indian and Mexican spices - cardamom, chili pepper, avocado leaf and cinnamon; also Asian elements - lemongrass and galangal, which all combined to work with and complement the cacao and ahi.

As in the movie Chocolat, where the confectioner used unusual flavors to surprise and delight her patrons, I was inspired to strive for that result. I not only love chocolate, I am growing the tree to keep us in good supply and love experimenting with its fruit.

I used fresh, locally caught, ahi (tuna) for this and some of the other ingredients are very local as well - from my garden: the cacao nibs, lemongrass, chilies, galangal, macadamia nuts, avocado leaf, lemon, with basil and starfruit to garnish.


Happy Valentines

Chocolate Pretzel and Starfruit Sorbet
Well, there's really no excuse for this frivolity, other than the fact my Valentine's desert was just so special it's got to be important enough to share with the world. Or that minuscule portion of the blogosphere who might happen upon this post. Of course, the sorbet was really too hard for scooping into a nice smooth ball for photo perfection, and I was too impatient to wait, so maybe we'll take another shot at it tonight.

The Chocolate Pretzel recipe was from the very absorbing (meaning I intend to make every single creation in there eventually) Chocolate book by McFadden & France. For the shaping, I changed to less pretzel and more heart. Which incidentally, was probably made more difficult by my using part spelt flour. In fact, my granddaughter was trying to help with them but gave up her attempt. So, I would say, follow the directions.
Chocolate Pretzels
Makes 28
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg white, lightly beaten, for glazing
sugar crystals, for sprinkling

1. Sift the flour, salt and cocoa powder into a bowl. Set aside. Grease two baking sheets.
2. Cream the butter, add sugar & beat til fluffy. Beat in the egg. Stir in the dry ingredients. Gather the dough into a ball and chill for 1 hour.
3. Roll the dough into 28 small balls. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll each ball into a rope about 10 inches long. With each rope, form a loop (or heart) with the two ends facing you. Twist the ends and fold back onto the circle, pressing in to make a pretzel shape. Place on the greased cookie sheets.
4. Brush the pretzels with the egg white. Sprinkle sugar crystals over the tops and bake for 10-12 minutes until firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For the starfruit sorbet, just juice enough starfruit (carambola) to give you 3 1/2 cups of juice, stir in the juice of 1 lemon, and 3/4 cup sugar, then freeze in your ice cream maker. I think chocolate cookies combine wonderfully with fruit sorbets of any sort.