AC3V5680On the sixth day, they rested. What’s a good vacation without a day completely devoted to the hedonism that is the fine art of relaxing? I’m not a religious person-spiritual, mystical maybe. But I do believe in a good old fashion day to chill the fuck out. Don’t do anything you don’t feel like doing. That’s the point of all the hard work anyway right, to earn the ability to sit back and relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  To be able to sit back and relax and soak in the glories of life. To let the troubles of the world trouble someone else for the day. That’s all that happened on day seven. It was glorious. I laid in a hammock with a beer and read a book. I napped. I luxuriated in the tropical sun. I read tarot cards. I tried to remember details of the trip up until that point in time. It’s probably the day that solidified the desire and key inspiration in my mind to spend far longer than I should to catalog my thoughts, ideas, experiences, and most importantly inspiration from the trip into a creative work that I can share. So because there weren’t any big events to really write home about on this day ( and trust me, that’s definitely a good thing in this case) it allows me to use this time to go more in depth on a dish that was entirely inspired by the trip.

AC3V5523     Sweet Potatoes are originally from Central America and are widely believed to have been domesticated 5,000 years ago.  Chocolate also originated in that region of the world so I think the flavor combo is perfectly appropriate when talking about inspiration.
I finally had a chance to make chocolate from the Cocoa Beans I brought back from my trip. When I got home,  I put them in my pantry for one future day when I would have the available time to devote to such delicate things as making milk chocolate from scratch. I roasted about half of the beans in the oven at 400F for about an hour- but I think I may have left them in the oven just a tad too long.
After roasting the beans I winnowed the husks on my back porch. Then I ground the cocoa nibs into a warm a granular solid. I added powdered milk and confectioners sugar while heating the resulting cocoa nibs in a double boiler. Once it was sort of mixed together I added some ghee to lubricate the mixture.  I then poured the liquid into a mold and sprinkled the bottom with pink Himalayan salt. I let cool in the fridge until hard ( at least 2 hours).
choclate seahorse.jpg
It wasn’t good smooth highly homogenated chocolate. The texture was slightly asymmetrical on the tongue, crunchy and burnt tasting. It wasn’t sweet enough so I added a drizzle of macadamia honey over the slice of the chocolate seashell- and it was transformed. The honey deepened the flavors of the chocolate and suddenly the burnt taste was transformed into a rich complexity that was suddenly a delicious quality instead of ruinous. Crises averted.

Cookin the Sweet Potatoes.
I washed and sliced 5 smallish Sweet potatoes.  After they were thinly sliced and stacked sideways on their skins inside a copper pot they were drizzled with coconut oil and sprinkled with pink Himalayan salt, Cinnamon, and Herbs De Provence before being tented with tin foil.
 The pot went into in the oven at 400F for 1 hour to slowly roast the to potatoes. Initially, I was disappointed because the potatoes weres soft, and not yet at all crunchy on the edges. I had been dreaming of slightly caramelized potatoes. So I threw some of the soft potatoes into a hot skillet without any oil- and voila. The edges crisped up beautifully.  I also burned my hand because I can kind of be an idiot.
The pan seared potatoes were plated with a chocolate and drizzled with macadamia honey.
potatoes in pot
It’s funny how two things that sort of went tits up in the beginning (both the chocolate and the potatoes kind of initially failed as stand alones before making their way into the pan) made the other exceptional in the end. The skin candies and surrounds the softly charred flesh of the potatoes, creating a perfect balance of sweet, savory, soft and crunchy.
The potatoes made the chocolate better- that’s how good they were. For anything to improve upon chocolate is high praise.
Tip: After roasting you can keep the not yet fried, potatoes for use throughout the coming week. Just fry them up without oil ( I know that sounds counter-intuitive but give it a try).

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