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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I LUV NYC (again!)

Back to school yesterday. And I'm happy to announce that for the FIRST time ever in the current school year, we got to my children's educational institution ON TIME!!!!!
The getting ready process went smooth. To my surprise, I didn't have to resort to screaming nor threatening and we didn't forget anything at home.
Is 2012 bringing us some magic or is it the sign for incredible family accomplishments to come? I certainly hope so...
Maybe it was the lovely staycation we had during the school break that left us with a feeling of tranquility, restfulness and satisfaction.
The weather was incredibly cooperative and not rushing anywhere was quite nice. Some days, the kids just wanted to stay home and play. Other times we visited with friends and relatives, celebrated Chanukah with oily latkes and churros, lights, candles and warm conversation. We said farewell to 2011 (which I have to say, was NOT the easiest of years) with people we love, and we also explored the City a bit.
I schlepped the kids Downtown promising doughnuts at Babycakes. After a zillion "are we there yets?" throughout a very long walk on Broome street, we finally got to the bakery and the three of us almost cried: it was closed. However, I did get to show them the signs with Chinese characters in Chinatown and even found this Chinese and Hispanic market (my son was freaking out after the doughnut fiasco, so couldn't make it in).

Isn't it a logical combination???? can't wait to go back and find out what they sell in there. A new project for 2012!

We watched the Chipmunks movie. I thought it would be completely safe. Both of my kids screamed for a good part of the movie at the top of their lungs as if Freddy Krueger had jumped out of a 3-D screen threatening to perforate their lungs with his pointy nails (yup, that man/character did scare me. But the Chipmunks???). Note to self: NO more movies until they beg for them!
But I would say that that was it regarding non-successes. We went to see dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History (again....) and a tree decorated with unbelievable origami ornaments, and we even tried some origami ourselves.

we had a really good time at the New York Historical Society, we sketched a Picasso at The Met (well, my daughter did, while I chased her brother through the Modern Art wing to prevent a very costly accident)

and we saw the holiday train show that hypnotized my son in Grand Central.

This wasn't the train show, but I do love the Grand Central feel, and for me, this image captures it a bit
 We chilled and I fell in love again with Manhattan. I had been exhausted and a bit disillusioned before the vacation. Walking, sharing and discovering with the kids reminded me how much I love this crazy place where so many sticky, tight, smelly, small and dirty things happen, but that is also the most fascinating compilation of cultures, histories and stories in the World.
I love walking and finding new things every day.
I saw this painting (sculpture?) on the window of an art gallery on Madison Ave. one day, and I'll purchase once I become rich (so please keep clicking on the adds on the side and bottom of this blog, so I can increase my $4.35 earnings!!!).

I loved seeing a chrome, silver-colored Any Warhol walking right next to his former Factory (now a Petco) with a Bloomingdale's medium brown bag in his hand and a fresh bunch of purple flowers that someone attached to the sculpture. The artist is in the middle of the intersection of Broadway and 17th St, a pedestrian sliver that feels like an island surrounded by an ocean of cars and trucks, that faces of all things, the City's largest and most celebrated green market. I love the contrast and irony of everything: the celebrated artist right next to the place where he created all his work, that is now a mega pet store, the urban traffic across the fresh farmed produce of the season. Dedicated foodies, business people, struggling musicians, hipsters, artists, farmers, tourists, scientists, school children, intellectuals, happy people and desolate people, everybody going on with their lives, but Warhol.    

As a tribute to NYC, I decided to give the molten chocolate classic a vegan shot. I admit that my version is not exactly the same as Jean Georges Vongerichten's allegedly accidental dessert. The French chef's is probably the most imitated and popular chocolate concoction of all times, and I have to admit that I always enjoy it, and whenever I bake it, people think I'm a genius. My wholesome version is not exactly the same, but has a really nice texture and flavor, it's as easy to prepare, and very delicious. Served warm, these rich and creamy individual cakes are pure love, plus they are loaded with chia benefits!!!  

Loosely based on Jean Georges Vongerichten's recipe

The recipe can be doubled or tripled.

  • Vegan and dairy, egg, nut, gluten, wheat and soy (if Enjoy Life chocolate is used) free
  • Super ingredients: chia seeds (obviously!!!!), non-alkalized cocoa powder (rich in antioxidants)
0.6 ounces chia seeds, ground in a spice grinder OR chia flour
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon cold water

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks, pellets or chips
1.5 ounces (1/4 cup) coconut sugar (or sucanat)
0.5 ounces (2 Tablespoons) whole oat flour (gf if needed)
0.20 ounces (1 Tablespoon) unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 450 F.
Place 4 self standing individual baking molds on a baking pan or line a cupcake mold with 4 cupcake liners and set aside.
If using whole chia seeds, grind them in a spice or coffee grinder and whisk the chia flour with the water in a small bowl trying to break all the lumps. Set aside.

In a double boiler melt chocolate.

While chocolate melts, whisk coconut sugar into the chia mix, making sure no large lumps remain.

Once chocolate is melted, pour chia-sugar mixture into the bowl with the chocolate and whisk until all combined.

Add the flour and cocoa at once and whisk until all smooth and combined.

Fill up molds with batter all the way to the top (these cakes don't rise) and bake for 8 or 9 minutes minutes (until the outside area of the cakes seem cooked and the middle forms a "pool" of batter that still wobbles when lightly touched.

Let cool for 2 minutes and unmold turning mold upside down onto a plate. Serve IMMEDIATELY!!!

Note: cakes can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead and baked just before serving (they might take a couple of minutes longer to bake). As an alternative, eat straight from the fridge, the batter can be eaten raw!

Makes 4 individual cakes

PS: This is all I had to wash at the end of this recipe!


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