I heard on the radio yesterday that today is National Chocolate Day. According to the announcer, on this day in 1550 chocolate was introduced in Europe. I don't know how could they determine a precise day for this, but I was going to celebrate it. I decided to incorporate chocolate into everything I ate today.
Breakfast was easy. The batch of muffins I made on Sunday just happened to be chocolate, so I pulled one out of the freezer, put it on a plate and heated it in the microwave. When it was done I added a slice of cantaloupe and a few strawberries to the plate; the meal looked wonderful and tasted just as good. For good measure, I added a pinch of cocoa powder to my coffee to give it a mocha taste. At lunch, I heated up some leftover pasta and ate it with carrots and green pepper strips. To drink, I made myself a big glass of chocolate milk. In the middle of the afternoon I wanted a snack. The strawberries had been so good in the morning, I decided to have some more. This time I dipped them in chocolate. They were yummy.
Dinner was a bit harder to plan. I was meeting Tony at the gym after he got off work, so I wanted something I could prepare in advance. I decided to make a pot of "Cincinnati style" chili (a new to me dish), which includes cocoa powder, cinnamon, and allspice in addition to the spices I'm used to using. I looked at dozens of recipes on the Internet, then used parts of several to make my dish.
The first step was to cook hamburger in simmering beef broth. Next, I sauteed onions and garlic, added spices (chili powder, oregano, cocoa, ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ground allspice, and black pepper) and cooked it till the spices were fragrant. I added tomato sauce, a splash of cider vinegar, and a spoonful of brown sugar and let it simmer for an hour. When it was done, the chili had a thinner consistency than what I'm used to, more like a sauce than a chunky soup. After it cooled I put it in the refrigerator. While I was at it, I got everything else ready to go so dinner could be put together quickly.
In Cincinnati, a bowl of plain chili is One Way. Add spaghetti to it and it becomes Two Way, a topping of shredded cheese and it's Three Way, chopped onions make it Four Way, and adding kidney beans turns it into Five Way. I knew how I was going to have mine (with everything), and I suspected Tony would do the same. When we got home I put a serving of spaghetti in a bowl, ladled chili on top of it, added kidney beans, and heated the whole thing in the microwave. I put bowls of cheese, onions, and oyster crackers on the table along with the hot sauce. Tony fixed his bowl, and we sat down to eat in less than five minutes. I don't know if this was authentic Cincinnati style, but I liked it. Thankfully, I made enough that we can repeat the whole dinner again tomorrow night.
For dessert went to Dairy Queen, where I had a Chocolate Extreme Blizzard--brownie bits, cocoa fudge, and chocolate chunks mixed into their creamy ice cream. It was a proper chocolate end to the day.