I get a little teary when I vote, swelled with civic pride, remembering the women who fought for the right to cast mine and proud to play my part in a national tradition, albeit subject to what some might deem potentially corrupt and tenuous counting practices. Here in our small town where we’ve lived for one year now, there was a vintage wooden hand cranked ballot box.
When the collective energy is sparking with election anxiety, hurricane aftermath and rumored cosmic shifting, we can come back to things we know- things over which we can exercise the slightest control in a world where we have so little. We can plant garlic and mulch it with hay to blanket it from frost and open like a gift in the spring and we can sow window mesclun greens, still taking part in growing our food.
When we plant we anticipate new growth, entering a cycle in which we’re active participants. Even in late October and early November while the community re-calibrates from hurricane power loss and broken things, waiting for resolution on the subject of leadership, we can plant seeds and cloves in dirt and look forward to heating and roasting and tasting.
Post Halloween thoughts of treats (not eating candy myself but thinking of all of the sugar going around right now) and a chocolate craving took me on a search for a healthy chocolate fix. As James Beard says: “There really are not recipes, only millions of variations sparked by someone’s imagination and desire to be a little creative and different. American cooking is built, after all, on variations of old recipes from around the world.” This chocolate torte is composed of nuts, dates, raw chocolate and avocado and is lightly sweetened by maple syrup. Another dessert you could eat for breakfast.
Chocolate Torte (No-Bake)
Lightly adapted from one of my favorite blogs
Easily serves six to eight
1 cup raw pecans
1 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup organic raw cacao powder
1/2 cup soaked then drained deglet dates (soaked overnight in water to cover)
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Chocolate Avocado Mousse:
3 ripe avocados pitted and scooped out
1 tablespoon raw almond (or any nut) butter
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate: 1 cup (8 ounces) 100% unsweetened chocolate, warmed in a double broiler, add in 2 TBS coconut manna (whole creamed coconut) and 3/4 C maple syrup and 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted if clumpy
Grease a spring form pan (you could use a seven- to ten-inch pan; size will determine deepness of torte) and line it with a circle of parchment paper. **I did grease or parchment and it worked out fine and I used a 9” tart pan.
Make the crust:
In a food processor, pulse the nuts until crumbly, being careful not to over-process them into a nut butter, as you want them to still be chunky. Add in the rest of the crust ingredients and pulse until just mixed. Scoop mixture onto prepared pan and press it down firmly with slightly wet fingers or a spatula. Pop into freezer to set while making the mousse.
Make the avocado mousse filling:
In the same food processor you just used to make the crust (no need to wash it out), place all mousse ingredients (except chocolate) and process until smooth. You can melt down the chocolate and mix it with syrup at this point (or, if it’s already ready, you can go ahead and add it). Blend chocolate with rest of ingredients.
Combine mousse & crust:
Remove crust from freezer and scoop the mousse on top of the crust, smoothing it out as much as you can. Freeze for two hours or until firm.
Top with fruit compote, chopped nuts or shredded coconut.
Remove to thaw for five to ten minutes before serving. We like it best at room temperature.
Store in refrigerator.