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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

David Quammen tracks animal infections around the world, in search of the next human pandemic. Jacques Torres looks at the history and worldwide appeal of chocolate for our Globavores series. David Mitchell talks about his novel Cloud Atlas for the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club!

Animal Infections and Human Diseases

David Quammen discusses the emergence of strange new diseases around the world that originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. In Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, he recounts his adventures in the field—netting bats in China, trapping monkeys in Bangladesh, stalking gorillas in the Congo—with the world’s leading disease scientists to learn how, why, and where these diseases emerge.

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Globavores: Chocolate

This week's installment of our series Globavores, about the foods of the Columbian Exchange, is all about chocolate, which had rich, long history in the Americas long before Europeans arrived. Chocolatier Jacques Torres and Louis Grivetti, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis, talk about the origins of chocolate in Mesoamerica and how the cacao seed has traveled around the globe transforming cuisine and palates along the way.

Chocolate Recipes from Jacques Torres

Contemporary Chocolate Recipes from Louis Grivetti

Historical Chocolate Recipes from Louis Grivetti

Share your favorite chocolate recipe! Leave it as a comment, below!

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October's Book: Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

David Mitchell, two-time finalist for the Booker Prize, joins us to talk about his 2004 novel Cloud Atlas. The story is told through six separate but related narratives, each set in a different time and place, and written in a different style. Novelist Michael Chabon called it “not just dazzling, amusing, or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too.”

If you have a question for David Mitchell, leave a comment below! 

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Chocolate Recipes from Jacques Torres


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 3 dozen large cookies

4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons bakmg soda

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

1 1/4 cups plus 21/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 large eggs, at room

temperature, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 2/3pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-sized pieces

Preheat the oven to 325°E Have ready 2 nonstick cookie sheets, or line 2 regular cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until very light and fluffy.

Add the brown and granulated sugars and beat until well blended. Add the eggs and beat just until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the lour mixture a little at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. When all of the flour mixture has been incorporated, remove the bowl from

the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate.

To shape the cookies, using a tablespoon, scoop out a heaping spoonful of the dough and, using the palms of your hands, form it into a 3-inch ball. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven, transfer the cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely.

Store, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.


Chocolate Mousse

Serves 6

For the best results, be sure to chill both the mixer bowl for the cream and the bowl in which the cream and chocolate are blended. Although the mousse will keep, covered and refrigerated, for a couple of days, it is best when served shortly after making. The longer it sits, the heavier it becomes.

2 cups chilled heavy cream

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, tempered

Place the cream in the chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip and beat on medium-high speed for about 4 minutes, or until soft peaks form.

Pour the chocolate into a stainless-steel bowl. Select a saucepan that will hold the bowl snugly in the rim. Fill the saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer. Place the bowl of chocolate over (not touching) the simmering water and heat to 120°F on a thermometer.

Slowly pour the whipped cream into the warm chocolate, whisking constantly just until combined. Scrape into a chilled bowl and continue to whisk until well blended.

Spoon into dessert cups. Keep chilled until ready to serve.



Makes about 10

The name of these French confections refers to the four orders of Mendicant (beggar) friars whose habits are relected in the four colors of the ingredients—almonds, dried figs, nuts, raisins—used to make it.

1 cup assorted nuts, chopped

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 1/2 ounces bittersweet

chocolate, tempered

1 cup cocoa nibs (see note)

1/3 cup assorted candiedfruit like ginger and orange peel, diced

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the nuts and corn syrup over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes, or until the syrup has liquefied and the nuts are evenly coated. Remove from the heat and, using a slotted spoon to allow excess liquid to drain off, transfer the nuts to the prepared baking sheet, spreading them in a single layer.

Place the nuts in the oven and roast, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until evenly caramelized and light brown in the interior. Watch the nuts carefully, as their oil and the sugar in the syrup can cause them to burn very quickly.

Remove the pan from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. When cool enough to handle, break apart any pieces that have clumped together.

Line a clean baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a fine plain tip or a parchment-paper cornet about half full with the chocolate. Begin piping circles about 1 lh inches in diameter and 3/8 inch thick on the prepared baking sheet. (Although not as neat, you can also pour the chocolate from a tablespoon and spread it out into a circle with the back of the spoon.) You should have about 10 circles.

While the chocolate is still soft, begin making designs in the top with an equal assortment of the Caramelized nuts, cocoa nibs, and candied fruit. Work quickly, or the chocolate will set before the decoration can adhere to it. If the chocolate does harden, dip the nuts, nibs, and fruit in a bit of tempered chocolate and "glue" them onto the circles. Set aside for about 1 hour, or until the chocolate has completely hardened.

Serve immediately or layer the circles, separated by sheets of parchment paper, in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.

NOTE: Cocoa nibs, which are roasted cacao beans broken into bits, are available from cake and bakery supply stores and many specialty food stores.

Lots of Hot Chocolate Drinks

Makes 1 cup

You can vary the intensity of the chocolate by adding more or less chopped chocolate to the hot milk. As a variation on the traditional marshmallow garnish, I love topping hot chocolate with a big scoop of whipped cream and shavings of bittersweet chocolate.

1 cup whole milk

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped


1 vanilla bean, cut in half

horizontally and then split

lengthwise, or 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract OR

1 peppermint candy cane OR

1 teaspoonfreeze-dried coffee granules, dissolved in

1 tablespoon hot water OR

Pinch each of ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ancho chile powder; and chipotle chile powder

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat. When it is slightly warm, gradually add the chocolate while whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, until the milk begins to form bubbles around the edge of the pan. Do not allow the milk to boil.

For vanilla: Using the edge of a small, sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk, then add the bean to the pan. Whisk in the chocolate. Remove the vanilla bean before serving. Or, if using the extract, simply add it to the hot chocolate.

For peppermint: Stir the milk with the candy cane, allowing it to melt partially into the mixture as it heats.

For coffee: Add the diluted coffee with the chocolate.

For raspberry: Using a wooden spoon, crush the raspberries into the milk after the chocolate has melted.

For spices: Add the allspice, cinnamon, and chiles to the hot milk before you add the chocolate. Add the chiles to taste, keeping in mind that freshly ground chile can be very hot.





Historical Chocolate Recipes

These recipes appear in Chapter 8 of Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage by Louis Grivetti and Howard Yana Shapiro.

In 1672 William Hughes published this detail oriented recipe on how to prepare cacao beans:

  • Take as many of the cacao’s as you have a desire to make up at one time, and put as many of them at once into a frying-pan (being very clean scoured) as will cover the bottom thereof, and hold them over a moderate fire, shaking them so, that they may not burn (for you must have a very great care of that) until they are dry enough to peel off the outward crust skin; and after they are dried and peeled then beat them in an iron mortar, until it will rowl [sic] up into great balls or rows and be sure you beat it not over-much neither, for then it will become too much oyly

In 1741 Swedish naturalist, Carl Linnaeus wrote a monograph on chocolate (Om Chokladdryken) that was printed in 1778 and re-published in 1965. Much of his text considered the medical aspects of chocolate, where he praised its use to combat pulmonary diseases and hypochondria. He also mentioned, candidly, that through drinking chocolate he cured himself of hemorrhoids! Also included in his treatise were three recipes used to prepare chocolate:

  • [Recipe 1] 1 pound cocoa beans (roasted); 1/2 pound sugar, salt and rosewater (combined); 1/2 pound corn flour. Crush, cook over fire all the time stirring so it does not burn; form past into a dough.
  • [Recipe 2] 6 pounds cocoa beans (roasted); 3.5 pounds sugar; 7 straws vanilla 1.5 pounds corn flour; 0.5 pound cinnamon; 6 cloves; 1 dracma [i.e. Swedish equivalent for dram] Spanish pepper; 2 dracmas oleana color in rose water. Crush ingredients in a pot, stir all the time over a very slow fire until all mixed; treat it and kneed to a dough, then add amber and musk, according to taste.
  • [Recipe 3] 17 pounds roasted cocoa beans; 10 pounds sugar; 28 units (?) vanilla; 1 dracma amber; 6 pounds cinnamon.

In his 1792 book New Art of Cookery, According to the Present Practice, Richard Briggs identified the following recipe for Chocolate Puffs:

  • Take half a pound of double-refined sugar, beat and sift it fine, scrape into it one ounce of chocolate very fine, and mix them together; beat up the white of an egg to a very high froth, then put in your chocolate and sugar, and beat it till it is as stiff as a paste; then strew sugar on some writing-paper, drop them on about the size of a sixpence, and bake them in a very slow oven; when they are done take them off the paper and put them in plates

This 1854 for Chocolate Custards appeared in the popular magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book:

  • Dissolve gently by the side of the fire an ounce and a half of the best chocolate in rather more than a wineglassful of water, and then boil it until it is perfectly smooth; mix with it a pint of milk well flavored with lemon-peel or vanilla, and two ounces of fine sugar, and when the whole boils, stir to it five well-beaten eggs that have been strained. Put the custard into a jar or jug, set it into a pan of boiling water, and stir it without ceasing until it is thick. Do not put it into glasses or a dish till nearly or quite cold. These, as well as all other custards, are infinitely finer when made with the yolks only of the eggs


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Contemporary Chocolate Recipes

The following were collected by Dr. Sylvia Escarcega during project-related field work conducted in Oaxaca, Mexico, during 1998-2000. They appear in Chocolate: History, Culture Heritage by Louis Grivetti.


RECIPE : Chocolate Oaxaquero: Oaxaca, Mexico

            1 kg.          Toasted cacao beans

            1 kg.          Granulated sugar

            250 gr.       Mexican cinnamon

            250 gr.       Almonds

            not defined     Vanilla and coffee beans (to taste)

Wash the cacao and almonds before toasting on a clay comal [griddle]. Toast the almonds and the Mexican cinnamon. Once the cacao beans cool, carefully remove the skin. Grind the cacao beans on a metate [heated, slanted grinding stone], then add the almonds and cinnamon. When well ground, add sugar and mix. Take the hot paste and form bars of chocolate. Let them cool. These can be stored outside until used.  


RECIPE: Chocolate Atole: Oaxaca, Mexico

To prepare the espuma [froth]

            500 gr.       Toasted cacao beans

            50 – 250 gr.     Petaxtli [white cacao beans]

            1 kg.          Toasted corn or wheat

            25  – 100 gr.    Mexican cinnamon

 To prepare the atole [cooked corn flour]

            500 gr.       Corn cooked in water

                  Sugar [to taste]

Toast and peel the cacao beans. Peel the black cover off the white cacao beans and toast. Grind the cacao beans and cinnamon on the metate. Grind the corn/wheat separately, then add to the chocolate. Re-grind to powder. Add water to humidify. Soak the paste all night. In the morning, stir the paste quickly so it will not be solid or liquid. Pour into a chocolatera [ceramic pitcher] and add cold water. Whip using a molinillo until the espuma forms. Separate the froth with a wooden spoon. To make the atole, add water to the corn. Heat until soft. Grind and sieve the soft corn. Boil the powder and add sugar. Mix with a chiquihuite [thin wooden stick], pour into a cup, and then add the espuma.


RECIPE : Champurrado: Oaxaca, Mexico, a recipe supplied by vendors at the Benito Juarez Market, in Oaxaca City.

3          Chocolate bars

1 kg.          Corn

1 large piece    Piloncillo [raw sugar] or granulated sugar to taste

1 liter         Water

Cook the corn in the water for half an hour or until it softens. Grind the corn on the metate and pass through a sieve. Cook again, moving constantly with a wooden spoon, until it thickens. When it boils, add the chocolate and the piloncillo or sugar. Pour into the chocolatera [ceramic pitcher] and whip with a molinillo [wooden stick].


RECIPE: Molé Negro Oaxaquero: Oaxaca, Mexico (another from the market).

            Chili guajillo                        5 pieces

            Chili chilhuacle negro              5 pieces

            Chili pasilla mexicano             5 pieces

            Chili mulato or ancho negro           5 pieces

            Chili chilhuacle rojo                2 pieces

            Tomatillos                   125 grams

            Tomatoes                     250 grams

            Cloves                           3 pieces

            Allspice berries                   3 pieces

            Marjoram                       3 sprigs

            Thyme                           3 sprigs

            Avocado leaf [dried]                1 leaf

            Oregano [dried]                  1 tbs.

            Lard or vegetable shortening          2 tbs.

            Sesame seeds                      1 cup

            Peanuts [with skin]                 10 pieces

            Almonds [unpeeled]               10 pieces

            Raisins                           3 tbs.

            Pecans                           6 pieces

            Onion                            1 medium

            Garlic [unpeeled]                6 cloves

            Cinnamon [Mexican]                1 large stick

            Plantain [peeled; sliced]            1 large

            Corn tortillas                       2 large

            French bread                      Some pieces

            Mexican chocolate                  60 grams [or more to taste]

            Sugar                           60 grams

            Oil                         60 grams

            Salt                                To taste

            Chicken broth                     As necessary

            Chicken                        10 pieces

            Onion                            1 [medium]

            Garlic [peeled]                    2 cloves


With a damp cloth clean the chilies and remove the stems, seeds and veins. Reserve the seeds. Toast the chilies until black but not burnt. Cover them with hot water and let them soak for 10-20 min. On a skillet toast the seeds, medium heat, until golden. Increase the heat and toast them until black. Cover with cold water and let them soak for 5 minutes. Transfer the chilies to the blender and enough of the liquid to make it pass through a sieve. Save; set aside. Roast the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, unpeeled garlic cloves for 10 minutes. Peel the garlic cloves. Save; set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and use it to fry the following ingredients but separately, save them separately: the raisins, the bread until browned, the tortillas, the plantain until golden (add more oil if needed), the sesame seeds. Pass through a sieve to remove the excess oil, and in the reserved oil, fry at the same time peanuts, pecans and almonds. Grind the seeds on the metate [alternatively use a food processor] adding water if needed.


Blend the tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, onion, and spices. Separately blend the seeds, nuts, banana, raisins, bread, and tortillas, adding chicken broth as needed, until well blended. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening on a large kettle, fry the chili paste, until it dries. Then fry the tomato mixture. Let it simmer for about 10 min. or until it changes color. Add the rest of the blended ingredients except the chocolate and the avocado leaf.


Let it boil for about half an hour and add the chocolate. Toast slightly the avocado leaf over the flame adding it to the molé. Leave it simmering for a time, then taste and check for the flavors of chocolate and  sugar. Add chicken broth as much as needed, the molé should have the consistency to cover the back of a spoon. On a large pan cook the chicken pieces with garlic, onion, and salt. Place a piece of the chicken on the serving dish, cover with the molé, and serve it with rice and hot tortillas.



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