These red jeweled chocolates make a perfect gift for Valentine’s Day. Mendiants are a French candy traditionally made up of chocolate disks studded with dried fruits and nuts. Their colors represented the different robes of the monastic orders of the church. This version is simply my desire to combine pomegranate and chocolate! The flavors go so well together. The sweet and citrusy pop of the pomegranate aril is refreshing against the deep, rich chocolate. They are perfect together. I considered adding nuts to this, and you can, but I just loved it in this simple form so much, I didn’t want to change a thing!
I used a mix of chocolates, semi-sweet and just a bit of milk chocolate for these photos. I’ve made it with dark chocolate too (that’s my personal favorite). Both are so good. Use what you (or your Valentine) like best!
8oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate
2oz. milk chocolate, if desired
pomegranate arils (fresh or packaged) dried a bit on a paper towel, if needed
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or waxed paper.
In a heatproof bowl, melt the two chocolates in a microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Give it a stir, then microwave again for 30 second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted.
Pour about a scant tablespoon of chocolate onto the lined sheets spacing them a couple of inches apart. You can spread the chocolate out with the spoon, if you’d like, but I found that just pouring out all of the puddles of chocolate first, then smacking the pan on the counter works best. The puddles flatten out into perfect disks and it also gets the air bubbles out. Smack one side of the sheet first, then the other.
Stud the disks with the pomegranate arils then repeat the process on the second sheet. Allow the chocolates to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes to set, or refrigerate for about 5 minutes to speed things up.
In the U.S., pomegranate season ends in February. If you have a hard time finding fresh pomegranate, you can always look for the packaged arils in the produce section.
If you’d rather, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler. It’s a gentler method and probably preferable. The microwave is just a bit easier and quicker.
These chocolates keep well in a closed container in the refrigerator.
This beautiful watercolor is by the artist Myles Cavanaugh. I’ve known Myles for a few years now and when I recently saw some pomegranate watercolors of his I asked if we could put one up on my blog with this recipe. I love his work! If you are interested in purchasing the painting above or would like to view Myles’ other work, contact him at his site, mylescavanaugh.com
This salad is kind of a nutritional overachiever. There are so many super-foods incorporated in it, but they are not all there just for the health of it! They all add flavors that compliment each other. It really is a delicious salad, but honestly, it just makes me feel so good that I’ve had a super healthy lunch. In fact, while photographing, I felt the need to perform some “quality control” and couldn’t stop myself (see photo below). At that point, I just hoped I’d gotten enough photos that I’d be able to use!
Let me just tell you about some of the powerhouse ingredients in this salad. We’ve all heard a lot about kale lately. It is one of the most nutrient dense foods. It’s incredibly high in Vitamins K, A and C, fiber and antioxidants. It can lower cholesterol, reduce your risk of some cancers and can detox our bodies if eaten regularly. Honestly, there are so many health benefits to eating kale, you can read more about it at WHFoods.
Then there is the apple cider vinegar. Vinegar a powerhouse? Yes! If you use the raw and unfiltered type. It’s full of beneficial enzymes. I like Bragg’s. You’ve got to try it. It really does have a great, bright and apple-y flavor. You’ll never use any other cider vinegar again. You can find it in the organic section of your local store or on Bragg’s website.
I also use chia seeds in this salad dressing. Chia seeds are flavorless, but they absorb a huge amount of liquid and become gelatinous. They are another super-food full of omega-3′s and 6′s, antioxidants and fiber. They are considered even more nutritious than flaxseed. They seem to thicken the dressing just enough to make it adhere much nicer to the greens and they do not alter the flavor at all. I like TruRoots Organic Chia Seeds.
Apple Cider and Chia Dressing
Apple Cider and Chia Dressing
1/3 C. organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2/3 C. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. honey
1 T. chia seeds
Combine all ingredients in a cute jar with a tight lid (they don’t get cuter than Bonne Mamman). Shake well.
This makes a lot of dressing. You’ll love it on any of your green salads!
Kale and Pear Salad
1 bunch of kale, washed and stems removed
1 pear, sliced into segments
handful of pomegranate arils
1/4 C. toasted and salted pepitas
freshly shaved Parmesan
Apple Cider and Chia Dressing (recipe above)
After you’ve removed the stems from the kale, soak the leaves in water while you prepare the other ingredients. Soaking revives the leaves making them crisp. When ready, use a salad spinner to get the leaves nice and dry.
Arrange the salad on individual plates, topping each with about two tablespoons of dressing. Use more or less as you like.
Most grocery stores carry a lot of these items in their organic section now, but you can make this salad your own, using just the ingredients you want. The dressing specifically, works with or without the chia seeds.