Skip to content
All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove
A dense, delicious, intensely chocolate cake. Serve as is or accompany with whipped cream, frozen yogurt, or ice cream. The origins for this cake are certainly European, but exactly were remains unclear. I found one version, gâteau au chocolate et aux amandes, in Elizabeth David’s book French Provincial Cooking. An internet search brought up multiple listings for an Italian version, La Torte Caprese. And I found a third version, pastel de chocolate alemendras, in Claudia Roden’s recent book The Food of Spain. These versions all use bar chocolate. My version uses high fat cocoa powder (20-25%) because, in my opinion, cocoa powder is easier to source and easier to work with. Just don’t use Dutch Process cocoa powder because the process changes the acid base balance and may keep the eggs from setting.
310 calories per serving
4 extra large eggs
7 tablespoons / 100 g butter
1 cup / 100 g cocoa powder
7 tablespoons / 100 ml strong coffee
1 cup / 100 g almond flour
½ cup / 100 g white sugar
⅛ teaspoon / 0.4 g salt
a spoonful or two of brandy
Bring butter and eggs to room temperature before starting. Assemble one large stainless steel bowl for egg whites, one medium mixing bowl, one small mixing bowl for egg yolks, and one 8 inch (20cm) high sided cake pan. An electric hand mixer helps immensely. Wash all equipment, utensils, and bowls in hot soapy water before starting. Line the bottom of cake pan with parchment paper. Make coffee and put aside to cool. Preheat oven 325°F / 160°C. Measure or weigh out sugar, almond flour, cocoa powder, and butter.
Start by melting butter in double boiler or small pan sitting in a larger pan of gently boiling water. Stir ground almonds into melted butter and add a pinch of salt. Then, using the medium mixing bowl, dissolve the cocoa powder in the cooled coffee. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons brandy as needed ensure the cocoa is completed dissolved. The mixture should resemble a very thick paste and will form a ball.
Now incorporate the cocoa-coffee mixture into the butter-almond mixture. Keep stirring until the mixtures are thoroughly incorporated and become very smooth. Do not let the temperature go above 125°F / 50°C. Transfer back to medium bowl and set aside to cool. Separate egg whites from egg yolks. Using the electric mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar in small mixing bowl until yolks froth up and turn pale yellow. Fold egg yolk mixture into cooled chocolate-butter-almond mixture.
Finally whip the egg whites into a foam that holds a soft peak but does not look dry. Remember egg whites whip best at room temperature in a stainless steel bowl. Use electric mixer with the balloon whip at high speed. Both over beating and under beating produce lower volumes. Once the egg whites are whipped, move fast because whites start to soften as soon as you stop beating. Gently fold whites into chocolate mixture a third at a time using a spatula and a cutting motion. Fold only until no visible streaks of white remain. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
Place cake in non-convection oven and bake until the sides are set, the center is slightly soft, and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Usually takes somewhere between 35 minutes and 45 minutes. Let the cake cool completely, remove from pan, and transfer to a plate. Hold in the refrigerator or freeze for future use. Bring cake to room temperature and dust with grated orange peel or powdered sugar before serving.
As one of my dietitian colleagues shared with me in a moment of candor “The last think I want to know when I order dessert is how many calories are in a chocolate mousse!” Many people feel this way. So if you are one of those people don’t want to know, read no farther.
There is another way to look at the situation. Indulgences are a significant source of calories and knowing the count enables you to manage the impact. This cake is made with whole, minimally processed ingredients and provides nutritional value as you can see referenced below. The problem is the calorie density. No more, no less than any other chocolate cake out there, but still significant. For smaller portions, divide cake in 10 pieces at 250 calories each. For larger portions, divide cake in 6 pieces at 410 calories each. In my experience, most people just want to enjoy, so when I serve this cake I keep the numbers to myself.
Per Serving (80g): Calories 310, Fat 22g, Saturated Fat 9g, Sodium 65mg, Carbohydrate 22g, Fiber 5g, Protein 8g.
Excellent source fiber and magnesium (cocoa, almond flour).
Good source protein (eggs, almond flour), vitamin A (butter), vitamin E (almond flour), iron (cocoa).
Cocoa is a natural source of flavonoids.
See nutrition label per serving for fat and saturated fat because values exceed reference limits.
Fresh, local, and in season depends on where you live and what is accessible. During the summer, I have easy access to clams because my local greenmarket is on the south shore of Long Island and offers a constant supply of fresh, local fish and shellfish. All last summer I cooked flounder, bluefish, porgies, tuna, even a swordfish caught off Montauk Point. And all last year I kept looking at those delicate Long Island little neck clams. I never bought them because I’m just not used to clams. Love to eat them and never cooked them. So this year I decided to do it. How else can you keep on learning if you don’t try new things? I pulled out my best reference sources, put together a starting structure, and am ready to share the results. Steaming little neck clams open is easy once you get the hang of it. I used a 3 liter pot (actually the bottom of my steamer) as you can see in the picture below. White wine or dry vermouth can be substituted for all or part of the water needed to steam the clams. 100 grams linguine gripped firmly in the hand measures about ¾ inches or 2 cm in diameter. You will also need a medium sized sauté pan and a 2 liter saucepan to cook the pasta. Proportions listed below are for 2 modest servings.
makes 2 cups
440 calories per serving
2 dozen little neck clams (about 900g measured raw in shell), scrubbed and de-sanded as required
1 cup water (¼ liter) for steaming
4 robust cloves fresh garlic (25g), peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (30ml)
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon oregano
3 ½ ounces dry linguine (100g), made with 100% hard durum wheat or semolina flour
½ cup chopped parsley (15g)
Assemble all ingredients before starting.
Bring water to boil in the bottom of a large pot. When the water is boiling, add the clams. As the clams open, remove each one carefully to a bowl retaining every drop of the flavorful liquid. Steaming the clams open takes about 5 minutes. As soon as the shells are cool, remove clams from shells. Keep clams in a small bowl and strain the remaining liquid to remove any remaining sand or grit. Put aside keeping clams and juice separate. As the clams are steaming, add olive oil to the sauté pan and slowly soften garlic over low heat. Add crushed red pepper and oregano to garlic oil, letting the mixture steep for about five minutes. Add reserved clam juice, increase heat, and reduce volume to about half. Keep sauce warm.
Cook linguine al dente in salted water. Remove with a pasta fork and transfer to the sauté pan. Retain cooking water. Stir in clams and parsley. If more liquid is required, add some from the pasta cooking water. Serve immediately.
Clams are a significant source of protein as well as many essential vitamins and minerals. Olive oil is a natural source of oleic acid.
Total fat exceeds “healthy” limits, but please remember to put this disclaimer in the context of the great fat debate. Saturated fats are within “healthy” range. Your may be asking where does the saturated fat come from? It is the olive oil. Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, olive also contains a fraction (14%) saturated fatty acid so a couple tablespoons adds up. Sodium is within the current standard of less than 480mg per serving and 140mg per 100 grams. Now let’s step back a moment and consider carbohydrate metrics. My favorite Italian recipe source, Le Reccette Regionali Italiane, lists 100 grams dry pasta per person. My version reduces that amount by half to 50 grams per person. My preference is less pasta and more clams. But that’s the joy of cooking! It is completely up to you.
References: Le Riccette Regionali Italiane (La Cucina Italiana, Quart edizione: settembre 1976), Fish without a doubt, Rick Moonen (Houghton Mifflin Company 2008)
Pper Serving (255g): 440 Calories, Fat 17g, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Sodium 240mg, Carbohydrate 45g, Fiber 3g, Protein 25g.
Excellent Source: Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B12, Vitamin C, Folate, Iron.
Good Source: Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc.
I love sardine sandwiches. Always have. I learned how to make them from my mom. She used red onion, some mustard, some lettuce, and always a robust whole grain wheat bread. So I was pleased to see two version of the sandwich honored recently in The Sandwich Issue of SAVEUR Magazine and delighted to fine both versions were provided by Michael Colameco, an engaging and knowledgeable New York City food writer and broadcaster.
The moment was right and the version with the horseradish mayonnaise caught my eye. A can of slightly smoked Portuguese sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil was sitting in my cupboard ready to go. Next to the sardines was a jar of imported roasted red peppers from Italy. With some improvisation in the making of the horseradish cream and a quick switch from lettuce to arugula, I put together my amateur’s version. But I stayed with the whole wheat bread. We never used rye bread when I was growing up in California. And it is heresy to admit this, but I have never really developed a taste for rye despite the great selection that is now available to me living in New York.
My amateur version is detailed below. For Chef Mike’s version, check out SAVEUR #137 The Sandwich Issue for his Sardine Sandwich with Horseradish Cream.
makes 2 open faced sandwiches
330 calories per serving
2 to 4 pieces thinly sliced red onion (30g)
2 tablespoons (30g) mayonnaise
1 teaspoon (1.6g) horseradish powder dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
2 large pieces (100g) multi grain or whole grain wheat bread
10 arugula leaves (20g), trimmed and washed
4 ¼ ounce tin sardines (120g), packed in oil and drained
1 piece roasted red pepper (85g) cut into slices
Incorporate the horseradish powder into the mayonnaise about 20 minutes before assembling the sandwich and keep refrigerated. Assemble the rest of the ingredients. Toast the bread. Start by spreading the horseradish sauce on the toasted bread. Place the arugula leaves and sliced onion on next. Remove the sardines from the tin, divide in half, and arrange on top of the onion slices. Now garnish with the slices of roasted red pepper. Finish with some black pepper and an optional dash of salt.
There are many good nutrition based reasons to enjoy this sardine sandwich. In return for slightly “unhealthy” levels of fat and sodium, you get exceptionally “healthy” levels protein and fiber, an impressive array of vitamins and minerals, and a respectable amount of omega-3 fatty acids. This one really needs to be put in a manageable context. When going out to a diner or a deli, comparatively speaking the sardine sandwich is one of the healthiest items on the menu. When deciding between a tuna sandwich or a sardine sandwich, the sardine sandwich definitely has the edge.
How to determine when the risks out way the benefits continues to be a raging debate. There is a saying I heard first in the business world but which, I have just discovered, can actually be attributed to the French philosopher Voltaire: The perfect is the enemy of the good. I am beginning to wish the nutrition experts were better read in Enlightenment philosophy.
Per Serving (162g): Calories 320, Fat 19g, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Sodium 630mg, Carbohydrate 18g, Fiber 5g, Protein 17g.
Excellent Source: protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin D, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B12.
Good Source: iron, niacin.
Everyone loves Thanksgiving. It is our national family social get together and our yearly communal sit down. Probably the only American meal where we actually sit down and eat the same basic set of items. Roast turkey and gravy. Cranberries. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes. Squash or pumpkin. Checking my facsimile edition of The Original Boston School Cooking Book published in 1896, the menu items are pretty much the same. The notable exception is oyster soup. Does anyone serve that anymore? Certainly not me. I have made many Thanksgiving dinners for family and friends over the years because the tradition deserves to be honored. But turkey is not my favorite. A little too bland. And sometimes a little too dry. Do I love the day any less? Absolutely not! It just means I put aside my taste for a really gamey bird and cook to please the less adventurous who come to my table to indulge.
Looking at a whole meal has always fascinated me. Eating is holistic. People eat meals as opposed to individual items and since Americans eat pretty much the same set of items, Thanksgiving is a perfect meal to look at. Using recipes from my software data base, prices from various local markets, and some off the shelf preparations, here is the menu board for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Onion Soup, ¾ cup (180ml)
Roast Turkey with Skin, 6 ounces (170g)
Turkey Gravy, ¼ cup (60ml)
Bread Stuffing, ½ cup (100g)
Cranberry Sauce, 2 Tablespoons (35g)
Mashed Potato, ½ cup (105g)
Green Beans with Almonds, ½ cup (120g)
Sparkling Apple Cider, 8 fl oz (230ml)
Pumpkin Pie, 1 piece (155g)
total cost $7.40 ● total calories 1240 per serving
Let’s talk dollars first. Any foodie worth his salt can drive the cost up by sourcing specialty items. Free range grain fed turkeys. Even better heirloom wild turkeys (my personal choice). Maybe a bottle of vintage wine… But Thanksgiving is not complex and perhaps it is more in keeping with tradition to keep the meal simple. Besides, many people prefer the taste of turkey, not the more gamey flavor of a heirloom bird. My first surprise was how reasonably priced a traditional Thanksgiving could be.
My second surprise was how much time the analysis took. What I thought would be a straightforward exercise ended up getting complex. Some items have incomplete data and due diligence is required every step of the way to determine a reasonably accurate calorie count. That may be one of the reasons why so few meals seem to get analyzed.
Besides the time commitment, however, there may be another reason meals, especially great meals, do not get analyzed. Companionship, cooking, setting, sharing, savoring – the magic of a great meal is what my fellow foodies love and cherish. The risk of analysis is that it can break the magic of the moment. And that is a valid observation.
But let’s just try a bit of analysis by putting the calories into the context of who may be sitting at table. Aunt Sally is over 50, never exercises, sometimes indulges in sweets but otherwise eats like a bird – miniscule portions, no skin, no dark meat, no gravy, and a whole piece of pumpkin pie. Makes sense because her daily requirement is about 1600 calories. She will also get full benefit of the only deep orange vegetable on the table. Then there is cousin Jeremy. On the move, physically active, into sports, early twenties, always hungry. He eats double portions of everything in sight. Makes sense because his daily requirement is about 3000 calories. And then there is everyone else in between, but that is enough for now. A little bit of analysis goes a long way and I need to get cooking …
Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the meal!
Summer is coming to an end. The days are getting shorter. A chill in the evening air means an end to summer salad suppers and the beginning of more robust meals. But while summer is still here, a large salad is satisfying, refreshing, and takes about 30 minutes to put together as long as the greens are washed and ready to go. For protein, I use both legumes and canned salmon. Grilled chicken or canned tuna are good substitutes for the salmon. Vegetable ingredients vary depending on what comes in and out of the market during the growing season, but my base always starts with mesclun. I buy weekly from a vendor who lets me mix my own from the many offerings of multi colored, multi textured, slightly bitter leaves. Proportions are for two people. For robust appetites, serve with crusty bread.
½ cup (125 ml) olive oil and yogurt dressing, as per proportions below
7 tablespoons (100 g) canned chickpeas, rinsed, drained
¾ cup (50 g) red cabbage, washed, coarsely shredded
3 ½ cups (100 g) washed mesclun or assorted greens
1 medium (150 g) tomato, washed, cored, coarsely chopped
½ each (75 g) Haas avocado, peeled, seeded, sliced
1 – 6 ounce can (170 g) wild Alaskan pink salmon, canned, drained
Using a bowl with a 2 quart (2 liter) capacity, make a dressing in the bottom of the bowl with 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine or sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons 0% Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, oregano, basil, pepper, and about 1/4 teaspoon flake salt. Put chickpeas and cabbage in first, then mesclun, then tomato and avocado. Other vegetable options are peppers, fennel, carrots, and cucumbers. Arrange drained salmon on top. Mix salad just before serving.
makes about 6 ½ cups ● cost $12.20 ● 1070 calories
portioning information: 540 calories for 2 people ● 270 calories for 4 people ● 180 calories for 6 people
This salad delivers phytonutrient and fiber rich vegetables, mixed proteins, and oleic acid rich, omega-3 rich, vitamin E rich unsaturated fats. Moreover, I used clean sustainable salmon and a seasonal heirloom tomato. Despite these benefits, the salad cannot be labeled healthy because total fat exceeds acceptable parameters established by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Sodium and saturated fat also exceed acceptable parameters, but are easier to adjust in accordance with current regulations.
Before going back to school, I always made classic vinaigrette – three parts oil to one part vinegar. My studies progressed, I learned about too much fat, and I stopped. Experimenting with other combinations and substitutions became the goal. For example, some variations on classic vinaigrette call for some crème fraîche and yogurt works really well. I even tried fat free salad dressing once … But the classic version kept calling me back because it makes such an elegant delicious product.
Let’s call it the olive oil dilemma. The cook in me says enjoy the salad! Just be careful the cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is what the label says it is. The dietitian in me says maybe it is not quite that simple. The nutrient benefit is significant. The three fat sources in question come from “good” fats and other options are out there. I can run the numbers again adding bread with the meal or fruit and yogurt after the meal. I can manage the impact over the day and plan according. The dietician in me also knows that nutrition research is ongoing so I can continue to scan the literature for new perspectives on total fat in the diet and the value of good fats …
This summer I went classic and kept an eye on my daily calorie count. And with summer coming to an end, I will not have to wrestle with the dilemma again until next year.
Nutrition Facts per ½ cup serving* (g): Calories 160, Fat 12g, Saturated Fat 1.5g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 10mg, Sodium 180mg, Carbohydrate 7g, Fiber 3g, Protein 7g. Vitamin A 30%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 2%, Iron 6%. Excellent Source vitamin A, vitamin B12. Good Source vitamin C, protein, fiber, niacin, folate. Natural Source omega-3 fatty acids.
*Serving sizes are reference amounts defined and regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). A 2,000 calorie diet is used as the basis for general nutrition advice; however, individual calorie needs may vary.