chocolate & spinach

I have begun featuring salt and heat into my desserts, so I figure that I will try to rise to the challenge of creating two completely different dishes with almost identical ingredients. This idea arose when making my mom’s signature chocolate bark to bring up to LA with me. I had chopped more orange zest and almonds than were necessary for the amount of chocolate I had, and I had an entire peeled orange that needed to either be eaten or used in some capacity. It was also dinnertime.

Sweet: Dark Chocolate with Orange Zest, Almonds, Salt, and Chili Powder

6-8 oz. good quality dark chocolate
2 tbsp. orange zest en chiffonade
1/4 c. almonds, chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. sea salt

Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Add half of the ingredients to the melted chocolate. Pour chocolate into a lined pan. (I used a loaf pan lined in tin foil but my mom uses a cookie sheet lined in wax paper. To each, his own.) Sprinkle the remaining ingredients on top of the chocolate. Refrigerate for several hours, or until completely hardened. I was able to break mine up into pieces about four hours after putting it in the refrigerator, but my mom typically leaves it in overnight.

Savory: Sautéed Spinach with Orange Juice, Orange Zest, and Chopped Almonds

2 large handfuls of baby spinach
1/2 orange, juiced
1 tbsp. orange zest en chiffonade
1/8 c. almonds, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. oil

Heat frying pan to medium heat with the oil. Add the spinach, orange juice, salt, and chili powder. Sauté until the spinach is significantly wilted, then add the almonds and orange zest. Continue to cook until most of the liquid (from the orange juice and the spinach) has boiled off.

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