Ch, chi, cha, Chia

Sorry. Could not resist. Sooooo cliche, I know. But who in the States can’t say the word ‘chia’ and, bam, that jingle pops in one’s head, along with an image of a terra cotta chia heads (am I the only one disturbed by this product?)? I do feel rather deprived as I have never been the recipient of chia head gift. Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not start now. My ‘life list’ is just fine without that line item. What I would be okay with is gifts of bags of chia seeds. Yep, all over this ‘of-the-moment’ super food that has actually been consumed for thousands of years.

A mere five weeks after New Year’s resolutions are made (many revolving around getting  healthy) and all falls apart, no thanks to this past Sunday’s big game (Superbowl for my non-football fans out there). A healthy regime of juicing, salads, whole grains, no drinking, falls by the wayside for wings, chips, dips, chili, and insert your favorite junk food and cocktail splurge of choice here. Guessing the players and Madonna did not eat and drink like that prepping for the game, so not sure why the rest of us fall to pieces and cave to the junk food frenzy that day.

Well enough is enough. Back me away from the last of the guacamole and tortilla chips (no self control when put in front of me) and get back to some better (ok healthier) food choices. Bring on the chia seed. This teeny tiny speck of a seed is a superhero (or heroine? not sure). Jam packed with Omega 3′s and 6′s, protein, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber, it blows other healthy superfoods away.  Add chia to just about anything. It is virtually flavorless, and will take on the flavor of the food you are adding it to. And if you soak the seeds in a bit of liquid, they suddenly become gelatin-like (because I really don’t like to use the word gelatinous – seriously grosses me out) helping to keep you fuller and hydrated longer. For all you athletes out there, add a tablespoon of chia ‘gel’ to your coconut water, or plain water, and yes you will stay hydrated longer and retain electrolytes longer. Take that hot weather training day.

Chia Gel

I prepped some chia ‘gel’ – stir one tablespoon of chia seeds into one cup of water and let sit for about 15 minutes. Stir again and then can store in the fridge for a week. Add a tablespoon to your morning smoothie, oatmeal, cereal, or juice. Stomach not feeling so hot? Eat a teaspoon of the chia gel. Better than a Tums. Need to thicken soup or sauce? Yep, chia ‘gel’. Trying to trim the fat in your cookie and cake recipes?  You can swap out one tablespoon of chia ‘gel’ for one egg or replace half the butter or oil for an equal amount of chia ‘gel’.

Since I do love dessert, and I do love chocolate, I of course had to try the recipe, on the back of the bag of chia seeds, for chocolate ‘mousse’ cake. Chocolate, chia and hazelnuts basically. Heart healthy, gluten-free and if I do say so, pretty tasty. The recipe suggests icing, but this cake bakes up really moist so I say why bother. And since I cannot leave a recipe well enough alone I add to tinker and add vanilla and a pinch of salt. Next time you know I am going to tinker some more…

Chia Chocolate ‘Mousse’ Cake
(adapted from the back of the Bob’s Red Mill bag of chia seeds)

ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Chia Seed
  • 1 cup Water
  • 7 oz Dark Baking Chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup Butter, unsalted
  • 5 large Eggs, separated
  • 2 cups Hazelnut meal or flour (ground my own, but might go with flour for finer texture next time)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line (bottom with wax or parchment paper) a 9 inch spring form pan.
Soak chia seeds in the one cup of water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and allow to cool.
Beat egg whites and 1/3 cup of the sugar until soft peaks form (or your arm gives out because you were too ‘lazy’ to drag the Kitchenaid out of the pantry, just saying’).

see the soft peaks?

In another bowl beat the remaining sugar with the egg yolks, vanilla and salt until pale and creamy. Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture. Then fold in the ground hazelnuts and chia ‘gel’. Gently fold in egg whites.

the chocolate, nuts and chia 'gel'

Pour into the springform pan. Bake for approximately 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

not the prettiest cake, but sure is tasty

Ice if you must or serve with a dollop of whipped cream (or plain yoghurt — love the tang) and blackberries.

sans icing

 

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2 Responses to Ch, chi, cha, Chia

  1. Wow, even I didn’t know all that about chia! I am definitely going to try the gel out for workout hydration! Have you used quinoa/eaten it? It is a fantastic superfood and easy to add to soups or salads. If you don’t know about it, you can read about it on our blog:

    http://rischmoller.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/quinoa-the-incan-superfood/

    Thanks for this!

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