March 31st. Last day of the month. Last Monday of the month. It can only mean one thing: it’s a food blog party, The Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!  I knew that March was going to be a particularly busy month, with a trip abroad followed by Spring Break, which for us has little to do with a break, quite the contrary.  We profit from the fact that the students don’t have classes or TA duties to set the accelerator on experiments. So, I jumped on the assignment right away, and that was a good move because my secret blog, Healthy Delicious has been around for a long, long time!  Talk about a veteran food blogger, that is Lauren defined to a T. She is a recipe developer and food photographer, most of her recipes take less than 40 minutes to prepare, and are in perfect tune with her site’s name: healthy and delicious!  😉

I was having my share of secret fun bookmarking many options, but then I stumbled on her post on Chai Brownies and noticed the date of its publication. March 11th, 2007.  I know well a person who was born on March 11th.  No, not 2007, but who cares?  A few years here, a few there, compared to the time since the Big Bang, it’s a blink of an eye.  I looked no further.

Still, let me share with  you some of the other recipes I had in mind: Prosciutto and Artichoke Quiche (oh, my!), Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas (check this recipe out, very nice interpretation of a classic), Lamb Meatballs in Cumin Scented Sauce over Spaghetti Squash (I must make this soon), Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Pecans and Gorgonzola Cream Sauce , Mussels in Saffron Tomato Sauce (simple and irresistible), and her Lemon Chicken Soup with Tortellini.  But there’s a lot more, as you might imagine from a food blog that has been around for seven years!

And, before I move to the recipe, take a look at Dorothy’s site, Shocklingly Delicious, to see which recipe she chose from my blog (one of my favorite cakes ever and the most popular recipe of BK last year). She wrote such a wonderful post about it, I cannot stop smiling…. Thank you, Dorothy!

(slightly modified from Healthy Delicious)
for spice mixture:
1/4 cup low-fat milk
a dash of cardamom
3 whole allspice
a dash of cinnamon
3 cloves
for brownie batter:
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 + 1/2 cup  flour
3/4  cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

Heat the oven to 350 F.

Add the ingredients for the spice mixture to a pot and bring to a quick boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain into a large microwave safe bowl.

To the bowl of chai, add butter and chocolate. Microwave about 30 seconds until melted. Stir until smooth. Let cool for a minute. Add egg.  Sift in remaining dry ingredients and mix until it forms a stiff batter.

Bake in a Pyrex dish sprayed with oil, about 25 minutes until set. Let cool, and cut into pieces.


to print the recipe, click here

Language pet-peeve alert! Language pet-peeve alert!  😉

In the United States,  chai often describes what should be instead called masala:  a mixture of spices such as cardamon, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, that can be used to brew black tea, creating masala chai. By itself, “chai” is a word that means tea, and has its origins in Chinese. Interestingly enough, it is the same word used in Portuguese – chá –  although the pronunciation is slightly different in both languages.

I love the flavors normally associated with masala chai, and thought that the marriage of a good old-fashioned chocolate brownie with such warm spices would be perfect. And perfect it was!

I did not have whole allspice berries in my pantry, but decided it was worth getting a jar, so now I am the proud owner of two allspice products, one whole, one ground.  Gotta put them to good use before they lose their punch.

These brownies brought a lot of excitement to a cloudy and cold Monday morning in our department.  I loved the delicate flavor of cardamon in the background, and the texture of the cake, with a crackled surface was wonderful too.

Lauren, it was great to get to know your blog better, and I urge my readers to stop by her site and browse through, particularly if you like to see recipes that are lightened up without loss of flavor.

For those interested in joining our virtual monthly party, click on the crazy-looking amphibian smiling at the end of this post.

ONE YEAR AGO:  A Small Tribute to a Big Man

TWO YEARS AGO: Still got stout?

THREE YEARS AGO: The Real Vodka Sauce

FOUR YEARS AGO: Spring Rolls on a Spring Day


The last Monday of the month is the much awaited Reveal Day for Group D of The Secret Recipe Club!  For those who don’t know about it,  The Secret Recipe is an event in which food bloggers from the same group are paired (in secret), and have about 3 weeks to choose a recipe from their assigned blog, cook it, and compose a blog.  Everyone publishes their post on reveal day at the exact same time. How cool is that?  If you want to become a member (beware, there is a waiting list), visit the site and get in touch with Amanda, the founder of this fun group.

For my sixth participation at the SRC I was paired with “The More than Occasional Baker”,  a virtual spot hosted by a very accomplished baker from London.   She defines herself as a “baking addict”, and as I browsed through her blog, it was clear she was not kidding!  What is a poor cake-o-phobe blogger to do when faced with such a Herculean task?  Knowing my limitations, I searched for something that wouldn’t involve creaming butter with sugar, preparing an Italian meringue, or handling icing bags.  Suddenly, three beautiful words comforted my soul:  triple chocolate brownies.   Anything with triple chocolate makes me go weak in the  knees, and I am quite fond of brownies because for the most part they are fuss-free.   Plus, once I read her post about the recipe,  I wanted to stop everything and go buy  the three kinds of chocolate (and a little extra of the white, just because… 😉 )

(from The More than Occasional Baker)

200g bittersweet chocolate (1 cup)
50g milk chocolate (1/4 cup)
225g butter (1 cup  or 2 sticks)
4 eggs
325g unrefined golden caster sugar (I used light brown sugar) (1 + 1/2 cups)
0.5 tbsp  vanilla essence
200g white chocolate (1 cup)
150g plain flour, sifted (1 + 1/2 cup)
pinch of salt

Heat the oven to 360 F (180 C).  Line a baking dish (11in x 7in x 2.5 in) with parchment paper.  Break the bittersweet and milk chocolate into pieces, and melt in the microwave with the butter.  Let the mixture cool slightly.
Chop the white chocolate not too finely. Reserve.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk this mixture in the cooled chocolate/butter, then fold the flour, the salt, and finally the chunks of white chocolate.
Pour the mixture in the prepared baking dish, place in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is dry and cracked, and the center still moist when tested with a toothpick.
Remove from the oven, cool over a rack, and when the brownie is at room temperature, remove from the pan and cut in squares.

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  If you are not too fond of white chocolate, MAKE THESE BROWNIES ANYWAY.  They are amazing!  We took them to the lab to celebrate one of our students passing his qualifying exam, and they disappeared in a few minutes!  The crumbs left on the serving plate were fought over with  considerable enthusiasm by two members of our group, normally quite well-mannered.

They are fudgy, dense, moist, sweet, decadent, with a nice crunchy surface that provides a perfect contrast with the creamy center.    The white chocolate, kept in chunks, is a superb touch, don’t skip it. I didn’t add nuts (macadamia would be the number 1 choice), because one of our students is allergic to them.

I couldn’t be happier with this month’s adventure!  Stop by “The More than Occasional Baker” to see all the goodies she makes on a regular basis.  Maybe I should become a more regular baker myself  😉

Check out all other posts from bloggers in my group, by clicking on the blue frog at the very end of this post…

ONE YEAR AGO: Springtime Salad

TWO YEARS AGO: Indonesian Delight

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine