Goat Cheese With Nibs º

Serves 1, but can easily be multiplied.

This intriguing appetizer is from "The Essence of Chocolate" by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger. Note: Cacao nibs are available at specialty food stores and online at www.worldwidechocolate.com.

1/2to 1 tsp. cacao nibs (see Note)

• 1 oz. goat cheese

1/4tsp. honey, granulated sugar or ginger preserves, optional

• Cocoa powder

• Crackers or toast points

Directions

Crush cacao nibs with a rolling pin and mix them into goat cheese. (Use1/2to 1 teaspoon of nibs for every ounce of goat cheese.) For a hint of sweetness, add1/4teaspoon honey, granulated sugar or ginger preserves for every ounce of cheese. Because the flavors will continue to emerge over time, it's best to combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. Before serving, spoon into a small decorative bowl or form small disks or balls from the cheese mixture and dust them lightly with cocoa powder. Serve with crackers or toast points.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 81 Fat 6 g Sodium 105 mg

Carbohydrates 1 g Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 42 mg

Protein 6 g Cholesterol 13 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1medium-fat meat.

Baked Beans WITH CHOCOLATE º

Makes about 6 cups.

From "The Essence of Chocolate" by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger (Hyperion, $35).

• 1 lb. dried navy beans, rinsed and picked over

• Water

• 8 oz. bacon, cut in 1/4-in. dice

• 1 c. finely diced yellow onion

1/4c. plus 3 tbsp. unsulphured molasses

1/4c. plus 3 tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar

• 12/3 c. ketchup

• 1 tbsp. plus 2 teaspoons yellow mustard

• 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water and let soak overnight.

In a large stockpot, sauté bacon over medium heat until browned. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and 13 cups water and bring to a boil. Drain beans, add to stockpot and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 41/2to 5 hours, or until beans are tender. Remove beans from heat, stir in chocolate and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Nutrition information per serving of ½ cup:

Calories 325 Fat 11 g Sodium 530 mg

Carbohydrates 50 g Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 105 mg

Protein 10 g Cholesterol 12 mg Dietary fiber 10 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1½ bread/starch, 2 other carb, 1 medium-fat meat, 1 fat.

John's Cocoa Rub

From "The Essence of Chocolate."

• 2 parts unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not Dutch-processed cocoa)

• 1 part salt

• Uncooked lamb, pork or poultry

Directions

Mix two parts unsweetened cocoa powder with one part salt. Rub mixture liberally over meat and roast. This rub works for lamb, pork or poultry. Cook meat in desired way to desired doneness.