Chickadee Epicurean

September 11, 2013 1 Comment

Chocolate Recipes with Nan Dell of Chickadee Epicurean

With a passion for food and a life-long love of cooking, Nan is most at home in the kitchen.  Nan started her culinary career as a caterer and personal chef under the name Chickadee Epicurean.  Cooking local, organic and vegetarian food is a love, but you will find this charismatic cook making friends with everyone from the butcher and baker to the cheese maker!  Sharing her love of food and her slightly geeky culinary knowledge is her passion.  If you have a chance, I highly recommend that you sit down and enjoy a foodie moment with this talented and spirited cook! You can find her at The Cooking Room and on Facebook. Chickadee Epicurean I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Nan at The Cooking Room making a completely chocolate inspired meal! Seeing chocolate as an ingredient, not just something sweet for dessert, she has created a menu that will please the palates of both chocolate lovers and non-chocolate lovers (gasp!) alike. We made the entire meal from start to finish in one hour! There were no fancy techniques or equipment needed. Also, these recipes are quite flexible. Don't like an ingredient? Just leave it out or substitute it with a similar ingredient of your preference! In fact, most of these recipes are gluten-free and can be adapted for Paleo friends very easily! In all of the savoury dishes, chocolate is often lingering in the background adding a sexy, mysterious, richness to each bite. Your brain waits for the sweetness to introduce itself, but it never comes! Instead, the chocolate works together with the other ingredients, avoiding overpowering the dish as a whole. Her brownie recipe is a classic. It's also quick, easy, decadent with an unbeatable texture. This is a great dessert you can whip up for last minute guests or chocolate emergencies! Nan is very accessible. She is delightful, always eager to help and is very generous with sharing her recipes, techniques and suppliers. You can contact her at or on Facebook. If you're planning a holiday party, please keep Nan in mind for quality catering with charisma : ) The Menu The Cooking Room Red Deer

Appetizer: Smoky Eggplant & White Chocolate Dip (baba ganoush)

Nan borrowed this recipe from Yossy Arefi of Saveur, makes 2 1/2 cups

  • 8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 4 medium eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ⅔ cup tahini
  • 4 oz. white chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 1½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp. paprika Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
  • Toasted pita bread or sweet potato chips, for serving
Heat oven broiler on high. Place garlic and eggplants, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil until tender and charred all over, about 20 minutes for garlic, and about 40 minutes for eggplant. Peel garlic and peel, seed eggplants, and scoop out flesh from eggplant; transfer to a food processor with juice, tahini, chocolate, half the parsley, the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper; puree until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with remaining parsley and pomegranate seeds; serve with pita on the side for dipping. Recommended Pairings: Cabernet Franc or West Coast IPA  

The Cooking Room Red Deer

 Main Dish: Bison with Espresso Cocoa Rub

  • 1 Tbsp espresso
  • 1 Tbsp  chipotle chili
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground fennel seed
  • ¼ tsp ground celery seed
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Mix spices together. Rub on bison tenderloin dried with a paper towel. Sear on both sides in an oiled cast iron skillet. Cook in the oven until cooked to desired temperature. Recommended Pairings: Cabernet Sauvignon or Russian Imperial Stout

The Cooking Room Red Deer

Salad: Arugula salad with Cocoa Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp. unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • salt and to taste

Serve over a bed of arugula and seasonal berries. Feeling a little wild? Add nuts and cheese! We used macademia nuts and triple cream brie : ) Recommended Pairings: Chardonnay or Berliner Weisse

The Cooking Room Red Deer

Dessert: Chocolate Ganache Brownies

  • 2 cups bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 1/8 cup butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2/3 cups chocolate chips
Melt butter and chocolate in a microwave safe dish.  In a separate bowl beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and mix.  Beat in melted chocolate mixture slowly.  Add cake flour and cocoa powder.  Mix until incorporated.  Gently fold in chocolate chips.  Pour onto a parchment lined jellyroll pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes, or just until edges begin to cook. Recommended Pairings: Sauternes, Ruby Port or Imperial Porter  

1 Response


June 05, 2014

This looks so delicious!
I am especially excited to try the rub for the bison steaks! I once made a coffee rub for chicken that was amazing and then I lost the recipe. Will for sure try it this weekend!

I have heard such great things about Nan and the cooking room, but had no idea she did catering. The classes always looks amazing!

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