Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Can y'all believe that tomorrow is FEBRUARY already? Was it not JUST Christmas? I think so. It was JUST Christmas and now it is almost Groundhog Day. I'm 99% certain that Thanksgiving was last week and now January is over. Hands up if you've lost track of all time.

The purpose of this calendar review session is, of course, to remind you that you have
exactly two short weeks to get ready for Valentines Day. Boys, get ready to shower your lady with expensive yet meaningful gifts including but not limited to diamonds and Prada. Girls, start practicing your "you shouldn't have!" face. The eyebrows are key.

Thinking about Valentines Day has me thinking of the perfect gift for your baby daddy, especially if you want to secure a place in his will, I mean, heart. It is chocolate, of course. If he doesn't like chocolate, get rid of him. He's defective.

This dark chocolate mousse is from Thomas Keller's Bouchon and it is straight DIVINE. I've actually been to Bouchon myself, but it was such a ridiculous out of body experience that I can't even remember whether we had dessert. After the spectacle which the wait staff no doubt later re-enacted in a one-act play entitled "Country Come to Town," the events become foggy.

In any case, had I eaten this mousse, I would've remembered it. The first bite will get you a "SWEET MARY MOTHER OF JESUS." The second, a "YOU ARE MADE OF SUNSHINE." The third secures the Prada.


Listen to me CAREFULLY:
1. Do what it says on the temperature of the chocolate. For real; and
2. Use GOOD chocolate. If you use freaking baking squares to make this mousse, I will come to your house and abuse you in the worst ways (that's me, not Thomas Keller. Thomas Keller will probably not ever come to your house, sorry).

Mousse au Chocolat Noir

4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons espresso or hot water
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon sugar

Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not simmering, water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm. If it is too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.

Meanwhile, whip the cream to soft peaks, then refrigerate. Once the melted chocolate has cooled slightly, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

When the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream.

Spoon or pipe the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (The mousse can be refrigerated for up to a day.)

Makes 8 servings.