The secret to chocolate mousse Wednesday, Jan 30 2013 

Well, I mentioned recently that I was interested in the cookbook challenge posted at http://growandresist.com/2012/12/21/cook-the-books-a-cookbook-challenge/. I had borrowed the January and February selections from my local library, devoured them page by glorious page recently when I was ill and stuck in bed, and then finally got into the kitchen today after finishing up chores, homeschooling and the like. I am so happy I did, with sweet results!

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I think Dorie Greenspan is my new hero…Her recipes sound so amazing, fresh and inspired. I cannot wait to purchase my own copy of her book Around My French Table so I don’t have to worry about ruining the library’s copy while I’m playing (messily at times) in my kitchen. Her stories are interesting and entertaining, as well as educational. But I will now forever love her for the inclusion of the top-secret chocolate mousse recipe. It is probably the best I’ve ever tasted — not to mention the absolute easiest! And hey, with such a large family and crazy life…Well, I’m all for easy! You will have to buy this book and try this recipe!

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I’ve been searching for a recipe for chocolate mousse for as long as I have been cooking. And I am so happy to have stumbled upon one that will live in my recipe files forever. So for the curious: What I liked about it…

Obviously “everything” is too general, so here’s my short list:

036First, all natural ingredients. By that I mean there are no boxes of pudding or canned anything or otherwise heavily processed, chemical-laden ingredients…It’s just chocolate, eggs, salt, sugar. That’s it. Simple. While I’ve seen other recipes that add cream, coffee or liqu0r of some kind — which I’m sure are delicious add-ins — this recipe would be great when you want to serve something elegant but fast. I always have those four ingredients handy…I mean, who doesn’t have a stash of chocolate, right??! (If you don’t, you need to start building a stash ASAP! Seriously!!!)

And guess what else catapulted this to my top fav chocolate mousse? Absolutely no gelatin of any kind — thank goodness! I despise working with gelatin…I don’t think it likes me. And I can only stomach it when doing jello shots (go figure!). It never sets up right for me. Ever. Which is sad because even my 8 year old son can get it to work. Plus, I’m trying to purge many animal products from our diet. I make an exception for the eggs because we own our own free-range chickens, thus I know where the eggs come from and how the chickens are treated, so no one needs to call PETA or anything. It’s totally legit and the chickens actually seem happy. I digress —

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This is definitely a keeper!!! My official recipe testers loved it and some were disappointed there were no seconds. I served it with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon, though a dash of cocoa would have worked nicely too. It was very light but yet dense with chocolate, if that even makes sense. My palate was in heaven.

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Reading when I am sick… Sunday, Jan 27 2013 

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I have liked to read (and be read to) since early on. We’re talking All. The. Time. Just ask my mother. She was so sick of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss that by the time my sister was born, my mother didn’t read quite as much to Noel because I wore out her vocal chords. And yes, my sister Noel was born around Christmas — she was my gift at age 2…under the tree in a Santa suit and everything…you can feel free to say “awwww…”. But I digress — My mom came to loathe and despise that particular book. I mean I can not stress enough how much she hated it. When my youngest son would ask her to read it (because of course he had his own copy!), she would first clench her jaws — but sweetly try to get through it for his sake — which makes her a wonderful Nana, knowing how she hated it!

At any rate, I was already reading foodie books (note the eggs and ham!) at a tender age, so it’s not really surprising that when I do fit reading into my hectic schedule I am usually reading cookbooks, cooking magazines, food blogs, foodie books or culinary mysteries. Since I am feeling really under the weather — and had to miss my middle daughter’s cheer competition today — these books were my first choice. The house is quiet with everyone gone for a while and I can take my time and savour the words and the pictures. Even though I borrowed them from the library, as soon as the budget allows I am definitely purchasing both! One can, after all, never own too many cookbooks (though my family might argue otherwise…)

Why these particular books? Well — I had stumbled upon a cookbook challenge earlier in this month, which you can find here: http://growandresist.com/2012/12/21/cook-the-books-a-cookbook-challenge/. These were the featured books for January and February 2013. I love the inclusion of narratives in both Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table (January challenge) and Andrea Nguyen’s Asian Dumplings (February challenge). The stories behind a recipe or technique always seem to draw me in, and these two books have so far provided many anecdotes, stories and explanations that are keeping me plenty intrigued. Of course that is in addition to the amazing, mouth-watering recipes I am seeing! I hope you’ll take a look and get into your kitchen — I know I can’t wait til I’m feeling better to play around a bit with some of these recipes! For now I’ll just have to remain in bed and read…