The Sunday Food-Related Post: No More Mojo!

29197_vegan_chocolate_mousseI has been rather difficult to come up with an idea for today’s post. My “opponent’s food re-imagined as a Pittsburgh speciality” led directly to a Baltimore win last week. My comparison of a Philly cheesesteak to a Primanti’s sandwich, demonstrating the superiority of the latter, resulted in one of the worst Steelers games in the Ben Roethlisberger era. Nor was the Comfort Food post or the “Lucky Foods” post any more successful.

So perhaps it is time to put the onus for the outcome of today’s game right back where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of Stonn the Invinciblemy supposedly lucky Steelers garden gnome. Or here’s an even crazier idea—maybe we should allow the Steelers themselves to take the blame if they lose. But man do I hate to do that.

At any rate, I’m done trying to manipulate the results of a game via my food posts. Today I’m just going to publish a recipe for something both good and reasonably good for you, because arguably the best game of the season (the 43-14 game against the Chiefs) came on the day I posted about calming and nutritious foods.

Oh, wait, I said I wasn’t going to worry about the mojo aspect anymore. And truth to tell, this isn’t the absolutely healthiest recipe I’ve ever published. So please use grass-fed pastured cream and free-range eggs and raw sugar or even stevia, which is much less detectable when paired with bitter things like dark chocolate. Or at least don’t tell me if you didn’t…

Dark Chocolate Gingered Mousse

This is based upon a Bobby Flay recipe that I recently made, and while it was good I felt it could have been better. For one thing it didn’t look like a dark chocolate mousse because there was way too much whipping cream in it. Which are words I thought I would never say, or write, or even think. So here is the recipe, suitably modified and gussied up (the ginger is my own touch.)

  • 4  oz. bittersweet chocolate (it’s easiest to use the Ghirardelli chips, but if you want to get fancy and use Valrhona or some such chop it up)
  • 2 oz. truly dark chocolate, chopped—at least 70%, possibly more
  • 8 oz. chilled whipping cream
  • 3 large room temperature egg whites (you can use pasteurized whites if you are squeamish about raw egg whites, although the chocolate does cook them a bit. Sort of.)
  • 1 T. sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger, or more to taste, or none if you have no taste

If you are the sort of person to have a bain marie go ahead and use it, but the rest of us can just melt the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave. Use reduced power, preferably, and do it in increasingly shorter increments, stirring in between, just until it’s almost all melted. There’s nothing worse than realizing you have just burned several bucks worth of good chocolate, and it’s easy to do if you’re not paying attention. Which, I suppose, is the point of the bain marie. But it seems like an awful lot of trouble.

While the now successfully melted chocolate cools a bit go ahead and beat your egg whites  until they form soft peaks. Then add the sugar and beat until firm. Set them aside and beat the whipping cream until it too has soft peaks, but stop there.

You can, of course, do it the other way around, as Mr. Flay suggests—cream first, then egg whites. But then you have to use two sets of beaters, because you can never guarantee you washed all of the butterfat off the beaters unless you put them in the dishwasher, and ain’t nobody got time for that, and your egg whites won’t whip properly if there’s even a speck of fat on the beaters. I’m all about only washing one set of utensils.

You can also save washing another bowl if you cleverly melted the chocolate in a bowl sufficiently large to contain the expanded egg whites as well. In that case dump them straight into the chocolate bowl and whisk away. Otherwise you can add the chocolate to the egg white bowl. Once the chocolate and egg whites are nearly united you can beat the whipping cream in the vacated egg white bowl.

Whichever way you did all of this, finish by folding in the whipping cream and ginger. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

That’s it, other than cleaning up the dishes. Please don’t leave them for someone else to deal with, unless you pay someone to do that. If so, please send the person who cleans your kitchen over to my house after they are done at yours.

Serves 4. At most. Unless your guests don’t like chocolate, in which case they should leave it for the rest of us.

Note: This probably isn’t suitable for a tailgate, unless you have one of those little refrigerators for the back of your truck. It could be a nice touch, rather like eating lobster tails and butter on a white linen cloth spread over your truck bed as the rest of the world cracks open another Arn Ciddy and watches in disbelief. In that case be sure to bring cloth napkins and martini glasses to serve the mousse in.

Note: When I made the original recipe I also made lemon curd with the excess yolks. It was a beautiful golden color and tasted pretty delicious on the mousse, and helped to conceal the overly anemic appearance of the mousse. If you decide to serve it with lemon curd you should probably leave out the ginger.

Do try putting a few drops (literally just a few) of lemon essential oil into your lemon curd, if you should have any food-grade oil. NOT lemon extract. Food-grade essential oil is easily acquired these days most places in the western hemisphere. It deepens and enhances both the lemon flavor and the butter flavor. (You do use real butter, I trust.) It’s amazing.

But lemon curd is always amazing, except when it comes out of a jar and has clearly been thickened with cornstarch or whatever devilish invention manufacturers use to ruin a food which is sublime in its purity…

Or you could put the ginger in the mousse anyhow and serve the lemon curd with something else. Shortbread triangles to dip in it, perhaps, or even some of those homemade marshmallows from a few weeks ago. Don’t waste those yolks, though.

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