Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sweet Celebrations

I GOT A JOB! I GOT A JOB! I GOT A JOB!  YAY!  OK, OK, I know I already had a job, went for two days of training, and then quit, but that one sucked.  That was for a fancy schmancy restaurant dealing with uptight coworkers and snooty customers, and made me very unhappy.  This new job, however, is AMAZING.

Three years ago, I worked for Lexington, an organization that supports adult individuals with mental and physical disabilities.  It was by far the most rewarding and fulfilling job I've ever had.  It completely changed how I thought about life and my body and my health.  My new job is doing something similar, working for the Guild for Human Services, which is a school/residential program for youths ages 6-22 with mental health, behavioral issues, and disabilities.  I am beyond excited to be doing something I love again.  And this time it is with kids!!!

A celebration was in order, and since it was me creating the celebration for me, there was only one thing I wanted: chocolate.  Spanish chocolate mousse to be exact.  When I was 17, I spent three weeks in Cardona, Spain, with the family of a girl that stayed with me the summer before (her name is Olga, and both she and her family are wonderful).  Despite my horrible grasp of the Spanish language at the time, her family was extremely patient and kind to me, especially her mother, Mercé.  This amazing woman did her best to teach me some of my favorite dishes that she made.  The most important one to me was her chocolate mousse.  This mousse, like other mousses I had while I was in Spain, is very different from mousse here in the states.  Here, chocolate mousse often has a base of heavy cream, half and half, or includes gelatin; it is more like chocolate-flavored whipped cream.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but this is just a whole different ball game.  The texture of this mousse is more like the inside of a truffle, only fluffier.  Hello food-gasm.

Spanish Chocolate Mousse
The best adaptation I could manage from the kitchen of Mercé
Yield: Approx 5-6 individual servings
4.5 ounces good-quality dark chocolate
3 Tbs milk (I used almond because I never have regular milk on hand)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 rounded Tbs confectioners' sugar
3 large eggs, separated
2 pinches salt

Over low heat, stir together chocolate and milk until smooth.  Remove from heat
In a second saucepan, melt together butter and confectioners' sugar and stir until combined.  Remove from heat
Slowly pour butter mixture into chocolate, stirring constantly until smooth
Add egg yolks, one at a time, and stir well between each one
Add salt to egg whites and beat until soft peaks form
Gently fold in 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate mixture, and repeat twice
Ladle mousse into individual serving cups
Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours before serving.  If you like, you can top it with shaved chocolate or a dollop of whipped cream, but honestly, it's so perfect it doesn't need it.  Enjoy.

Here is to new beginnings: a new job, a new school, a new city, a new relationship, and new friends.  Yep, I think that's more than enough reason to celebrate with mousse.

Love and cookies,

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