Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chocolate Mousse

This quintessential French dessert looks and tastes great and is a special treat requiring only 2 ingredients! It's a simple, classic mousse with only egg whites and chocolate--no cream like many mousse recipes call for. The only caveat is having to make this a couple hours before you want to eat it, so the mousse has time to chill and set in the fridge.

7 oz. (200 g) dark chocolate (I used 70%, but you could use something less intense if you want it sweeter.)
6 egg whites

1. Break chocolate into pieces and melt over a double boiler, or in the microwave on very low heat. Be sure not to over cook it--you only want just enough heat to melt it. Let the chocolate cool so its heat doesn't deflate the egg whites.
2. Meanwhile, separate eggs, putting the whites in a large mixing bowl and saving the yolks for another use. Be sure to not get any yolk into the whites or they will not inflate and gain volume!
3. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until the whites form stiff peaks. (They should stand up straight when you turn them upside down.)
4. With a rubber spatula, add about 1/4 of the whites to the chocolate. Stir this together to lighten up the chocolate. Then, add the remaining egg whites and gently fold them in. (See note below re: folding.) It may look a bit strange during this process but that's okay and normal! It will become uniform quickly!
lightening up:
5. Put mousse into a large serving dish or individual ones (ramekins, teacups or even martini glasses look wonderful and super elegant!), cover with plastic wrap, and put in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours or up to a couple days. Serve cold.

Note: Fold does NOT mean stir! Use the spatula to scoop the mixture from the bottom of the bowl and fold it over onto the top of the mixture. This will eventually incorporate the whites with the chocolate. Do NOT over-mix - this will deflate the egg whites, preventing the mousse from being light and airy. The whole folding process should take no more than 90 seconds. It's okay if the mixture is not 100% uniformly mixed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Huevos Rancheros

A delicious and filling breakfast, this satisfying meal is great for weekend brunches. It is, of course, super versatile and can be adjusted greatly.
Serves 2

3 eggs
1 t. olive oil
2 tortillas
½ cup refried or black beans (~½ a can)
1 c. baby spinach leaves, packed
several slices cheese, or ½ c. grated cheese (cheddar, Monterey or pepper jack, or whatever you like/have)
salsa, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro (optional, for serving)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a pan. Crack and scramble eggs in a bowl and add to pan, cooking until slightly less than fully cooked. (They'll finish cooking in the oven.)

2. Spread beans evenly on each tortilla and place on a baking sheet. Top with spinach and mostly-cooked scrambled eggs. Top evenly with cheese.
3. Place in oven until cheese is melted and starts bubbling. If you're impatient, you could alternatively broil this, but watch carefully so it doesn't burn! Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole and/or cilantro, if desired.