Dark Chocolate Snowball

My resolution to discover and learn to make the best dark chocolate mousse on the planet is taking on a life of its own.

No offense  to Ben & Jerry's, but it is time for a chocolate upgrade at mycookinglife for 2013!

No offense to Ben & Jerry’s, but it is time for a chocolate upgrade at mycookinglife for 2013!

First of all, there’s the pressure.  I said I’d make one dark chocolate mousse a month and the first week of January is already slipping by.

“So,” I thought, “Now I have to decide when this monthly merry mousse-making is going to appear.”

Before I could reach a decision my thoughts jumped ahead to some other issues–some of which were instigated by reading other blogs.

I follow “Foodimentary” and learned today is National Chocolate-Covered Cherry Day. This used to be my all-time favorite candy but I don’t eat it much any more because the chocolate is usually so cheap and not worth it. (There’s a subject for a post!)

That got me thinking about chocolate quality in general and what do I really know about chocolate?  No doubt there are chocolate connoisseurs in the world. In fact, there are some here in New Mexico and maybe I can consult with them or interview them for my blog.  (There’s a subject for a post!)

Then I read this great post about making a New Year’s resolution to kiss more people more often.  (It was really good, you should read it.)  That got me thinking about my husband and what a great kisser he is and somehow that led to the idea of the famous Chocolate Kisses and the fact that Valentine’s Day is coming up in February and that I’d like to make a really special dark chocolate mousse for that month.  (There’s a subject for a great post!)

I also read one of my favorite blogger’s excellent advice on the whole new-year-new-diet scene and how to effectively improve your health and lifestyle by making aware decisions about what you eat.  (Yes, I recommend this post to you.)  I had been thinking about the fact that in order to try a different dark chocolate mousse every month, I will inevitably use some recipes that call for a little sugar and some cream–both of which I usually don’t eat–and how do I justify that?

Well, I am no saint and I do sometimes eat those things and this blogger helped me realize that with the right attitude (No, I don’t mean justification, I mean attitude), I can make eating dark chocolate mousse work very well for me.  (There’s a subject for a great post!)

And then there’s presentation.  My second New Year’s Resolution is to learn how to do food photography better.  Which leads to props.  Which leads to shopping. (Love shopping). Which leads to finding creative ways to feature my future dark chocolate meeces (Huh?) in beautiful and enticing photographs.  Imagine the dessert bowls and ramekins! The garnishes! Slenderize Your Dark Chocolate Mousse With Vertical White Chocolate Stripes. Dark Chocolate Mousse Fashion Design. (There’s a subject for a great post!)

Many of my blogging friends are doing interactive things with their blogs like the Virtual Vegan Potluck (invite meeee! I’ll bring a Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse that I want to make.) and Giveaways.  My third New Year’s resolution is to have guest bloggers and that fits right in with being interactive and they may decide to make dark chocolate mousse with photographs supplied.  I thought of quite a few people I could ask to be guests and then I thought of some people I could actually visit and we can make dark chocolate mousse together with photos etc. (There’s a subject for a great post!)

My husband-the-great-kisser, by the way, is more than happy to be the taste tester for my experimental mousse-making.  We will make beautiful moussic together.  (Couldn’t resist saying that!)  In the spirit of being more interactive, I’d like to invite other taste-testers too and have them render their opinions. Of dark chocolate mousse, not of my husband’s kissing thank you very much. (There’s a subject for another great post!)

In fact, why don’t I work out some kind of dark chocolate mousse-making contest and solicit original recipes that I can make during the year as part of my Dark Chocolate Mousse Star Search!? (There’s a subject for another great post, for sure!)

Or the updated versions:  So You Think You Can Mousse.  Moussing With the Stars (Gosh! Do you think I could even pull in a celebrity dark chocolate mousse recipe?)

Moussing with Bullwinkle.

Johnny Depp!  How About You? You were in that Chocolate Factory movie, right? In fact, you were in Chocolat too. Sure, just come on over and we’ll mousse up a Dark Chocolate Storm! I need an expert like you, Johnny.

Chinese New Year:  Year of the Dark Chocolate Moussssse (It’s the year of the snake, and snakes, hiss, and . . . maybe they all can’t be winners).

A Dark Chocolate Day.  Don’t be Afraid of the Dark. Dark Chocolate–Aphrodisiac or Bitter End? Famous Chocolate Marriages – Meet the Reese’s. South of the Border with Mexican Chocolate. How to Remove Chocolate Stains. They Called Me a “Dip.” Lose Ten Pounds on the Dark Chocolate Mousse Diet! Lifestyles of the Dark, Rich and Famous (Chocolate, That Is). Death By Chocolate–Thirty Ways To Do It. Deep Dark Beauty Secrets or How to Have Flawless Chocolate Coating.

Mousse is Not a Hair Product.

I LIke Vanilla: Confessions of a Chocolate Maven.

Where’s my writer’s notepad and pen? I’m drowning ecstatically in my own Dark Chocolate Dreams!  (Yes, another subject for a great post!)

Like I said, there’s the pressure.  And if there wasn’t enough of it before, I’ve certainly magnified it a thousand-fold with these entertainingly bloggy chocolate thoughts, haven’t I?  See what happens when you make what at first seems like a simple resolution?

It is now a Quest.

Surely I’ll be looking for a little help from my blogging friends and we’ll come out okay and probably coated in Delicious Dark Chocolate.  I can just see the words “Chocolate” and “Mousse” looming larger and larger in my tag cloud!

In the meantime I’ve got to choose a dark chocolate mousse recipe to try out and feature for January.  And I think I know just the lady to go to for that.  (Not telling because that will be the subject–you guessed it–for another great post!)

2013 is looking very Dark Chocolate Moussey, I must say!

Meet Lars

You’ve probably noticed Lars up there in the banner.  He came on board about two Christmases ago to join us in the kitchen.  When I say “us” I mean me, Claude whom you’ve met earlier (https://mycookinglife.com/2012/02/19/and-this-years-lifetime-achievement-kitchen-inspiration-award-goes-to/), my husband and of course, now Lars.

At first it was unclear if Lars was a boy or a girl.  I was all set to call him/her Daffnyette until I realized that this little ducky is really all decked out.  Check out the chef’s hat and frock and the utensils!  Usually the more colorful of a species is the male, so “Lars” it is.

Lars doesn’t do much, but he makes a cute model for my banner photo.  Of course you can’t tell by looking at the photo but Lars actually doesn’t float so that makes him a disabled rubber ducky.  Similar to Apple Blossom, my turquoise blue stuffed dog.  When I was a girl, there was a dog show at my local park.  Newly stuffed, stitched and sporting brand new eyes and lips designed by me, I entered AB into the show.  She won the blue ribbon for “Best Behaved Dog.”  Her handicapped status of being stuffed didn’t stop her even though she was the only dog there with a handicap.

So how is it that I am writing about these characters in my cooking blog?  The answer is simple.  I have always enjoyed “people” like Lars and Claude.  Lars agrees.  He says, “Människor med “The Spirit of Play” är min typ av människor!”  (Sorry, Lars only speaks Swedish and I don’t, but I’m learning.  I know “manniskor” means “people,” if that helps!)

And this year’s Lifetime Achievement Kitchen Inspiration Award goes to . . .

Claude is looking a little down in the mouth lately.  And who could blame him?  He’s been hanging around in my kitchen for at least twenty years.  Here I am going on and on in my blog about all the people and things that inspire me and how I am the big-time cooking expert and I never once even mentioned Claude.

Before I introduce you to Claude, believe me when I say I am dead serious about the important place he has in my cooking life.  A day without Claude would be like a day without a stove to cook on or a spoon to taste with.  I would be a lost soul without Claude.

Claude is dedicated.  Who else do you know that expresses his love of food and cooking by wearing a sweater with a big orange carrot on it every single day?  He’s downright insouciant, that’s what he is!

Walt Disney’s Ratatouille has nothing on Claude.  True, they are both French.  Claude has been inspiring great things from my kitchen for two decades and has never taken a bow or taken credit for his work.  In fact, more than likely the famous Disney character was inspired by Claude.  I’ll have to do the research on that.

So without further ado, I’m announcing the recipient of the Lifetime Kitchen Inspiration Achievement Award, Claude!

[Claude accepts]

Merci. Merci.   Je suis tellement honoree!

[more applause]

Claude

“Thank you very much. [Nods humbly and squeaks] I am overwhelmed by theez enormous gesture of acknowledgement.  What a suprise to receive theez wonderful award and theez beautiful toaster!  I hardly know what to say.

“Meez Patty, eet has been mon honneur to leeve in your kitchen and to be a part of your legendary creativity in zee field of cooking.  I have always wanted to inspire greatness in others and my lifelong dream has been fulfilled by your generosity, your kindness, your devotion and of course, your unmatched culinary skill.  I am truly grateful for zee opportunity you have geeven me and I dedicate myself to you and your unequalled–je ne sais quoi.  I am your humble servant tousjours plus.

[Four-minute standing ovation.  Applause, whistles and “woot woots” heard throughout the auditorium.  Patty blushes and bows demurely.]

“I weell never forget zee day I met Meez Patty and she took me home.  That eez when my life really began.  Watching her and oui, inspiring her as best I could, I have seen amazing meals emerge from Patty’s cutting board and stove.  You seemply haven’t leeved unteel you’ve tasted her cooking!  Once you try eet, you weell NEVER go back.  I promeese.

“Of course there have been rough times.  I remember zee many times Meez Patty  managed to burn water.  Mais oui, eet eez possible to burn water.  They always say ‘a watched pot never boils.’  But once eet starts boiling you should watch eet.  Fortunately, we only lost one pan that way, zee rest were salvaged.  Patty eez nothing eef not persistent.  And even though I know she hates washing pots and pans, she has been no less than heroic een saving most of those burnt pots no matter what she burned een them.

“Then there was zee time when Patty put boiling-hot cream of asparagus soup into zee blender to puree eet and she filled zee blender tres full.  I was so fortunate not to get heet when that blender exploded.  Not so for Meez Patty.  Trooper that she eez, Patty was on zee front lines and didn’t escape zee burning asparagus shrapnel.  [Teary-eyed, sniffling] She still bears those scars on her chest, like leettle medals of honor.  Je remerci Dieu Meez Patty eez alive today!  She suffered emotional scars aussi and never made zee cream of asparagus soup again.  C’est la vie, Patty.

“And speaking of explosions, you have never seen anything like a pressure-cooker explosion.  Brown rice all over zee ceiling and everywhere else!  That time Patty was lucky because she ducked just een time before getting decapitated by zee flying pressure-cooker leed.  Deed that stop Patty?  Of course not!  She freaked out and got someone else to clean up zee mess and then got right back eento that kitchen with another pressure cooker!  Zee brown rice has never been more delicious.  Since then.

“When I think of Meez Patty’s kitchen and all zee exciting times we’ve had together, I can only hope that her millions of devoted followers will one day have zee opportunity I have been so lucky to endure.

“We in zee Kitchen Inspiration Industry understand that we do not work alone.  Without zee rest of zee team, we are nothing.  I would like to thank my manufacturer–zee Boyd’s Collection, Ltd, thanks also to zee personne who kneet me my tres fabulaux carrot sweater (I could not inspire without eet), thanks to le secteur Francais de la Chine–China–where I was born, and of course my deepest respect to zee most infamous–non, I mean famous–home cook een zee world (Excusez mon Anglais), zee personne whose cooking cannot be equalled, zee woman every mouse or man wants to spend their time weeth een zee kitchen, my mentor, my teacher, my friend, my fellow artiste and homemaker extraordinaire, (and she would never say theez about herself so I am saying eet for her) LE MEILLEUR CUISINIER DANS LE VASTE MONDE ENTIER –ZEE BEST COOK IN ZEE WHOLE WIDE WORLD–thank you Meez Patty–mon amie, merci! My life has truly been blessed by your existence.

Vous . . .

Me completer.”