Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Reflecting on Ten Years of #FoodNFlix, A Secret, and Morada-Salted Chocolate Mousse


This month our group's founder - Heather of of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen - is hosting the Food'n'Flix bloggers as we watch Chocolat to celebrate the group's 10th anniversary. You can read her invitation here.

If you don't have a DVD copy of it lying around, Amazon has it available for streaming.

And for my online Lit Happens book group, Heather is also leading our discussion as we read the book by Joanne Harris* that inspired the movie! So, if you watch and read, we'd all love to hear a comparison. As for me, I (re)watched the movie this past weekend and started the book this week.

A Decade of Food'N'Flix
Ten years of Food'N'Flix? Wow. I looked back to see when I joined. It definitely wasn't in 2010, but I think I was participating fairly regularly by 2012. This is a fun, inspiring group and I enjoy that it gets to me watch movie that I might not select on my own. Here's a smattering of my posts throughout the years. 
Savories

Sweets
Sippables

Full Menus 

Chocolat: On the Screen

I have long loved this movie. I've probably owned the DVD for as long as it's been available, so close to twenty years! In fact, when I popped the movie in, Jake bemoaned, "This movie...again?" Yes. Again. But, don't worry, you'll get a chocolate treat out of the deal.

"Once upon a time there was a quiet little village in the French countryside whose people believed in tranquilité. Tranquillity."

Set in 1959, Chocolat is a delightful whimsical tale about a nomadic pagan, played by Juliette Binoche, who disrupts a sleepy French village with her chocolates. Blown into town by the North wine, Vianne and her daughter Anouk land in the village where the duo rent the former patisserie and the apartment above from the curmudgeonly Armande Voizin, played by Judi Dench. Then with some elbow grease and a lot of soap and water they set out to transform the space, keeping the progress and resulting shop hidden behind newspapered windows.

The town is ruled by the self-declared moral arbiter the Comte de Reynaud (played by Alfred Molina) who controls everyone and everything through his carefully crafted Sunday sermons. Beneath the surface of the idyllic village lurks some darker realities: spousal abuse, xenophobia, unrequited love, secrets, secrets, and more secrets!

Vianne's chocolates, akin to the dishes in Like Water for Chocolate, are imbued with magical powers to affect change in the lives of the people who eat them. Her unrefined cacao nibs awaken the passions in one husband and the wife returns to buy as many as Vianne has to sell. Guillaume Blérot is finally able to tell the Widow Audel how he feels by leaving a package of Vianne's chocolate seashells on her stoop. After her husband died in the First World World more than four decades before, Blérot has loved her from a distance to respect her mourning period.

The chocolaterie becomes the lively central gathering point for the villagers to meet and chat much to Reynaud's chagrin. But, in the end, even he falls under Vianne's spell and the village becomes a colorful, vibrant place to live.

Add to this the romance between Vianne and another drifter Roux, played by Johnny Depp, who moors his boats on the river below the town; masterful story-telling from Swedish director Lasse Hallström; countless beautiful shots of chocolate confections including hand-dipped Nipples of Venus, chocolate cake, rose creams...and you will fall in love with this sweet movie.

Let Me Share a Secret

For those who knew me pre-kids - and definitely pre-blogging - this is not news. For the rest of you, this might come as a surprise given, well, given all of these posts: Layered Chocolate Coffee Cake that I made for #TheCakeSliceBakers, Black Tahini Truffles that I made for Valentines' Day, Birch-Smoked Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies, and Chocolate Caramel Cauldrons (Bittersweet Cremeux with Coffee Caramel and Bourbon Cream) for a recent #FoodNFlix.

Plus I've hosted Chocolate + Brandy Pairings on the beach for friends; I've made Homemade Snickers for my friend's birthday. And I even did an entire chocolate-infused picnic for friends between their Willy Wonka performances.

But, here's my 'secret'. 
Before I got pregnant with R, I didn't eat chocolate. 
I didn't like the taste. I didn't like the smell. I just plain didn't like it.

What a difference nineteen years can make! Now, I would confess that chocolate is definitely one of my more ardent culinary passions. And I'm always striving to learn more about it. For our 2014 family Valentine adventure, I booked a Chocolate Tasting Tour for us all at Alegio Chocolaté in Palo Alto. I took a mole making class. And I've taught six-week classes about chocolate at the International School of Monterey. Chocolate is definitely a favorite of mine now.

Morada-Salted Chocolate Mousse: On the Spoon

When I started to brainstorm about what to make for this post, chocolate mousse was the consensus between my chocolate lovers. Done! Since I love the interplay of salty and sweet, I decided to sprinkle this dessert with some Morada salt that I recently bought from Big Sur Salts.


And because I constantly like to challenge myself with new techniques, I wanted to try and make a diagonally-set chocolate mousse. When Jake walked by, he paused, "Why don't you just use some rice or dried beans to hold them at an angle? It would be easier than that," he said, gesturing at my tea towel, tape, and some precariously balanced glasses. Uh-huh. Why didn't I think of that?


This chocolate mousse is light yet intensely chocolate and it's relatively easy to make. You just need a little patience.

Ingredients serves 6

Mousse
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chips, chunks, or chopped into shards
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Also needed: individual serving glasses; baking dish and beans or rice if you want to make them set diagonally

Serving
  • 1/2 cup organic heavy cream, whipped to peaks
  • craft salt (I used the Morada salt from Big Sur Salts because I love the color!)
  • chocolate shards

Procedure

Create a bain-marie by placing chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl and nestling it over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the chocolate cool for a few minutes, then whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. The mixtures should be smooth and glossy. Set aside.


In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup of sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form. See photo above. The peaks will stand straight up when the beaters are lifted from the mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture until uniform in color. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream until it begins to thicken up. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla. Beat until the cream holds medium peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, making sure it is fully incorporated but don't mix it too much as you'll deflate the air you've added.


Divide the mousse between 6 individual glasses. If you are planning to let the mousse set diagonally, place beans and rice in a baking dish. Angle the glasses in the dish so that they sit at a diagonal. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and chill until set, approximately 3 to 4 hours, but at least two hours.


Before serving beat the whipped cream into medium peaks and scoop it into your glasses. Sprinkle with salt and top with chocolate shards or shavings. Serve immediately.


I will be posting a separate inspired recipe for that discussion and linking it to #FoodieReads as well. Stay tuned.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.


Click to see what everyone else read in September 2020: here.

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