Mousse au Chocolat

Mousse au Chocolat

The tastiest, simplest, fastest & best Mousse au Chocolat.
Yes, there is a valid concern about raw eggs and this is my feeling on the subject:
At my family restaurant-hotel, where I was born & raised in the French Pyrenees, the eggs would be delivered once a week in crates of 24 dz. They were stored in a cool, but non refrigerated room, called “le garde manger”. Roots vegetables, fruits, canned goods, condiments, spices, oils & eggs where also stored there. They were really fresh and then many recipes with raw eggs found their way on the menu: Mayonnaise, Steak Tartare, Mousse au Chocolat and even on the cocktail menu with Porto Flip (weird cocktail made with port, brandy and egg yolk, plus nutmeg). So today I still make recipes with raw eggs but I always make sure of their freshness and origin,  I buy them at the farmers market and let know the farmer I will use them raw.

This recipe today, though very similar to the one we made at the “Hotel Poste & Golf”, was passed on to me by a woman I knew in Albany and she told me that it was a Pierre Franey’s recipe published in his “60 Minute Gourmet” column for the New York Times. I don’t have Franey’s New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet with me, so I can’t check if it is in it.
Speaking of Pierre Franey I met him once in 1990 in San Diego where I lived for a few years. Several celebrity chefs came to town to cook a March of Dime charity dinner. Among them was my Gascon childhood friend Ariane Daguin owner of d’Artagnan, It went to give her a hand to prep & set up her dishes. Pierre Franey was there with his wife, both very kind people, I truly enjoyed the food conversations and he remind me a lot of my grand father chef Joseph Peyrafitte. I am glad this picture survived all my moves.
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Moi (Nicole Peyrafitte), Pierre Franey (1921-1996), & Ariane Daguin
Back to the mousse:

Ingredients per person:
1 ounce of very good chocolate (60 to 75% dark great quality chocolate)
1 teaspoon of water
1 egg
And yes! only 3 ingredients.

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Melt water + chocolate on the stove in a bowl on a double boiler.
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Once the chocolate is melted,remove it from the heat & stir it well.
While it cools down I separate the eggs.
Egg whites in a clean & dry bowl, and the yokes on another one.
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Mix the yokes in with the chocolate.
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Add a very small inch of salt and beat the egg whites very firm.
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Fold half of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate & egg mixture.
Then very gently fold in the second half.
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I made it for 5. Pour in individual glass dishes & refrigerated for 4/5 hours minimum.
Can be made the day before.

Vernal Cabaret – Gershwin Hotel – NYC

Vernal Cabaret – Gershwin Hotel – NYC

Saturday night I was among the 20 performers celebrating the Nesenkeag Coop Farm & the New Framer Development Project in NY. With Mike Bisio on bass we performed the following program:
– Aqueros Montanhos
– Pasejade au Col de Pierefitte
– O Toulouse
– La Vie en Rose
– Mahicanituck
and the premiere of our lastest composition :
Duo for Crème Chantilly (whipped cream) and Double Bass.
You can have a virtual taste of the event with 2 videos below. Stay tuned for the family easter lunch full report!

Chips (2)

Chips (2)
HOME MADE CHIPS
1- Peel potatoes. I made 2 batches. For the first batch I used 1 Russet potatoe and for the second batch 1 Yukon. The Yukon is tastier. To cut the potatoes really thin I used the potato peeler ($1) and let them soak in cold water for 10 minutes.

Home Chips

2- I drained the potatoes in a colander & dried them really
well.

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3- In my small wok I poured the whole 16 Fl.OZ bottle of safflower
oil and turn the heat high.

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4- I test the heat of the oil by carefully holding the end of one chip into the oil. If the chip “fries” then it is hot enough & I can gently slide my dry potatoes in.

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5- When the chips are golden I remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on a paper towel.

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6- Salt & pepper to taste. Set on a plate and it is ready to serve. I
hate the first batch while I made the second! I repeated the steps to fry
the second batch making sure I removed all the small bits & pieces form
the oil. Also I did let the oil return to high temperature before frying the
rest.

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7- The oil can be reused a few times. I waited for it to cool and then strained it back into the bottle that I label and save in the fridge.

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8- My chips were delicious — though I have to confess that they are not exactly like my grandfather’s, mostly because we had professional deep fryers at the hotel so that make much crispier chips.

Voilà et Bon Appetit!

Chips (1)

Chips (1)

When I walked from 25th Street in Manhattan to Park Slope a few weeks ago, I came across this store on Greenwich Street. I have seen chips displays before at grocery stores, but never as a display window facing the street. It looked like some art installation:
chips
chipschips

Chips, chips & chips & more chips. Two big windows full of chips! I don’t
eat chips. One: I don’t snack, two: I rarely eat sandwiches or hamburgers, so
not many occasion to find them on my plate. But I actually decline them when
they are offered, unless I know they are homemade. Commercial ones are always
too salty and I don’t like their taste.
But this display brought back some nostalgic memories of my grandfather Joseph Peyrafitte (1891-1973):

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Bon Papa Joseph, as we always called him, presided over the family hotel-restaurant kitchen in Luchon, French Pyrenees, all his life — except when he went to England as a French apprenti cuisinier (I am trying to find out more about this part of his life, because it was the time when Escoffier was there too! Though my grandfather is younger, I always wondered if he ever met him) and when he went for his 4 years of military service, followed by 4 years of war. So, the potato chip display brought me back in time; below is a scan of a page taken from one of his many menu notebooks (merci Pierre!). This one is dated May 31, 1965, and the P. Chip or Potato Chips are served as an accompaniment to Cailles
sur Canapé:

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The Wikipedia‘s entry for potato chip informs us they were invented by George Crumb in 1853 in Saratoga. Well, I don’t want to take any credit away from Chef Crumb because I really like the story. But anyone with potatoes and enough oil could cook some! Anyhow, there is no entry in my first edition of the Dictionnaire Universel de la Cuisine (1890’s), but the Wikipedia site tells us that Alexis Soyer published a recipe in “Shilling Cookery for the People” in 1845. I did find an entry in my grandfather’s Escoffier (2nd edition, 1907):

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So this is it for today. The next post will feature the making of potato chips at home. I made some tonight, but it is too late to keep doing this blogging thing! I rode my bike 14miles/22kms — see the map below — plus a pretty intense yoga class… I need to sleep!

Happy St Patrick’s day and looking forward to Saint Joseph’s day on March 19th!