Paris: It’s what many call the city of lights, and from my 7th floor view (8th by American standards) overlooking the center of Montmartre, I can see why. I’ve been in Paris for a full week, which blows my mind. I started this adventure two and a half months ago, and with a swish of the hand of time, I’m on my final month in my final country in this tiny Parisian apartment with the tiniest of kitchens.
Speaking of my apartment, as small as it may be, it’s perfectly situated in the 18th arrondissement on the 7th floor of a 100+ year old building overlooking Montmartre. From the front window I look down directly upon the Moulin Rouge, and from the rear is an unadulterated view of the Eiffel Tower. A 5 star view for a 130 square foot apartment:
But what is this? I don’t understand…
After living in the relatively small Bologna last month where I could walk from one end of the city to the other in less than 30 minutes, I’m trying to reacquaint myself with public transportation. For a germaphobe such as myself in a congested city like Paris, this is no easy task. Oh god, I can’t believe I just used the word “congested,” as if I couldn’t be any more disgusted by city life. Each time I step into an overcrowded metro cab wall-to-wall with riders covered in bacterium and fecal matter, I look at the cab handrail and think, “is this the one? Is this the handrail that’s going to give me hepatitis?” I want to put my hands in acid just thinking about it.
Yesterday I had my first cooking class at Cook’n with Class in learning to properly make various breads, including brioche, baguette and focaccia. In Paris, with boulangeries located on practically every corner of every street, this seemed the place to learn the trade. I make bread at home, and it tastes pretty great, but the crumb is typically poor and the crust is about an inch thick, necessitating nothing short of a hacksaw and the strength of the Lord to break through it. I don’t have a hacksaw and I’m not religious, so you do the math.
Amongst the usual hodgepodge of amazing French food to be found throughout Paris, I’ve been practicing in my two feet of kitchen which acts as my entire counter space, sink and stove. Sometimes when preparing the food without a cutting board, without a proper knife or any counter space to work I can’t help but be slightly upset that most urban crack houses have better kitchens than I do.
Don’t flambee in teflon like I did. Big no no.
Luckily some recipes don’t require as much counter space as, oh, say, coq au vin avec carrottes glacées, which I prepared on the floor. This mousse recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s mousseline au chocolat, except I removed all mention of orange flavoring and orange peel and instead incorporated a higher concentration of alcohol via rum into the mixture. You can use Cointreau, brandy, whiskey, or almost any flavor of rum to flavor the mousse. If you prefer to not use alcohol, well, then I’m sorry for you because we can’t be friends.
Taking pictures of yourself in a foreign country is how you let people know you’re alone and ready for rohypnol.
CHOCOLATE RUM MOUSSE
Adapted from Julia Child’s Mousseline Au Chocolat recipe
[print_this]Recipe: Chocolate Rum Mousse
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
- 4 eggs, separated
- ¾ cup finely granulated sugar
- ¼ cup rum
- 7 oz excellent quality semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 stick butter
- pinch of salt or cream of tartar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Whip ¾ cup of sugar and 4 egg yolks together in a medium heatproof bowl until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 5 minutes. It is done when you can lift the whisk out of the mixture and it falls into slowly dissolving ribbons. Add rum and whisk thoroughly.
- Place bowl over bain marie with barely simmering water while whisking constantly about 5 minutes until the mixture is hot to the touch.
- Place bowl over a bowl with ice water and whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and cool.
- Place another bowl over bain marie with barely simmering and add chocolate to the bowl. Mix until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add beat butter into chocolate mixture 2 tbsp at a time.
- In a large, clean, dried bowl add the egg whites and pinch of salt, beating into soft peaks before adding final tbsp of sugar to the egg whites. Continue beating until stiff peaks are formed.
- Combine chocolate and egg yolk mixture until well-combined and smooth.
- Stir in a quarter of the egg whites into the melted chocolate mixture and fold in the rest, making sure not to over mix.
- Place mousse into serving cups and refrigerate 2 hours minimum.
- Eat within 24 to 48 hours