orange mocha mousse

Orange Mocha Mousse

Brint: You know what would help you sort through these important issues? 

Derek: What?

Ridiculously Good-Looking Male Models, in unison: ORANGE MOCHA FRAPPUCINO!!!

- quote from Zoolander, one of my favorite movies

Ok, so this isn’t a frappucino, because who needs the brain freeze in this weather? But, maybe Derek, Brint, and the rest of the ridicously good-looking male models were on to something. If you’re pondering a big decision or are conflicted about something, don’t you think having an orange mocha treat would help you think more clearly?  Well, I think this Orange Mocha Mousse definitely would.  Not only because of the yummy combination of flavors, but did I tell you there’s also booze in here?  Well, just a couple of tablespoons of orange liqueur, but  you’re making it, so nobody will know if your hand slips while pouring the booze in and you “accidentally” put more in than the recipe calls for.

Anyway….on to the ridiculously delicious-tasting mousse!

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angel food cupcakes with strawberry meringue

Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Meringue

When life gives you egg whites, make angel food cake. When life gives you a whole lot of egg whites, top the angel food cake with meringue.

Yesterday, I planned to make vanilla custard but hadn’t really thought about what to do with all the remaining egg whites. I briefly contemplated making an egg white frittata, but I quickly came to my senses, and, thanks to Alton Brown, came up with the far better idea of making my first ever angel food cake. However, since I don’t own a tube pan, I scaled down the recipe to make these cute little mini angel food cupcakes instead.

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orange ricotta pancakes with kumquat and candied ginger compote

Orange Ricotta Pancakes with Kumquat and Candied Ginger Compote

Growing up, part of our weekend routine included my mom’s pancakes.  My brothers and I loved the way she made them, stacked up high with a pat of butter on top and clear syrup dripping down to the plate. We would watch her cook them, eagerly awaiting the bubbles to form on top, signaling that it was time to flip. We would tease my brother, and laugh about how the dimple on one side of his cheek resembled a bubble on the pancake. Then, we would eat our breakfast, all together as a family, before we were all off in different directions – my parents shuttling my brothers to their Little League games and me to my organ lesson or to the library.
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meyer lemons: lemon soufflé with blackberry sauce

Lemon Soufflé with Blackberry Sauce

A soufflé is such a beautiful and sophisticated dish. It is delicate, light, and airy, like a puffy cloud. I must admit, though, that the idea of making a soufflé was very intimidating to me. I tend to focus on the things that could go wrong – it wouldn’t rise, it would fall flat midway through cooking, or it would be lopsided. However, I came across the following tips for making the perfect soufflé and it gave me the push I needed to give it a try.

Tips For Cooking Soufflés (adapted from The City Cook)

  • A soufflé is customarily baked in a tall, round, fluted dish with straight sides to promote rising.
  • Soufflé dishes must be prepared with a coating that helps the batter rise. By coating the inside of a soufflé dish first with butter and then with a dusting of sugar, the batter doesn’t adhere to the side of the dish, thus leaving it free to climb to the top.  Once prepared, place the dishes in the refrigerator until ready to fill.
  • Very fresh egg whites have a high water content so they are prone to graining and do not hold air as well.  It is best to use eggs that are 4 or 5 days old.
  • When whisking the egg whites, it’s essential that there not be a single bit of egg yolk in the whites because it will interfere with getting the necessary volume.  Also, make sure the mixing bowl is meticulously clean, with absolutely no residue to ensure that the egg whites whip properly. Continue reading