With a Little Help From My Friends

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Challah2Today marks four years since my mother died. I’d planned to spend it cooking and writing, alone in my house. Oh, and did I mention moping?

My writing buddies had other plans.

I still cooked – matzo ball soup and home-baked challah, since it’s the Jewish holidays and these were my mom’s favorite comfort foods – but I wasn’t alone.

“Make me a pot of coffee and I’ll vacuum your place,” Pam said, after I protested I couldn’t have guests because of the cat fur tumbleweeds.

“I’ll bring chocolate and snacks,” said Rebecca, and boy did she ever. (Trader Joe’s has the best EVERYTHING, and I’m pretty sure she emptied the shelves.)

And before I knew it, the glum, grim day I’d expected turned into a party of dough punching, chocolate-almond munching, and writing at the kitchen table with some of my very favorite Santa Fe friends. A day of sorrow turned into one of gratitude, and laughs, and productivity. A day that reminds me life goes on, and brings with it unexpected joys.

I get by with a little help from my friends.


Little Death By Chocolate

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Hi friends! Tonight felt like a chocolate-mandatory night, so here’s an orange-kissed chocolate mousse recipe inspired by BLISS. I hope it will help you find yours…

In-the-Mood Mousse

Rich, sensual, and totally lickable… Serafina knows a certain Israeli stud-muffin she’d like to slather in this mousse. You can use it however you desire…

In a cold bowl, whisk together:
1 2/3 cups cold heavy cream (more if you’d like some for garnish)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla bean scrapings
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Beat until solid (but not all the way to butter!) then chill.

In a bain-marie, melt:
3 oz semisweet chocolate
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
Once melted, add ¼ tsp orange flavoring (optional)

In a stand mixer (or by hand if you’re brave):

Whisk 4 room-temperature extra-large egg whites to soft peaks.
Slowly add 1/2 cup sugar while whisking and continue until whites are shiny and stiff peaks appear.

Very gently fold melted chocolate into egg white mixture, then fold whipped cream into all (reserving some for topping if desired). Chill at least one hour, then enjoy with your hottie!

Thanks to Syna for the recipe and perpetual joie de vivre.