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RECIPE: Chocolate Mousse With Blue Cheese & Mango

Chocolate Mousse With Mango
[1] Chocolate mousse with a secret: blue cheese blended into it (both photos © Castello Cheese USA).

[2] Castello blue cheese.

[3] Häagen-Dazs Mango Sorbet (photo © Häagen-Dazs).


The name of this dish may sound like an April Fool’s Day joke: A mousse of chocolate and blue cheese.

We first had the chocolate-blue cheese combination 13 years ago.

It was a great moment in modern truffles when Lillie Belle Farms blended Rogue Creamery’s Smokey Blue blue cheese into its excellent chocolate (here’s our review).

They remain a personal favorite of ours, and you can buy them from Lillie Belle.

You can also purchase a wedge or wheel of Smokey Blue Cheese from Rogue Creamery.

Now onto the recipe: a sophisticated, delicious riff on chocolate mousse.

Thanks to Castello Cheese for the recipe.

If you want to make the sorbet quenelle shown in photo #1, here’s how.

Otherwise, a mini scoop will do.

Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 5 squares (about 5 ounces) semi-sweet dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup Castello® Crumbled Blue Cheese, or substitute
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • Garnish: 2 mangoes, skin removed and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • Garnish: 1 pint mango sorbet (we like Häagen-Dazs)

    1. GENTLY MELT the chocolate and crumbled blue cheese in a bowl atop a double boiler.

    2. BEAT the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl, to a light airy consistency, approximately 5 minutes.

    3. BEAT the egg whites to a soft peak in a separate medium bowl.

    4. BEAT the whipping cream to a soft peak in another separate bowl.

    5. FOLD the blue cheese mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then gently fold in the whipped cream mixture, then fold in the egg whites.

    6. POUR into 8 individual dessert dishes; top with the diced mango and serve with a scoop of mango sorbet if desired.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Dried Mushrooms Add Flavor To Your Cooking

    We usually have a well-stocked fridge and pantry.

    When we’re out of something, that something is likely to be fresh mushrooms.

    Fortunately, there’s a solution for that: dried mushrooms.

    While nothing beats the flavor and texture of a fresh raw mushroom in a salad, side of marinated mushrooms or sauté, dried mushrooms work very well in certain recipes.

    All they need is water to reconstitute into their former selves.

    Voilà: You have excellent additions to eggs, gravies, quiche, risotto, soups, sauces and more. (They work less well in a dish where the mushroom is the main focus, like salads and sautés).

    To cook with dried mushrooms, first cover them with warm water and soak for 10 minutes. Drain them, change the water, and soak for another 10 to 15 minutes. Then cook per the recipe’s directions.


    [1] This lovely dried mushroom mix is from Northwest Wild Foods (photo © Northwest Wild Foods).

    If you can take advantage of the opportunity, save the soaking water for another purpose—cooking pasta or poaching chicken, for example. You can use it as is or reduce it for a sauce or gravy requiring just a few tablespoons of water.

    If you can’t use it this week, stick it in the freezer.

    [2] Top-quality dried mushrooms from Melissa’s. A box of each would make a great gift for a cook; one box is a party favor or stocking stuffer (photo © Melissa’s).


    EASTER: Recommendations For The Best Easter Chocolate

    [1] The box is made from 100% chocolate, with cute-topped salt caramels inside. This is the gift we order for ourselves every year (photo © Charles Chocolates).

    [2] One of four collections of hand-painted, ganache-filled Easter eggs. This is the Greek Collection, filled with pomegranate and rose water ganache, walnut-almond baklava salted caramel, and fig and port wine ganache. They’re special (photo © Chocolat Moderne).


    Chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, cream filled chocolate eggs and marshmallow chicks:

    This is not the year to stroll the aisles for the components of a creative Easter basket.

    Here are five of our favorite chocolate Easter giftsbek from America’s top chocolatiers.

    The quality of the chocolate is top-knotch; it isn’t the sugary-sweet chocolate beloved by most children.

    For more kid-friendly gifts, check out the selections at Lake Champlain Chocolates.
    We’ve chosen these as “best” because they’re different from the typical box, bunny or filled egg.

  • Burdick Chocolate, especially the Spring Crate.
  • Charles Chocolates, especially the edible chocolate gift box filled with fleur de sel caramels.
  • Chocolat Moderne, especially the hand-painted Easter eggs filled with different flavors of ganache.
  • Lake Champlain Chocolates, especially the Milk Sea Salt & Almond Bunny.
  • Recchiuti Confections, especially the Burnt Caramel Easter Eggs
  • Woodhouse Chocolate, especially the Laughing Rabbits*.
    It may not be Easter-as-usual, but a great piece of chocolate brings a moment of cheer, and great memories.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Fattoush, A Middle Eastern Bread Salad

    In our neighborhood, a casual Middle Eastern place sells the classics: falafel, shawarma, shish kebab, etc.

    We used to have a regular lunch of the spreads—baba ghannouj and hummus—plus grape leaves and tabouli.

    Then, one day, we decided to order something new. Looking at the menu, we chose fattoush.

    Fattoush (alternatively spelled fattush, fatush, fattoosh and fattouche) is a Lebanese/Levantine* bread salad of mixed seasonal greens with a dressing of lemon juice and oil (also see panzanella, Italian bread salad).

    The vegetables typically include lettuce, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumbers, and radishes, plus mint and parsley and spices (paprika and sumac).

    Fattoush is distinguished by its crunchy croutons, made from stale pita (or other flatbread). The thinness of the bread makes the croutons much crunchier than any made from Western breads (photos #1 and #2).

    Lebanese farmers would fry leftover pita scraps in a olive oil, to get life from stale bread. They’d toss whatever in-season vegetables and herbs that were on hand, and voilà!

    After our first fattoush—guilt-free salad, light lemony dressing, and crunch throughout, we were hooked!

    As you can tell from the description above, it’s no more trouble whipping up fattoush than any green salad with homemade croutons.

    Just cut the pita into crouton-size squares, and toast them in the oven:

    Preheat the oven to 375°F and place the pita squares on a baking sheet. Toast them in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

    The other thing you may question on the ingredients list is the sumac. Most of us don’t have it. Substitute lemon zest to approximate sumac’s tart flavor.

    This updated fattoush concept (photo #3) was developed by Lisa Lin of Healthy Nibbles and Bits, and shared with us by the Idaho Potato Commission.

    In addition to the buttermilk drizzle (buttermilk pays homage to Middle Eastern yogurt), Lisa added garlic, onions and scallions; all three are not used in a classic fattoush.

    She also replaced the pita croutons with crisp potato croutons. The result: a modern take on an ancient recipe.

    For The Salad

  • 6 cups chopped romaine or red leaf lettuce
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced†
  • 2 persian cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced red onions
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
    For The Dressing

  • 1/3-1/2 low-fat buttermilk‡
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic‡‡
  • 2 teaspoons sumac or lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 -1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon cider or red wine vinegar
    For The Potato “Croutons”

  • 3 medium Yukon Idaho® potatoes (photo #4), scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. In a bowl, mix the sliced potatoes, 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.

    2. LINE a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the potatoes on top and bake for 20 minutes. Quickly stir the potatoes, and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes, until the potatoes have browned. When the potatoes are almost done…

    3. TOSS the chopped lettuce, bell pepper, cucumbers, radishes, onions, scallions, parsley and mint.

    4. MIX the buttermilk, salt, granulated garlic, sumac, and paprika in a small bowl, mix. In another bowl, mix the lemon juice, 2-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and vinegar.

    When the potatoes are ready…

    5. LET them cool for a few minutes before tossing with the vegetables. Drizzle some of the buttermilk and vinaigrette on the salad and toss. Taste and add more buttermilk and vinaigrette as desired.

    6. TOP with the potato croutons and serve immediately.


    *The Levant is a name created post-World War I for the region that comprises modern-day Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories and Syria. Here’s more about it. The recipe is attributed by some to “the Levant,” but some food historians attribute it to northern Lebanon.


    [1] A delicious fusion fattoush salad from McCormick, with some added feta cheese borrowed from the Greek Salad, and baby arugula from Italian cuisine. Here’s the recipe from McCormick (photo © McCormick).

    [2] Crisp pita croutons are tossed into the fattoush salad; they’re not just a garnish for the top. They’re so crunchy that they don’t soften in the dressing (photo © Cyrus Roepers | Wikipedia | CC-BY-SA 3.0).

    [3] An updated fattoush concept, with potato croutons replacing pita, and a buttermilk drizzle (photo © Idaho Potato).

    Yukon Gold Potatoes
    [4] Yukon Gold Idaho® potatoes. Here’s more about them (photo © Idaho Potato).

    Fresh Mint
    [5] Fresh mint, torn or snipped into small pieces, adds something special to this salad (photo © Good Eggs).

    Curley Parsley
    [6] Snipped parsley perks up any salad. You can use the curly or flat leaf variety (photo © Good Eggs).

    †Traditionally, fattoush salads are made with tomatoes instead of red bell pepper. Feel free to use chopped tomatoes if you have that on hand—in addition to the bell pepper.

    ‡You can make buttermilk with by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a one-cup measure, and adding enough milk to measure 1 cup. In many recipes, you can substitute plain yogurt for buttermilk.

    ‡‡Granulated garlic is used for the crunch; but you can substitute a 3/4 the amount of minced fresh garlic.



    TIP OF THE DAY: The Best Canned Tomatoes

    [1] Canned tomatoes are typically plum tomatoes (photo © Hunt’s).

    [2] First Place: Bianco di Napoli canned tomatoes (photo © Instacart).

    [3] Second Place: Market Pantry canned tomatoes (photo © Target).

    [4] Third Place: San Merican canned tomatoes (photo © Whole Foods).


    Many of us used canned tomatoes for tomato sauce, chili, enchiladas, meatloaf glaze, shakshuka and other dishes, including tomato soup.

    When you’re scouting the pantry to put a meal together, you can add canned tomatoes when cooking rice and other grains, as a “simmer sauce,” to jazz up boxed mac and cheese, and to pop into a casserole, for example.

    Canned tomatoes are low in calories and high in fiber, iron and vitamins B6 and C.

    They’re also an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant that can help to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and macular degeneration.

    But not all brands are created equal says the New York Times, which recently conducted a taste test among 12 brands of canned tomatoes.

    All are available nationwide and/or online.

    The brands were rank by flavor and balance: natural sweetness and acidity.

    Prices vary, and you can see them in the full article.

    However, the top brands could be two to three times more expensive as the least expensive brands.

    Here are the recommendations: You can read the full article here.

    We hasten to add that one tasting at one point in time is not the final word.

    There are other taste tests from highly regarded food sites that have different rankings; and you may have your own ranking.

    We weren’t familiar with the first two, but the number three choice is our own favorite brand.

    1. Bianco di Napoli

    2. Market Pantry

    3. San Merican Tomato (S.M.T.) Whole Peeled

    4. Cento Certified Peeled Tomatoes – San Marzano Tomatoes from Italy

    5. Hunt’s Whole Plum Tomatoes

    6. Whole Foods 365 Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes

    7. Rega Rega San Marzano Tomatoes

    Five of the twelve brands landed in this category. All but 365 Brand were as expensive as the better brands.

    8. Organico Bello Whole Peeled Tomatoes

    9. Bella Terra Organic Italian Whole Peeled Tomatoes

    10. Whole Foods 365 Whole Peeled Tomatoes

    11. Muir Glen Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes

    12. Contadina Whole Roma Tomatoes With Basil




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