Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mini salads and chocolate mousse...a Valentine's dinner report

I hope your Valentine's day dinner was as tasty as ours. While everyone was crammed in restaurants or still rushing to get to their reserved table for that special day, we did what we do best - we cooked together.

Roland made some amazing Parmesan crisps while I prepared pepperoni and cream cheese rolls and cut some really good smoked and peppery Mahi-mahi. Meanwhile, for the traditional shots of Bulgarian rakia, we needed some shot sized salads.

Taster spoons are a great way to raise the party spirit, since they make serving and eating anything fun. These particular ones in the shot were a timely gift from Roland, but if you are not so much into tiny cute porcelain objects, you can always get disposable tasting spoons at Amazon (they even have bamboo and biodegradable ones now, so you don't have to feel bad).

shot-sized salad

To make shot sized salad, I used:
10 pear tomatoes
1/6 avocado
1/4 cup cilantro
4 Calamata olives

I chopped everything up very well, added a tsp of olive oil and some salt and divided it in the spoons. You could serve practically any salad this way and really impress your guests.

avocado chocolate mousse with a touch of chile pepper

The chocolate mousse-mousse is an all time favorite from the second volume of The Art of Real Food. We faced a huge culinary challenge in that volume, since we wanted all the meals to be strictly vegan. Avocado came to the rescue, providing the best texture to house the rich chocolate flavor we wanted to experience. For Valentine's day, I added a touch of chile pepper, which is always nice if you want to perk up the chocolate aftertaste.

To make 4 small or 2 large servings, you need:

2 small avocados
8 tbsp water
6 tbsp brown sugar / 3 tbsp honey
8 tbsp cocoa powder
1 inch vanilla pod

In a pot over medium heat, melt the sugar with the water, scrape the vanilla bean inside, and slowly add the chocolate powder, stirring until you get a smooth chocolate mixture. In a blender, blend the avocados and start to add the cooked chocolate. Mix very well. Cool after you have served it in smaller or larger bowls and sprinkle a tad of chili powder on top right before you offer it.

Chocolate mousse always make me think of this guy, and I can't help posting this :)


  1. I just finished the leftover mousse for lunch. Soooo good.

  2. I'll definitely try your propotion of sugar and honey. I made mine with sugar and molasses and it was bitter for my taste!

  3. That's an option to use honey instead of sugar.
    The mousse carries the bitterness of chocolate, that's why it's not very sweet. For you, I would use a lower percent chocolate bar that you like the taste of, melt it and mix it with the avocado. It will be great. I have done it with Milka for children.


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