“Come home right away,” my husband said. “We have a catastrophe in the den.”
Thus began what was supposed to have been a quiet Monday evening. Dinner was made ahead and had only to be put on the table. The Olympics awaited as close as the TV in the den.
What we didn’t count on was an ice dam in a gutter, forcing open seams in the roof that led to — you guessed it. Water. Lots of water seeping through the ceiling in the den.
Monday evening’s entertainment consisted of moving furniture large and small, papers, books and various other odds and ends out of harm’s way. Small holes were bored into the slightly sagging ceiling, allowing the water gathered above to run into a motley collection of trash cans and one lone bucket, seven in all, of various shapes, sizes and colors. Our den, by the way, is not a large room.
For a couple of hours on a Monday night our house looked like “the Keystone Cops go to the Olympics.” The twists and turns we went through while dodging overhead water and schlepping various items out of the den were worthy of a gold medal. I devoutly pray that part of the Eriksson winter games is over and done.
If I hadn’t already been convinced of the virtues of cooking ahead, being able to eat a homemade dinner two hours later than usual — all the way through dessert — would have made a believer of me.
For the Armchair Olympics, a potluck or to wind up a dinner at home with friends I love this dessert. A reprise of a recipe I shared about 20 years ago, it’s delicious, easy and actually has to be made ahead. Vary the flavoring as you like. The one constant is big, bold chocolate flavor.
Don’t trip on your way to the podium.
6 ounces high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
(Off brand chips may not melt smoothly for a smooth texture)1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur
2 pasteurized egg yolks
2 pasteurized eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
Melt chocolate, liqueur and orange juice in a double boiler over very low heat. Set aside.
Meanwhile, place eggs, yolks, vanilla and sugar in a blender. Blend 2 minutes on medium-high speed.
Heat cream almost to boiling (can be done in a microwave oven). Pour into egg mixture in blender in a slow stream (while blender is running) until well mixed.
Pour into individual small serving cups. Chill 2 or more hours.
Garnish with whipped cream, mandarin orange sections or shaved bitter chocolate to serve.
Serves five to six in small cups.
The Grand Marnier and orange juice concentrate can be replaced by equal amounts of coffee liqueur and strong black coffee, amounts reduced for a milder flavor, or simply omitted for a pure chocolate flavor.
Smaller amounts of mousse can be served in chocolate cordial cups, little nests made of phyllo dough or tiny tart shells. A whole fresh raspberry is good for a change from an orange section as a topper.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.