May. 15th, 2009

shirou: (Default)
After finishing today's installment of thesis writing, I went to my kitchen to make chocolate mousse for a party I'm going to tomorrow. Chocolate mousse is a staple for me, although I haven't made it in a long time. One of the ingredients in my mousse is Cointreau, which if you don't know, is a delightful orange liqueur produced in Angers.

In college Cointreau was my drink of choice. Soon after I started grad school, my tastes changed and I found that I could no longer drink much of sweet liqueurs. Gin became my drink of choice, and soon I started drinking gin tonics exclusively (not counting wine, of course, which is altogether different). Bombay Sapphire was my virginal gin, but I tired of it after a year or so, and now I drink Tanqueray and Hendrick's.

So this afternoon I take out my dusty bottle of Cointreau to put in the mousse. The Cointreau is mixed with egg yolks and sugar, and the whole of it is put over simmering water to heat. The idea is to cook the eggs without scrambling them. You want to make sure that the yolks have heated through, for which one might employ a candy thermometer, but I just stick in my finger. I could have washed my finger afterward, but as any real cook will tell you, there is no excuse for passing up an opportunity to sample. I licked the mixture off my finger, noting both the appropriate temperature and the delightful taste.

Having tasted the pungent but sweet orange flavor, I decided that while I did not want to consume too much of my ingredients prior to making the mousse, another sip of Cointreau would not be amiss. So, in celebration of it being 5:18pm (or something), I poured myself a couple sips of Cointreau. While sipping, I noticed that Cointreau is indeed exceedingly delicious, so I poured myself some more. Cooking is ever so enjoyable with an apéritif in hand.

Eight cups of mousse are going to the party tomorrow; a ninth is reserved for Laura and me to share tonight. Currently I am drinking gin, but I plan to have Cointreau with the mousse. How nice that it serves equally well as a digestif.

Welcome home, dear friend. It's been too long.

p.s. Do there exist English words for apéritif and digestif? I tried finding some using babelfish, and it offered no translation for the former "digestive" for the latter, which is simply wrong. Yes, English is my first-ish language, but the disadvantage of growing up multilingual is that you just substitute words from other languages when you can't think of one in the language you're using, so holes in your vocabulary can persist for a long time. An apéritif is a drink for before dinner, and a digestif is a drink for after dinner. Now that I think of it, I substitute the French into Dutch as well, although "aperitief" is the same in both languages.


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November 2011


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