I was so excited when I was contacted about reviewing Jacques E. Haeringer's new book, Two For Tonight - Pure Romance From L'Auberge Chez Francois. Soon after starting through the book, excitement turned into intimidation. That was until I tried 2 recipes. Then intimidation turned back into excitement.
What was the first recipe I tried? Expresso Mousse. I've never tried to make mousse from a recipe before. I've bought the package mix mousse that you can buy at the grocery store. The brand name rhymes with "hello". I've never used plain gelatin before. I had some instant chocolate putting on hand to cap off my romantic dinner just in case the mousse didn't turn out. I prepared the mousse in advance and put it in the refrigerator for later that night. It tasted great! The only complaint I have is my fault. I was not fast enough preparing the gelatin portion. I got side-tracked with something. (Note to self: don't walk away from gelling gelatin.) Thus the gelatin got a bit clumpy when I mixed in the chilled expresso. (And yes, I brewed up some expresso. Again, I got side-tracked while reducing the expresso and needed to brew a second cup.) I've never whipped cream before this and I was really concerned that it wouldn't whip, but my KitchenAid stand mixer performed the job admirably. When I folded in the expresso/gelatin mixture I noticed teeny, tiny bits of gelatin. Nothing I could do at that point, but it still tasted fabulous. I dusted the tops of the Expresso Mousse with Cocoa Powder. (I actually got about 3 ramekin servings because my ramekins were small.)
The second recipe was Bearnaise Sauce for the 2 steaks I purchased for our romantic dinner. My girlfriend and I love Bearnaise Sauce. Looking at the recipe, I was really intimidated. I flip flopped between giving it a shot and buying the packaged mix at the store. I decided to go all the way and try the recipe, and I have to say it was delicious! I can't wait to make it again. And I can't wait to try the Hollandaise Sauce recipe. (We love Eggs Benedict!)
While there are very few photos in the book, there are some really helpful tips in some of the recipes. For the Bearnaise Sauce recipe it said to beat the yolk mixture vigorously in a figure 8 pattern to incorporate more air. Good tip, I wouldn't have known to do that otherwise.
While my sauce is a bit chunky (I was hurried and did not finely chop the parsley), the taste was perfect, and it still looked good. Next time though, I will make a double batch, as we barely had enough sauce to cover the 2 steaks.
(The plate next to the steak is my girlfriend's version of Tempura Fried Green Beans. She was attempting to duplicate something she tried at a restaurant the day before. She made a sauce with Soy Sauce and Wasabi Paste that was delicious with the beans.
Next time I cook a romantic dinner at my house we'll try the Champagne Mousse. Can't wait!
Two For Tonight - Pure Romance From L'Auberge Chez Francois is available at Amazon.com, Barnes And Noble.com, Borders.com and your local bookstore.
Lola's Diner Disclaimer: I was given this cookbook to review. This review is 100% my opinion and has not been edited or reviewed by anyone. I was not compensated in any other way for this product review.
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