Monday, August 10, 2009

A Bowl of Cherries

Remember me?

I've been gone awhile. I went to Chicago for Memorial Day weekend and that weekend-long break from posting became, um, three months long. I have missed Fritter, and I have missed you. Please understand that it's not the time commitment to blogging that caused me to stay away. Actually, it was the cooking.

Yeah, the cooking: The premise on which this blog was built. For nearly three months, I haven't cooked at all. I haven't been too interested in eating, either, and I have not visited my fellow bloggers' sites in ages - too much cooking and eating going on there.

Here's how this peculiar little turn of events began, sometime in mid-May:

That little "yes" changed everything.

My appetite politely can be described as "robust" under normal circumstances. However, the first weekend in June knocked me clean off my game. The rest of June wasn't great for cooking, eating, or even blogging. July was better, but only in a tentative, pasta-with-jarred-sauce kind of way.

Now, the fog is lifting. I feel well enough to be charmed by the way my pregnancy book compares our baby's growth with the size of different fruits and vegetables each week - it speaks my language! In fact, I like fruits and vegetables again (but not meat). I went to the grocery store yesterday and suddenly had to have some of the ripe, golden peaches piled in the produce section. Biting into one was like coming home again, and I happily let the juice run down to my elbows.

We are going to go slow here: I may post only once per week in the upcoming months, but I'm making strides. I cooked a few meals last week. I even want dessert again.

And I want to share it with you.

Quick Chocolate-Cinnamon Mousse with Cherries
Adapted from this recipe in Bon Appetit, available on

8 ounces fresh cherries, pitted
1/3 cup black cherry preserves or other cherry preserves
1/3 cup ruby Port or cherry juice

1 1/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
1/8 teaspoon (generous) ground cinnamon
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the cherries:
Combine the cherries, the cherry preserves, and Port in heavy, small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens to syrup consistency, stirring frequently, about 12 minutes. I can tell that the sauce is syrupy enough by carefully swishing the back of a spoon through the sauce, then holding it over the sink, away from the heat. A slow drip is just about right. Resist the urge to drip the sauce onto your finger or into your mouth: it's hot!

Once the consistency is right, remove from the heat and allow the pan to sit for about 5 minutes, just long enough to cool down for safe handling. Pour the sauce into a heat-resistant container and cover. Chill until cold, about 3 hours. The cherry sauce can be prepared one day ahead; just keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

For the mousse:
Combine 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and the cinnamon in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and allow it to cool to lukewarm (5 minutes). In a separate medium bowl or upright mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of cream until soft peaks form. Fold 1/4 of the whipped cream into the lukewarm chocolate mixture. Gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the chocolate mixture in 3 additions just until incorporated. Divide the mousse among 4 glasses or bowls, then chill until set, about 4 hours. This can be done one day ahead; just keep chilled until ready to serve.

Spoon the cherry sauce over the mousse and serve.

Makes: 4 servings


Foodycat said...

I have been wondering where you were! Congratulations! Your mousse looks wonderful. Very nutritious for growing little baby bones.

muddywaters said...

Congrats to you and your husband! I'm looking forward to hearing more about this journey. You have so much to look forward to. Being in the kitchen or at the table with my family might be the thing I enjoy most in life.

I enjoyed reading the following words:

"Now, the fog is lifting. I feel well enough to be charmed by the way my pregnancy book compares our baby's growth with the size of different fruits and vegetables each week - it speaks my language!"

I remember my wife sharing these updates with me, and it always tickled me. I can't really compare my daughter to produce anymore, but she keeps inching up like a corn stalk.

It's good to have you back.

muddywaters said...

Yesterday at the library I picked up a book of poetry by Beth Ann Fennelly because I enjoyed reading her essays and poems in The Oxford American. I also picked up her book titled Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother. I've only read a few letters, but I'm enjoying it so far. I'll let you know how the rest of it goes and if I think it's something you'd like to read.

Tanya said...

I've missed you! Glad to see you should try Ranier Cherries instead of Bing Cherries!

Lisl said...

Such wonderful news - congratulations! Enjoy the next few months. Totally know what you mean about not feeling much like cooking/eating - Giff had *just* started constableslarder right when I became pregnant, so I have been a relatively silent partner in the blog. But I got to eat well :)