If you don’t already know it, and you might not, today is Food Revolution Day. Food Revolution Day is a chance for people all over the world to come together and stand up for good food and essential cooking skills. It’s a chance for people to come together in homes, schools, workplaces and communities to cook and share their kitchen skills, food knowledge and resources. Food Revolution Day is a global day of action to raise awareness about the importance of good food and better food education for everyone.
The theme for this year’s Food Revolution Day is “Cook it. Share it. Live It.” – something I, along with my friends at French Fridays with Dorie, are passionate about already! Today with join together, telling to story of cooking and sharing a favorite recipe from our group’s bible, Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.
At my house, Howard and I both get excited about preparing good food to eat and share at home. We enjoy spending time together in the kitchen, though we each have our areas of expertise. I’m the non-grilled main dish maker, the soup maker, the side dish maker, and the baker. Howard’s territory is the grill and smoker and his modernist sous-vide adventures as well as cooking perfect eggs, in every preparation.
I used the Food Revolution Day challenge to teach Howard, our resident chocolate fiend, to make a simple chocolate dessert: top-secret chocolate mousse, which FFwD made as a group back in November 2012.
Some new egg skills were involved. The first was learning to separate eggs. We started with the technique my mother taught me, transferring the yolk from shell to shell while letting the white fall into a bowl. That was a bit challenging, so we switched to the pour the egg into your hand and let the whites run through your fingers approach. Much more successful!
The next was whipping the egg whites until they were medium stiff. Howard loves electronic devices. In fact, he gave me my beloved KitchenAid as a gift. As I explained how to whip the egg whites, he pointed out that this was the first time he was using the machine that he bought (and recently repaired) for me.
The final technique was folding. When you aren’t the usual dessert maker, there isn’t much call to know how to fold ingredients together, but it was an easy lesson.
By the time the egg whites were ready to mix in, the chocolate-egg yolk mixture was a little chunky. We thought perhaps the other steps had taken longer than expected and the chocolate cooled down too much. The end result was less mousse-like than it was when I made it before, but it still tasted good.
Undeterred, Howard picked up fresh eggs the next morning and asked me to get more chocolate while I was out during the day. I had evening plans, but I came home to find that Howard had applied his newly learned essential cooking skills and whipped up another batch of chocolate mousse all by himself! Way to go, Howard!
This time, he was careful about the timing, yet the mousse was still a little bit chunky. In the end, I think it’s because we were using 72% dark chocolate (in November, we used 60%) which must work differently in this dessert.
I have a feeling that more mousse will be made in our kitchen, and I won’t necessarily be the one preparing it. It’s revolutionary!
To read about the other revolutions going on today in kitchens around the world, check out my Dorista friends’ blogs as they tell their own Food Revolution Day stories here. You can also read more about Food Revolution Day here.
This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is a dried-fruit-studded French toast bread pudding called coupetade. On many fronts, there was no way that Howard was going to try this one, so I didn’t even consider trying to adapt it to his tastes. The only concession I made was to halve the recipe.
I’m indifferent to French toast, but I adore bread pudding. This was a new take on it that I’d never seen. First of all, you don’t just start with stale bread. You first make French toast out of the stale bread. Some sugar is added to the milk and egg for extra caramelization. The best French toast is made with egg bread, like brioche or challah, and that was the recommended base here as well. I didn’t make my own bread, but bought a small loaf from a favorite local bakery. The recipe calls for cooking the French toast in a sea of butter, but after my recent greasy pancake experience, I opted to lightly coat my electric griddle with some butter and cook the French toast as I would for breakfast.
The French toast is cut into smaller pieces and placed in a baking dish and garnished generously with dried fruit. My dried fruit wasn’t as moist or plump as it should have been, so I applied a tip that I’ve picked up over the years from the Dorista crew. A bit of liquor can only improve things.
While the French toast cooked, I soaked dried apricots and dried cherries is some warm kirsch, both to plump up the fruit and to give the coupetade an extra kick.
A bit of liquor can only improve things.
A simple custard mixture of eggs, sugar, milk, and vanilla is poured over the bread and fruit and baked in a water bath for an hour.
This dish can be served warm or cold. Traditionally, the French eat it cold, but I couldn’t wait and ate it warm.
I really enjoyed this. It is perfect comfort food! The creamy bread and custard contrasted nicely with the slightly tart and chewy fruit bits. You could use prunes, raisin, or dried cranberries, whatever happens to be on hand. Any non-savory bread would work too (I can’t quite imagine seeds in this one.) Even though I might be eating alone, I would definitely make this one again.
My sister Jane AND her family are huge bread pudding fans, so, Jane, make this one! You’ll love it.
We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To read about other interpretations of coupetade, check out the other French Fridays with Dorie bloggers’ posts here.