Today’s Lesson: Peruse Your Old Recipes from Time to Time

by Laura on February 10, 2015

in Desserts, Food, Planning, Recipes

Nicole’s drawing of a Chocolate Mousse (age 6)

















If you’re anything like me, you’re stuck in a rut, re-working the same 15 or so recipes in the kitchen. They’re the ones I’m most comfortable with (at this time), and more importantly, the ones my family (i.e. the kids) will be most likely to eat without too much complaining.

I know that as time passes, this list of recipes will morph into another one, and the old recipes get shoved in a drawer, just like a child tosses aside a once-favored toy.

Today, I unearthed an old favorite that inadvertently got tossed aside and forgotten for several years.

Here is how it happened . . .

With the Valentine’s Day holiday slowly creeping up on me, I got to thinking about what I could make on this occasion. I quickly thought of a topic – chocolate – and decided re-read the history of this food of the Gods. In the process, I was reminded that chocolate’s history in Spain is long.

Here’s the quick version: When Cortez arrived in Mexico, the Aztecs thought he was a long-lost God-king, and celebrated with a banquet – complete with cups of a bitter chocolate drink. By the time the Aztecs realized their mistake, the Spanish had overpowered them – and also realized the power of the cocoa bean. He eventually added sugar to make it a bit more palatable, planted seedlings in the Caribbean, and once back in Spain helped chocolate became a favored drink among the wealthy.

By the time I finished reading about the history of chocolate in Spain, I remembered a dinner meeting I had many years ago. At the table was Teresa Barrenechea, chef and cookbook author from Spain. That evening in 1999, we were discussing her then newly launched The Basque Table cookbook. In the course of the conversation, she divulged her secret to creating a perfect chocolate mousse. Her secret was the addition of olive oil. Now, I don’t remember why the olive oil made the difference, all I remember is she was right!

I immediately set out searching for that recipe – a printed email from the 20th Century that should have never been relegated to the “Old Recipes” box.  Once found, I gathered my ingredients and set out to make this favorite chocolate recipe of mine – there was no waiting for Valentine’s Day to arrive . . . I found what was equivalent to my old stuffed animal. I feel comforted and satisfied.

Once you try it, you’ll realize that it pays to look through your old favorite recipes, as it is almost as good as finding your childhood stuffed bear – it brings back lots of great memories, and in this case, you can enjoy it no matter how old you get.

Chocolate Mousse with Olive Oil

By Teresa Barrenechea

  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp Cointreau
  • 1 double espresso coffee or 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil (3/4 of a cup)


Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over very low heat or in the microwave. Set aside until cooled down.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and the sugar until smooth. Add Cointreau and coffee to the mixture and stir in the melted chocolate. Whisk until well mixed.

Add the extra virgin olive oil to the bowl and mix well with the  other ingredients, until perfectly blended.

In a separate bowl, beat the whites until foamy, almost stiff. Add the chocolate mixture to the beaten egg whites, gently folding until thoroughly mixed.

Spoon  the mixture into a round 10-inch diameter mold and refrigerate. Serve Chilled.

Serves 10

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