Blog Archive

Saturday, August 1, 2015

An Easy Dessert and a Third Restaurant Tale

Blueberry Mousse and Mango Mousse with Pistachios

An Easy Dessert and a Third Restaurant Tale
by Victoria Challancin

I love it when I find a recipe that screams "easy, delicious, flexible."  Of course, I am ignoring the calorie factor.  And we will not be discussing fat content.  Still...for a treat...this recipe delivers.  A week ago I taught this particular dessert recipe to my cooking class comprised of Mexican cooks who are expanding their repertoires by learning international cuisine--or should I say "non-Mexican cuisine" since clearly there is no one international cuisine!

I was drawn to this recipe because it just looked comforting and "morish" and I knew that it would be simple to switch out the fruits.  The original recipe, which I found in the August 2015 edition of Food and Wine Magazine, was a simple Blueberry Mousse.  And though we also made a lovely mango version, I am certain that guava, guanabana, plum, apple, pear, peach...and any seasonal berry all would be equally good (strain out unnecessary seeds, of course).  We made two versions using fresh fruit (though frozen would also work):  blueberry and mango.  I also thought that substituting 1 1/2 cups top quality fruit jam for the fruit/sugar mixture would also work.  How much would I love this made with a proper English orange marmalade made from Seville oranges?????  Yes.

Recipe:  Blueberry (or Other Fruit) Mousse
(Recipe from Food and Wine Magazine, August 2015)
Serves 4

1 cup blueberries, plus more for garnish (or other berries or soft fruit)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
Chopped pistachios, for garnish

In a small saucepan, mash the 1 cup of blueberries with the sugar and salt and bring to a simmer over moderate heat.  Cook, stirring, until jammy, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and scrape the jam into a food processor.  Let cool completely.

Add the sour cream and cream cheese to the food processor and puree with the jam until smooth.  In a large bowl, beat the heavy cream to soft peaks.  Fold in the berry cream until blended.  Spoon the mousse into glasses and sprinkle with chopped pistachios and blueberries.  A sprig of mint wouldn't go amiss either!

A Third Restaurant Tale
Okay, now it is your turn to remind me that I swore years ago that I would never write restaurant reviews.  And truly, I won't.  But I do think it is time to share a few positive food experiences in favorite local haunts.

When my son visits from Mexico City, the first thing he asks when I pick him up at the bus station is, "What's for dinner, Mum?."  He didn't disappoint yesterday when he said this plus his usual addendum:  "Were we going for some seafood first?"  Of course we were.  I am weak, you see.  And I, too, being a Florida Gal at heart, love seafood.  So off he, his precious girlfriend Isa, and I went to Muelle 13, also known as El Marlín Azul, for the giant papier mache marlin that hangs over the entrance (for those of you in SMA, this is located at Stirling Dickinson #13).  I may indeed love fresh seafood, but I need to add that my son Zack would crawl to most places to get good octopus, and Isa, who was born and raised in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, craves the food of her roots just as much--and she always says that this Mazatlán-style seafood is close enough to that of its PV neighbor to strike a chord for her.

Yes, this giant poster is over-the-top tongue-in-cheek fun, as SMA is far from the sea.  I do appreciate a bit of pure silliness.

Zack always starts with a Seafood Michelada (see my recipe for miches here--without the seafood).  At Muelle 13, the micheladas can be ordered with seafood added to the beer-based drink.

Isa opted for a large Mason jar filled with Agua de Cebada, or Barley Water (I would call it horchata--see my  version of Oat and Rice Horchatas here) dusted with cinnamon.  Refreshing, yet filling.
As for me, I picked a Margarita de Coco, or Coconut Margarita, which was fantastic and a first for me to enjoy a margarita made with this flavor--rather like a Piña Colada made with tequila and no pineapple, if that makes sense.  Loved it.  Cost:  40 pesos or US$2.50

Zack also always has a lovely shot of smoky mezcal, a distilled alcoholic drink made from the maguey cactus plant.
Zack is always delighted to pull out a bit of octopus, shrimp, or conch from his drink--and he shares.  


Choosing a main dish is almost impossible for me at this charming restaurant.  The menu is large, but not suspiciously so, as it reflects the various styles in which any of the fresh seafood can be prepared.

For my foreign readers, the exchange rate to the US$ is about 16 pesos to 1 dollar--so any dish costing 160 pesos would be the equivalent of US$10

I don't remember what this dish was called, but it is a mix of seafood in a spicy broth served in a molcajete, the famed basalt stone mortars of Mexico.  This mixture included shrimp, octopus, conch, and scallops.  Zachary's choice.

I seriously suspect there is something wrong with me that I find octopus so attractive.

Isa ordered a tower of ceviche made with a mix of seafood as well.

Though I frequently order the delicious shrimp burger and fries, yesterday I opted for a cooked shrimp, ceviche-style, but cooked, on a tostada, or crispy corn tortilla.  I could swoon just thinking about it.  Let me also say that this is bigger than it looks.  For under US$3, it was plenty for a meal for me.

Happy campers.  In love and eating seafood.  Does life get any better?

More eclectic decorations...nice.

To complete my non-review of this favorite restaurant, let me just sum up by saying the total concept of casual atmosphere, eclectic decorations, fresh seafood prepared in the best of the best Mexican traditions, plus great prices makes this restaurant a real winner.  With its casual ambiente, plastic chairs and gravel floor...if I closed my eyes and could hear a hint of surf, I would swear I was lounging at a Mexican beach.  We may go back today!

Parting Shot:  My Son's Muse, Isabel Castrejón

Photograph by Zachary Popovsky for Zaguán Gallery

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Flavors of the Sun Cooking School (and Travel!)
San Miguel de Allende, México


laura ann loveland said...

Buenos dias, Victoria.
As usual your blog is splendid! Since your return from Morocco you have been on a roll and all of us loyal followers are the happier for it. I also appreciated the link to your friend's blog, Nomad Women, and am enjoying her posts. Muchas gracias,Laura from MEXICO AND BEYOND:LAURA'S PHOTO JOURNEY at

Victoria Challancin said...

Thank you for the kind words, Laura! Always encouraging. And I am so glad you visited Donna's Nomad Women site--she is both a great writer and an equally great friend.

Unknown said...

Hi Vicki, I'm on that dessert. Sounds too good and too easy not to try it! And, the restaurant that you didn't review is across the street from my house. I LOVE it and am always satisfied with their food and drinks. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful restaurants here in San Miguel....especially this one!

Hotly Spiced said...

The blueberry mousse is such a pretty colour, Victoria. How lovely for your son to be in love and to visit his mother with his girlfriend. It looks like you chose a great restaurant to celebrate and I do like the sound of the plastic chairs and gravel floor. The prices are very good too xx

Eha said...

Perhaps I am beginning at the wrong side of the post but Isa and Zach's new photo was surely the first to take my eye: even lovelier than the earlier ones of her!! They are lucky to have found one another with so much in common!!! And I wish you would 'do' more restaurant menus, especially SMA ones, as we living over the seas have so little knowledge of what is presented . . . and at such enviable prices!! The mousses look beautiful and truly easy to make . . . and that is a lot said from one who never eats dessert :) !

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Another seafood fiend here Victoria! And I also think that the patterns of octopus can be really beautiful! Nature is such a crazy, wonderful thing. And your son and his girlfriend are just divine together!

laura ann loveland said...

How can I be jealous of your seafood offerings at El Muelle in SMA when I live in PV?
Something just doesn't feel right about this, but it's true! And needless to say, handsome son and lovely novia. Laura

Tania\ My Kitchen Stories said...

Thats a great dessert Victoria, one to tuck away for sure. So great to see your local restaurants I so want to go!!!. What a gogeous son you hve there x

Gourmet Getaways said...

OMG, that fruit mousse looks not only delicious but attractive! Love the texture, colours, everything!

Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways xx

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

The blueberry mousse sounds too easy but I cannot wait to try it. Just reading the ingredients list and I know my family and friends will love it.

The restaurant view is such a treat. Your son and his muse are fantastic - you must have so much fun together.

Nagi@RecipeTinEats said...

This dessert is really perfect to me. The recipe is "easy, delicious, flexible." I can't wait to make this and share it to friends! Your restaurant review is amazing. You truly had a fantastic time with them!