Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bubbles, are you okay?

The answer is, unfortunately, and quite possibly: no. Today Bubbles resides in a Center for Great Apes in Florida. I doubt he enjoys being caged up after being Michael Jackson's #1 pet (only 1 left). 

Monkeys have been my favorite animals since childhood (since when does Paul Frank TOUR? And the Planned Pines Rec Center on that site is incredibly fun). Thus I envied Michael's pet situation, and I pined away for a furry friend like Bubbles but got a dog (like this. Not bad! But no monkey. And certainly no Bubbles). 

If only I could have Bubbles & Michael Jackson, the king of pop, go shop for ingredients with me like non-celebrities . . . he had so much fun! R.I.P. Michael; you were simply the best.

Bubbles (the Monkey) Mousse (Gluten-free & Vegan if without crust or using a gf/v cookie-cracker sub.)

For mousse filling:
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted (another option is unsweetened cocoa powder, adding 2 Tablespoons at a time until you taste the mousse and it's not too bitter, but not too sweet. You can also keep adding in a Tablespoon of agave then stirring and tasting.)
2 small avocados, mashed
3 small bananas, mashed
1/4 cup vanilla coconut milk (or other milk substitute, or real milk!)
2 Tablespoons agave or maple syrup (or honey. Or jam.)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

For topping:
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used both unsweetened pieces snapped to bits & chocolate chips)
Walnuts & a banana slice per serving (makes about 4)
A few pieces of graham to garnish
For 2 bowls with crust:
2 sheet of graham cracker (1 sheet per bowl. If I had had gluten-free cookies on hand I would've used those for my servings! So vegans & the gluten-liberated, definitely find your favorite crunchy substitute for crust.)
2 teaspoons of agave (or honey, or jam if you don't have honey on hand!)
dash of salt

With a fork, mash bananas & avocados in a large mixing bowl. Continue stirring until the largest bits are decimated. Add in milk to make it easier to stir, then add in all the other ingredients (except chocolate) once the mousse is a smooth consistency. 

Another option is to use a blender or food processor instead of hand-mashing (the hand-mashing takes some violence channeled down your forearm and a couple minutes). Electronic equipment will require using a spatula to keep scraping the whirled-away pieces down to get ground up by the blades, and perhaps a touch more liquid (adding a Tablespoon or so at a time) to get the thing to blend. However, you risk losing the consistency & the mousse may turn watery. Yet, if it's too watery, you can add powdered cocoa (or even hot chocolate mix) to thicken the mousse back up to some extent. Feel free to experiment!

Melt unsweetened chocolate on the stove over low heat. Watch & stir often. Once it's liquid-like, add it to the rest of the mousse ingredients.

(The mousse can sit in the fridge while you do the next step.) 

Crush graham crackers into bowls by hand, one cracker per serving. Add a teaspoon of agave & a dash of salt to each petite bowl. With a fork, press the crust into the bowls. Now allot the mousse into the various bowls (or, you could do one big bowl, take a big spoon and serve it that way!), and add your chosen toppings. Tastes best if chilled in the fridge for about an hour. (It even tastes fab after sleeping in the fridge overnight whilst covered in a blanket of plastic wrap or in a big plastic bag!)

As you serve up this delish dish, take a moment to think of how I was denied a pet chimp as a child.

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