The Japanese word kokoro is as diffuse to translate as it is to describe. The literal translation in English is heart, but really, it is so much more. Kokoro can be the heart of a person, but not the physical heart. It's the unconscious heart, spirit and mind, all together. Thread & Whisk's kokoro is the place our inspiration comes from when we make and share. When you do things for those you love, then the care and patience required can seem effortless. It's as if gifts from the heart aren't measured by a metric that weighs you down. Instead, they open the heart to give and to receive.
Taking inspiration from the Japanese paper art of origami, we spent some time in the Thread & Whisk studio creating a linen heart to share with someone special. It's a long way from the Valentines that we handed out to everyone in first grade. But the sentiment remains the same. As a grownup, knowing that someone took time out of their day to make something special just for you resonates even more today than it did in grade school. If you carved out some time this week to handcraft a few of your own unique Valentines, what would you be inspired to make?
The technique for our Thread & Whisk linen origami Valentine comes from Leyla Torres, an artist who makes paper origami hearts that she strings on necklaces and sends to her loved ones all around the world. She's got the spirit. If folding paper, linen or a pile of laundry is not your calling this week, perhaps the expression of your affection might start in the kitchen.
Chez Janou is a lively bistro in the third arrondissement of Paris that serves a special chocolate mousse. It tastes delicious... just like you'd hope. What's special about the mousse at Chez Janou is that it's served family-style out of an enormous bowl that one person needs to hold with two hands while another scoops. In fact, the bowl travels and is served family-style throughout the cozy restaurant. When that bowl is scooped clean, another one just like it appears from the kitchen. The love never ends.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse
(Serves 6 heaping portions, or 12 small finishes to a lovely meal)
Thanks to the intense chocolate flavor with salted caramel notes, a little love goes a long way with this rich mousse. It has no issues flying solo but wouldn't mind being paired with a sprinkling of smokey sea salt or the Blood Orange - Grand Marnier Whipped Cream recipe below.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
7 oz dark chocolate, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
6 eggs, separated
Combine the water and sugar in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. As the mixture begins to bubble and edges start to darken, watch carefully to make sure it caramelizes evenly. Otherwise, adjust the pan so that the heat is distributed evenly or give the mixture a very gentle stir to prevent burning.
Continue to cook until the mixture is a deep amber color. Remove it from the heat. Whisk in the cream gradually, followed by the butter.
Add the chocolate. Give it a stir, then allow it to sit for one minute so the chocolate melts. Stir to combine melted chocolate into the caramel, transfer it to a large bowl and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
While the chocolate caramel mixture is cooling, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks using an electric mixer.
Mix the egg yolks into to the chocolate caramel. Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture and transfer it to a large serving bowl or divide it into individual containers. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
BLOOD ORANGE - GRAND MARNIER WHIPPED CREAM
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup blood orange juice (from approx. 2 oranges)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier liqueur
Make a simple syrup by combining the blood orange juice and granulated sugar in a small sauce pan and bringing it to a boil.
Once all of the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat. Add the Grand Marnier. Turn the heat back on until you reach a brief simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Once the simple syrup has cooled, whip the cream to soft peaks using an electric mixer.
With the mixer still running, slowly add the simple syrup.
Dollop onto the mousse and enjoy.
tips from the kitchen
Folding Origami in the studio
Wondering what mousse and origami have in common? Yes, folding. A different kind of folding, but both take care and patience and deliver great results. Click here for step by step instructions on how to fold an origami heart. Here's a quick peak from the Thread & Whisk studio to see how our linen origami heart takes shape.
Who's your Valentine? Is there one special sweetie or is the space in your heart open to many? We hope your kokoro finds inspiration from Thread & Whisk.