As the creamy smooth chocolate pudding filled my mouth, my taste buds woke up and I savored every bite of the rich buttery texture. I would have never guessed avocado formed the basis of this pudding! The chocolate mousse was a recipe in Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook It's All Easy.
Gwyneth Paltrow was doing a book signing recently at my family's club in East Hampton--a lady's night dinner where over 150 women came. The sun setting with a mountain of pink clouds over the ocean formed her backdrop. She started her presentation by saying how wonderful it is for women to get together. Rather than giving a standard lecture, she opened the floor to questions right away. She said, "You can ask anything you want that interests you."
The questions the crowd asked varied--from the importance of using non-toxic products on one's body, balancing work and home life, her website: Goop.com, to her acting career. One of the ladies even asked her about her ex-husband Chris Martin. She said they were good friends, and that, in fact, he was at her house at the moment taking care of their children.
She answered every question with candor and humor. I was particularly impressed with her knowledge about the disruptive effects chemicals in skin care products can be to the hormonal and endocrine systems.
Someone also asked Gwyneth if she would sing a song from one of her movies. She fearlessly obliged and perfectly sang a verse of the song "Cruisin" that she sang with Huey Lewis from the movie Duets.
As Gwyneth started her book signing, the buffet dinner also began. Every delicious dish was made from recipes in her cookbook. The menu was burrata with thinly sliced cucumber on top, crispy polenta with sauce, mixed roasted vegetables with avocado, roasted chicken, seared scallops with asparagus and watercress, and chocolate mousse for desert.
As a vegetarian, I was happy there were enough dishes for me to eat. The burrata with shaved cucumber was elegant to look at and refreshing to eat on a summer evening. The roasted vegetables were crisp and savory as was the polenta.
My friend sitting next to me said, "the chicken was delicious and simple--no odd combination of flavors, which is so common nowadays. It was golden on the outside and very tender, moist and well cooked on the inside. Yummy!" My niece said that the scallop dish was delicious!"
The highlight for me was the chocolate mousse. Everybody at my table was "oohing" and "ahhing" during every bite, and were as surprised as I was to learn that avocado was the main ingredient.
I came away that evening with a renewed appreciation for Gwyneth Paltrow. I loved her down-to-earth, fun-loving nature and her desire to bring a non-toxic better quality of life through her lifestyle website: goop.com.
My 90-year-old mother and I were going through Gwyneth's cookbook last night before going to bed. There were many ingredients she had never heard of such as acai, chia seeds, kimchi, veganaise, garam masala, tamari, hemp seeds, coconut sugar, wasabi powder, and much more. We both look forward to trying many new recipes in her book. The first ones I want to try are the beet chips, ginger chia pudding, and of course, the chocolate mousse!