Azuki bean yogurt mousse
My husband and I attended a friend's funeral today. I didn’t even know she was sick until after she passed away. My husband heard from his basketball buddy and came home to told me the news. How crazy that sounded! I protested to him that it can’t be true. He heard it wrong. I saw her only three months ago at William Sonoma store where she worked part-time. She had a big smile when she told me that she liked my Christmas letter. She bent her 6 foot statuesque, tall body over to gave barely 5-foot-tall-me a hug and with enthusiasm in her voice said she was glad to see me. Last year around this time she and her husband invited my husband and me for a picnic dinner at their woodsy acres of property. Her husband rode a four wheeler pulling a tiny cart filled with picnic goods behind and we walked to the camp fire pit. While he barbequed hamburgers, we built a fire for marshmallows and spread the picnic table with a nice William Sonoma quilt. When I complimented the quilt,she whispered in my ear that her purpose of working there is for the employ discount on store goods then she chuckled. She worked there after she had retired from a high ranking position at Intel. Just like a year before, after dinner, we sat around a fire pit and roasted marshmallows. Her husband gave me tips (again) on how to toast perfect marshmallows. Just then I dropped one into the ashes. Oops! We really had a great time and the best hamburger I ever ate. I believe good company makes ordinary foods into a gourmet feast. I realized now that was last time four of us got together.
This azuki bean mousse has nothing to do with her. I was really upset for not knowing her condition and that I had missed the opportunity to say good bye. Depressed and sad, I wanted to have something sweet that was easy to make.
Japanese style azuki yogurt mousse (小倉ヨーグルトムース）for 4 servings
- Heavy cream 100g
- Sugar 1/2 tablespoon
- Plain yogurt 200g
- 1 can of boiled azuki beans (ゆであずき）not sweet azuki paste 210 g
- Unflavored gelatin 1 teaspoon or half package
- Water 1/4 cup
- Ice cubes
- Whip heavy cream and sugar in a medium bowl until soft peak forms. Set aside.
- Mix yogurt and azuki beans in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a small microwave safe bowl, dissolve gelatin in water then microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power. Cool a little bit by stirring.
- Put ice cubes in a large bowl then yogurt and azuki bowl on top of the ice. Stir in the gelatin mixture. Using a spatula, gently stir until yogurt mixture gets a little heavy.
- Combine whipped cream and azuki mixture.
- Pour equally into 4 glass dishes. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
The slightly tangy flavor from yogurt and just the right amount of sweetness eased my craving only for some. Memories of her played in my head repeatedly. It’s regrettable that I used my busy days as an excuse as to forgot to send thank you cards or calls. I couldn’t imagine the time would come so soon for her. It was a beautiful service. Any praises that were borne at the funeral were very true. She was beautiful and smart, well educated, had a great sense of humor, talented, kind and compassionate and so on. She was simply a great woman.
Her eldest daughter greeted us in the viewing room. Before we could utter any words of condolence, she said ‘My mom loved you guys’. I was floored with her love right there and wept. I believe in the after-life and I know I will see her again yet I miss her so much.
Though I don’t know if it’s an all right thing to do or not, I touched her hand. I wanted to say good-bye and thank her for her friendship. I wished I could say it while she was among us.