Friday, January 21, 2011

Weather As A Metaphor and Souffles

Another five inches of snow fell from the sky here in the Northeast last night. This is the 5th. major snow storm in just a bit over three weeks.

As I was shoveling the driveway this morning I was thinking that shoveling snow is much like grief work. I have been digging myself out of the snow and digging myself out of grief every three to five days only to get dumped on by both once again.

sigh.

Speaking of digging. Digging into a soft, creamy, perfectly baked souffle is one of life's pure pleasures, but many home cooks won't attempt a souffle proclaiming them too complicated, too temperamental or just plain difficult. Not so I say! (have I steered you wrong yet?)

Souffles are easy to make; take very few ingredients and with a little time and attention can be a delicious evening meal or late lunch. Why not reward yourself and those you love with a tender, perfectly baked souffle? You will be hooked in no time.



Goat Cheese and Chive Souffle (with two variations) makes one 1 1/2 quart souffle or six individual 8 ounce souffles*

Unsalted butter and grated Parmesan Cheese for preparing the dish
1/2 pound fresh goat cheese brought to room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
5 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground white (or black) pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Butter a 1 1/2 quart souffle dish or six 1 cup (8 ounce) ramekins and dust bottom and sides with Parmesan cheese.

In a large bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, cream the goat cheese on medium-high speed until light. Beat in the sour cream, egg yolks, mustard, salt, nutmeg, pepper and chives until combined. Set aside.
In another large, clean bowl, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Using a rubber spatula, fold one-fourth of the beaten egg whites into the cheese mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites just until no white streaks remain.**
Spoon into prepared dish(es) and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese. Using your thumb, run it along the inside rim of the ramekins or souffle dish, this will ensure the double crown that souffles are famous for.

Bake the souffle until set, puffed and the center still jiggles a bit when the dish is shaken, 20 - 25 minutes for a large souffle or 8 to 10 minutes for individual ramekins. Serve immediately.

*I prefer individual souffles. It is a special treat for each person to have a perfectly puffed, golden wonder set in front of them.

** Folding: the proper way to fold egg whites into a batter is to place about 1/4 of the egg whites in the middle of the batter, using a spatula, cut down the center of the egg whites away from you and sweep the whites through the batter. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat.

A Cook's Notes: serve souffles with a simple spinach salad tossed with pine nuts and a mild vinaigrette and a good cold, crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

Variations: Use all Parmesan cheese and Rosemary or Cheddar Cheese and Thyme in place of the Goat cheese and chives.

As always, whatever you are digging into today, Bon Appetite!

16 comments:

  1. Oh wow, that souffle sounds wonderful and maybe I could pull it off...because you are right, everytime I see a recipe for a souffle I skip it thinking I can't do it.
    The snow metaphor is fitting. I hope spring comes for you and yours soon...
    Best,
    Tina

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  2. Yum. My sister just got me some souffle dishes for christmas that I need to break in. Seems like the perfect reason.

    Like SmartBear said, I hope spring comes for you soon.

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  3. It does sound fabulous. Perfect cold weather food.

    I'm sure that the digging is necessary work on both fronts. I agree with Tina; I hope that spring comes soon.

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  4. You really make it seem simple if we just take our time. Thanks
    Odie

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  5. I've never attempted a souffle. I may just do so now with your guidance.

    And yes. Grief work is like shoveling snow. But I'm here to remind you that spring is coming.

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  6. It looks beautiful. I've had souffles in restaurants and always liked them. We made one for New Year's Eve (thankfully just a special treat for my husband and I). It was puffed and golden on the outside but still very liquidy in the middle. Any thoughts or suggestions?

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  7. I can imagine that the digging out process is much like the grief process. I hope a gentle spring will bring you some relief in every sense. That souffle looks gorgeous and sounds delicious.

    The vanilla beans arrived yesterday... I'm so excited. Will let you know what I make and how it turns out!

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  8. Christine (Cook the story):
    Make sure your oven is very hot. At least 425 degrees. Get an oven thermostat if you expect your oven runs cold. Also, make sure you are baking the souffle in the bottom third of the oven. If the souffle is not golden on top continue to bake in 2 minute increments until you achieve the golden crust. Good Luck and Keep trying! Souffles are worth the effort!

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  9. Are you kidding? This sounds fabulous, and I have everything I need for it in my fridge and pantry! Now if I could only find a dash of courage...

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  10. Yum. Warm and creamy and very nurturing. Just the thing for grief, don't you think? I hope you made this for yourself.

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  11. I love souffles, but they require me to think ahead--a luxury I rarely had the patience for and now do not have the time for. Ah, well.

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  12. If I lived a little closer I would help you shovel. Hoping that spring comes early this year. Sending you a hug. Take care.

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  13. Shoveling white stuff here, too. I have some yummy goat cheese and am thinking a souffle would be good for a little dinner party with my friends.... not to mention how impressive it will be!

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  14. Thank you for the advice! I'm going to give it a try soon since and will follow your tips.

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Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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