Monday, June 1, 2009

Practically Perfect (In Every Soufflé).

I feel a little sheepish for being gone so long.  I've thought about you through the entire process, eagerly waiting to unpack, arrange and organize my kitchen, not to mention  let loose and whip up something that tastes as pretty and perfect as this new kitchen feels.  

(that's spicy cabbage (it is yummy) - you get something fancier, though for recipe, click here)

It is possible that I imagined John following me around with the camera, documenting every single exciting difference (granite counter tops, for example) but that would have been a frivolous thing to do, amidst all the boxes, errands, organizing, and rearranging.  Yet I snuck and did it (a little) anyway.  From many angles.  And with many different camera settings.  While John wasn't looking.  

Eager as I was to get back here, I relearned a valuable lesson (or two, or twenty): you can't rush something special.  Part of me has always known that quality takes longer.  That's sort of an underlying theme with TwinYolks, that extra work is worth the effort.  Sigh. I am often not so patient, though you have been.  You have waited.  You must be hungry.  Here, have a real treat. Yes, I made it especially for you.

This recipe is direct from The Kitchen Bible.  There are hundreds of recipes in it, most of which, I'm sure, will launch you nonstop to your happy place, but this one is special.  Why?  Lots of reasons, (new house, new recipe...) but for me, mostly because it was hard work. 

 (Ever beaten egg whites before?  I hadn't.  My arm was so tired that I summoned John, and from there we were yelling,
 "take over!" 
"no, you take over!" 
  You don't beat egg whites, you obliterate them, and it's exhausting.)  

(Yes, I have a hand mixer.  Where at the moment?  I don't know.)

Secondly because though they looked like little puffs of heaven, I doubted - thanks to my numb arm -  the effort would be rewarding. I was dead wrong.   It's kind of awesome, I think, when something as passive as food proves you wrong.

These guys are creamy, fluffy, puffy, crispy, salty, and sweet.  Sort of like a quiche, if it were transformed into a wisp of a cloud.  Also, if you make sure not to over bake even a hair, it is creamier on the inside than yo momma's mashed potatoes and gravy.  Need I say more?  Okay.  The 'Bible' says they "taste every bit as good as they look."  So that's final.

If your arm falls off while beating egg whites, it will still be worth it.  Also you must make sure you have an hour of unattended Soufflé-time.  (I prioritized you guys.)  Last, but not least, John and I believe that the nutmeg could be replaced with a *tiny crushed garlic clove, but haven't got the arm strength left to prove it, so if you are feeling confident, give it a try and let me know what you think.  

(white stuff= obliterated egg whites)

Hope you like it.  

Spinach Soufflés
(makes 4 servings)

8 oz. spinach, rinsed but not dried
4 tbsp. butter, plus extra for the ramekins
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*pinch of nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs, separated

Place the spinach with any clinging water in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until tender.  Drain and let cool.  A handful at a time, squeeze out the excess liquid.  

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).  Butter four ramekins and place on a baking sheet.  

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Whisk in the flour and let bubble for 1 min.  Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Return the heat to low and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Stir 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the *nutmeg into the saucepan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the sauce to a large bowl.

Roughly chop the spinach and stir into the cheese mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap pressed on the surface and let cool to room temperature.  Stir in the yolks.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Stir about one quarter of the whites into the spinach mixture, then fold in the remainder.  

Divide the mixture among the ramekins.  Using a knife, make a shallow circle around the ramekins about 1/4 in (6mm) from the edge.  Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.  Bake about 20 minutes, until puffed and golden.  Serve at once.  

P.S.  The Kitchen Bible teaches you how to beat egg whites, and so much more.  It is a must-have.  You can snag it off my sidebar if you like.  Also, if you have any questions making this dish, please comment and ask!  


Chantal said...

I had a good laugh when I read the part about you and John's turn to wisk the whites. I love your new place, looks great. The recipe also looks good!

A.Kelley said...

Thank you so much! Yeah that was rough... maybe we're weaklings :) So happy to see your comment!

anna j said...

Oh, 'tis a sad day indeed, to be out of eggs [I'm afraid I indulged in the last 2 yesterday]. Ah well, tomorrow is a new, perhaps souffle-worthy day ;-)

andree said...

looks good....I'll be right over!

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