I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Monday, 27 August 2012

miscellany: return to soufflés

I overcame my fear of soufflés with a Daring Kitchen challenge, but had wanted to try some other varieties. Okay, 'fear' is a bit extreme, but I certainly never felt equal to it until I tried. So there's a lesson to take away - so many of these intimidating foods can be made. Just read up and try it. Yes, really.

This week, I've found myself cooking some recipes I short-listed from France: a Journey for Food Lovers that I recently picked up at, of all places, Costco. I picked it up partly on the basis of every recipe being photographed, and also in the fact that it covered several duck dishes, venison, seemed accurate in French recipes that I knew, and had a 'basics' section a the back with various pastries and mother sauces. And so far, it has not disappointed (three recipes on Saturday alone. Yes, that was a bit of overkill. But the petits farcis and tarte au citron will be made again. So good!). Tonight was no different as I made the crab soufflés.

Butter. Shallot. Not a bad start, really.
Soufflé is, I've learned, basically two parts: egg whites, whipped (no oil! at all! no no no!) and the other part with the oil and fat - the yolks, the sauce made with butter and flour, the seasoning and flavour. Milk was heated with onion, peppercorns, cloves, and thyme (standing in for bay leaves. How on earth did I run out of those? I always seem to have a veritable tree-full) and left to steep, infusing the milk with taste before it was strained to be added to a roux of butter, flour, and shallot. Egg yolks were beaten in, crab meat added, and all was yummy.

I'm smiling because my muscles are screaming at me.
The whites of the eggs were, in turn, whipped to soft peaks. Normally I'd haul out the trusty KitchenAid mixer, but decided from sheer bravado (read:stupidity) to whip them by hand. Good bicep workout, I can safely say. I did also justify it on the basis of less effort in the dishwashing department, but I think my arms regretted that logic.

Then it's simple. Part A meets part B and is folded in so as not to wreck all that nice air that the egg whites are holding.
Filling ramekins

Into the buttered ramekins it goes, and baked. And - poof! Soufflés! These with a salad courtesy of the girls (romaine, tomato, and blue cheese) made for a delightful supper.

They're not as intimidating as you'd think.

Done - light and delicious!

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