Thursday, October 22, 2009

Say "Cheese" Please! Ina Garten's Blue Cheese Souffle' & a Rockin' Salad

I've never made a souffle' before. Come to think of it, I've never eaten a savory souffle'. Oh sure, I've indulged in a rich chocolate souffle'. I used to indulge in a  Grand Marnier Souffle at a local restaurant that, sadly, closed after many years.  But, Blue Cheese?  I had to think about that, since I like blue cheese, but I'm not crazy about it.

I spotted this cheese at Trader Joe's and I thought this would make a nice combination, and would tone down the blue cheese a bit.

Yes, this would do nicely!  So I grated a little over 3 ounces of this-- it's delicious!

I made sure that I had my mise en place (which I usually call "mess in place"). It's crucial, I think, when I'm trying out a new recipe that might pose a challenge. The last thing I need is to find out that something is missing!

I read the directions a few times, and realized that this wasn't that hard to make. I would make a roux, add cheese, whip eggs whites and fold it in. How hard could that be? Ready? Here we go!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Butter the inside of an 8-cup souffle dish (7 ½ inches in diameter and 3 ¼ inches deep) and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.
NOTE: I used 4 small ramekins and make "collars" with parchment paper so the souffle could rise higher. I had also read, somewhere, that coating the souffle dish with cornmeal helps the souffle to rise better. So I followed Ina's instructions to use Parmesan on two ramekins and I used cornmeal on the other two-- as an experiment.

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  • Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk (I heated it in the microwave for about 90 seconds), ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg.
  • Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.
NOTE: It took more like 3-4 minutes to become thick, for me.

Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the Roquefort and the ¼ cup of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

  • Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  • Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks.

Whisk ¼ of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest.

Pour into the souffle dish, then smooth the top.
NOTE: I think I should have added the collar at the end (I could have used kitchen twine, but I taped it) I had no way of smoothing out the top!

Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the souffle rise evenly (used a long knife to do this), and place in the middle of the oven.
NOTE: I set the ramekins on a baking tray.
Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don't peek!) until puffed and brown.
NOTE: My baked for about 22 minutes, since they were in smaller ramekins.

 My first souffle's. NOTE TO SELF: Make the collars smaller next time!

Yes!  It worked!  Yeah, they're not quite so smooth on top-- okay, they're not smooth at all!  But, they sure puffed up and smelled fantastic.

 That's a puffy souffle'!

I think that the corn meal vs. the parmesan cheese didn't make any dramatic difference in how the souffle' rose. I will say, though, that the dishes were super easy to clean.

I thought that a salad would be perfect with this meal. I drop into Stacey Snacks blog on a regular basis. I love her recipes-- they're simple, made with fresh ingredients and she's also a really friendly blogger.  I always learn something new about French & Italian cooking from her (she's knows a lot about catering and gourmet recipes).  She posted a beautiful Alsatian Tarte Flambe (which I plan to make) and her favorite French salad. I had every single ingredient to maker her salad-- spring salad mix with frisee', walnuts (which toasted in a dry skillet... I had white balsamic vinegar and walnut oil, too!

 The only thing I didn't have was Gruyere' Cheese.  I did, however, have Manchego Cheese from Spain:

It has a nice bite to it! I grated a handful of the cheese.

1 teaspoon of grainy mustard
2 tbsp of white balsamic vinegar
5 tbsp of walnut oil  ( used about 3 Tbsp.)

Toss all ingredients together with dressing, and you have a wonderful French salad.

It's light and refreshing. Stace, it's a winner!

Souffle's deflate quickly, so photographing meant I had to work fast! You need to serve these immediately. Fortunately, the salad was ready to go so that I could get this meal on the dinner table, quickly.

 The souffle' was, indeed, airy and very light. Craig and I both liked the cheese flavor, but it wasn't overpowering.

Craig and two and I hate one and a half.  It was satisfying, but not a heavy meal at all.

I'm so glad that I can cross "learn to make a souffle" off my list of things to learn.  Would I make this again? Maybe.  It's good, but I much prefer a dessert souffle'.

It certainly kicked up my culinary self-taught lessons up a notch. I don't know what I was so afraid of!

It's a wrap!

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Kim said...

Congrats on your souffles. They look like they turned out great!!

Muneeba said...

I have the same bullet on my list that I need to cross off! I recently discovered that you can buy "only egg whites" that come in a container, in the egg aisle of my grocery store (yes, I know, I live under a rock 'coz everyone probably knew that!). I think I'll use that, instead of separating perfectly good eggs & wondering what to do with the yolks. LOVE blue cheese, but u're right that it can be overpowering - these turned out beautiful, so congrats!!!

Stacey Snacks said...

Your souffles came out PERFECT!!!
I like the manchego idea on the salad.
Beautiful meal, as usual!
what, no apron?

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Fantastic results! I haven't made a souffle in a long time, and I haven't ever attempted a blue cheese souffle. That is my absolute favorite cheese, so I think you've now tempted me into a new souffle project!

Kate said...

Debby, they look great! I loved your post. It was fun to see your photos and mine as we marched through the recipe! It was tasty. I will have to try the salad.

Mary said...

What a lovely post. Your really did a great job with this challenge.

Penny said...

Your souffles look beautiful. I think I would have liked that cheese - wish we had a Trader Joe's close by. But what is so great about this recipe is that you can use any cheese.

Velva said...

Oh my! Your souffles look fabulous. This is impressive. That cheese alone would be worth it.
I have never made a souffle before. This might just tempt me.

Very nice!

TKW said...

I'd never made souffle, either!

Yours turned out VERY differently than mine, LOL! Yours look great!

Taste of Beirut said...

Wonderful post! Thanks for the inspiration!

Phoo-D said...

Congratulations on your first souffle! They look perfect.

spike. said...

wow! wonderful job on your first souffle!

Future Grown-Up said...

Congratulations on your first souffle! I love how gorgeous and browned they are. I'm a blue cheese junkie so this right up my alley but I like the cheeses you subbed too.

Cheryl said...

My husband is the Souffle maker in our family, I have never tried it. I love Blue Cheese and just may have to give this a whirl, thanks for the step by step photos!

Nina said...

Your souffle's look great!! Love all your photos. I used the collar also-makes a big difference!

Frieda said...

Great post ~ never had souffle before and it's always great to learn and try something new!

Yudith said...

What a great idea using the little ramekins, because I have those! I should do that next time.

Monica H said...

Yum! I've never had a savory souffle but this looks so light and airy.

The salad looks perfect too. I love salads like that. Add a little chiken breast and you've got a meal!

Debinhawaii said...

Great job--your souffles look delicious and the salad does too!

Wyn said...

Your pictures are definitely magazine quality. Looks good but I just know that blue cheese would be more than a match for me. LOL.

Coco said...

I am really enjoying your blog! Your souffles look great and as I told Nina, I will definitely try the ramekins next time:)

Simple Simon said...

Excellent looking souffles! And what great explanations you always share with us. You must be a teacher.

Jen_from_NJ said...

Looks absolutely delicious! I will need to look for that cheese at Trader Joe's. Sounds perfect. You look like a professional souffle maker to me!

Me! said...

Those look great! I think they look better that way. They are home made, you don't want them to look all perfectly smooth like they were formed out of a machine.

Note to self: get cheese from Trader Joes the next time I want to trek down there.

Maris said...

Look delicious! Your souffles look beautiful, they can be tricky to make well.

Phoenix said...

This looks like something to impress the mother-in-law actually. Heh. Thanks for sharing, it looks wonderful.

Danielle said...

I've never made a souffle. I don't even know if I've ever eaten one. hmm. Yours look great! and that trader joes cheese? how cool is that! Maybe one day I'll give this a try. It looks kinda fun :)

Anonymous said...

Debby, this dish looks beautiful and delicious and you put so much effort into the preparation. I would love to be cooking that for my friends right now :)