Can I brag on my friend Nina Griscom? Thank you. She’s got a brand new website and blog, and they are beautiful. Like her. Do stop by. Meanwhile here’s a sample. This elegantly simple fall lunch for 2 would make just as good a light supper. And there’s something about a soufflé that says “occasion.” I’m all for creating a sense of occasion, even when there isn’t one. Especially when there isn’t one…
By Nina Griscom, via NinaGriscom.com
It is raining here in the country and I decided the best thing I could do was to make a cheese soufflé for my husband and me, along with a mixed green salad with avocado and basil from our kitchen garden. And a bit of toasted French bread, rubbed with garlic. A glass of Chateau Montaud Rose 2011 is the perfect summer wine to go along with this meal. It is cheap; 10$ per bottle, as any respectable rose should be!
When I am at our house in Dutchess county, my creative Monster comes out and begs me to “DO something”. Whether it’s gardening, cooking, writing, or doing some pathetic pen and ink drawings … the Monster needs to be fed. Though I have made a million soufflés I always forget the exact measurements required. So I turned to my trusty New York Times cookbook to see their recipe.
I like to tweak recipes, and this time I added a bit of Saga Bleu cheese to the Gruyere and chopped up some rosemary from the garden, which I added to the roux. Well as you can see the soufflé wasn’t exactly the highest one I have made, nor the lightest. Maybe I didn’t beat the egg whites long enough to reach the proper peakiness, or perhaps the blue cheese weighed it down…Who knows. Supposedly a ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum helps to stiffen the egg whites. I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly have large supplies of this in my pantry. Will try it next time.
All I can say is it was absolutely delicious, albeit it a bit heavy, and the touch of fresh rosemary worked well. Leo loved it, and that is all that counts!
If you’re inspired by Nina’s menu and want to whip up a soufflé, here’s a recipe from Bon Appetit. About those egg whites, humidity makes the whites heavy and more difficult to fluff. I hadn’t heard about the xanthan gum, but I do know adding a little acid–lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar–helps. 1/8 teaspoon per egg white, just as they begin to froth while you’re beating them. If you are making meringues, add 1/8 teaspoon per 2 egg whites. But I just wouldn’t make meringues on a rainy day, to tell you the truth. Here’s my source for tips on beating egg whites.
Remember Nina added a bit of Saga bleu cheese and some chopped rosemary to her dish and proclaimed their good effect.
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
- 4 large egg yolks
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces)
- Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Butter 6-cup (11/2-quart) soufflé dish. Add Parmesan cheese and tilt dish, coating bottom and sides. Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes (do not allow mixture to brown). Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute. Pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and cook, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt, and nutmeg.
- Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. Scrape soufflé base into large bowl. Cool to lukewarm. do ahead Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
- Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm or room temperature soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in Gruyère cheese. Transfer batter to prepared dish.
- Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake until soufflé is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes (do not open oven door during first 20 minutes). Serve immediately.