Cheese Souffle!

I buy all my meat from a local farm with a CSA program.  Every month, a cooler full of beef, chicken, and pork shows up on my doorstep.  There’s everything from all-pork hot dogs and sausage to steaks, whole chickens, and roasts.

But I was particularly excited this month, when I got an email telling me they were adding eggs.  There was only one thing to do with fresh eggs – make a soufflé!

I’d never tried one before.  I had a Corning Ware dish that was the right size and shape, and I’d seen a Good Eats episode on them a while ago.  Oh, and everyone said they were really hard to get right.

It turns out they’re not hard at all to get right.  I cheated and buttered the pan with Pam, and then dusted it with grated Parmesan cheese.  I made a roux with the butter, flour, some dry mustard and garlic powder.  I didn’t think the garlic powder added much, but mine may have been old. I’d probably recommend either adding more or leaving it out entirely. 

Once the roux comes together, add milk and let it thicken.  In the meantime, beat some egg yolks, and carefully temper them into the hot milk sauce – the idea is to raise the temperature of the eggs slowly so they don’t end up scrambled.  I added the milk to the eggs one spoonful at a time until they were close to the temperature of the milk, then added them to the pot. 

Then stir in the cheese. I used a good aged cheddar, but I don’t know why you couldn’t use any cheese you like.

I used a stand mixer to beat the egg whites until they got to the “stiff peak” stage.  Then, very, very carefully, you fold the beaten egg whites into the cheese sauce, one third at a time.  If you don’t fold carefully, you’ll deflate them, and the soufflé will be flat.  But if you don’t mix them thoroughly, the cheese won’t be evenly distributed.

After three rounds of folding, it was ready for the oven.  I poured it carefully into the pan, and baked it for 35 minutes.  

I worried about it deflating, but it held it’s shape well.  It didn’t even deflate when I cut into it to dish it out. 

It was probably too much egg and cheese to have as a main course – next time I’ll make it as a side dish for more people – but it was really good.  Light, fluffy, and cheesy, all at the same time.

There are still a few eggs left, which I’m going to poach and turn into Eggs Benedict.  But next month, when I get another fresh batch, I’m making another soufflé!  Maybe this blue cheese version

( see the recipe )

Garlic Parmasean Fan Rolls

It’s getting to be too hot for stews, but I had a relatively tough roast in the fridge that needed eating, so I made Beef Ragu for dinner this weekend.

It smelled amazing.   It wasn’t quite as amazing to eat, but that’s okay – the rolls I made to go with it were.

These are based loosely on the Gourmet Buttermilk Fantails.  I saw the recipe, and immediately thought "Those would be so much better with garlic butter!".

So I made my own garlic butter – I put an entire head of garlic in the food processor, and minced it fine. Then I melted a stick of butter, and added it to the garlic, and pulsed it a few more times.  When it was as finely minced as it was going to get, I put the bowl in the fridge overnight to infuse.

The rolls themselves are just a simple yeast bread – bloom the yeast, add to the flour, add some buttermilk.  Knead (I cheated and used the stand mixer), let rise, punch down.

Then you roll them out.  I used my fingers to spread the butter on the dough before slicing it – I never have much luck spreading melted butter evenly any other way.  I was supposed to slice it into 6 pieces, stack them, then slice in the other direction  – but I misunderstood, and just folded them back and forth in the muffin cups.  Either way would work fine – their way did look nicer.

The garlic really made them work – they stood up well to the ragu.  And they had enough butter in them that they didn’t need any added at the table.

They’d be perfect for a dinner party – just a bit fancier then garlic bread, but without significantly more work!

( see the recipe )

Pineapple Flan

I had my wisdom teeth removed last week.  I haven’t had much enthusiasm for eating, and even less enthusiasm for baking.  But last night I wanted dessert.

I had a few requirements – it couldn’t be crunchy or chewy, and it had to be made with things I already had at home.

I had two cans of pineapple, so that seemed like a good start.  I had plenty of eggs, and my CSA had sent me email telling me I was getting fresh eggs in my next delivery, so they needed to be used up.

So I went looking for a pineapple flan recipe.   This one caught my eye because everything went into the blender, so I knew it would come out smooth, and I had a can of Eagle Brand in the panty.

My first attempt at the caramel didn’t work – it crystallized instead of turning into caramel.  So did the second.  For the third try, I added some corn syrup, and it worked much better.  I should have let it get a little bit darker – I thought it would darken more in the oven then it did.

It made a full 48 ounces of filling, and I don’t have 48 ounces of ramekins, so I used 2 16-ounce Corning Ware baking dishes, one Pyrex baking dish, and the rest went into ramekins.  I put a dish towel in the bottom of my 13×9 pan, placed the bowls, put in the caramel, then topped them off with flan. 

Then move the baking dish to the shelf of the (preheated!) oven, and pour hot water into the 13×9 until it’s halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  The towel on the bottom keeps the bottom of the flan from being exposed to direct heat, and the water on the sides makes them bake evenly.

I checked on them every half hour to make sure the water level stayed constant.

When they’re done, let them sit on the counter for half an hour.  At that point, you can serve them warm, or put them in the fridge, covered, and serve them cold.

Pineapple Flan

The pineapple really jumps out.  For company, I’d turn them out onto slices of fresh pineapple, but for a midnight snack, they were perfect just the way they were.

( see the recipe )

Coconut Cream Pie

It’s getting to be too hot to have the oven on all day, but too early for good, fresh fruit at the grocery store.

So I went looking for something new, which didn’t require much oven time, and didn’t need fruit.  And I found this gorgeous Coconut Cream Tart recipe over at Willow Bird baking.

I don’t have a square tart pan, and I did have a pie crust in the fridge already, so I figured I’d just make it as a pie.  I put the pie crust in my biggest pie pan (9.5 inches), and baked it for 15 minutes.

While it cooled, I made the pastry cream.  I happened to only have two vanilla beans left in the jar, so I used both of them.  When I added the coconut, I thought it needed more, so I added an extra half cup.  I put it in the fridge for half an hour to cool.

Once the pastry cream was cooled, I made the whipped cream.  I didn’t see any reason not to avoid whipping cream twice, so I whipped all the whipping cream with the powdered sugar, then took out enough to cover the top of the pie, and mixed the rest in with the pastry cream.

Then it all got assembled and sprinkled with toasted coconut.

Coconut Cream Pie

When I was done, I had one of the best coconut cream pies I’d ever had.  It’s not as heavy and dense as most coconut cream pies – the coconut milk makes it both lighter and more coconutty.  And it’s not overpoweringly sweet – but if you wanted it even less sweet, you could use unsweetened coconut flakes.

I’m making it again this weekend to take to Mike’s family reunion – except this time I’ll make the crust from scratch!

( see the recipe )