Project cheese soufflé

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My last trip to New York included visits to two of my favorite French restaurants.  I’ve long loved a butter lettuce salad with a smile vinaigrette.  On that trip I had the most delicious and simple butter lettuce salad with a sherry and shallot vinegarette.  This inspired me to attempt to make my own.  Salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, good olive oil and shallots thinly diced turned into a wonderful dressing for my salad.


Next up was the soufflé challenge.  I’ve made cheddar cheese soufflés for years to varying success.  The soufflé I had for lunch at Cognac sent me back to my kitchen determined to surpass the disappointing soufflé I’d made the last time.  It should be simple, right?  Separate your eggs, whip the whites, make a cheese sauce, fold the sauce into the stiff egg whites and bake.  Nothing to it?

Well, the last soufflé I’d made seemed to separate and left a ton of sauce at the bottom of the dish.  Not what I’d intended to serve.  So inspired by my visit, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving I tried again.  This time success was in the air.  I think I’d add a bit more pepper and salt but, overall, the soufflé was a hit and tasty too!

Maybe one more experiment?  Next time, I’m going for individual souffle’ dishes for each person rather than one large to share.

The cheese soufflé

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As Thanksgiving approaches I have food on the mind. Food, friends, family and memories all neatly come together for me recalling wonderful times in the kitchen and around the table.   The other night I was thinking about comfort food.  That favorite dish that you love no matter the calorie count.  I noticed that my comfort foods all seem to be cheese related.  Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup and a side of chips were a classic Mother/Daughter lunch growing up.  I don’t think I will ever forget watching Perry Mason re-runs on the tv with Mom while eating a grilled cheese.  To this day I love Perry Mason and tend to flash back on those wonderful lunches with her.  Her vegetable soup and homemade chili are on the list and tended to have grilled cheese sandwiches served with the soup.  To my list I’d also add mac-N-cheese, deviled eggs, egg salad sandwiches, the potato chip, Granddad’s cheese straws and, last but not least a cheese soufflé.

My grandmother made this wonderful cheddar cheese soufflé for “ladies lunch”.  Where my Mom related comfort food is soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, with Grandmom, it is a cheese soufflé.  At my request, she dutifully passed along the recipe.  As a novice cook in my first year of law school, I attempted to prepare my first  soufflé.  It was a disaster.  I needed to back up and learn some cooking basics, like making a white sauce.  My next attempt was slightly more successful thanks to coaching by Mom on some of the finer points of cooking.  Over the years I’ve mastered my soufflé recipe and even branched out to include variations on the original recipe.  I can now do a Roquefort cheese variation that is to die for.

Yesterday, I decided to treat myself to a cheese soufflé that was on the menu at Cognac in the City.  Wow, it was beautiful as well as delicious.  I think the bar has been set again.  Their soufflé was poofy and airy and delicious.  Taller than any I’ve ever coaxed out of the oven.  I’m not certain what the secret is but I’m going back to the kitchen and I may see if I can find a re-run of Perry to keep me company.  Grandmom has been gone since I graduated from law school but there are moments I feel her around and she may even decide to pop in to keep me company.  Back to that food, family, and friends theme!