Project cheese soufflé

IMG_1448

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

IMG_9305

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!

 

 

New York City in 48 Hours

Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today, I want to be a part of it, New York, New York . . .  (Credit Frank Sinatra)

I’ve been in love with New York since my first visit with sorority sisters as a college freshman.  I’ve been fortunate to visit many cities and each has its own special je ne sais quoi but New York is definitely in its own class of city.  Museums, shopping, Central Park, Times Square, the theatre district, the architecture, eating, so much to enjoy and so little time.  So, what’s a girl to do, just how do you spend a weekend in the City?

The Met, as it is known by many, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is one of many museums available to frequent.  MOMA, The Frick, the Neue Galllery, and J.P. Morgan’s library are some of my favorites and a wonderful escape for when the weather is bad.

Madison Avenue, SOHO, and Fifth Avenue are home to designer and other boutiques.  If it can be bought, you would be hard pressed to not find it in the City.  Madison Avenue is my personal favorite.  I spent a wonderful birthday on the top floor of Tory Burch sipping Champagne  and purchasing new boots.  Claudia there is amazing.  Lexington Avenue also has a number of fun boutiques that are very New York.  Canine Styles is my favorite boutique for the quadraped and Gracious Homes is my go to store for linens.  I love their house brand sheets.

Central Park, so long as it is not freezing cold, is a must visit.  The boat pond, the Zoo, the Carousel , the Alice and Wonderland statute, John Lennon’s Imagine and, just simply, the existence of an oasis in the middle of the City means that it is not to be missed. Just take a walk, grab a sandwich, and simply enjoy the amazing green spaces in the middle of the metropolis.

So how do I spend 48 hours in the City?  First stop is a museum, usually the Met.  I pick one area of the Met to visit in a day.  You could spend days there and, as much as I love it, I find a couple of hours in one or two exhibits usually has me on sensory overload.  Next, I head to lunch.  The Met has several wonderful restaurants,  but Neil’s Coffee Shop on Lexington Avenue is an absolute favorite.  Forget the calories!  I go for a grilled cheese and fries and  enjoy.  If not Neil’s, then BG Restaurant  on the 7th floor is another favorite.  Their mac-n-cheese is another lunch favorite.  A bit of shopping has to be part of the visit.  I usually pick one of Madison Avenue, Lexington Avenue, Soho, or Fifth Avenue for a bit of retail therapy. The end of the day is perfect for dinner at any one of the City’s amazing restaurants. Cafe Carlyle, Bemelmans’ Bar, Cognac, Un Deux Trois, Deux Amis (yes, I have a thing for French restaurants), The Smiths, or Fig and Olive.  Finally, a Broadway play, or a concert, or simply an after dinner drink at the Peninsula Hotel or the St. Regis is an excellent way to end the day.

Day two usually begins with sleeping in a bit and then a Sunday brunch.  Balthazar’s on Spring Street, Esse-a-bagel, or Neil’s are all favorites.  The Botanical  Gardens are amazing and the Orchid show in February is always a treat.  Grand Central  is a fun stop and Sunday afternoons are great for the park or one of the museums.  Then, back to reality and time to return home so I head out to LaGuardia  or Penn Station for the trip back and a reunion with the pup.

So how did you spend your weekend?