Hi! Remember me? I blog! (Well, if you can call it that. More like ramble, but well, you know… Kinda like this, see? I’m a pro!) Um, so yeah, thanks to those fantabulous people over at We Fix WordPress Blogs, I’m back bitches! Also, ever since I typed “I’m baaaaack” up there, I’ve had this song in my head from We’re Back!. You know, that animated dinosaur movie from the early 90’s? C’mon, you know what I’m talking about, right? Ahem. As pertinent as that information was to this post, this is a food blog, so, onto the food!
So a few Saturdays ago, I was in a Bad Mood. Blame my unemployment status, the fact that Parker woke up early from his nap (which meant that so did I), or the more likely culprit, Mother Nature, but I tired, cranky, hurt, and upset. So while some girls like chocolate and ice cream, I’m a salty, savory kinda gal. Pass the cheese, please.
While I could have hacked up a hunka chedda, I thought to myself, what better time to try my hand at a souffle? So what that they are infamously as temperamental as my disposition was? At that moment in time, I had to know that I could do it. I may have failed at everything else in my life, but dagnabbit, I would at least know that I could souffle.
Did I do it? Did it fall? Did I have a meltdown in the kitchen (again)? Oh the suspense!
Actually, before I could get to any of that, I had to figure out how I was actually going to cook the thing. Despite the fact that every cabinet and drawer in my kitchen is crammed with some sort of pot/pan/utensil/tool you could ever need (and let’s be honest, a lot you don’t), I don’t have a 6-8 cup souffle dish. But you see, I had to do this souffle Right Now. So I instead opted for a 1 1/2 quart (that’s six cups for all you non-math wizards out there) saucepan. Even despite it’s traditional, fussy reputation, guess what? IT TOTALLY EFFING WORKED! Even though I forgot to turn the oven down immediately after putting it in the oven. In fact, it resulted in even more toasty golden brown deliciousness, which in my book, is hardly a bad thing. So good in fact, Parker and I ate it for an afternoon snack. (Apparently, the glutton characteristic is genetic. Thanks, Mom!)
Spinach and Cheddar Souffle adapted from my dear lovely the Contessa 3 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup plus 1-2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan 3 tablespoons flour 1 cup hot (not boiling) milk pinch of cayenne 5 eggs, separated, at room temp, plus one extra white 1/2 grated Cheddar cheese, lightly packed (She specifies aged Cheddar, I just used the huge extra-sharp block I buy at Costco. Excuse me, we make a lot of grilled cheese around here, okay?) 10 ounces frozen spinach defrosted and squeezed dry (a potato ricer works great for this) 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar Preheat oven to 400. Butter your 6-8 cup souffle dish (or saucepan!) and sprinkle with the tablespoon or so of grated Parmesan. (This is essentially like buttering and flouring a cake pan, except with more fat and salt.) Melt the butter in another saucepan and whisk in the flour, stirring to avoid clumps. Cook over medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. Stir the milk, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Drop the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or so until it thickens. Stir a few spoonfuls of the milk mixture into your egg yolks, then mix back into the milk off of the heat. Add the remaining cheeses and spinach. Stir to combine, then scrape into a large mixing bowl. If you have an electric mixer or beaters, this is where you would break them out. Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt into a bowl, and if using technology over your arm, beat at low for a minute, medium for another, and then on high until firm peaks form, and they look all glossy-shiny (like my hair would be if I took time to wash it…). (I have no idea why you beat them in increments like this, but I’m not one to argue with the Contessa. Or classical French cuisine.) Add a third of the whites into the cheese mixture and stir in. You’re just lightening the load here, don’t worry about folding too carefully. Add another third, this time folding to hold the air in the mixture. When you no longer see white, fold in the last third of whites. Pour into your prepared vessel of choice, smooth the top, then draw a circle on the top. Place in the middle of the oven, and immediately turn down to 375. (I didn’t do this, and it wasn’t a big deal.) Bake for 30-35 minutes. Don’t peek! The peep show’s at the other makingitwithmeleyna website….
In other site news: I have a cool Facebook fan page now! I’m sure if you’re a reader you saw the link on the landing page I had set up during my little hiatus, but if you haven’t, click here! There’s also a super cool icon in my sidebar. I also have a twitter, which you can follow me @meleyna, but I really don’t know how that thing works yet. Save up to 50% on select Products at MetroKitchen