Well, we indeed did a big salad last night…right before I pulled a luscious, unctuous Gruyere souffle, studded with paper-thin slices of mushrooms and leeks, from the oven. Sooo good with a glass of LittoraiPinot Noir it was damn near illegal. Why souffle? Well, it’s easier than it seems, gorgeous to behold, a lovely dinner for two (no timing pressure), The Kill to eat, and just plain fun to make and devour! I mean savor. Savor! Party in a pan, a souffle, party in a pan. (Recipe posted in comments, below.)
Tonight, party on the palate, bringing on the heat with Quick Chicken Gumbo. Not as hot tonight as the first time I made gumbo, oh so many years ago – with 1/4 cup (!) of cayenne pepper (major inexperienced misread of that recipe, ouch) – but hot enough to tingle, just right. I sauteed a little pan of okra separately as well, to keep it crisp, and used it as a garnish. Nathan looked at the okra very skeptically, but gave it a try, decided it was delicious, and dug in. YESSS when kids try new foods! Especially vegetables!
I have to confess I wasn’t uber-hungry for dinner, after catching a late lunch with my aunt Mary. She was ’round these parts for a visit with our joint hair guru, Nisa at Spalon Montage. We met at Beaujo’s Wine Bar in Edina, with lots of craziness to gossip and cackle about while digging into yummy lentil soup and chopped salads chock full o’ roasted beets, blue cheese, pine nuts, and red onion. Beaujo’s always delivers delicious, simple food, and a tasty wine list… Perfect fare for a cozy post-movie nosh, or much-needed sustenance in the midst of some pretty killer shopping.
And of course for a post-hairdo luncheon! Yay for my aunts getting their hair prettified here in the Minneapple!
Note again: a cup of small pieces of lightly steamed broccoli was a delicious addition - add with mushrooms/leeks.
Basic Cheese Souffle
Adapted from The Doubleday Cookbook by Anderson & Hanna
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 c. milk
1 1/4 c. coarsely grated Cheddar or 3/4 c. Gruyere
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
note: I sautéed a few oz. thinly sliced mushrooms and leeks in the butter before adding the flour – you could experiment with other additions
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, blend in the flour, slowly stir in milk, and heat, stirring, until thickened. Add cheese and stir until melted. Beat yolks lightly, blend in a little hot sauce and return to pan; heat and stir 1-2 minutes over lowest heat. Off heat, mix in salt and pepper; lay a piece of wax paper flat on surface of sauce and cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, stir about 1/4 cup into the sauce to lighten it then fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon into an un-greased 5-cup soufflé dish (or casserole) and bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes until puffy and browned. Serve at once.