Classic Cheese Soufflé

Soufflé au Fromage Classique

Serves 2

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The origins of the soufflé date back to the early eighteenth century with credit and acknowledgement to French master cook Vincent de la Chapelle. However, the development and popularization of the soufflé in the nineteenth century is attributed to French chef Marie-Antoine Carême. Served as an entrée or as a dessert, soufflés are typically prepared from two basic components: a Sauce Béchamel as the flavorful base, and the “puff” of the egg whites. Soufflés can be baked in individual ramekins or in a larger single soufflé dish. Ingredients commonly used to flavor are fresh herbs, cheese and vegetables. For dessert soufflés you can introduce the sweetness of jams, fruits, berries, chocolate, bananas and lemons. Soufflés can also be accompanied by a sauce, such as Suprême, Béarnaise or a Tomato Coulis.

Contrary to the myth that a bump or loud noise will cause the soufflé to fall, the inevitable collapse is indeed expected, once the soufflé begins to cool.


•• Sauce Béchamel ••

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup butter

1/2 tsp salt

pepper and nutmeg to taste (optional)

1/2  cup of organic unbleached or Spelt flour

1 cup of whole milk or half and half

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PREPARATION

•• Using a sauce pan over a low heat, slowly melt the butter until you see the formation of small bubbles. •• Add salt, pepper and nutmeg (optional) to taste. •• Gradually introduce the flour by mixing slowly with a whisk to create a paste.  •• This is called a “roux”, that should not be overcooked or allowed to become brown. •• Remove the roux from the heat and add 1 cup of whole milk or half and half, blending until smooth and without the formation of any lumps. •• Place the sauce pan back over a low heat, mixing the roux slowly and until it becomes firm. •• If you observe that the roux is quickly becoming too firm, remove the pan from the heat, but continue to mix. •• If the roux is becoming too thick, add sparing amounts of milk for desired lightness. •• Your Sauce Béchamel is now ready and should present as a creamy smooth sauce, without any lumps and with the consistency of fluffy mashed potatoes. •• Turn off the heat and set aside your saucepan on the cooktop. ••


 •• The Puff of the Egg Whites ••

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs

1 pat of butter

1 cup of grated Swiss cheese

juice of freshly squeezed lemon


PREPARATION

•• Preheat the oven to 430 degrees. •• Thoroughly butter each individual soufflé dish, including the bottoms and the sides. •• Then lightly flour each dish. •• Separate the eggs, whites from the yolks and place into separate bowls. ••

•• Over the cooktop and without any heat under your saucepan, add 4 egg yolks into the Sauce Béchamel, using a small teaspoon, one at a time. •• Then mix throughly. •• Note that the saucepan should be cooled. If it is still too warm, you will have scrambled eggs! •• Bring the mixture up to a very smooth texture and observe a bright mustardy yellow color. •• Again, without any heat, mix in 1 cup of grated Swiss cheese, all at once and stir until completely smoothed. •• Set your saucepan aside. ••

•• Using a large whisk which allows for the passage of lots of air, vigorously whip the egg whites until you observe a thickened and frothy consistency (remember to keep your elbows locked to avoid tendonitis!). •• As you keep whipping, you will soon begin to see the egg whites change from frothy to fluffy and then harden. •• Feel free to add a few drops of fresh lemon to accelerate the hardening process further. •• In with hardening, the egg whites have transformed into a whipped creme that is sturdy enough for your whisk to stand straight up in the creme, without assistance. •• Using no heat and the measurement of 1/3, add the first 1/3 of the whipped creme to the bright yellow Sauce Béchamel and mix it throughly. •• Repeat with the second and third introduction as to avoid creating a watery consistency. Be aware not to over-mix as this too can result in watering down the mixture. •• Fill two individual soufflé dishes a little more than halfway, allowing space for the soufflés to rise. •• Place the dishes in the pre-heated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. •• This is now a great time to prepare a quick and simple fennel and orange salad to accompany your soufflés. ••

•• After approximately 15 minutes into the bake time, you should begin to notice an aroma that fills your kitchen, akin to the heavenly scent of a brioche baking in your oven. •• Although you may be tempted, take care not to open the oven door to observe the rising, as you will lose the heat needed to maintain a consistent temperature for the puff.  Also, do not reduce the temperature in the oven, as this will also cause the soufflé to prematurely fall. •• To check for readiness, use an oven light or flashlight to peer through the glass door of the oven. •• If you observe the height and puff of lighter coloration with a darkened top, your soufflé is ready. •• Insert a sharp knife to further ensure the soufflé has been throughly cooked to the center. If the knife comes back out clean, your soufflé is ready to be served, right away. •• Within 5-10 minutes from the removal the oven, you will see the inevitable collapse of these sumptuous soufflés.••

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 The cake-like appearance with chocolate frosting atop, indicates the readiness of your soufflé. Prêt à mange!


 

An Avocado Apéritif

Un apéritif à l’avocat

Serves 2


We recently had the pleasure of meeting Rachel Shemenski of Florida MicroGreens who introduced us to micro onions. Free of pesticides, additives and with no added nutrients, micro greens and micro onions are grown indoors, in hemp.  As a healthy alternative to traditionally grown onions, these delicious sprouts pack a wonderfully tempered flavor that blend perfectly with avocados in season.


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INGREDIENTS

2 ripened Hass avocados

olive oil

freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon or lime

salt and pepper to taste

a few sprigs of fresh basil, cilantro and parsley, finely chopped

sprigs of micro onions to garnish

slices of homemade French boule bread


Florida MicroGreens is an urban indoor hydroponic micro greens farm specializing in growing and selling top-grade living micro greens and micro greens systems for individuals, restaurants, kitchens and schools.  Check out their Facebook page to learn more about these healthy alternative approaches to growing your own.

www.facebook.com/FloridaMicrogreen


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PREPARATION

•• Begin by removing the skins and pits from the avocados. •• Slice the avocados in half and then lengthwise into 4 portions each. •• Arrange the avocado slices on a dish or serving platter. •• Squeeze the juice from half of a lemon or lime over the avocados. •• Salt and pepper to taste.  •• Roll together the desired number of fresh basil leaves, cilantro and parsley. •• Finely chop and sprinkle the herbs over the avocados. •• Garnish with micro onion sprouts over the top and sparingly drizzle with olive oil. •• Individually slice the French boule bread and serve. ••

•• Voilà! ••


 

Eggs Benedict Without Bacon

Œufs Bénédicte Sans Jambon

Serves 2

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Here is a recipe for Eggs Benedict without Bacon that is perfect for an Easter or anytime weekend brunch. While our version somewhat differs by holding the bacon and substituting homemade French boule bread in place of the customary English muffins, Eggs Benedict with or without Canadian bacon, goes along beautifully with simply steamed asparagus in season and a chilled bottle of Chardonnay wine.


INGREDIENTS

•• Hollandaise Sauce ••

3 egg yolks

1/3 cup cold water

1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tbsp butter

•• Poached Eggs ••

2 eggs  (1 per serving)

1 tsp white vinegar

salt pepper to taste

freshly chopped cilantro or parsley

OTHER RECOMMENDED INGREDIENTS

•• Boule Bread ••

•• Steamed Asparagus ••

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PREPARATION

•• Hollandaise Sauce ••

••  In a cold saucepan, combine 3 egg yolks, 1/3 cup cold water and 1 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice. •• Using a medium whisk, mix well until you observe a smooth sauce. •• Over a low heat, continue to whisk until the sauce thickens to a sabayon or near custard and frothy-like consistency.  •• Add 3 tbsp of butter and remove from the heat but continue to gently whisk as the butter softly melts. •• 

•• Poaching the Eggs ••

•• Crack and place each egg in a separate short drinking glass or custard bowl. •• In a medium sauce pan, add 1 tsp of white vinegar and bring to a medium boil. •• Gently introduce the egg into the water. •• As the egg white begins to detach and disperse from the yolk, use a spatula or slotted spoon to gather back the egg white, surrounding and encasing the yolk with the white for approximately 2 – 2 1/2 minutes. •• Another method to poaching multiple eggs at once, is the use of egg poaching cups•• Individually slice and lightly toast the boule bread in a warm oven. •• Arrange the toasted boule on serving plates. •• Place the poached eggs on top of the toasted boule and drizzle with generous spoonfuls of the velvety hollandaise sauce. •• Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro or parsley. •• Serve with an accompaniment of freshly steamed asparagus in season and drizzle with more of the hollandaise sauce, if desired. •• Pair this delicious dish with a glass of chilled Chardonnay or a festive glass of champagne. ••

•• Happy Easter ••

•• Joyeuses Pâques ••