Saturday, July 26, 2008

My First Souffle

I always wanted to try making a souffle but I never wanted to waste all the eggs it would take to make a souffle that would fit in any of the oven proof souffle type dishes I had. Then Warda over at 64 sq ft kitchen posted souffles on her blog and they looked so beautiful and flavorful. I mentioned to her how much I wanted to try it and why I had not yet done so and she reminded me of the ramekins that I purchased for the Daring Baker challenge back in October and then I got more for Christmas. She was so right and I went to work, following her recipe, to make my first souffle. Of course I had to make a few changes because lets face it what food blogger out there can follow a recipe to the T.
- 4 ½ tbsp butter, plus 1 tsp to coat the ramekins
- ¾ cup grated Gruyère cheese-
- 3 onions, chopped
- red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 ¼ tsp sea salt
- 4 ½ tbsp flour
- 1 ¼ cup milk
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- 3 egg yolks
- 7 egg whites
- Make Ahead: Take the eggs out of the fridge, and let them come at room temperature. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a pan and saute the onions and peppers season with ¼ tsp salt. Cover and cook for 5 min on medium-low heat until they are tender. Uncover and continue cooking for a few minutes on high heat until all the liquid has been evaporated. Set aside to cool.
1- Butter a 1½- quart souffle mold with 1 tsp soft butter. Be sure it is well coated all around.Add the Gruyère cheese and turn the mold around so that the cheese sticks to the butter. Let the extra cheese fall into a bowl. Refrigerate the coated mold. A very cold mold helps the souffle rise straight. Never smear the coating or you mat disturb the rising of the mixture.
2- Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Stir quickly, and cook for 1 minute on low heat.3- Add the milk, 1 tsp salt, black pepper, the Dijon mustard and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. As soon as it reaches the boiling point, the sauce will thicken. Boil on low heat for 1 min, still stirring to avoid scorching.
4- Away from the heat, add the yolks and mix well.
5- Add the onion, ground nutmeg and the grated Gruyère cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon.
6- Whip the egg whites until they hold a peak, but are still “wet”. Place about one-third in the leek mixture and mix with a whisk. Work as fast as you can, because as soon as you stop beating the whites, they start to break down and become grainy.
7- Using a spatula, gently fold the remaining whites and onion mixture together.
8- Fill the soufflé mold to the edges. At this point, the soufflé can be refrigerated, and will keep for at least a couple of hours. At baking time, sprinkle some Gruyere cheese on top and place on a cookie sheet in a 375F-preheated oven. Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for 30-35 minutes (about 25 minutes for individual ramekins). Never open the oven when it’s still baking. Serve immediately.
The great thing about using Warda's blog post is she included step by step photos with the instructions making this something that almost anyone can make even, if they are not experienced cooks or are intimidated by the idea of a souffle. Thanks Warda

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Local Ladies Blogger Night Out

Last Saturday over a dozen Ann Arbor area food bloggers got together for an evening of conversation, good food, a little wine and a wonderful time. I loved every moment of it. It was nice to be surrounded by people that hold a lot of the same values and outlook on life as I do. Its not just the love of cooking but love of food and involvement, nutrition, bettering yourself, and those around you. I just got so much just from the energy that the group brought with them and then to listen to what people had to say or comments about goals and ambitions wow, a week later I am still a little shocked and speechless about how excited I am to have been a part of this evening and a part of this new clan. I never thought that starting a little blog about cooking would chance my life so much and bring such great people into it.

What is funny is i got so caught up in talking the only photos I took were the ones of the food when I first arrived. However, I am sure that some of the other ladies will post photos and you can find them here...

Everyone brought a dish to share and I chose to bring my Walnut Olive Oil Cake with reduced balsamic vinegar over sliced plumbs.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"Manhattan" Fish Chowder

Sometimes I am so envious of people being able to tell wonderful stories on their blogs. i struggle with that because I have a hard time putting down what I think into words and I try not to reveal too much about the kids on the WWW and that makes it hard because they are a very big part of my life. I am a stay at home mother so almost everything about my life would include the kids....hummmmm how do I include my readers while still maintaining a distance with the children it is a hard balance and really who wants to hear about the big mess they need to clean up or my woes in potty training my son. At the end of the day that leaves very little to discuss.
Some bloggers have a way of coming up with the most entertaining stories, I hope to learn from them and someday I hope to be able to look at life and tell an entertaining story...until then, here is some food.

This is a flavorful and low calorie fish soup or chowder that my family loves.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes

1 large Idaho potato, diced

2 fillets tilapia, cut in large cubes

1 large bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon oregano

a few threads saffron


1 tablespoon soup spice (if you don't have then just add some salt)

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 to 3 cups water

In a large pot over medium-high heat add olive oil, onion celery, carrot and peppers sweat for about 5 minutes and add the potatoes, garlic, tomato, stock, water, seasoning cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are nearly done. add in the fish, cook for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the fish is done and serve.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I Lost My Satay

I am not sure what made me want to try satay I just got hung up on the idea one day last spring, not really the meat but the idea of an Asian peanut sauce. I have had satay peanut sauce before but didn't really care for it, but I should like it, the idea was appalling. I googled satay, satay recipes, satay sauces and more. I read the history of satay on Wikipedia and every recipe I came across, all the videos on the first 5 pages of the Google search. I was ready!

First of all I knew (thought) I did not like coconut milk so any recipe with coconut was out
(this month I am starting realize I like coconut milk) and I knew that is could not be too spicy because the kids would be eating it and that I would have to have an alternative to a peanut sauce because hubby is not a peanut butter fan. I went to work in the kitchen and I ended up with the best two sauces I have ever tasted and you know what I did...nothing I did not write it down, I have no I idea what recipes I read and even Wikipedia information is not the same, it is gone. Needless to say I am bummed but I will do it again, today was not quite the same but it is in the right direction and still failed to measure. shame on me!

The original sauces

Add to a cold sauce pan:
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
a few hot pepper flakes
slowly heat until the garlic starts to sizzle a little then add
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
a few shakes fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped green onion
Bring to a simmer
at this point I pour half of the sauce in a bowl for my husband and then add...
2 tablespoons peanut butter.

whisk until smooth and done.

When I made the peanut sauce today i used it for pad Thai. I have been battling rice noodles off and on for a few years now and they always win, today the tables were turned and i will be filling you in on this in a few days. Okay back to the satay.

For the satay I chose to use pork. I cut it thin and marinated it in (again this was a few months ago and I can't find this either)...

juice and zest of 2 lines
soy sauce
garlic, minced
ginger, grated
a few hot pepper flacks
Pork loin or chicken cut very thin.

Marinade the pork for 15 to 30 minutes (too long and the meat starts to cook in the acid), thread them onto bamboo skewers that have been soaking in water and grill over charcoal about 3 minutes each side and serve with the sauces.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Day at the Beach with 7, make that 9, Layers

The kids and I met my Baby Brother and headed out to Lake Michigan for a picnic, some reading, and some fun in the sun. I brought ground meat patties (I could call them burgers but that would not be quite right) to grill once we got there, watermelon, homemade ciabatta (I will be posting this soon) and layered salad.

This salad is great because it is so pretty, tastes great, and I use frozen peas to keep the salad cold (Lake Michigan is a 2 1/2 hour drive from home after all). I did all the prep work the night before so all I had to do in the morning was layer up the salad.

1 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Salad in order from button to top:

3 cups baby spinach
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 bag frozen peas (I think it was a 12 or 16 oz bag)
the dressing carefully spread over the peas
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 or 7 strips turkey bacon fried crisp and "crumbled" cut with scissors

this was a large salad and I will make it again but I am sure that I will not use the same exact ingredients in the same order. As long as one is careful with the layering and has a nice color contrast...go for it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Weekend Wokking with Potatoes

This (out side of Daring Baker) I believe is my first event and it looked fun and I love this recipe so I wanted to share. the rules are here.

I got the idea for this soup from Lex Culinaria and since found out that it is even better made with salmon instead of sausage.

Serves 6-8

1 T. Olive Oil

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic minced

3 largish (or 4 medium) potatoes, scrubbed

4 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

10 oz or 2 links of kielbasa or polish sausage

salt and pepper

sour cream to garnish

caramelize onions in olive oil over a medium low heat, stirring occasionally until brown and sweet about 20 or 25 minutes. slice the potatoes, half and slice larger potatoes. Add the garlic to the soup pot and cook and stir for 3 minutes more. Raise the heat to medium high and add the sausage and sliced potatoes and pour in chicken stock. Add enough water so that the potatoes are covered by a margin of about one inch. Add in one half of the chopped dill. Place the lid on the pot and allow the soup to simmer over medium high heat for about 30 minutes. Taste the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and stir through the remaining dill. Serve with (or without) dollops of sour cream.