Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Easy Cheese Souffle

I finally tried Jacques Pepin's Maman's Cheese Souffle.  Because the souffle is not prepared in the traditional manner it was unbelievably easy (and unbelievably tasty)!!  It's already been requested as our Christmas morning breakfast.  We had it for dinner and it's was a lovely, filling meal with a salad.  When you have such a simple meal it's important to use good quality ingredients as they really stand out.  If you can get organic or free range eggs they are a must for this dish.  Also you'll want a good quality Swiss cheese.  Jacques recommended Gruyere but I had some really nice Emmental and Jarlsberg so that's what I used.  I also lightened up the recipe by using skim milk instead of whole milk.

Non-traditional Cheese Souffle
Serves 4

  • 1/3 cup butter (I used salted, if you use unsalted add about 1/2 tsp salt) plus more to butter dish
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 5 extra large or 6 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese (I used half Emmental and Jarlsberg)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Butter a 6 cup gratin dish well
  3. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat.  Add flour and mix well with a whisk for about 30 seconds
  4. Add the milk and whisk well until thickened, 2 - 5 minutes
  5. Remove from the heat and let cool 10 minutes
  6. Break the eggs in a bowl and mix well with a fork (yup, no separating the eggs, just add them all at together!)
  7. Add the eggs, cheese, chives and thyme into the milk mixture and blend well.
  8. Pour into the buttered dish.  At this point you can set it aside and cook later or cook immediately.
  9. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until golden brown and puffy
  10. SERVE IMMEDIATELY!  The souffle will start to deflate pretty quickly.

Enjoy! (and you really will enjoy this dish!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Turkey Dinner Cornbread Stuffing, a Butter Hint and My Harvest Table

I've been known to buy a cornbread mix to use as the base from my cornbread stuffing.  However I've also been known to make it from scratch.  I also use this recipe straight up for cornbread to go with chili or I adapt it for my stuffing base.  It's quite yummy!  I make it a couple of days ahead and let it sit in the oven to dry out.  By adding the herbs and onions right in to the cornbread I just have to crumble, stir in melted butter and stuff the bird on the big day.  I like to do as much ahead of time as possible to minimize the hassles when making a big dinner!
Note the sliver missing on the side... you should always taste test your end product...

Cornbread Stuffing
Stuffs a 12 - 15 lb turkey

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup butter+ a little more (you want 120ml melted)
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk (I always have yogurt on hand but most recipes call for buttermilk, you can use whichever one you want)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (a mix of rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano is what I used)

  1. Place the 1 tbsp butter in a 8 inch or larger cast iron skillet (you can use a 8 inch square baking pan if you don't have a cast iron skillet)
  2. Place in oven and heat to 350F
  3. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cornmeal with a whisk.
  4. Toss in the onions and herbs and mix until coated with the flour mixture.
  5. In another bowl pour the melted butter, yogurt and eggs, mix well.
  6. Add the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just blended.
  7. Pour into the heated skillet.
  8. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until golden brown.
Add shredded cheddar cheese, chopped jalapeno pepper and a dash of chili powder in place of the herbs if you are making this cornbread to go with chili.

I have to hide this cornbread or else it gets eaten before I can stuff it in the turkey!

This is my harvest table setting.  I kept it easy this year.  I hollowed out the 3 gourds and put some tealights in them.  Add my standard candle holders and tapers and it's a lovely simple arrangement.  I love this tablecloth, it's a great reuse every year.  My aunt painted the placemats which gives the table that special touch. 

Butter Hint:
I also like to make herb butter ahead of time. Chop rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, parsley and mash into 1/2 cup room temperature butter. Roll it into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. You can use this butter under the skin of the turkey, in your mashed potatoes or if you use a cornbread mix you can melt it into your cornbread before stuffing. I also toss my roasted turnip and carrots with it right before serving and I use a tablespoon in the gravy once it's thickened to smooth it out. No chopping herbs on the big day! It's one less mess to deal with when you're making a big dinner.