Souffle

Eggs.  They have been called the perfect food.  I really do agree with that.  There are so many things that you can do with them.  They can be dessert, they can be savory, they can be a snack or an entire meal.  They really are versatile.

A souffle is really just a combination of a bechamel sauce that is flavored, and eggs.  The eggs are separated.  The whites are beat to a stiff peak and the yolks are incorporated into the sauce.  It is placed into a high sided dish into a high oven and backed to a puffy, golden crust.

The whites need to be at the stiff peak stage to be able to hold up to the sauce that will give the flavor to the souffle.

When you put the two sauces together you, voila you have a Souffle.

Delish!

Cheese Souffle

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups of stock
  • 4 large eggs, separated, plus 3 large egg whites
  • 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (2 packed cups)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish and coat it with 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour to make a paste. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking, until very thick, 3 minutes. Transfer the base to a large bowl; let cool. Stir in the egg yolks,Gruyère, salt, and the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano. Put the 7 egg whites in a large stainless steel bowl. In an electric mixer, beat the whites and the cream of tartar until firm peaks form. Fold one-third of the whites into the soufflé base to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared dish. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the soufflé is golden brown and puffed. Serve right away.

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Baked Crepes

Crepes can be extremely versatile.  they can be deserts or they can be main courses.  You can buy the crepes pre-made but they are so easy to make from scratch.

Mix 1 Cup of flour with 2 eggs beaten. Add a pinch of salt.  Then gradually add 1 Cup of milk.  The consistency must be that of a think pancake batter.  Add more milk if it is too thick.  Let the batter sit for about 1 hour.  Check the consistency again before you make the crepes.  In a non stick pan, add a slice of butter and melt over medium heat.  Add a ladle full of batter and swirl the pan around to coat the bottom.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until the crepe is loose from the pan.  Turn over and cook the other side for another 2 minutes.  Place on a plate.  Place parchment paper between crepes so that they don’t stick.

Once cooled, you can fill them with cheese, ham, spinach or what ever you would like.  Roll them up and place them in a oven proof dish.

Cover with the Bechamel sauce and sprinkle some cheese on top.  Place in a 300 degree oven until the top is browned.  Serve hot.

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Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup

Nothing can be easier and more satisfying than a supper of soup and sandwiches.  And if the soup is made from scratch…even better.tomato soup

Peel and seed 6 tomatoes and then chop.  Chop one onion  and 2 garlic cloves.  Saute in a bit of oil and then place in a blender.  Blend until the consistency of a nice creamy soup.  Add enough milk to achieve this.  Taste for salt and pepper, sprinkle a few parsley leaves over the top and serve with toasty grilled cheese sandwiches.

butter

I like to make my sandwich with thin slices of good cheese.  I don’t think the bread needs any mayonaise , but others may disagree.  I then fry it in butter.grilled cheese sandwich

The key is to do it with low heat and lots of patience.  My children can attest to how hard this can be, since they have had to endure many a burnt sandwich.Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Tomato Soup

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The best thing about Risotto is what you can do with the leftovers.  I’m not sure what I like better, the risotto or the arancini.  This is also known as Suppli al Telefono for the long strings of cheese the are evident when you cut them.

raw aranciniLeft over risotto (see previous post)                                                                                                                                               Mozzarella  cheese, cut into 1/2 inch dice                                                                                                                                            flour, beaten egg and dried bread crumbs for dredging

Form the risotto into walnut size balls.  Using your finger, make a hole in the ball and place the mozzarella.  Shape the ball around the cheese.  Dredge the balls first in the flour, then the egg and finally the bread crumbs.  Fry them in hot oil until browned.  If you don’t want the oil, you can bake them in the oven but they sure taste better fried.  Serve while still hot and the cheese is still melted.

cooked aranciniarancini and salad

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Risotto alla Milanese

Shallot

Risotto is a very classic Italian dish.  There are numerous variations.  You can mix it up with different vegetables or proteins.  But by far the most classic interpretation is from Milan.   Rice has a starring role in this recipe and as such, it is important to us the right kind.

peeled shalot

Arborio is a good type to use but the preferred rice is the Carnaroli.  It is plump and releases it’s starch in a uniform manner.  This is what give the dish it’s creamy texture.

rice and garlicrice

The saffron imparts not only color but flavor as well.  Don’t be shocked by the price.  When you think that there are only 3-4 of these strands in a single crocus flower, you begin to understand it’s value.  It is worth it.

Saffron

risotto spoon

Risotto alla Milanese

In a large saucepan, sauté 2 finely chopped shallots and 1 clove of garlic in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil until softened.  Stir in  1 cup of rice. Coat rice with the oil and then add 1/2 cup of white wine. Add 2 capsules of saffron.  Stir constantly.  Start adding 5 cups of broth little by little.  Keep adding the liquid until the rice is done and creamy. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve.

risotto plate

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Cheese Straws

This is a great thing to do with left over pastry.  It is super with soup but is also good as an appetizer.  It’s very easy to do.

Unbaked cheese straws

Cut left over rolled out pastry dough into strips of about 1/4 ” thick.  Take string cheese and cut into strips that are the same thickness as the pastry.  Starting at one end roll the pastry around the cheese until it is all covered.  Pinch the ends.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle a dash of paprika.  Place in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Enjoy!

Baked cheese strawCheese straws and soup

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