Blowing off a Little Hot Air, or, My Best Soufflé yet

truffledsouffle 6My favourite thing to make in the kitchen is a soufflé, not just because they are delicious, but because they’re a nice yet not too daunting challenge.  For those of you who haven’t made them before, don’t be frightened. They always turn out in some fashion. They will fall when you are serving them, but this does not affect the flavour. What makes them fun is that a little extra care your soufflé more beautiful and fun to eat.

I used this recipe for a Gruyere and Parmesan Soufflé and followed it fairly carefully, adding some shaved mushroom for flavour. Okay I lied. I used this recipe, but saved too few yolks, so I just added a bit more cheese.

Here are a couple of things I have learned: beat the whites until they are just forming peaks. The best soufflés are beaten by hand with a whisk, or by using a mixer on low-speed. This creates lots of small bubbles that blow the hot air out of the mixture gently.

My soufflé was still a bit giggly when it looked done, so I turned of the oven and let it sit for five minutes.

Bon appétit!

/gɑːθspɑːtʃoʊ/ –Raspberry Gazpacho

Historically gazpacho was a cold peasant soup from Spain, made from leftover bread, garlic and olive oil. Today, it’s almost synonymous with tomatoes and peppers, but gazpacho predates the arrival of these items from the New World. I’m thinking that leftovers figured prominently.

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Earlier this summer an old friend (Hi, Liz!) mentioned a cherry gazpacho that she was served in Spain, which literally keep me up that night drooling with envy. This got me thinking (read hinting) that we should open up to other gazpachos.

Bluebarry found a recipe for gazpacho made from one of the few foods I like more than warm spices: raspberries, which  I’ve never enjoyed in a savoury dish before yesterday.

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Obsessively difficult? No, but then again, I was napping in the yard and Bluebarry was cooking, but he seemed happy enough, and the results were spectacular.

Here is an adaptation of the recipe from Modernist Cuisine at Home. We changed it enough to make it legal to post online, but the book is worth a look through.

Raspberry Gazpacho:

Combine in a blender, and puree until smooth, the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups raspberries, rinsed (optional)
  • ½ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup piquillo peppers (canned)
  • ½ cup sweet white onion
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/4 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • handful ground almonds/ slice of bread with crust removed (optional)
  • Dash piment d’espelette or Tabasco sauce

Blend these in a Vitamix (preferred) or a blender, and strain through a tamis or chinois if you have one.

Chill and garnish with finely chiffonaded basil or mint, diced watermelon or cucumber, and raspberry syrup. Season with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

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Raspberry Syrup

  • A pint of raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar

Toss the raspberries with the sugar and put them in a plastic bag, or a sealed jar.

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If you have a sous vide machine: Cook sous vide for 1 hour at 65C.

If you don’t have a sous vide machine: boil a pot of water, remove it from the heat, and add a few ice cubes until the water doesn’t threaten to burn you, but is unbearably warm for a bath. Add the bag/ jar of raspberries, cover the pot, and let rest for one hour.

Let cool. Drain the syrup from the berries, without pressing on them.

A cake for consenting adults

caek 015Bluebarry and I like almost any foodstuff one is likely to happen upon in day to day Western life. No fruit or vegetable makes us go “ick”, and we’ll pretty much try anything you make for us. But we have one common dislike that is awkward and that can cause hurt feelings: We hate cake. Not cake per se, but bad cake with icing. Not that there isn’t good icing out there. We just don’t care to look for it. Our family and friends know enough to not bring us sweet cakes. We call it being caek’d, and we are perfectly comfortable saying to our friends: Don’t cake me, bro.

So what do we love? Anything MC’s sister Dory makes, and this  clementine cake recipe from Nigella Lawson.

Clementine cake – made primarily with whole braised clementines and ground almonds – is not very sweet, it is densely moist but very light on the palate, and it keeps for almost a week. We always make it for Bluebarry’s mom (MC’s mother-in-sin), and any guests who happen upon us in clementine season.

It’s dead easy to make (google will translate amounts if you use the ‘= ‘sign), but I suggest beating the sugar and egg well and then adding the pulp and a generous, heaping spoon of baking powder.

Happy  Armenian and Orthodox Christmas, and bon appétit!

Salad of the Year!

After fruit, vegetables are definitely my favourite food group, but oddly, I find few salads hearty enough for a meal. This one isn’t hearty enough either, but it’s closer than most, and is very delicious. An addition of a nice chick pea dish, some homemade bread, and a glass of un-oaked chardonnay and I’d be good to go. 

The impetus was from my two of favourite food bloggers, who, like I, were a little nonplussed by  Bon Appétit’s recipe of the year. A vegetarian dish as recipe of the year? Bring it on! Three of my favourite people (yes, Nancy, you’re one of them) are vegans. But something so easy? Sad. Where’s the challenge? But this is still delicious, so I’m calling it the best salad of the year, and one I think I could modify for vegan visitors. (Yes, Nancy, a hint). It will be a staple in our kitchen. It’s delicious, it’s easy, and going back to my main point, delicious enough to be craving worthy.

Nomnivore’s policy is not to pretty up our dishes with photos from other sites, because we want to be transparent about our product. We used baby kale, which was absolutely delicious, but not very pretty once cooked, and by that I mean: it looked like the skin from the creature of the Black Lagoon. We sincerely regret not cutting off the stems first (they were kind of nasty), but we ate every crumb of this salad. 

To start off with, we shaved gorgeous local beets razor thin (they really do need to be razor thin, or the magic is lost, and yes, Urban Herbivore, I’m talking to YOU).Image

Here are the pretty pics.
ImageImageWe then added layers of arugula, homegrown cucumber, hot peppers, and the dressing. We topped it with the kale chips.

Here is our none-too-pretty but plenty-delicious salad of the year.
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I venture that this will be a good way to introduce one of the most delicious and nutritious foods, kale, to kids, in a way they’ll love. I’m planning on trying it for the world’s cutest critic of Stephen Harper, and perhaps her sister, one of our favourite dinner guests and people. Image

 

Thanks, Bluebarry, for the excellent photos!