Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Souffle!

My friend Laura gave me the Canadian locavore book "From Earth to Table" as a wedding gift. It has beautiful artsy pictures of carrots popping up from the dirt and other earthy images. The book sits on my bedside table along with a few other food related readings. Before I hit the pillow, I try to look through the images and read some of the recipes and profiles in one of my cookbooks. I highly recommend some foodie reading before bed. It keeps your dreams in a positive place. I have yet to experience a dream where I am chased by angry carrots. Instead, I drift on dreams of cooking and creating and best of all tasting. My tastebuds and cravings are turning toward autumn staples and before we are buried in white this winter, I feel they must be indulged. My bedside reading, "From Earth to Table" breaks the locavore movement into the four seasons. In Montana it may feel like we only have three seasons: summer, winter and mud but I am giving the Canadian writers some pre-sleep book time as who would understand the predicament of working in a Northern climate than the Canucks. They are definitely more understanding of our 3 season situation than say a book on seasonal eating based in California. The Canadian chefs of "From Earth to Table" roast, stew and bake in the fall and this October I am focusing on baking. This really means I have to learn to bake. (ps: I have no baking skills. Or, I should say they are very very minimum. Our waffle cones are as close to baking as I have been in quite a while and even that involved countless test batches and a whole lot of swearing and burning.)

But...
I am determined this fall. Seriously, my determination knows no bounds.

I will run farther, faster and longer to burn off the taste testing that I will have to put myself through just to successfully accomplish the one thing that screams baking prowess. French baking prowess. Souffle. Souffle'! (That is an accent - people. How do I make that tilde over the "e" again? Anyone?)

Sweet, molten, fluffy, puffy - Chocolate Souffle.

Then pumpkin souffle , white chocolate souffle, caramel souffle, toffee souffle and maybe something crazy like Guinness souffle. You just watch and wait. Sweet Peaks is getting something warm and gooey and delicious. Consider it a new friend to our creamy scoops of addicting ice cream. Hello friends! Let me present a vehicle for a scoop of chilled loveliness. A partner through which ice cream will float to creme anglaise and delight your wildest fall fancy.

Ahhhh... souffle!

Let's go back to the basics and straight to the internet for my first dive into chocolate souffle. Epicurious.com provided me with a variety of recipes involving toppings, flavors, bells and whistles. I skimmed and scanned and even watched a YouTube video and read transcripts from Alton Brown's molten chocolate cake episode on the food network. I save Bon Appetite magazines in my kitchen and discovered their milk chocolate souffle recipe from last year complete with a prep school section on the correct folding of egg whites into chocolate. Brilliant! I held my first chocolate experiment and Sam cursed me for making him eat mini chocolate delight after chocolate delight. It is all in the name of Sweet Peaks, I tell him. I actually did alright for my first try.

When you first bake something and it works the next step is to try it again and hope for the same results. This would of course be logical but I am always a little cavalier when it comes to baking and all cooking for that matter. I haven't learned my lesson just ask Sam how I make our Ginger Ice Cream. Actually, don't - it's magic! I like to throw caution to the wind. I tend to say if this amount of milk worked then why not more? or more sugar? or how about we add hot sauce! Any true baker will tell you, "Not going to fly honey, or rise, or turn golden brown or win over any cookie lover".

No. Wait! Not this time. Souffle is serious business. I need serious help in my test kitchen.

Julia.

I need Julia.

I just happen to have "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" on my bed stand. What took me so long? I have read the book "My life in France" and I have seen the movie "Julie and Julia". There is a whole section on souffle in Julia Child's cookbook, two if you count the section on savory souffles. Oh, cheese! I now feel armed with the necessary tools for souffle making. Just don't tell Julia that I plan on making these ahead of time and freezing them for customers to take-and-bake. Shhhh... we don't want to tempt her to roll over in her grave!

Off to the kitchen with melting chocolate and whipping egg whites! Sam...you better run an extra mile at the gym today.


1 comment:

  1. So glad I got a wake up call that this blog is active.
    In addition to being your serious fan, I love your writing!
    love,
    mbk

    ReplyDelete