Thursday, February 17, 2011

Say Cheese

This post is about this awesome cheese souffle that my friend Kaushalya and I made to go with the tomato jam.

Now this cheese souffle is the stuff that dreams are made off; soft as a baby's cheek, light as an angel's feather and standing proud and triumphant like a lotus in full bloom.

And it is so simple to make.

And while to other people this cheese souffle is just a cheese souffle, to me it is supremely significant as it forms my main course and my dessert. How 'bout that, huh? How much more can you ask of a food product!

So to begin with, we need

1 cup of grated cheese, preferably unprocessed.
This can be any one cheese or you can use a combination of cheeses. Because I live in Trivandrum, a hick town in Southern India, and I have no access to cheese with a first name other than 'processed', that's what I had to use. But I would implore thee to not succumb to the pressures of country living but rather fly to the nearest city and buy some Gruy√®re, Cheddar and Parmesan. It is altogether worthy of the effort. 

1 cup milk
4 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
3 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic
Spices or herbs of your choice
Olive Oil for greasing 

So to begin with, find the most beautiful deep dish round 6 cup bowl that you can get your hands on.  If yours is a Tupperware Plastic powered household like mine, use any large dish of your choice that is bake proof and is sufficiently deep.

Grease it with some olive oil and coat well with the 4 tbsp of flour.

Place a saucepan on the flame and add the butter.

When the butter has melted, tip over the left over flour from the floured baking dish. You should have approximately 3 tbsp of this.

Whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes (do not allow mixture to brown).

Pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth, and cook until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes.

Now you can add the garlic and the herbs or spices of your choice. I added curry powder, about a tsp and a pinch of nutmeg.

Add the cheese now and let it melt. Please make sure that you grate the cheese I was too lazy and I didn't bother to do that and what ensued was a  lot of lumps that I had to later whip out! More work is no good!

When the cheese has melted and what stands before you is a cohesive mixture with a velvety texture and the smell of gloriousness, turn off the heat.

Take the egg yolks and add a tbsp of the cheese mixture and stir to a tizzy to incorporate the mixture quick enough so that the eggs don't scramble.

Do this a couple more times until you feel that the heat has evened out and then add the egg mixture to the main cheese mixture.

Stir vigorously until everything has incorporated well or until you feel your arms starting to fall off, whichever happens first.

Let it cool to a lukewarm.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. This is my favourite part - totally magic - to whip up the runny mucus like egg whites to beautiful gossamer peaks of snow.

Now take a deep breath and patiently, with a spatula, fold in the cheese-yolk mixture into the egg whites, taking care that the airiness is not compromised. (It sounds so important right? That's because it is!)

 Now transfer the mixture into the prepared bowl and bake in an oven preheated to 375 F for about half an hour.

You will know when the souffle is done. It will have risen to a considerable height and will stand as proud as a golden breasted pheasant!

You can see it rise in these pictures, provided you overlook the really bad photography!

Make sure that the door is not opened in the first 20 minutes at least.

Take out the souffle and serve immediately with a salad, and later, with some jam. On second thought, you should avoid the jam association if you are not a mad cap like me. But if you are, go wild with the souffle. It will be an empty palette for you to slather paint on.

I think it is critical that some sort of salad is served with the souffle because you need something to cut the heaviness of the cheese. (Tomato jam serves the same purpose actually!)

But for the salad we made, you will need

4 tomatoes
1 green pepper
2 tsp curd
2 tsp olive oil
a dash of curry powder
a pinch of basil
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Chop up the tomatoes and the green pepper.

To make the dressing, take the oil in a bowl and add the curry, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.

Add the curd and whip.

 Add to the vegetables and serve fresh.

Kaushalya says 'Yenjoi'!

1 comment:

Thank you so much for being here. You must know that I love reading your comments more than I love the idea of baby bunnies eating frosted cupcakes sitting atop a cloud. They make me happy when skies are blue, yellow, pink or grey. ♥