Category Archives: Recipes

Herb & Cheese Soufflé

SOUFFLE

I can’t believe I have not posted on this blog in over a month. The time has gone by so quickly. There are so many items I have every intention to post about, so many recipes, but taking the half hour to sit down and do it is another matter. Apologies to my readers.

A quick update on my diet: Over the last month, I was doing fairly well at eating gluten free. I would stay away from all things gluten except maybe one item each day. This led to my hitting bottom again on the “feel good” scale. So this past weekend, I have started a 3-week cleanse and am 100% gluten free during this time. Once this is over, I have to be more conscious of what I’m putting in my mouth and how often I am doing so. The problem with being able to eat it occasionally, I need to make sure my occasionally is not equaling everyday as it was.

Last night, I was tired and not feeling like making anything too labor intensive or time consuming. After a quick search online, I found a recipe called Skillet Soufflé. What a great quick recipe that is extremely versatile! It has a chewy bottom layer, a light fluffy center and the top was crispy. The whole dinner took less than 20 minutes from beginning to end – and yes a real 20 minutes. Sometimes I find that the time on recipes doesn’t reflect how long it takes me to make them. I served it with a quick salad and it was perfect.

The recipe calls for goat cheese and I thought I had some but alas didn’t so I substituted Gruyère instead. I knew I did not have any fresh chives but that I had a much of other fresh herbs so purposefully substituted what I had on hand. I think this recipe could easily use a multitude of cheeses or herbs. I ended up using about 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil and 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme. The herb flavor was subtle, but I thought perfect.

Herb and Cheese Soufflé

Serves 4 (if you have big eaters, would say serves 3)

6 large eggs, separated

1 – 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 – 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup shredded cheese

Heat oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, chives, salt, and pepper.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a oven-safe skillet over medium-low heat and tilt to coat the sides. Add the soufflé mixture and crumble the cheese over the top. Bake until the eggs are puffed and golden, about 10 minutes.

NOTES: Fresh herbs that would go well – chives, thyme, basil, parsley, cilantro, oregano, marjoram. I think you could add a couple dashes of spices too that would compliment like curry, chili powder or fennel. Cheeses that would go well – Gruyère or any Swiss, goat, aged cheddar, asiago, fontina. I think something with a little bite to it would be better than a mild cheese.

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GL Mac & Cheese

Last night, I made gluten-free macaroni & cheese for dinner. I used quinoa flour pasta, rice flour to thicken the sauce and gluten-free breadcrumbs for the crunchy topping. Over all the taste was great! My sister joined us and she and my husband didn’t like the “grainy texture” from the breadcrumbs I used on top. Well, let them eat wheat!

 

Products I used:

 

Ancient Harvest Quinoa SuperGrain Pasta ($2.88 / 8 ounce box at Foods for Living)

quinoa pastaThis may be my new favorite pasta (wheat or no wheat). It has a great clean taste and not at all like the gummy taste that I was finding in rice flour pasta. I’m looking forward to trying this again.

 

 

 

Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour ($3.79 / 24 ounce bag at Meijer)

I have just been using straight rice flour substituting it for all-purpose flour, brown-rice-flourbut I need to experiment more with this. I find that rice flour has a bit of graininess to it that I don’t always enjoy. I see that most gluten-free products are a mixture of flours and often use potato starch. My next project is to start playing around with ratios to find what I like best.

 

Gillian’s Foods Bread Crumbs ($5.65 / 12 ounce container at Foods for Living)

breadcrumbsThese were the deal breaker for my family. I didn’t mind them, but agree a better substitute can be found. Cooks Illustrated never likes commercial breadcrumbs and always recommends making your own from “good quality white bread” in the food processor. I will try this next time.

 

 

Now you are probably interested in my recipe. I don’t have one, but this is how I make my mac & cheese:

 

I cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions. I usually cook 16 ounces dry pasta. Drain.

 

I melt a stick of butter in a large pot (I usually use the one I cooked the pasta in). When melted, I whisk in about 1/2 cup of flour. Allow that to cook a few minutes, whisking frequently to cook out the flour taste. I then slowly whisk in milk until I make the amount of sauce I want and cook until it is the right consistency (no longer thin). I probably use about 3 – 4 cups of milk. I prefer to have a really saucy mac & cheese, so make a large amount of sauce.

 

Salt and pepper the sauce and add about 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Once this is well blended, I add about 2 – 4 cups of grated cheese, one handful at a time. I like to grate my own versus purchasing pre-shredded cheeses. Depending on my mood, I will use a variety of types. My favorite old standby is sharp cheddar. I like the sharper, stronger flavored cheeses because milder cheeses tend to fade against the pasta.

 

Once all the cheese is incorporated, I turn this mixture out into a greased baking dish. Melt about 4 tablespoons butter and mix in 1/2 cup or so of breadcrumbs. Sprinkle this over the top of the casserole. (This step can be omitted, I like the crunch.)

 

Bake 30 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven until hot and bubbly. If the top hasn’t browned, I turn on the broiler just for about 1 minute, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn.

 

This casserole will serve 8 and freezes beautifully. Bon Appetit!

First Class of 2008 Completed

Among the many things I offer as a personal chef, I also offer cooking classes and yesterday I completed my first class of 2008. It was a two-part basic vegetarian cooking course, the first week concentrating on lacto-ovo cooking and the second week concentrating on vegan cooking, including a raw dish.

Although, not a vegetarian – more of a flexitarian, after spending the last several weeks focusing on vegetarianism, I have a new found zeal to incorporate more of the healthy benefits of whole foods, whole grains and nutritional supplements to my diet. I can be really good about what I eat and cooking for myself, but lately have been so overwhelmed with life I have fallen into the habit of eating poorly. I know we all get there, but now I am feeling the physical effects of not eating well and ready for a change.

 But I am digressing, the class went really well. Classes are a lot of work and after teaching every two-hour class, I really appreciate teachers and professors who do it for six to eight hours a day – every day! I learn so much when I teach a class, whether it is when I am prepping for the class or from the students themselves. It is a very rewarding experience. The day of the class, while I am running around shopping for supplies and prepping the ingredients, I usually say to myself “why do I do this?”. Then after class is finished I remember why I do it. I really enjoy it and I get so much from it.

 One of the dishes we prepared last night was an East African Curry. This is a dish I created inspired by my beloved East African, using ingredients indeginous to the region and readily avaialble here.

I have 2 more classes coming up this spring: Cooking with Wine, this hands-on class is May 7 (7 – 9pm) and Introduction to Mexican Cooking, a demonstration style class on May 19 (7 – 8:30pm). Both of these classes are offered through Delta Township (http://www.deltami.gov/parks/).