Monday, October 8, 2012

Doing it Julia Child Style

At first glance my outfit for today doesn't have a whole lot to do with the legendary chef of French cuisine, Julia Child. Perhaps if I put on a strand of pearls it would be a bit more in the style of Julia, but I don't own pearls! The recipe featured below for cheese souffle is distinctly Julia. I couldn't help thinking about Julia today after making a souffle last night. This past August marked her 100th birthday. I'm just celebrating it a little late!

While this outfit might not be exactly something Julia would have donned while making crepes or butchering a chicken, it's classic and feminine just like Julia. Despite some of the more masculine traits possessed by Julia, she had a lot of class and femininity to her style and clothing. All in all, she embodied many contrasting qualities that I can relate to. For example, as I mentioned before, Julia gave off the aura of being both a tom-boy and girly. She advocated using the proper technique for cooking, while embracing the flaws and mistakes which would frequently arise while in the kitchen.

A few details about my outfit are necessary before moving on with my souffle experience. The polka dot skirt is from Kate Spade and it's called the "Melody Skirt." I paired it with a blue Jackie cardigan from J. Crew and classic nude CL simple pumps.

Now on to the souffle, a cheese souffle none the less! I am including the recipe at the bottom of the page in case you are so inclined to channel your inner Julia and whip it up tonight. I have to admit, souffle is a difficult recipe for someone who has a phobia of eggs. I don't know if I have talked about that before, but I hate eggs. If they are mixed with other things to the point that the egg is no longer the main ingredient, that's fine, but if the eggs are the main ingredient I freak out. It is one of my weird food rules. However, I am trying to be more adventurous. 

To psyche myself up for this epic event of making souffle, I watched Jacques Pepin make his own souffle on his show,  Essential Pepin. I pretty much do whatever Jacques tells me to do on his show. My husband wished I listened to him as much as I do Jacques! Anyway, Jacques said to separate the egg yolk from the whites with your hands, so I did that and it worked much better than my old technique. Again, doing this with bare hands is not something that went over real well due to my egg phobia, but I soldiered through it. 

Here are the cheeses I used for the souffle. You could use just about anything.

Finally, here is how the final product came out. The ramiken was a little too big for the amout of souffle batter, so it doesn't show off the "rise" and puffyness as much. Regardless,  I found the finished product to be delicious, even with all of the eggs!

Recipe from Bon Appetit:

2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
1 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces)

Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 400 F.Butter 6-cup (1 1/2-quart) soufflé dish. Add Parmesan cheese and tilt dish, coating bottom and sides. Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.

Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes (do not allow mixture to brown). Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute. Pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and cook, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt, and nutmeg. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. Scrape soufflé base into large bowl. Cool to lukewarm. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm or room temperature soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in Gruyère cheese. Transfer batter to prepared dish.
Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375 F. Bake until soufflé is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes (do not open oven door during first 20 minutes). Serve immediately.

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