Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers - Blue Cheese Souffle

This was a great base recipe that really lent itself to tweaking to meet my (in my husband's words "fat nazi") requirements. I'm really not that bad, all things in moderation, and where there are strong flavors, like the blue cheese in this recipe using a huge amount is not necessary. So, here's our version adapted from Ina! I will say that Ina's recipe is for one large souffle, but since it's just the two of us here in the Beviamo house (and we don't own a large souffle dish), I cut the recipe down to two individual servings.

Blue Cheese Souffle
Adapted from: Ina Garten

1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup parmesean cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup 1% milk
Salt & pepper to taste
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
1-2 oz. good quality blue cheese (we used Danish blue)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 2 small ramekins with cooking spray and sprinkle with 1/2 of the grated parmesean cheese. Shake to coat, and shake out excess. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until bubbling, then add flour and wisk to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, and turn heat to medium. Add milk (room temperature is best) to flour mixture, wisking continuously. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Continue wisking mixture over low heat until it is smooth and has thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add the two whole eggs, slowly, while wisking continuously (you don't want scrambled eggs!). Add remaining parmesean cheese along with the blue cheese, wisking until the cheese has melted and combined.

In a separate bowl using a stand or electric hand mixer, beat the remaining egg whites until foamy, then add cream of tartar and beat until the whites hold stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the egg/flour mixture in three increments, being sure to fold the whites carefully so you don't remove all the air. Once combined, divide the mixture between the two ramekins, place both ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven (middle rack). Bake 20-25 minutes or until puffy and golden on top. Don't cheat and open the oven while the souffles are cooking, they are so light from the egg white that even a little draft can cause them to sink :(

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Cheddar Corn Chowder

This was my first Barefoot Bloggers recipe, and I have to admit that I wasn’t too excited about it. Being from New England you would like that I’d love chowder, however growing up working at clam bakes and lobster boils pretty much destroyed all appreciation and awe of things like chowder, steamer clams and the like. However, I wasn’t going to let that stand in the way of my very first recipe, so I just ended up making a few adjustments and I think the result was pretty good.

First, I am always trying to be aware of the fat and calories in what I cook…and in that regard, I’ve tried all kinds of turkey bacon, and there is just nothing that I’ve found that can even come close to a fatty pork bacon, so I’ve given up on that one. Using real bacon, I balanced this recipe by using fat free ½ and ½ instead of the “real” stuff, reduced fat extra sharp cheddar and cutting out the olive oil that the original recipe called for. I just did not see the need for it, with all the bacon and butter. The final product looked great, but was missing something (admittedly, this was probably my own fault since if I’d used all of the fat the recipe calls for I’m sure it would have been richer!), so we dressed it up at the end with some smoked paprika and fresh cilantro for a pop of color, and it was great.

As a note, I only made ¾ of the recipe, and it was STILL enough for my husband and I, and there was even some left over from that!

Cheddar Corn Chowder
Adapted from Ina Garten
Makes 3-4 Servings

2 slices bacon - chopped
1 yellow onion – chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch turmeric
3 cups chicken stock
1 medium potato – medium diced
½ bag frozen corn kernels (or two ears fresh corn*)
½ cup half and half
3 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese – grated

*Note – if you’re using fresh corn off the cob, you will need to blanch the kernels first in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes.

In a medium stockpot over medium heat cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon. Add the onions and butter to the pan and cook until onions are translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and turmeric and cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the chicken stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook uncovered until potatoes are tender – about 15 minutes. Add the half and half and cheese, and cook 5 more minutes, or until all of the cheese has melted and the cream has thickened the chowder. Season again with salt and pepper, if desired – and serve with the reserved bacon crumbled over the top.

All in all this came out really well for something that I have zero experience making. I’m glad I added the cilantro at the end though, the little pop of color definitely made it look much more appealing to me.