Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cheese Soufflé

If you invite someone over for lunch -or say, a romantic Valentines dinner- and inform them that you are preparing a cheese soufflé, chances are their eyes will light up with respect (and possibly lust) at your apparent culinary genius.

Let’s leave them to believe that, shall we?

I was making this before I hit puberty. Since it was a family favourite it was one of the first things my mother taught me to cook. It’s quick, easy and delicious.

Easy Cheese Soufflé

1 1/2 cups soft white commercial bread shreds- about 1/2 to 1 inch in size.
1 1/2 cups shredded medium-sharp cheddar *
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp curry powder- yep: the crap commercial kind
1 cup hot milk
3 eggs, separated

Butter a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the bread shreds, cheese and seasonings.
Beat the egg whites until the form stiff peaks and the yolks until blended.
Pour milk on top of bread mixture and mix.
Add egg yolks and mix.
Very gently fold in the egg whites with a spatula. Don’t overdo it; globs of egg white are ok- just try to have an overall yellowish cast to the mess.

Pour into the buttered dish and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes (and not one minute longer!) until puffed and golden. Soufflés will deflate fairly quickly- you have less than five minutes for optimal appearance. I suggest starting your meal with a nice soup while the soufflé is baking. Serve immediately when done with assorted salads, sliced baguette, pickles etc..

* I’m not a big fan of food additives, even ones like colours but in this case, the orange cheddar makes this soufflé much more appetizing.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Korean-Style Winter Salad

Another vegetable that my CSA is providing to me in abundance this winter is daikon radish. Before my winter CSA, I had never really cooked with daikon radish, and didn't really know much about it except that it was a big, long, white Asian root vegetable from the radish family. Since then I've tried a few recipes that used daikon radish, but this one is by far my favorite. It is liberally adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian cookbook.

In the original recipe, Madhur Jaffey includes julienned Kohlrabi for this salad. Add it if you have it. The nappa cabbage is my own addition, and once again stems from what comes in my CSA box. The week I originally made this salad I had no kohlrabi, but loads of cabbage that I needed to use up. I must say that I was more than pleased with the results.

Korean-Style Winter Salad
Serves 4-6

2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
5 inch chunk of daikon (about 1 cup), julienned
2 cups nappa or Chinese cabbage
1 tsp salt
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp roasted sesame oil

The carrot and daikon should be julienned to about 2 X 1/16 X 1/16 inch; in other words quite fine. Toss the julienned carrot and daikon with the salt and let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are wilted. Drain, rinse with water, and drain again. Pat dry.

While the veggies are wilting, in a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, crushed pepper and sesame oil. Set aside to allows flavours to blend.

In a medium bowl, toss together the nappa cabbage, daikon and carrots and the soy sauce mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

This salad makes a nice side to baked marinaded tofu for an evening meal, or as a side to a sandwich for a portable lunch. I also suspect that this recipe would work really well if lightly steamed broccoli was substituted for the nappa cabbage.