Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cheese Souffle

Hi friends! This was our first attempt at making a cheese souffle. The recipe is from America's Test Kitchen. I've never had souffle before, but after having this one I think I need more of it in my life. The flavor, texture, smell, everything was wonderful. Here's how we got there, with some photos along the way. 

1. Grease pan with vegetable oil or Pam. Use 2 tablespoons Parmesan to dust the dish (2 court size Corningware).

2. Melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat.

3. Whisk together dry ingredients: 4 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 salt, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/8 white pepper, pinch of nutmeg. Add dry mixture and whisk for about a minute until raw flour taste is gone. Add 1 1/3 cup whole milk slowly while whisking. Simmer for about a minute.

4. Remove from heat. Add to mixture 6oz Gruyere cheese, 6 tablespoon Parmesan. Whisk until lumps are gone, cheese is melted. Smooth mixture, cool for 10 minutes.

5. Separate 6 eggs. Add only yolks into cheese mixture with 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley. Whisk together.

6. In KitchenAid mixer: Add egg whites only and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar into mixer. Medium to low speed with whisk attachment for about one minute until foamy. Then mix on medium high speed until stiff peaks are achieved, 3-4 minutes.

7. Add cheese mixture into peaks, mix for about 15 seconds.

8. Pour into souffle dish, add until about an inch from rim. Add another tablespoon of parmesan on top.

9. Bake on 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.170 degrees internal temperature or take 2 spoons and crack through the top - still moist but not soupy. 5 minutes until it deflates. Add parsley on the top.

Happy baking!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cheeseboy is my Homie

Behold – the most beautiful sight for sore eyes after a long road trip. What is this, you ask? WELL – let me break it down for you.

We were driving back from a beautiful, scenic, alcohol-fueled weekend in Rhode Island and needed gas along the way. We stopped at a rest stop in Connecticut (Darien to be exact) and went on the hunt for something amazingly unhealthy to eat. And boy did we find it! Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have an unhealthy obsession with everything CHEESE related. I would rather have a plate of cheese than a piece of cake or dessert. So imagine my sheer delight when I stumbled upon Cheeseboy at the rest stop. We don’t have any in NJ, so I was eager to indulge. What you are looking at is Cheeseboy’s MAC N Melt, which is described on their menu as the following:

Mac ‘N Melt All-natural mac and cheese (made with local aged cheddar, Monterey Jack, cream, and spices), hickory bacon, and local aged cheddar on artisan white

Now – if this doesn’t sound good to you, I don’t think we will be close friends in the future. For those still interested and sane, let me tell you something. This sandwich wasn’t just good. It was REALLY freakin good. We aren’t talking passable rest stop food – it could easily have been served at a restaurant for lunch and I still would have ordered it. The gourmet type mac and cheese was delicious. The bread was toasted to perfection and I don’t need to explain how bacon makes everything better, do I?

I am so very sad that Cheeseboy doesn’t have locations in the Jersey area, however I guess I should count my lucky stars because I would be tempted to get this sandwich OFTEN. Cheeseboy has many other options as well – salads, buffalo chicken wraps, veggie melts and so forth. Count me a big fan.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fresh Lemon Bars

Hi friends! I got this amazing lemon bar recipe from Food Network - they are phenomenal. This is the second time I've made them and they were a huge hit. This recipe makes about 24 bars (depending on how big or small you want them) and they are almost all gone after a BBQ or party.

People have told me that they really like these, because often times people make or bring chocolate themed desserts to summer parties. This tart, citrus treat is a stark contrast to a heavy chocolate say, cake, and they find them refreshing and summery. Who am I to judge? Give the people what they want damn it! I also like the fresh crust  mixed with the tartness of the lemon - perfection.

Here is the recipe:


For the Crust:
Vegetable oil, for greasing
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:
4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)

1. Make the crust: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with vegetable oil and line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; grease the foil with oil. Pulse the butter, flour, both sugars and the salt in a food processor until the dough comes together, about 1 minute. Press evenly into the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared pan, making sure there are no cracks. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F. Pour the filling over the warm crust and return to the oven. Bake until the filling is just set, 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Lift out of the pan using the foil and slice. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

And you're done! I've done this recipe both ways - made them the morning of a party and the night before. I think they set better with more time in the refrigerator, but didn't see a huge difference in texture when I made them the morning of. I'm a big believer in prepping ahead of time, and these will be just as good (if not a little better) if you make them the night before.

Both times I thought of halving the recipe, but I'm really glad I didn't - people wanted to take the extras home because they loved them so much! That's a success in my book. This recipe wasn't difficult to make either. The only part that I hated was squeezing EIGHT lemons to get the cup of lemon juice - what a job! Once I tasted the bars it was worth it though.

Here's the original post from Food Network:

Hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend - back to the grind!