Cheese Soufflé

For years I thought of making a soufflé as something too difficult to tackle except by the experts, so I put off making them. After finally trying one, I was amazed to discover how simple and straightforward it really is…and how very satisfying! The sight of your creation as it begins to rise before your eyes in the oven and then finally puffs up into all its glory… is reward enough to say nothing of the delight in tasting it.

In case you have been intimidated as I was, this may be the perfect time for you to overcome that fear and tackle one, because these light fluffy wonders are perfect for hot weather meals when you want to serve something other than cold food, and you don’t want anything cooked that’s too heavy. Guests in our retreat house are always thrilled when served a soufflé.  They say it makes them feel so special!

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Cheese Soufflé
SERVINGS
4people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
35-40minutes
PREP TIME
25minutes
READY IN
30minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Allow the egg yolks and egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. For cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter; stir in flour, dry mustard, onion salt, Worcestershire and cayenne pepper.
  3. Add milk all at once.
  4. Cook and stir cheese sauce over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
  5. Turn heat to low. Add cheese, a little at a time, stirring until melted.
  6. In a medium bowl beat egg yolks with a fork until combined.
  7. Slowly add cheese sauce to egg yolks, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.
  8. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).
  9. Gently fold about 1 cup of the stiffly beaten egg whites into cheese sauce.
  10. Gradually pour cheese sauce over remaining stiffly beaten egg whites, folding to combine.
  11. Grease with butter and coat with grated Parmesan a 2-quart soufflé dish.
  12. Pour batter into dish.
  13. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.
  14. In the last 10 minutes of baking sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 tablespoons) for a nice crust on top.
  15. Serve immediately.

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Hot Chicken Salad Puffs

It seems we barely get cleaned up from one reception, and it’s time to prepare for another. We have many events happening on a regular basis and they almost always are accompanied by the serving of food or refreshments of one kind or another. At a recent reception we revised an old favorite that met with a great response. We served this hot chicken salad in little cream puffs and they disappeared so quickly we couldn’t keep the trays filled.

Hot Chicken Salad Puffs

 

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Hot Chicken Salad Puffs
SERVINGS
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COOK TIME
65 - 70mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

Hot Chicken Salad Puffs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl mix the chicken, celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion salt, spices, onion and almonds.
  4. Transfer to the baking dish, and top with Cheddar cheese and crushed potato chips.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  6. Fill cream puffs, arrange on platter and serve.
Cream Puffs
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper) two baking sheets.
  3. Combine the water, butter and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until the butter has melted and bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than 30 seconds.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. It will still feel hot. Transfer the dough to a mixer.
  7. Beat in the eggs one at a time; the mixture will look curdled, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth.
  8. Beat for 1 minute after adding the last egg. You will have a stiff, smooth batter.
  9. Drop the dough by Tablespoonful’s onto the prepared sheets.
  10. Leave about 2″ between them.
  11. Bake for about 20 minutes, till they have puffed, they are medium golden brown and they look dry.
  12. Remove baked puffs from the oven and use a sharp knife to cut a slit into the side of each puff, for steam to escape; this will help prevent them from becoming soggy.
  13. Return the puffs to the oven for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and transfer to a rack to cool.
  14. Slit each puff in half around the circumference and fill with a heaping Tablespoonful of chicken salad.
  15. Replace the top.

Cheddar/Parmesan Cheese Ball with port wine soaked craisins

Spring is officially here. It’s a lovely day, sun shiney, a bit cool, but leaves are starting to come out. I am keeping a close eye on all of the perennials I planted last fall, and almost all have come up. And of course we have been babying our vegetable seedlings in our grow-tent, which will start to go into the ground any minute now. It’s a very hopeful time of year, full of new beginnings and promise.

We have been hosting special receptions each month as a part of the celebration of our choir’s 25th anniversary. Each month I am faced with the challenge of beautiful finger food that fits in a budget, and isn’t the same every time. I often use ingredients I’ve popped into the freezer. Cheese and crackers are always a good staple. We tried out two different recipes of cheese balls, and ended up combining elements of both to make a really classy cheese ball with lots of flavor. It’s a cheddar/Parmesan with port wine-soaked craisins folded into the mixture. Really delicious, and everyone loved it!
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Cheddar/Parmesan Cheese Ball with port wine soaked craisins
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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Soak craisins in port wine.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix cream cheese, sour cream, shredded cheeses, lemon zest, onion, garlic, pepper, cayenne until well combined, adding craisins at the end.
  3. Put chopped pecans on a piece of waxed paper.
  4. Remove cheese mixture from bowl, form into a ball, and roll in the chopped pecans.
  5. Can be refrigerated, but fine to serve right away.

Savory Bread Pudding With Leeks And Mushrooms

We leave our leeks in the garden to enjoy through the winter months. I took advantage of the January thaw to pluck a few for inspiration. I love using things up in a creative way, and I remembered that I had a few bags of croutons in the freezer, left over from our “O Antiphon” Party at Christmas, where we had served up a hot cheese dip on hollowed out bread bowls. I immediately thought of a savory bread pudding. I also found some sauteed mushrooms in the freezer — a treasure! So I added a little celery, some eggs and cream, and voila! I had tonight’s side dish for a roast, or today’s lunch with a salad and crusty bread.

Savory Bread Pudding with Leeks and Mushrooms

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Savory Bread Pudding With Leeks And Mushrooms
SERVINGS
7servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
45 - 52mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.
  2. Melt butter or bacon fat in large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add mushrooms, leeks, celery and saute until soft, about 10 to 12 minutes; add thyme and cook about a minute more until fragrant.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together bread cubes and vegetable mixture.
  5. Whisk together heavy cream, eggs, salt and ground pepper in another bowl.
  6. Mix custard into bread and vegetables, then transfer to prepared baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle grated cheese over top.
  8. Bake pudding uncovered until set and top is golden, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, Cheese Sandwiches In Pita Bread With Herbed Mayonnaise

The weather turned dry and cool today. It reminds me of those golden days we will soon see in October, so it’s a promise of things to come: apples and pumpkins, butternut squash.  We have a while to go before that, so bear with me the next few weeks as we tour through the garden sampling the last of summer’s offerings! I think of how much fun God must have had creating all of the different edible plants — not only making them taste good, but also making them beautiful to look at. There is nothing quite like an eggplant. The flowers are lovely, and the eggplants are like huge purple jewels hanging on the plant. I think they are my most favorite plant in the garden.  This week the eggplant is coming in by the tubful, and of course so are the tomatoes.  One of my favorite lunches is roasted eggplant, tomato and cheese sandwiches in pita bread pockets. YUM! So simple to make:

Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, Cheese Sandwiches in Pita bread with Herbed Mayonnaise

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Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, Cheese Sandwiches In Pita Bread With Herbed Mayonnaise
SERVINGS
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COOK TIME
20mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN
15mins.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice eggplant crosswise into 1/2 inch slices, place in a colander lined with paper towel, sprinkle with salt and set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Mix chopped herbs into mayonnaise, season to taste with salt and pepper, set aside.
  4. Blot eggplant with paper towels to remove moisture.
  5. Transfer to sheet pan that has been oiled or sprayed with cooking spray.
  6. Brush on olive oil generously.
  7. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until eggplant is tender.
  8. Cool to room temp.
  9. To assemble sandwiches, spread herb mayo mixture inside pita pockets, and then fill with eggplant, tomatoes, and cheese.
  10. Enjoy!!