Thursday, October 22, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Blue Cheese Soufflé

I was kind of surprised when my wife said she would be willing to try this one without modification. I thought the Blue Cheese would turn her off of it right away. I, on the other hand, love Blue Cheese. I knew a lot of the bloggers were planning on using different cheese but I decided if my wife was up for it I would go for it - although I was fully expecting her not to eat it.

I have made soufflés in the past and am not too scared of them anymore. The biggest trick is just mixing the egg whites in enough so that they are actually mixed in and you don't have pockets of egg white when you are done - but not so much that they deflate. I was a little concerned that my two year old seemed to want to play exclusively in front of the oven and seemed to be jumping around more than normal just when I was cooking a delicate soufflé. Not to worry though - it all came out good.

I didn't hate it but I can't say I loved this recipe. My first bite I thought it was way too strong on the blue cheese. It did grow on me though and after a few bites I was enjoying it much more. Lara, my wife, seemed to like it as well and cleaned her plate - much more than I expected from her. So while I wouldn't say this was bad I don't think I would make it again. I'll stick with other kinds of cheese or maybe even better, chocolate.

Thanks to Summer at Sexy Apartment for this pick. She just got to meet Ina Garten at the NY Food and Wine Festival - sounds like a lot of fun.

Blue Cheese Soufflé
Serves 2-3

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces good Roquefort cheese, chopped
  • 5 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Butter the inside of an 8-cup souffle dish (7 1/2 inches in diameter and 3 1/4 inches deep) and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.
  4. Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the Roquefort and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks.
  6. Whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest. Pour into the souffle dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the souffle rise evenly, and place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don't peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Baked Apple Dumplings

I think it is about time I do a non Barefoot Blogger - non cake post. Not that there is anything wrong with those but I need to do a new recipe I actually pick myself every once in a while. Here in MN it seems like it is winter already. It was in the low 20s last week and we just got our first snow cover yesterday. Well - it is not winter yet and anything apples make me think of fall.

The recipe has a delicious cider sauce you can make ahead of time and is good over ice cream when the Apple Dumplings are done. I did have a little trouble with the dough. It called for buttermilk which I did not have (again) and I decided to use just milk. I couldn't really get it to mix with the dough - I ended up dumping a bunch of the milk off. I don't really think it would have been different with buttermilk but who knows. The dough turned out very soft and it was hard to form around the apples without falling apart - but I got it done and they seemed to turn out good.

I love pretty much any fruit dessert and these didn't let me down. The apples were good - not too soft and not too firm. The crust was very good despite my issues. The sauce, as I said earlier, was very good and a nice extra touch on the dumplings. You could do these without the sauce but I am not sure I would want to now that I have had it.

Baked Apple Dumplings
Source: Cook's Country Oct/Nov 2009, page 20
Serve 8


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
  • 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

Apple Dumplings
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
  • 4 golden delicious apples
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten

  1. Make Dough. Process flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined. Scatter butter and shortening over flour and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer to bowl. Stir in buttermilk until dough forms. Turn onto floured surface and knead briefly until dough is cohesive. Press dough into 8 by 4 inch rectangle. Cut in half, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  2. Prep Apples. Adjust over rack to middle and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. In second bowl combine butter, raisins, and 3 tablespoons cinnamon and sugar mixture. Peel apples and halve through equator. Remove core (being careful not to pierce bottom) and pack butter mixture into each half.
  3. Assemble Dumplings. On lightly floured surface, roll each dough half into a 12 inch square. Cut each square into four 6 inch squares. Working one at a time, lightly brush edges of dough square with egg whites and place apple, cut side up in center. Gather dough, one corner at a time on top of the apple, crimping edges to seal. Using paring knife, cut vent hole in top of each apple.
  4. Finish Apples. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange dumplings on prepared sheet, brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake until dough is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes. Serve with Cider Sauce.

Cider Sauce
Make about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Bring cider, water, sugar, and cinnamon to simmer in saucepan and cook over medium high heat until thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter and lemon juice. Drizzle over dumplings to serve.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Cheddar Corn Chowder

I don't make enough soups. I always enjoy soup when I make it and it makes a nice meal with just a sandwich or salad so I am not sure why I never think to make it. Saying that - it was nice to see this selection to kick off soup season. In Minnesota it has been very cold this past week - hit 29 F one night and has pretty much stayed rainy and under 50 for a week or more. This is definitely what I would call good soup weather.

I did cut the recipe in half since it looked like it made a lot of soup. I left the Olive Oil out since it seemed like it wasn't needed and it would take the calories down a little bit. The soup was pretty easy to make and only took about an hour to make. It did take a lot of chopping. If I was going to do a full batch I might break out the food processor to chop all the onions.

The chowder was excellent. It was very tasty and satisfying. I think the servings must be at least 12-16 oz since even cut in half it will probably be twelve servings for us. I have seen some comments on it being thin for a chowder but I think it depends on what you are used to since I liked the consistency. If you want it thicker use more flour or less liquid - or check out Debby's blog, A Feast for the Eyes, to see what her secret is.

Thanks to Jill at My Next Life for this selection. She has a great looking recipe for what she calls Stromboli/Calzone/Pizza thingy that looks like it would be great for a party.

Cheddar Corn Chowder
Makes 10-12 Servings

  • 8 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
  • 10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  1. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  2. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.