It finally happened – this week, with a massive storm on the East Coast and actual snow and sleet in DC, I could not longer pretend it wasn’t winter. Unfortunately, most warming winter meals are very heavy, and I was not in the mood for anything along those lines. So what is light but winter-y? Souffle! Despite my slight mishaps with the sweet potato souffle over Thanksgiving, it seemed like a good time to try again. And ok, so asparagus is a more spring vegetable, but oh well.
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup and a bit of milk
1 egg yolk
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Once its melted add the flour and mix it in. Pour in the milk and whisk continuously – making sure the butter-flour mixture melts completely into the milk. Its important to stir constantly, to prevent any sticking on the bottom, or lumps. Once the sauce has thickened, add the salt, pepper and nutmeg – a pinch or two of each, according to your taste. Set it aside to cool for a while. Once cool, add the egg yolk
1/2 lb of asparagus, cut into chunks
4 egg whites
3-4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
While the sauce is cooling, steam the asparagus until tender. Make sure not to overcook it, because it will still go into the oven, but you should be able to pierce it with a fork. Put the egg whites in a large bowl and beat on high with an electric beater for several minutes, until soft peaks form. Put about 1/2 the asparagus and cheese into the sauce and mix them in. Then add about 1/2 the egg whites and fold them in, gently. Add the remaining Asparagus, cheese, and egg whites and fold them all in, gently. Don’t stir. Fold. Carefully. Pour into buttered ramekins (3 or 4 depending on the size) and fill about 3/4 full. Put in the oven and bake at 375 for 2 minutes, or until puffy and getting golden brown on top.
It rose!! It actually rose this time – I was so excited. I’m not quite sure what made it different this time, but there you go – souffles are mysterious like that. It was also light, fluffy, and tasty, exactly how I wanted it to be. I do wish I had put more asparagus in there though. Maybe next time. The blue cheese was perfect. Baking mellows cheese a lot, so the blue worked really well – not overpowering at all. Serve with a red wine. Nothing too complex, maybe a good Shiraz or Malbec. Song of the week: Happier by Guster. This song always hits a chord within me for some reason – it’s hard to describe why, so just listen to it.
Sorry about the prolonged absence. Sometimes life gets away from me. It is spring again, and you know what that means … asparagus! Yes, this is another asparagus and lemon recipe, but it’s completely different from last year’s concoctions. This is actually a spring vegetable salad, inspired by a Green’s recipe and brought to fruition by half-forgotten 1am musings and a subsequent conversation with my dad. It is a spring potato salad, which quickly became ironic because the day I made it there was yet another snow storm out here. Before I get into the recipe, I want to make one thing very clear: mayonnaise is gross. Sticking it into a potato salad is just icky and if that is the kind of thing you enjoy or are looking for, then stop reading now because this is completely different.
Spring veggie salad
6 stalks of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 medium yellow potatoes
1-2 handfuls of green beans, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 oz fontina cheese, grated
Zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Chop the asparagus, toss with olive oil, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees until tender. Boil the potatoes until they are soft, and chop them into chunks. Wait until they have cooled a little bit, but they should still be warm. Take the green beans and parboil them, just for a few minutes. You can cook them all the way if you prefer, but I like green beans a bit more on the crunchy side.
While the vegetables are cooking, make the lemon vinaigrette. Put all the ingredients, except the oil into a small bowl and whisk together. Once those have been combined, add the olive oil, whisk, and set aside. Once all the vegetables have been cooked, stick them all in a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Stick in the fridge to cool. Right before serving, grate the fontina cheese and add it to the salad.
This salad is so yummy! The lemon is an important touch, add cooling the salad really allows the flavors to blend and seep in. I had the salad with garlic bread, and a glass of red wine because that’s what I had open, but you should really have it with white wine. When in doubt, pair lemon/asparagus dishes with white wine. Also, this salad keeps really well. If anything, the potatoes taste even better the next day, so don’t be afraid to make a big recipe and save the leftover for lunches. Song of the week, not precisely a song per se, but the joys of #mcconnelling. This and this are two of my favs, but there are countless others, and they are all funny. Somehow, it never stops being funny.