Thursday, March 11, 2010

Goat Cheese Mini-Soufflés, And Taking Care of Business

Sometimes we have to put all fun aside and take care of business. is income tax filing time of the year again. Paperwork is not my friend. I'd rather do almost anything else, and with my procrastination tendencies, a lot of other things get done just to avoid the inevitable. Put car shopping into the mix and I'm thrown into a complete tizzy. I am not a car person...but, I try to feel the love, really I do. I mean shouldn't I be excited about spending so much money? I have been balancing income tax prep between car dealing leaving little time for cooking, so I got Chinese takeout yesterday. Opening my fortune cookie I was hoping it would say, "You will be getting a lot of money soon." No, no, no, it said....."It is what you haven't done that will torment you." Hey, don't I know it! Well the torture is just about over. I've mailed off the taxes, chosen a nice safe car and made a pretty good deal on it (thanks to my friend, Gerry!) Now they want me to pick out a color! With all of those pretty colors to choose from, at least 3 sing to me. I keep telling myself it is just a car color...pick one. Today, I know I will. In the meantime, I thought a good lunch would take care of business as visions of car colors danced through my head. Nothing like a good diversion to let the inner mind work. And a good diversion this was. I've been wanting to make Goat Cheese Mini-Soufflés since meeting Allison Hooper, the author of the cookbook, "In a Cheesemaker's Kitchen" and tasting some of her artisanal cheese. I took the cookbook out from my bookshelf and turned to the recipe I tagged earlier. I had already bought the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company goat cheese in anticipation, so I went to work. I prepped the salad as the little soufflés baked, and in no time had a tasty lunch. Now, if I only had some of her "Vermont True Decadence Brownies" leftover from last week, I could probably think a little clearer ;-)
These little cheese soufflés are light and delicate, and work just as well for a brunch alongside oven roasted potatoes and fresh fruit.

Goat Cheese Mini-Soufflés
(Adapted from "In a Cheesemaker's Kitchen", by Allison Hooper)

The souffle ingredients:
3 ounces cultured butter lightly salted
2 tablespoon bread crumbs
2 ounces all purpose flour
8 ounces whole milk
16 ounces chèvre, plain
6 eggs, separated
1 dash Tabasco
Salt and ground pepper to taste

Salad ingredients:
3/4 pound arugula
1 cup candied walnuts*
1 cup pink grapefruit

Champagne Vinaigrette ingredients:
6 tablespoons champagne vinegar
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
3/4 cups olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub the inside of six 3/4-cup souffle dishes or two and one half muffin tins with one ounce of butter. Coat with breadcrumbs and tap out excess. Set aside.

Lightly toast flour in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add butter and stir until flour and butter are combined to form a roux. Add milk while whisking over medium heat. Whisk until smooth and roux thickens to a mashed potato consistency.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add the chèvre and egg yolks and mix using a rubber spatula, until well combined. Season the base with Tabasco, salt and pepper.

While the base is cooling, whip egg whites until they form soft peaks., then fold into the souffle base.

Divide the mixture among prepared souffle dishes. Bake in the oven until they are puff and golden brown (about 50 minutes).

Whisk together vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl, then add the oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Prepare the salad by dividing the arugula onto six plates. Top with candied walnuts and grapefruit, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of champagne vinaigrette.

Once baked, remove soufflés from the oven. If they fall, this is all right. Cool and run a sharp knife around the sides of the dishes to loosen the souffles. Serve immediately on the salad.

Serves 8.
*I used pecans made using my Spicy Nuts recipe (click here).

Goat Cheese Mini-Soufflés recipe, click here.

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