Sunday, September 13, 2009

Food, fragrances, and fall draws nigh

The temperature is no longer 80 degrees before nine am and I can walk from my office to the main campus (about 1/5 mile) without breaking a sweat. The heat that is in the air is no longer quite as liquid which makes things feel just a pinch cooler.
I went to one of those precious little stores that carries Vera Bradley and many other pretentious and unnecessary things to get a gift for a retiring colleague. There are always wonderful fragrances in these stores and my nose led me to India Hicks Island Living Spider Lily.
I am in love - even though I hate the name. It is beach sand between my toes, sun on skin, a lightly floral, citrus and green spicy-things smell.
The precious little store got more of my money than I had planned to spend:)

Last Saturday night was all about the kids' favorite restaurant and I wish I had eaten a bite of everyone's food and made notes right away! I was unimpressed with the truffled macaroni and cheese but the asparagus and onion cheese souffle was so good I had to figure out how to make it myself.
The recipe was not on line and I am not an experienced souffle maker, but I pulled it off with help from the Husband. I made the mistake of beating the egg whites by hand while my cheesy-yolky sauce needed stirring so he stirred while I beat.
We had the souffle with Spanish Soup (see July 18, 2009).

Asparagus/Onion Souffle, apologies to Cafe 30-A

1 cup of fresh asparagus, rinsed and snapped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup organic milk
6 tbl grated Swiss cheese
3 tbl butter
3 tbl Wondra
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
dash Worcestershire sauce
Paprika, Cayenne, dry mustard (about 1/4 tsp each)
Sea Salt, white pepper to taste

Sautee onion in about 1/2 tsp butter, set aside and allow to cool. Grease straight-sided 1.5 L Corning ware round casserole dish with butter. Nuke asparagus with a tsp of water for 45 seconds, drain any water off, all to cool.
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Once the onion and asparagus are cool, arrange in the bottom of souffle dish.
Melt the 3 tbl of butter on medium heat in a non-stick skillet, whisk in Wondra. Once the mixture is smooth, whisk in milk and seasonings. Remove from heat.
Beat the egg whites, WITH A HAND MIXER, 'til stiff.
Return milk/butter mixture to heat, stir in egg yolks. Now it gets tricky. Fold the egg whites carefully and thoroughly into the mixture in the skillet, then pour into the souffle dish.
Put an inch of water into a 9x11 glass pan and sit the souffle dish inside, pop it into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cool a little before serving; we loved it with soup but it would be good with a light salad too.