Spring souffle experimentation

It might not strike you immediately (although it did me when I first saw the recipe), but eggs and raspberries = an excellent combination.

Yes, the breakfast obsession revolving around eggs continues.  I’ve always loved breakfast, as long as it wasn’t cereal.  Even in high school, I would make the effort to get up early to cook myself a breakfast burrito before dragging myself onto the bus.

In talking to my coworkers, I’ve gathered that time constraints limit them to cold cereal and milk for breakfast (ways around this in a future post).  To them, and many, this makes what is my favorite meal, their most boring one of the day.  It doesn’t have to be that way – there are so many things one can do for breakfast, perhaps even more so than dinner.  A goal of mine with this blog is to point people to recipes, ingredients, and techniques to help change their mind about this.

On that note, I put together a really fun first-meal-of-the-day this past weekend (unfortunately, this is not a good quick-and-easy recipe with any good make-ahead options)…

This cookbook came into my hands recently.  For its old-fashioned design, it definitely has some forward-thinking recipes, such as chilled cherry soup, pear and sweet potato pancakes, and even an egg dish that calls for the addition of black tea.

When I flipped through the book for the first time, Phillips’ Raspberry-style Omelet Souffle caught my eye.  Who doesn’t love the idea of eating an egg puff-ball filled with raspberries?  The only problem was the recipe serves six.  As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I are but two (no kids yet).  In this recipe, the whipped egg mixture is poured into a single oven-safe skillet and then cut to serve six people.  We had some ramekins on hand and I figured I could portion it out into six of them.  A little hmmm-ing later, I came up with a solution.

And the process unfolded this way…

The prep-work… (In the background are freshly baked Aunt Polly’s buttermilk biscuits – southern cooking at its best.  They go fabulously with the souffles.)

prepworkphoto

The recipe called for melting the butter in an oven-safe frying pan.  The eggs would be added in once the butter began to bubble and then the pan placed in the oven.  I worked around this by adding the butter to each individual ramekin and putting them in the oven, preheated to 375.  The plan was to take the ramekins out once they were heated, portion out the egg mixture, and then return them to the oven for baking.

marblingfoldedin

Working with beautifully colored and textured ingredients…  Everything is going well so far.

And then I peaked into the oven.

warmingbutter

…hmmm, no bubbling.  And there is something in my butter.

Oh crap, I burned the butter.

*le sigh*  Life goes on, and so I went forward, hoping I hadn’t ruined the whole thing.

intothefireoutoftheoven

Beautiful color out of the oven!  They puffed up perfectly.  Since it was home cooking, I cared less about presentation for the next part.  I think in the future, I would be able to figure out a way to fill them without damaging the overall shape as much.

I decided to serve the raspberry-filled souffle with one honey-drizzled biscuit, some fresh pineapple, and fresh raspberries.  The final result:

finalpresentation

How did it turn out, despite the burned butter?

allgone

As an inexperienced cook, I didn’t know how actually, hrm…, wonderful it was that the butter “burned” (it didn’t quite get that far).  It added a lovely, honey-caramel characteristic to the souffles that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

These reminded me a lot of a chocolate mousse cake my husband makes from time to time.  On that note, I think they would make a fantastic light dessert as well (adding in a little melted chocolate to the egg mixture and served with the raspberries on the inside).

They saved pretty well for the most part.  I put each extra ramekin in its own Ziploc bag and only refrigerated them one day before polishing off the leftovers.  They didn’t reheat well in the microwave (the oven probably would have been better), but then again, they were also very good cold (with warmed raspberries served on top).

I learned a lot from this recipe, so I’m thrilled either way.

To summarize, here is the full recipe, which includes my changes (reduced sugar by 1/2, as well as instructions for serving the fun way – in self-contained individual portions).

Raspberry-style Omelet Souffles
(makes six individually-sized souffles)

  • 6, 6-7 oz oven-safe ramekins
  • 1 package frozen raspberries (10 oz)
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, cut into 6 equal pieces
  • confectioner’s sugar (for topping/presentation)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place one piece of butter in each ramekin.
  2. Thaw the raspberries and sprinkle with 2 tsp lemon juice.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whip the eggs whites and salt together with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy.  Add the granulated sugar and continue beating on the highest setting until the mixture becomes stiff and glossy.
  4. Lightly beat the egg yolks.  Gently fold them into the whites.
  5. Put the ramekins in the oven to heat the butter.  You want to leave it in the oven until the butter just begins to caramelize/form some golden solids.  When this happens, divide the egg mixture equally between the hot ramekins. Place the ramekins on a dry baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden.
  6. Remove from oven.  Slit each omelet at top and equally portion out about 1/2 of the raspberries across the six ramekins.  Spoon remaining berries on top (or put all berries inside the souffles, it’s your call).  Sprinkle top with confectioners’ sugar.

(Rough nutrition information for each souffle: 160 kcal, 19 g carbohydrates [16 g sugars], 7 g fat, 5 g protein, 63 mg sodium)

If you would like to try this out with a side of Aunt Polly’s biscuits…

Aunt Polly’s Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  1. Put milk, salt, soda and baking powder in a bowl and mix well.  Add oil and 1 cup flour; mix well.  Add the remaining cup of flour and mix well.  Dough will be soft.
  2. Put on well-floured board and knead until it is a smooth, soft dough.
  3. Roll or pat dough to 1/2 inch and cut out with biscuit cutter or top of a tumbler dipped in flour.
  4. Place in a pan and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 10-12 biscuits.  (Nutrition per biscuit if 10 biscuits are made: 140 kcal, 19 g carbohydrates [2 g sugars], 6 g fat, 3 g protein, 250 mg sodium)

Pair the souffle with the biscuit and some fresh fruit and you have quite the appetizing breakfast for under 400 calories.

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Fighting the end of winter one dish at a time…

This morning I was in need of a pick-me-up as Denver once again slogs through another snow storm.  Recently I came across this article and really wanted to try, well, basically everything there.  But I thought the Egg in a Cloud would be a great way to start a cold wintry Tuesday.

I bought a new cookbook a couple weeks back.  We happened to have all the ingredients for the cornmeal waffles with fresh peach topping (no good fresh peaches here, but we froze some last fall – they thawed out wonderfully).  So this weekend we made those.  It was a success, although the batter was extremely thick and didn’t quite reach the edges of the iron.

As always, when cooking for two people, there are leftovers.  We had one waffle left to fight over this morning.  When I saw the Egg in a Cloud idea, I knew it would be best served on top of a waffle (a technique I first saw at the hospital I used to volunteer at – they put fried chicken, banana mashed potatoes, and gravy on top of a waffle for dinner).  So this morning, I split the waffle in half, threw it in the oven while it was pre-heating, and put the rest of the meal together.

The result:

Image

First impressions – the waffle on bottom was the best idea.  It added additional texture/structure and flavor, plus the slightest hint of sweetness.

However, as I should have suspected, the egg was a little bland.  The texture was good, but it needed a little something extra.  While thinking today, I have come up with a few options to fix this: top with Parmesan cheese before putting in the oven, mix the whipped whites with herbs (sage, rosemary, whatever), perhaps drizzle with butter or olive oil after done cooking.

I think this is a good recipe as far as versatility goes.  Since the website is vague on the details, here is what I used to create this:

Egg in a Cloud

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 pieces of toast (or 2 plain or savory waffles)
  • Optional for flavoring – grated Parmesan cheese, sage and/or rosemary, olive oil or butter (can use any of these in any combination, just play with it)
  1. Preheat the oven to 415 degrees.  Prepare the toast and warm the waffles if need be (reheating waffles is best done directly on the rack in the conventional oven while it is preheating – after the oven is heated, transfer the waffles to an oven-safe pan, plate or skillet so that the eggs can be placed on top of them for baking).
  2. In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Once this occurs, carefully fold the spices and Parmesan cheese into the whites if desired.
  3. Evenly divide the whites onto two pieces of toast, forming a well in the center for the yolk.
  4. Carefully slide the yolk into the well.  Transfer the eggs and toast to an oven-safe pan.  Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the egg whites are golden on top and the yolks have just begun to set.
  6. Remove from oven.  Drizzle with olive oil or butter, if desired.  Top with a little salt and pepper.