Tags: cooking


Spinach Souffle for One

I'm sorry that some of these measurements are a little inexact, but souffles are pretty forgiving, like bread. Forget your preconceptions that souffles are delicate, temperamental things that can't be made during a thunderstorm. With practice, you can make them without a recipe, as I do, pretty much. Okay:

You will need

Two large eggs
About one ounce or one tablespoon of butter
And the same quantity of flour.
Half a cup of milk (I use skim). If you're counting calories, or carbs, or just like green, you could use the water you cook the spinach in.
1 tsp of dijon mustard
a pinch of paprika, or maybe cayenne
Some spinach, cooked (whatever will make about 1/2 cup when cooked)
Cheese - to make about 1/2 cup grated. I use aged cheddar, but feta or blue cheese would work well, or some combination, as long as it's fairly piquant.

Some kind of oven-proof ceramic or glass receptacle big enough to hold all above ingredients mixed together with room for rising. I used a china pudding basin (the kind you make Christmas puddings in) because my souffle dish is too big. This should be greased.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Cook spinach, and drain, reserving the water if you want to use it.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour and the milk or spinach-water to make a fairly stiff batter rather than a sauce. Add the cheese until it melts, the mustard, and the paprika or cayenne. Set aside.

Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg yolks until lemon coloured. Beat the whites until peaks form. They should be stiff but not dry; you are not making meringues here.

In a medium bowl, combine the cheese sauce and the egg yolks. Mix lightly: the idea is to keep everything airy, so don't beat the hell out of it. Add the cooked spinach.

Now the tricky part: with a _spoon_, add about one-third of the beaten egg whites and mix lightly. This is what Julia Child called "lightening the batter." Then, with a spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites. Plop the whole mixture into your greased receptacle. Again, it's important to keep everything light - you want air bubbles, so don't mix things too much.

Put in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 400 degrees. This is a clever way of keeping the temperature constant. Bake for about 30 - 40 minutes, depending on the depth and thickness of your receptacle, until the souffle is risen and is brown and smells done.

If you have a friend over, double the quantities, follow the same instructions, but bake for an hour.

Serve immediately, with a green salad, or some steamed asparagus, or something else delicious, and some white wine.



My friends B&J came over for dinner last night, bringing with them their teenage dog, Lucy. I made a fancy version of what my mum called "cheese pudding" and the magazines call a "strata" and seem to think is only for brunch. I like eggy cheesy things at any time of day, and B&J are vegetarians, so it seemed like a nice light supper dish. I soaked bread in milk and lemon zest and tarragon, then added beaten eggs, mushrooms, (ETA gruyere cheese, of course) and chopped asparagus and baked it. I made a salad with leaves and chopped red pepper and sliced baby carrots and grapes and nutty sprinkles from Thrifties, dressed with lime infused olive oil and good balsamic vinegar. We finished off my shortbread and also had some of lidocafe's almond cookies with our coffee. It was all very good. Oh, and we also had a lovely Australian Chardonnay, the name of which I must endeavour to remember so that I can get it again.

This morning I woke with a sore throat and scratchy eyes and a bit of a headache - cold looming? I hope not. I made turkey soup which is just now simmering on the stove, and I shall have some for my lunch. While cutting up the carcass for soup I packed up two more meals of turkey in gravy for weeks to come and a bag with half the carcass so that I can make soup again in a couple of weeks.

Otherwise just puttering and doing the usual domestic things. Clearing Clio's toilette area has become more pleasant lately (this may be TMI except for cat lovers... be warned). She used to go outside mostly, but recently has decided that being an indoor cat is where the action is. This has meant heavier use of litter box, and we were having trouble finding litter that she would use. She seemed to be okay peeing in what I gave her, but she was persistently pooping on the floor, which was tiresome. I decided in the end, partly on kp's advice, to make her another litter box to poop in, and situate it (as a hint) on the patch of floor that she used to poop on, but although she always had liked the plain clay litter, you don't seem to be able to get it any more, and she didn't seem to like the clumping kind to poop in and in any case it's almost impossible to get it without scent, and it's apparently deadly for the environment. So I decided to try one of those environmentally friendly cedar ones, this made by the same company that makes the enzymatic cleaner I use. Success!! Now she's using that both for peeing and pooping: no more poop on the floor, it scoops fairly well, so works for both functions, it smells nice in a natural way, no more horrible scented environmentally unfriendly other stuff... Yay. Domestic happiness turns on such things as pleasant-to-maintain cat litter and a satisfied cat.
my boys


I've spent the last several days pleasantly in early summer domestic pursuits. On Thursday, I went downtown to investigate a new produce market I had read about in the paper. More of a stall than a market per se, it nevertheless proved to be what could be a welcome addition to downtown. It is run by chefs, who volunteer their time, and all the profits go back to the farmers whose produce they are selling. They had wonderful fresh salad greens, new potatoes, peas, the first green beans, some morels, and some strawberries, though these were more or less gone by the time I got there. I filled a bag with goodies and had a lovely supper that night of fresh salad, morel omelet and new potatoes. Oh, and I also stopped in at an Italian gourmet cooking shop and bought some wonderful olive oil pressed with lime, which makes the best salad dressing.

Friday, I decided to take the D's and do some more veggie shopping in the peninsula, stopping at Island View Beach for the dogs to have a run on the way. I also stopped in at a garden center, with predictable results. On this forage, I came home with strawberries.

I have spent much of yesterday and today in the garden, planting my purchases. My upper bed, under the deck where it gets full sun, is now rehabilitated and finished - I've been planting it with things of brighter colours than those in my main perennial bed. I'm also making pots filled with things both edible and decorative, a mixture of calendula, arugula, coriander, nasturtiums and so on. These will be on my deck so that I can go and snip things when I'm cooking.

The boys snuffled around happily and lazed in the sun. I think I've finally nobbled Robinson, having found and patched the hole in the fence where he was getting out. At least he seemed content (and resigned) today to hang out in the garden with me. Tonight it's more of the market salad, which I shall mix with melon and dress with a nice mix of lime olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and a handful of chopped basil. This I shall serve with baked chicken breast and new potatoes. Yum.