New Feature…Top Five List

Okay, look up. No, not literally. I don’t mean that you should look at the ceiling, the sky, or whoever is sitting across from you. I mean, if you’re reading this on my website, then by looking up, you’ll see I have a new feature on the site. I’m calling it my “Top Five List.” Every week (or as often as possible, whichever comes first), I’ll write about (cook up?) five nifty things about a topic. It might be a food thing (five things about brisket?). Or a fresh food (I could write 50 things about corn on the cob). Or it might be about a holiday. This week, I have five things about a holiday…Valentine’s Day. So, check it out. And come back to see what’s new. And if you have any ideas for a Top Five List, let me know. If I use it, I’ll send you an official Chef Bill apron. And this apron is like a fine wine: it gets better with age, and is correct with meat or fish.

Chocolate soufflé

This all started from a picture on my Facebook page of me and my first souffle since, well, a long time…

Chocolate soufflé? Really? Isn’t that the dish that makes professional chefs annoyed, and amateur chefs insane? Well, no, not really. All of those rumors (if you’re English, that would be “rumours”) were started by the French to make the world think that only they could make a soufflé. But it’s really one of those dishes that has three steps. If you follow them, then you’ll have a perfect soufflé. Here are the steps:

  1. Melt the chocolates first. This will give them time to cool down while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Melt them in a double boiler or in a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Sure, you can do it in a microwave. I don’t like the microwave, though, because there’s usually a chocolate explosion that follows the words, “just put it on for 20 more seconds.”
  2. Beat together the egg yolks and sugar. This will turn light colored in just a few minutes.
  3. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. This won’t take long. Depending on your mixer, 2-5 minutes.The are the main steps. Other steps include combining these parts together. The only place you can run into trouble is when you combine the final 2/3 of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. The whites need to be folded into the chocolate. Folding is a very deliberate and careful method of combining something whipped (like egg whites or cream) with something else. Use a large rubber spatula, and steadily keep turning the spatula over to combine everything. Don’t give in to temptation by using a whisk or a big spoon to beat and whip everything together. If you do this, you’ll beat out all of the air you just put into the whites. That will result in a flat soufflé. Actually, you’ll end up with a chocolate Frisbee. Try to avoid this.If you follow these steps (and do a practice run before you make this for your guests), you’ll knock everyone’s culinary socks right off. And just in time for Valentine’s Day, too.