Spring Cleaning…

April 2nd, 2010

… the sun is shining in Chicago! It is beautiful! I can’t wait to run my errands and dance around outside… This morning I was doing some spring cleaning. I cleaned the apartment, reorganized the closet and did some laundry. I opened the windows to let the breeze in… It feels great!

On the theme of spring cleaning… here is a picture I took a long long time ago and never posted… this is how I like my eggs… I slice a tomato, make some toast and make two sunny side up eggs. I like to flip them over at the end just to semi-cook the top but keeping the yolk runny. I sprinkle with truffle salt and pepper… also, sometimes a little olive oil. It is a very delicious combination for a quick dinner- in fact, I had it last night.

Enjoy the sun!

Why I spend way too much money on rent…

May 3rd, 2009

Isn’t the view just wonderful? I love the lake. It has finally gotten warm in Chicago. It makes me much happier. A few more hours of studying and then a much needed bike ride by the lake.

As I mentioned before, one of my goals in life was to make a souffle.  Many people seem to be intimidated by them because they fall.  My theory is that even if they fall, they still taste good.  I’ve read a number of tips online about how to make the perfect souffle and, honestly, only a few helped:

1. Follow the recipe (I rarely do this in every other type of cooking but here it is important- at least for the egg ratio and such)

2. Level the ramekins with a knife and using the knife go around the inside of the ramekin (this will help it rise more evenly, which I have found to be the best when making chocolate souffles)

3. Do not open the oven until you are ready to take it out (this is a difficult step but try to stick to it.  I have put goat cheese souffles back in that were still raw in the middle and they fell quickly when I took them out.  This may just take some experimentation with the cooking time and your oven.)

I make souffles fairly often because I love a goat cheese souffle with a simple salad.  I can kick back with a glass of white wine and stare out at the lake…stop daydreaming Ginny and get back to studying…

Goat Cheese-Chive Souffle
(adapted from epicurious)
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon Parmesan, grated
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/3 cup milk (recipe calls for whole but I used skim and it worked fine)
3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, very coarsely crumbled
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg yolk
2 large egg whites

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Rub inside of two 1-cup soufflé dishes or ramekins with 1 tablespoons butter. Coat with grated parmesan; tap out excess. Set aside.
3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in sauce pan.
4. Add flour and cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
5. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium. Simmer mixture until very thick, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.
6. Add half of goat cheese and chopped chives. Whisk until melted and smooth.
7. Mix in salt and pepper.
8. Allow mixture to cool for 2 minutes.
9. Whisk egg yolk in medium bowl to blend and stir in the souffle base.
10. Beat whites in large bowl until stiff but not dry. Mix 1/4 of whites into soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites.
11. Sprinkle the goat cheese into the bottle of the ramekins.
12. Place in 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of dishes.
13. Bake soufflés until puffed and golden brown on top and softly set in center, about 20 minutes.

Argentina: Part III

February 6th, 2009

One day J and I went across the Rio de la Plata to Uruguay by boat… We visited Colonia del Sacramento… I got another stamp in my passport!

It was a really, really, hot day!  The goal was to go ride horses along the beach… in reality, we got a few kilometers outside of the town, found a nice beach, put our feet in, and then sat down under an umbrella and drank some sangria… and had a plate of Uruguayan cheese… it was quite relaxing…

J and I like grocery stores. We always roam around them. J likes to look at the interesting fruit and I get excited for new ingredients that I’ve never cooked with… one day, we found little cute quail eggs and we made this creation. I poached the eggs. I used a technique similar to this and left them in the pan for about a minute or two. I like my yolk runny. J chopped up shallots for me (I tend to cry so much when I cut shallots!)  I sauteed them with a little bit of oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. In another frying pan, I heated the mushrooms through and places a bit of soft cheese (J, what is the name again?) inside to melt. Once the cheese was melted, I placed a poached egg inside and then topped with the shallots. It was excellent. Served with a salad. It was a nice light meal.