Defeat Garden

Archive for June 2011

I told you I was going to make a souffle again 🙂  But of course, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly…

I used:

half a package of bacon, some onion and garlic scrapes

5 T butter

4 T flour

5 eggs, separated

nutmeg, salt and pepper

2 cups (or possibly more!) shredded cheddar cheese (but any kind would work well)

First, I cooked the bacon. When it was cooked, I took it out to drain and cooked the onion and garlic in the bacon grease.  Then I took them out of the pan and put them aside.

The boy buttered my souffle pan for me (I got it a few weeks ago and I’ve been waiting to use it!).

The girl wanted to help as well, so after I separated the eggs, I had her whisk the egg whites.  She is a whisking fiend!  She did an awesome job – you can’t even see her hand in this picture!  You can see the boy in the background helping by shredding the cheese, too.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

I melted 4 T of butter in the pan, then added the flour, one Tablespoon at a time.  It’s kind of fun to watch this part, the flour makes the  butter bubble up 🙂

After the flour and butter were combined, I added one cup of milk to the mixture and whisked it all together (with our OTHER whisk!) until it was thick.

Then take the mixture off of the heat and add ingredients in the following order:

egg yolks

a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper

cheese

any other add-ins you have (here is where I added my bacon and veggies)

Then, gently fold in the egg whites (which should come to a stiff peak before you fold them in…this part I didn’t do so well at – the girl had them at a stiff peak, but I was a little to vigorous in my folding 😦

But look at how beautiful her egg whites look!

Place the mixture into a souffle pan (if you don’t have one – like the first time we made souffle – you can use any other dish as well, preferably a short dish – last time I used a smallish round glass casserole and it worked out just fine!)

This is what mine looked like today.

Then place the dish into the oven and let it cook for about 50 minutes.

All of the advice I read on making a souffle said that the most important thing in making the souffle rise is that you CANNOT open the oven for the first 20 minutes.  Just don’t do it, I guess.  I didn’t think that I would have a problem with that since I normally don’t open the oven, but have you ever noticed that when somebody tells you not to do something, all of a sudden that’s the only thing you want to do?  🙂

Anyways, after NOT opening the oven for 50 minutes, this is how ours turned out today:

It’s pretty, if I do say so myself 🙂

I do think that it puffed up more the first time we made souffle, but I think I’ve figured out why, as well:

I didn’t have my oven pre-heated before everything was mixed together, so it had to sit for a few minutes.  I think the egg whites lost some of the air while the dish was just waiting.  What can I say, I wasn’t expecting help this morning 🙂

Also, be very gentle when you’re mixing the yolk/custardy part in with the whisked egg whites.  I wasn’t paying close enough attention to what I was doing today, until the girl asked me what the noise was when I was folding the mixtures together and then I realized – whoops! I wasn’t being gentle enough, so more of the air escaped than should have.  My fault!

Even though it didn’t puff up a lot this time, it still raised up, and the kids got a kick out of seeing how big it got.

I love this picture because you can see how delicious it is – there’s the “crust” on the sides/top/bottom that provides a little crunch, and you can also see how the middle is cooked through, yet slightly gooey – I love quiche this way, too 🙂

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Food

Posted on: June 4, 2011

I really have a love-hate relationship with food in general.  I love food.  Absolutely love it!  But there are times when I hate it 😦 Mostly I hate it that I love to eat it…and that some of the foods that I love so much (like ice cream) are really so bad for me.

I’ve learned a lot in the last few years about how my body interacts with food.  It’s really been amazing to see first hand how real, honest-to-goodness, food (and by that I mean fruits and vegetables and homemade meals) has had such an impact on my well-being.  It’s affected my weight (in such a good way!) and it’s affected my energy, as well as how I feel on an every day basis.

I really hate how so many people don’t eat good food.  I know it’s not my problem (or my job by any means!) to control what other people eat, but it’s so hard to watch people eating sweets all day long and then wondering why they’re consistently gaining weight.  Or watch people work out for an hour or longer and then go reward themselves with a coffee and muffin from Starbucks.  It makes me want to cry (in frustration)!  Do they realize that they’ve just lost all of the benefits that they gained by working out?

Although sometimes I really miss the convenience of the “old days.” I find myself not wanting to cook some days.  On those days I’d rather be able to come home and pull something out of the cupboard/freezer to toss onto the table – a nice frozen pizza would be great, and there would be no arguments from the kids, I tell you that much!  There are days when I hate the prep work and the chopping and the rinsing and really just the TIME that it takes to cook everything myself.  I KNOW how much better I feel when I do it, and that’s why I do, but gosh I really miss the convenience sometimes 🙂  Especially on days when the kids don’t like the food and I feel like I’m forcing it down their throats, because you know, I’m just NOT going to make two meals in one night.  It takes long enough to make the one meal!

There’s only so many times you can say “some day you’ll thank me for making you REAL food when you were growing up” without it feeling just plain silly…even though it’s true!

And it gets harder and harder to say no to the foods that I know I shouldn’t be eating at the grocery store (it seems like just one little cheat makes it even harder every time).  It would be so easy to come home with a jug of ice cream, or a platter of cookies from the bakery, or a boxed meal that I could just mix together, heat up, and throw on the table.  And I’m sure that I could come up with the excuses to eat it, too.

But then I remember what that convenience did to me in the past.  If I need a good reminder, all I have to do is pull out our wedding album.  I see how unhealthy we both looked at the time (even though we also looked pretty happy 🙂 )and I remember why it’s so much better to take the time to do it right.  Even if it takes an hour (or sometimes longer!) to put supper on the table, it’s worth it in the end.

Also, now that we don’t eat the refined and processed foods (and sugars!), so many foods taste so much better.  It’s amazing how when you haven’t had “sweets” in the form of doughnuts or candy bars or other processed foods for a while, you can really taste the sweetness of fruit.  A banana has a natural sweetness to it that I just didn’t notice two years ago.  The same thing with a blackberry (when it’s in season of course!).  We got a few blackberries today and they have such a gentle level of sweet and a nice layer of tang to them.  I think I’m going to try some of them later with some creme fraiche that we found for a recipe we made earlier this week.

We’ve recently decided to try to learn how to cook French food.  We’ve made a few simple recipes, but have been really amazed to find that many of the recipes we see are really similar to the way that we already cook.  I got a book at the library with easy recipes, and a few other books with some harder recipes.  We even tried a souffle last week, which turned out really well.  (actually I think we might do that again this week, and I’ll take pictures this time!) The man took me to a nice restaurant where we had “real” French food (for the middle of the country, anyways!), and I thought it was fabulous.  The man had a steak and I had duck confit.  We also had some wine because really, can you eat French food without washing it down with wine?  Some day when I make food, it will be that good 🙂

And that’s when I remember why I have this relationship with food.  It can do amazing things.  Like make a two hour meal seem like 15 minutes because it was THAT good.  AND make me look like I do now instead of how I looked 5 years ago:

For those of you who have made it this far through my rambling, thank you 🙂 Now you know some of how I feel about food.  I would absolutely love it if you would post your thoughts on food.  Has it made a difference in your life (good or bad)? What type of relationship do you have with food?  Is it hard for you to watch other people and their relationships with food?