Dimanche Repas: Semaine 6 (Part 1)
Two of the five die-hard-cooks are out of commission this weekend, so we are all free-wheeling. That means, we can choose whatever dish we fancy — whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. No restrictions, no rules. One of the guys said he would venture into doing one of Julia’s breakfast dishes — seeing that she devoted a whole chapter on eggs alone! The other guy said he would re-do last week’s menu which left him in a deep depression after some kitchen goblins attacked his dishes. And moî? Onwarrrrrrrrrd bound………….!!!!!!!!!!
By Wednesday, I was still undecided about what I would cook. My French class on Thursday was just looming over me, with pages and pages of homework to finish — so it was quite distracting. Plus, the weather was absolutely gruesome, painfully cold for my feeble Asian skin. I stayed home practically all week.
Every morning, I would wake up, look out the window… and see this:
For a moment, I feel trapped. Captured, imprisoned, almost claustrophobic. Then my arm brushes on the hot tubes of our heaters… and I am suddenly jolted by the comfort and warmth of my little apartment. And! The actual joy of having to stay home with nothing to do but cook! Ha! 🙂 Le joie de vivre!
In fact, I was so darn antsy to wait for the weekend to cook… so on Friday, I thought… why not try a soufflé? Hubby always said it was a very tricky dish, and one that required a super reliable oven to bake it in. At least, one that would allow you to actually dial in the precise temperature of your choice. Fail. I was in the mood for “tricky” but I didn’t have that reliable oven he was talking about! Not our archaic and absurd one which has ONLY specific temperatures that one could dial to: 40, 160, 210, 270, or 300. That’s it. Take it or leave it.
I mean… WT_, right? @#($*&@)#*$ Who invented this oven and lorded over the temperatures that one must only bake in?
But… (taking a deep breath) in all of our last 12 years of moving from home to home, of adopting other people’s homes to make it our own for 2 or 3 years at a time … we have learned to live with what we have. And this time, in Paris, it is this idiotic oven that has become my cross. I’ll live.
So… on with my soufflé! Since it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to make a Chocolate Soufflé… I had to make do with whatever chocolate I had in my pantry. I could choose between a Valrhona milk or noir chocolate bar. The milk won — only because I thought, if it would turn out a flop, at least I would still have my dark chocolate left! And I wouldn’t feel so bad.
And surprise! I didn’t end up feeling bad because I managed to out-wit my idiotic oven! Turned the heat full-blast for the first 3 minutes (270 degrees!) — since it is only at this setting that the broiler goes on (yeah… don’t ask!!!). [The first 3 minutes is critical under the broiler because it helps your soufflé to form a thin nice crust on top — before you continue to bake the rest of it.] Then, I lowered it down to 210 for the next 10 minutes, then again down to 160 for the remaining 15 minutes. And… since you are not supposed to open the oven door at any point while the soufflé is doing its thing (of hopefully rising!), I felt like I was a little child, holding my hands to my eyes, waiting for a big surprise to unveil itself!
Pas mal! It rose — not to the heavens above — but enough. In fact, it didn’t even touch the safety-foil-sleeves I put around my little thingamajig. It was great for a first try, if I may say so myself: A little crusty at the top, and a nice, wet, soft and cushiony texture on the inside. I was happy enough.
The crazy thing was… I don’t know what possessed me… but I lined the WHOLE freakin’ pan with the cocoa/sugar mixture — which I suspect was the cause of my brand-new pan getting all black and burned! Ya think? My soufflé was not burned… but the cocoa on the sides of the pan certainly was! Another lesson learned: Just line the bottom of your pan with the cocoa/sugar mixture … and don’t go gaga with the sides (like someone we know)!
Anyhow… it was yumm, especially with the Häagen-Dazs Caramel Biscuit & Cream (Speculoos) right beside it.
Mmmmm…. Let me leave this thought with you for now, as I have a curfew to catch. (Would you believe, my hubby has asked me to go to bed at 11PM every night?) I only succeeded in actually LEAVING my computer ONCE in the past week: shut-down at 11PM, and reaching bed at about 11.20PM after all my evening ceremonies. And now, it’s 11.20PM again and I have to call it a day. 😦
I wish I was an owl. With a mac. Sitting on the branch of a tree. With a great grand kitchen WITH a Lacanche stove — all neatly tucked inside the big tree trunk from which I am perched.
More tomorrow on the real Dimanche Repas! Bon nuit, mes amis!