Start the New Year with an Easy Omelet Souffle

I woke up this New Year morning and announced to my love that I wanted to make a souffle for breakfast.

“Have you ever made one?” he asked.

“No, but the New Year is a good time to learn,” I replied.

While making a souffle appeared challenging, it sounded like a decadent and delicious way to start the year 2020. And with sides of tomatoes, olives, and marinated artichoke hearts, plus sparkling prosecco, it was.

We wondered, what makes a souffle rise and become airy? It turns out that egg whites, which are full of protein, whisked until they peak softly is key to a fluffy souffle. Further reading on NPR revealed that even a touch of “goldfish” or egg yolk, which contains fat, is ruinous to a souffle.

Apparently, when you whisk egg whites it mixes air into them. The protein creates a “skin” that traps the bubbles of air, which creates a fluffy effect. The fat from egg yolks prevents the skin from forming and the air leaks away.

Browsing through my Yummly app, many recipes called for ingredients we did not have, like cottage cheese, or others that had too much sweet stuff. We wanted something healthy, but delicious.

The recipe for Omelet Souffle published in Food and Wine Magazine was the answer to our desire for something easy to make, not requiring a ton of ingredients, and tasty to eat. It only took 10 minutes to make.

Following is our rendition of the three-egg dish. We used a shallow, porcelain ovenproof dish to bake the souffle instead of an ovenproof skillet, which worked out well. However, it was necessary to bake it for a few minutes after broiling it as called for in the original directions.

The second time I made it, I first baked it for 3 minutes at 375 degrees and then broiled it for 3 minutes (in an electric oven). I also added finely chopped jalapeno into the egg mixture and sprinkled it on top.

In the oven, it puffed up beautifully, but I worried it was not cooked thoroughly so I let it sit in the oven for a minute or two longer. It soon deflated after removing it and setting it on the table. I’m not sure why, but perhaps I cooked it too long or maybe the jalapenos affected it. You might want to experiment with cooking time and ingredients.

We also substituted the cheese called for in the original recipe as we did not have Gruyere. And we added finely chopped spinach to get our greens in. Our fear was that the spinach would make the souffle fall, so I gently folded some of the spinach into the egg mixture and sprinkled the rest on top.

Ingredients

  • 3 Large Eggs carefully separated from the yolks. Make sure to not even leave a trace of yolk in the whites.
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1.5 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice. We used a mix of shredded Mexican cheese and grated BellaVitano Tennessee Whiskey cheese from Sartori.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put the rack in the middle.
  2. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form, or as in Chef Jeffrey Buben in the NPR article said, until you “just lose the shine from the egg whites.” He also whips his egg whites by hand, which I did as well.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks with one quarter the whipped egg whites and the salt. Gently fold the yolk mixture into the remaining egg whites. Add about three-quarters of the chopped spinach, gently folding it in. You want to make sure you don’t lose those air bubbles you worked hard to whip up.
  4. Melt the butter in an ovenproof glass/porcelain dish about 6 inches by 4 inches, and 1 inch tall using a microwave. Make sure the butter coats the entire bottom and sides. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the dish, evenly distributing it. Sprinkle the cheese and remaining spinach on top, covering the entire souffle.
  5. Bake souffle for 3 minutes and then broil it for a remaining 3 minutes until it browns on top and it is very fluffy. Serve immediately.

A French Revolution Love Story

The adaptation of “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens at A Noise Within Theatre in Pasadena is a love story and a commentary on the horrors of war and the courage of sacrifice, driven by a plot of political espionage.

The opening lines of the play, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness …” reflect for many the current political temperature.

The play is worth seeing for a well-performed and well-directed insight into the times that led to the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror, as well as for those drawn to love stories that feature the most poignant of declarations of devotion—deathly sacrifice.

Adapted by Mike Poulton, who was Tony-nominated for “Fortune’s Fool” as well as his adaptations of “Wolf Hall” and Bring Up the Bodies, the play first premiered at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton in 2014. Julia Rodriguez-Elliot and Geoff Elliot, artistic directors of A Noise Within, direct the U.S. premiere at A Noise Within.

“A Tale of Two Cities” play through Nov. 19, 2017. Tickets and more information: anoisewithin.org

Photos: Top: Frederick Stuart (Sydney Carton). Photo by Craig Schwartz. Middle: Ensemble with Tavid Doucette (Charles Darnay) center. Bottom: Geoff Elliott (Marquis) and Tavid Doucette (Charles Darnay). Photo by Craig Schwartz.

A Deluxe Coffee Experience in Santa Monica

Having missed my morning coffee before going on an audition, I asked Siri to find a local coffee shop. The closest one, with good reviews, that popped up was Funnel Mill on Broadway Avenue near 10th Street in Santa Monica.

Not knowing what to expect, I found a welcoming, warm entrance. Off to the right from the entrance is a sitting area, with low, wide leather chairs with armrests, mixed in among wooden tables and chairs. The sitting area is separated somewhat from the rest of the shop by curtains.

The main part of the shop is long and narrow, with the coffee prep station on the left, with a dark brown wood bar where patrons can sit and watch their lattes and cappuccinos being prepared. More tables and chair filled the right. And decorating the back wall is a coffee syphon station, with long glass tubes that slowly drips custom coffee for a pricey cup.

Confused by the menu at first (a woman standing next to me was not sure about the menu offerings as well) I ordered a cafe latte ($5.75), sat at the wood counter and watched while the espresso for my latte was carefully pressed, the milk steamed and frothed, and an artful mounding of the foam took place. Watching it being made was perhaps more pleasurable than the drink itself, which was very fine by coffee standards. My standards, anyway.

The Funnel Mill sells and brews what they state on their website as “rare single estates of coffee beans and tea.”

My spinach croissant, was basic. But as I noted, watching the activity and care of those making these coffee delicacies, was more interesting than my fare.

Whether $9 (for single-estate biodynamic syphon brewed coffee) is worth a cup of Joe, is up to the palate of the coffee drinker.

Funnel Mill Address: 930 Broadway, Ste A, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Learn How to Toast Around the World – [Video YouTube]

Fun video showing beer toasting customs around the world.

I especially like Armenia’s custom of the person with the last drop pays for the next round. Adds a bit of more fun to having a beer with friends.

Ever wondered how people drink beer across the globe? Let us be your tour guide. Here are eight global toasts to help you become a jet-setting beer ambassador. For more beer content and tips head to www.letsgraba.beer. Cheers!

Video by Let’s Grab a Beer.

Canoga Park’s Parisian Delight

Craving a delicious café latte one late Saturday morning, a friend introduced me to a jewel in the middle of Canoga Park.

Pastries by Edie has been located on Sherman Way near Owensmouth for 14 years, but I have never noticed it. Tucked away in a dark recess, it is located directly across from another favorite of mine, Henri’s restaurant  and bar.

Entering the pastry shop and café, tables and chairs are surrounded by dark blue walls on one side and on the other, painted images of Parisians streets. Continue reading “Canoga Park’s Parisian Delight”