Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cheese Souffle for One or Two

The only way you’ll get this is to make it at home. Hardly anyone hears about souffles in the media or restaurants. If Martha Stewart has shown how to make one, I haven’t seen it. A soufflé lives in a cookbook.

I hadn’t made a soufflé for many years but suddenly I had a reason. After the dentist extracted a front tooth, she told me to eat soft foods for a while. I ate some tomato soup, yogurt and bread pudding, and then decided that I could use some imagination in my new eating regimen. Cheese soufflé seemed to be a good idea. I went to my big fat worn out 1953 Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and found the recipe, which I adapted by reducing the ingredients and rewriting some words.

Once again I thanked my seventh and eighth grade home economics teacher, Mrs. Robertson, whom I haven’t seen for about sixty years and who probably is in the great kitchen in the sky, for teaching me the procedures that this recipe requires. Actually, it’s easy to make a soufflé. This is a small one. It’s supposed to be puffy when it comes out of the oven, and it will fall from its glorious volume almost immediately, so it must be eaten right away.

Cheese Souffle

2 tablespoons butter               ¼ pound cheddar cheese, shredded or in small pieces
2 tablespoons flour                 2 well beaten egg yolks
¼ teaspoon salt                       2 stiff beaten egg whites
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 300 or 315 degrees. Melt the butter. Add flour and salt and blend. Add milk gradually and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add the cheese and cook until the cheese is melted. Gradually stir the hot sauce into the beaten egg yolks. With electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Carefully fold the cheese sauce into the egg whites with a wide spoon.  Pour the soufflé into an ungreased one-quart baking dish. To make a crown, trace a circle through the top of the mixture one inch from the edge.   Bake about one hour and fifteen minutes until it is firm and brown on top. Serve immediately.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Stable Birth -- Book Review

I am pleased to review a book written by a friend of mine, June Paul.

A Stable Birth: A Story About the Birth of Jesus Christ is a short book that retells the birth of Jesus in story form. Author June Paul engages the reader with dialog and imagery as she has the characters of Joseph, Mary and the Innkeeper and his wife talk with one another as Paul imagined they might have done in the birth and aftermath of the birth of Jesus in a stable. The book’s title suggests the image of the stable birthplace and the stability of the character of Joseph, who responds to the awkward situation of being Jesus’ earthly but not biological father.

The book is organized in six chapters, each defining one aspect of the holy family’s visit to Bethlehem to take part in a census. The action is based on the birth stories told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and it reminds one of scenes in a drama, each building on the preceding chapter.  The characters discuss the birth of the holy child, whom angels have told them will be the Savior of the world, with animation and some repetition as they ponder what it means for them.

Author Paul brings the biblical story to life in a good page turner. She also includes questions for discussion for readers to use for education and formation purposes. This is a book for people who might have wondered what it was like to be Mary and Joseph during and after Jesus’ birth. It is for people with curiosity about the shepherds who came to see Jesus, and even for those who might have thought about an innkeeper who does not appear in the Gospel but is important to the telling of Paul’s story. 

The book is available at in paperback. This review is of the revised edition.