Wednesday, December 27, 2006

to fill a ramekin


I'm spoiled. I mean, I still relish placing a thick slice of fresh white tuna in my mouth...biting into the sweet crunch of persimmon...swirling a tasty, full-bodied Napa Valley cabernet...but these experiences tend to happen a lot more now. It's hard to tell about them all.

But I could not let our annual Chinese fusion holiday dinner pass without comment.

Christmas was particularly good this year. This was the year that I woke up on December 24 with no recipes, no ingredients, not a single plan at all.

In my mid-morning state-of-the-kitchen assessment, I found six ramekins and a large, smooth wooden platter. And in a spirited effort to please my mother, I planned my portion of the menu around this stock of rarely-used Crate & Barrel dinnerware.

Off I went to brave the insanity that is Whole Foods on Christmas Eve (think Times Square, except people are armed with carts), sweeping up the more intriguing vegetables stacked in aisle 1, which I promptly sent into the oven to be roasted when I arrived home: eggplant, asparagus, fennel (this was blanched), summer squash, zucchini, red pepper, yellow pepper, garlic. I plated these with slices of toasted ciabatta, rubbed with roasted garlic, sea salt, and olive oil, all placed atop a bed of romaine, Kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes, and dressed in a marinade from Gourmet:

Roasted Vegetable Marinade
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried orégano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk until emulsified.

I had heard about Roy's souffle during a recent trip to Hawaii (thanks Scott). After much searching online, I found the prized recipe at Best of LA in the food blogging community. I've tweaked the recipe a bit. I know, I know - who am I to mess with Roy Yamaguchi's famous chocolate souffle? But I actually found his version slightly too sweet. Also, I felt that the original recipe should best be doubled to make 6.


Roy's Chocolate Souffle
Makes 6 souffles

12 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
4 eggs
4 egg yolks

1) Melt butter and chocolate in saucepan over LOW heat. Set aside.
2) In mixing bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch.
3) In another bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolks together.
4) Add melted butter/chocolate mix to sugar mix. Combine thoroughly with wire whisk.
5) Stir in eggs. Whisk until smooth. Place in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.
6) Coat each ramekin with baking spray. Place ramekins in a shallow water bath in a metal baking pan (water should come about halfway up the sides). Fill each ramekin 2/3-3/4 full with batter and bake for 25 minutes in preheated 400° oven on the top rack.
7) Serve with powdered sugar and fruit.

It's good. Very, very, very good.
Merry Christmas!