February 12, 2014

SouffleServedA cheese soufflé is old school and oh so satisfying. I’m feeling the need for warm, comforting food with another winter storm zooming our way. I’m thinking we should start a movement to bring back the soufflé. I’ll bet you have most of the ingredients already in your house.

Say yes to something cheesy and warm. Something simple to prepare that looks and tastes super fancy. I took out napkin rings and the good plates. Lit candles. After all, we have something to celebrate.

MortySleepingOur family has expanded. Meet Morty. He’s a two year old miniature schnauzer, silver gray, 16 pounds of exuberance. Poor little guy was abandoned at a high-kill shelter a couple of weeks ago and ever since, he’s had a rough go. Shelter nights. A retrieval by City Dogs Rescue, followed by neutering and what might have been his first ever grooming. He was in at least three foster homes before he got to us.

Morty1For the first two days, he had to take several laps around the house before he could settle down, and even then, it was rarely for more than five minutes. He doesn’t want to let us out of his sight and likes it best when we are all in the same room. He’s following Louie around like a little shadow. Sometimes Louie tells him to back off, and Morty is very respectful of his place in the order of things. The two of them are about the cutest thing ever doing laps around the backyard.

He’s a charming little fellow who is housebroken (thankfully) but otherwise knows absolutely nothing. We’re trying to get him to recognize his name. We are enrolled in the March basic obedience class at Capitol Dog Training Club (from which Louie and Dylan graduated). Fortunately, Dennis and I remember some of what we learned the last time at this rodeo, so there’s a lot of calling him by name, teaching him to sit, and saying things like “stay in” and ‘go to your place” even though he has no idea what that means quite yet. Repetition and consistency and cookies.

Morty2He showed little interest in treats initially, but found a kong bone and brought it to his bed the first night. (My heart broke a little.) He’s also been carrying around a stuffed squirrel that’s at least as big as he is. Today, he decided liver bits from Painted Hand Farm were pretty terrific.

He loves to look out the window and clambers up any piece of furniture to get close to the view. There is so much to see!  He’s great in the car, spending most of his time looking out the window there, too. He’s so darn curious.

MortyWalking him on a leash is crazy. We’re working on that.

We still haven’t heard him bark. Pretty sure that’s going to change.

Today, he started napping (albeit, within eyesight of one of us.)

And that’s why cheese soufflé and a celebration were in order.

Any Cheese Soufflé
adapted only a bit from Julia Child’s classic
Serves 4 or maybe 2

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons fine bread crumbs or very finely grated Parmegiano Reggiano
1 cup milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch cayenne
1 cup coarsely grated cheese (I like Comte or Gruyere, but sharp cheddar, smoked gouda and aged goat cheese are all wonderful. Use what you have.)
3 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, optional

Adding any of these additions is entirely optional but will also elevate that souffle from exceptional to extraordinary. Adding them all is overkill, in only the very best way. Stir in with the cheese, making sure everything is evenly distributed before folding in the egg whites.

2 tablespoons finely minced flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely minced chives
1/4 cup caramelized onions
1/4 cup chopped crisp bacon or pancetta

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F, placing a rack in the lower third of the oven. Butter a one quart soufflé dish. Add the bread crumbs or Parmegiano and tilt the dish to and fro until well coated.
    [Some cooks make a parchment band to help the soufflé rise above the dish. I do this sometimes. Sometimes, I don’t. It does guarantee a prettier lift. Remember to butter and crumb the band, too.]
  2. In a small saucepan, warm the milk until bubbles form at the edges. Alternatively, microwave for one minute.
  3. In a heavy medium saucepan, melt the butter until bubbling. Whisk in the flour, salt and nutmeg until smooth. Cook until the raw flour smell is gone, about 3 minutes. Stream in the milk whisking until smooth, bring to a slight boil and cook until very thick, another 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking well after each one. Add the grated cheese and stir until melted.
  5. Beat the egg white until stiff. A little cream of tartar help the whites lift, but if you don’t have it, don’t worry. I used my stand mixer for this, but there have been times I’ve used a big whisk and a large bowl just to prove to myself I’ve still got it.
  6. Fold one quarter of the beaten whites into the cheese mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Spoon into the prepared soufflé dish and pop it in the oven.
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. It should have a big top hat which will promptly collapse as soon as you dive in to serve. Use two serving spoons to bite into the top, slice to the bottom of the soufflé, then cut a wedge-ish piece and move it to a pretty plate.
  8. Serve immediately with a little chutney.  I prefer tomato chutney, but apple or pear or cranberry chutney pair well, too.

33 Responses to “a cheese souffle for morty”

  1. Carol Sacks

    So so sweet. Love the shot of Morty in his sweater:) Very happy for all of you. Can’t wait to meet Morty…and see dear Louie again, too.


  2. Jill Lucas

    We’re both lucky to have sweet new pups in the house. I’m sure Louie will be a great big brother and show him the ropes.

  3. Sherri B.

    I looks like Morty is a pretty lucky fellow to have a new home with you.

    I sure like the idea of bringing back the souffle , there is just something about the good old retro dishes.

    Stay safe and warm. xo

  4. Lana @ Never Enough Thyme

    Awww, what a sweetie! And I love the name Morty. Just seems perfect for a schnauzer.

    Also, couldn’t agree more about the classic cheese souffle being one of life’s little comforts. I’m ready to help with a crusade to bring it back to all our kitchens!

  5. Marilyn Warren

    What a heartwarming story. All our dogs and cats are rescue animals. Some have had very bad emotional problems at first, but all of them have gone past their trauma and became loving and steadfast pets. One of them, a black Lab, even chased a bear out of our yard while we were working in the garden. The recipe is also a good one. Maybe I will have better luck with this one.


  6. Barbara | Creative Culinary

    Made me teary. We took in a miniature schnauzer when my girls were little. Sounds like he and Morty had similar beginnings. He had NEVER had a haircut and looked like a small sheepdog. Was especially afraid of men and loud noises. But with time he came to trust that life now was different and I’ll tell you; I don’t think any dog has ever loved a family quite so much. It was like every single day he let us know how grateful he was. I wanted to name him after a German beer so we went to the liquor store to get some ideas. Um, no…way too long and complicated. But right next to the German beers was one named Foster’s and so it was.

    Thanks for the memories Cathy and all the best to you and your new family member. I’m certain he will soon forget his fateful past and totally relish how fortunate he is to have found a home with you and yours!

    • Cathy

      Nice story, Barb! Louie’s half schnauzer and we’re so amused when we see Louie behavior in Morty! Sweet dog.

  7. Bekki

    What a lovely post, Cathy. It helped me remember how great it is to have two dogs, which I’ve been struggling with deciding on. And Morty is SO lucky to have been found by you and, of course, you all are lucky too. I hope Louie becomes confident of that soon.

    • Cathy

      Louie’s pretty good. The issue of cookies is touchy and there’s growling sometimes, but most of the day they’re either wrestling or napping.

    • Cathy

      LMK how it goes, Tammy. They really are so good and once you can make a cheese one, you can make a chocolate one. It’s all the same technique.

  8. Georgie Evans

    Congrats to both you and Morty and Louie too. You are going to love having extra feet in the house and watching Louie and Morty play and interact will entertain you for hours.

    Next step, foster dog mom.

  9. Deborah

    Thank you for rescuing the miniature schnauzer. I can’t imagine why anyone would abandon him. We have two schnauzers and I just love to be with them all day. Your story warmed my heart. Thanks.

  10. Marilyn

    Thank you so much for the post about Morty. It breaks my heart that he was left at a high-kill shelter. He is one lucky little dog to have found your home and I’m sure he’ll thrive. Oh, the cheese souffle sounds terrific too!

  11. Nicole

    It’s been a while since I stopped by for a visit! Such a darling new family member, and I definitely must make that pound cake you recommended (and fresh butter!).

  12. Sheli

    Congratulations on your new family member. I know how very special a rescue dog can be (my little wire-dachshund Molly and I just celebrated our 6th anniversary on Valentine’s Day) and I’m sure you both can look forward to many wonderful years together. How lucky you both are!

  13. domenicacooks

    This is such a sweet post, Cathy. I love that photos of Morty looking out the window in his sweater and snoozing in Louie’s bed. I haven’t made a soufflé in ages. What a good idea. Cheers, D

  14. Kirsten

    Morty looks adorable and like he’s settling right in. I love the photo of him on Louie’s personalized bed. When I brought Vincent and Oliver home (new-to-us mature wiener dog blends) they immediately commandeered Simon’s bed. Simon was rather put out about the whole thing until we got him a new, even bigger, dog bed. Now they’ve formed a pack.
    The soufflé? Yum!


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