I love Muenster cheese…even if it’s not the coveted French Alsace variety with the “big and bold flavor” that Dorie extols. I was anticipating the need to use ordinary grocery store Muenster for these soufflés…but a last second run into one of the more gourmet markets brought me face to face with the real, albeit pricey, deal! My pungent round of Petit Munste, le préferé d’Alsace, was $15.99 for 220 g. Yikes. But actually, I was excited to make these individual Muenster Cheese Soufflés. Instead of sugaring the buttered ramekins, you utilize dried bread crumbs to give the batter something on which to cling while making it’s triumphant rise. With the cheese in my fridge, I was ready to roll.
Oh, boy; these were terrific! As with soufflés in general, they deflated almost instantly, but the gourmet Muenster was a sublime addition, providing the predominant flavor without overwhelming the dish. The bit of cumin in the recipe was also discernible…and the perfect complement. I had one for lunch and another for dinner. Even the hubby was impressed. As Dorie suggested, I served mine with a salad of sliced cucumbers, grape tomatoes and peppers. In lieu of roast red bell peppers, I sprinkled my salad with “Sweety Drop” peppers purchased at DeLaurenti: Specialty Food & Wine in Seattle when I was at the food bloggers conference last month. Simply dressed with kosher salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, it made for a perfect meal.
The recipe can be found on Epicurious.
What I learned at the International Food Bloggers Conference (my favorite food bloggers conference to date!!!!):
- Friendships established on-line are only reinforced when you meet in person. I have made the most amazing friends via food blogging and meeting SO many was truly the highlight of the conference.
- Seattle is a foodie’s heaven. Dining at the award winning Sitka and Spruce was the culmination of an amazing conference…sharing top notch food with like minded gourmands. Every bite was exquisite. Thank you Urban Spoon!
- Dorie Greenspan is the antithesis of a diva…she made herself available to all of us, gave her phone number out to one of my friends who wanted a cookbook autographed and brought us cookies from her New York bakery. Meeting her was worth the price of admission and more.
- Renowned New York Times food photographer, Andrew Scrivani, wowed us with his exquisite food photography. I was hoping to absorb some of his talent by osmosis…didn’t seem to stick! He showed us his home studio set up (basically a window and table) and shared his tips (now where are my notes????). He uses cheapboard inserts to bounce light artfully onto his food. He also reminded us to shoot in RAW, use our macro lenses and to utilize natural light as much as possible.
- The sponsors were AMAZING! I’ve already done a giveaway from Lágrima Vanilla Extract and plan to do an olive oil tasting with my girlfriends sponsored by California Olive Ranch. For the bakers like me, glorious samples from Manuka Doctor Honey and Sharffen Berger Chocolate were also a thrill.