The Great Return

Good news everyone!

I’m back from my romping around and even have a kitchen again!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reorganizing IMakeFood as well as my blossoming social media empire. At the moment, if you want to keep up with how things are going, check out my Twitter feed @imakefood, IMakeFood’s facebook, or my instagram: haileysees. The instagram is not always food related, but it’s pretty interesting, if you don’t mind me tooting my own horn.

I recently bought about 3 times the sizer of my head’s worth of kale and have been finding interesting ways to use it, so expect some leafy green goodness soon.

Anywho, it’s good to be back. I’m excited about where this will go and I hope you are too!

I don’t always go by the books

A lot of times when I cook I’m just winging it, therefore when I cook something more than once, it tends to turn out differently. Sometimes I’ll even add completely new ingredients and the end result will be super tasty and new. So I figure, if you were interested in the original, you’d probably be interested in the alternate version.

This is going to be a new part of my blog, letting you know when I change something or make something a different way.

Right now I’m letting people know about the updates to my Lasagna and Quiche articles. I made both with a few new ingredients and techniques.

Heart-shaped Chicken Breast

This is something really simple you can do that looks like you put in a lot of effort. And if you’re in to cute food, hearts are pretty much a must. This works really well for things like birthdays, anniversaries, or random cuteness days.

Basically, just take a chicken breast

and start to slice it in half. Note I said “start to;” you don’t want to cut all the way through the meat, otherwise you don’t end up with a heart, but with two half chicken breasts–and those are nowhere near as festive.

Once you’ve got it sliced, open it up.

Depending on the original shape of the breast, you may have to slice off a chunk. But don’t fret, it’s very simple.

And there you go, heart-shaped food.

You can cook it however you like, and an added plus from doing this is that they cook faster because they’re not as thick.

St Andre Soufflé

I had an awesome Easter, which I commemorated with French food: Soufflé and saucisson.

But because it was Easter, the grocery store was closed and I had to make do with slightly strange ingredients, but it turned out really yummy anyway.

Soufflé’s are actually not too different from a quiche. The main difference is that you have to whip the egg whites, which makes it fluffy and delicious without a whole lot of stress. You also have to make a blond roux, but that’s super simple.

To make a souffle good 3-5 people, all you need is:
Puff Pastry or Fillo dough (optional)
3 eggs
3/4 cups milk
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
1 1/4 cup cheese

An 8 x 12 baking pan
A 2 quart (?) pan
Whisk
Hand Mixer
A big bowl
Spatula

And here are the oddities that I was forced to sub in:

Vanilla almond milk and Italian blend cheese (because I didn’t quite have enough St André). But the light sweetness ended up working really well with the super creamy St André. (By the way, for those of you who are unfamiliar, St André is a triple crème bree-like cheese. It’s super fatty and delicious.)

But all oddities aside, here’s how you make it.

First start with your prep work: preheating the oven to 350 degrees and buttering your pan before putting down the dough, separating the eggs, and grating your cheese.

Now for the blond roux. Combine the butter and flour in a pan on medium heat, whisk it all together as the butter melts to ensure nothing burns, and continue for a little while it darkens slightly.

At first it will be a little clumpy, but don’t worry, just keep going.

Soon it’ll smoothen up and look like this.

While you’re working on this, have your helper heat up the milk. The microwave will work just fine for this. You want it warm, but not boiling. And if you don’t have a helper, just warm up the milk before you start on the roux.

When both elements are ready, put some of the roux into the milk, stir, then put all the milk into the roux. (It’s called tempering, and it lessens the chance of a temperature shock that could mess with the milk.)

Now that its all combined, reduce the heat to low and make sure its all stirred together well.

Now go back to your eggs and grab the yolks.

For this next step, temper the egg yolks with the milky roux. (Pour some of the roux into the eggs, stir, then pour it all back into the roux. This time it makes sure not to cook the eggs.) Make sure its all whisked together well, turn the heat to the lowest setting–just warm enough to melt the cheese.

Now add the cheese and stir until it is all melted. When that’s done, pour it into a big bowl, good for mixing (well, folding, technically).

Now turn off the heat and turn your attention to the egg whites. You want to make sure there are no egg yolk bits in here because that would pretty much ruin what you’re about to attempt. If you do have some yolk in the egg whites, just use a spoon and scoop it out.

Now beat them with the hand mixer until they form still peaks.

Now take about a fourth or third of the whipped egg whites and stir into the cheesy milky roux.

Don’t worry too much about being careful. Having this first third mixed in will make folding in the rest easier.

Make sure to Fold in the last of it. This is different from mixing because its a lot gentler and won’t ruin the fluffiness you created by whipping it up. Also, don’t worry if there’s still white stuff, you don’t want to over do this.

When it’s all ready, pour into your baking pan and pop into the oven for 30 minutes.

When the thirty minutes is up, use the toothpick test to make sure it’s done. Normally it’s recommended that you serve this right away to avoid embarrassing collapses, but I took it with me on a pick-nick and it was fine, so I wouldn’t stress about it.

And now, hoo-ray! It’s a fancy pants, seemingly ultra hard delicious delicacy!

If you wanted it to look cooler, try baking it in little porcelain ramekins, so that each person gets their own personal soufflé and the fancy pants aura of the dish is further propagated.