Wow, I'm late in writing things up! This year's Thanksgiving was held at the apartment of one of my sister's friends; my sister, her two friends, and I made most of the food. Thankfully, this year we did not have to battle lumpy cream or curtains as oven mitts, but there were other catastrophes instead!
I took the opportunity to make salty egg and pumpkin (really kabocha squash, but Chinese doesn't seem to distinguish between pumpkin and squash). Alas, this resulted in my nearly chopping off my finger... twice! The first time, I escaped with only a bit of skin nicked, but the second time, the knife went fairly deep, I bled all over the place, and my sister and her friend had to make an emergency run to see what drug stores were open on Thanksgiving to buy rubbing alcohol and bandaids. Gah. I think this is not my year, medically. At least I now have a scar on my left index finger to match the rat bite scar on my right index finger?
After we ate dinner, I went back to the kitchen to attempt lemon souffle! I know I can make chocolate souffle fairly consistently (at least, when I remember to turn on the oven...), but I haven't tried any other kind. Of course, there weren't enough ramekins or ramekins of the right kind. And my sister's friend's apartment was woefully underequipped. ("Do you have a spatula?" "Uh. We have a wooden rice scooper." "How about a zester?" "Zester...?" "... A grater then?" "Er...")
I would like to note that making lemon zest without a grater is extremely annoying and I nearly sliced off another bit of finger while doing so.
When I started my recipe, I melted some butter over the stove and started stirring in 3/4 cups of flour. As it clumped and started turning into what presumably would be roux, my sister's friend C turned to me and asked, "Er. Are you sure it's supposed to look like this?"
"Maybe I add more liquid later?" I asked. After we had stirred in a cup or so of milk, only to have it be rapidly soaked up by the flour with no noticeable difference in texture, I decided there may have been some mistake. I mean, I know the souffle is thick, but that doesn't mean it should be solid! I couldn't find the recipe online, so I eventually had to go for a new recipe.
Thankfully, the souffles ended up doing well... or at least 75% of them! The fourth souffle had deflated into a sad, slightly lemony hockey puck, and while the texture was somewhat cake-like, it was dense, unflavorful, and not at all light and fluffy with melty lemon curd at the bottom like the rest.
Every single time I make souffle, I wonder why I go through all the trouble, because really, can flavored batter and egg whites taste so good as the make it worth the effort? And every time I take a successful souffle out of the oven, I remember why I do it (aside from the challenge and ensuing self-congratulations, of course, provided that I turn on the oven...). The lemon souffles were delightfully light and delicate on top, with a tiny crust of caramelized sugar (from buttering and sugaring the insides of the ramekins), and the texture gradually gets denser and more liquid until you get to the bottom, which is rich and buttery and eggy and very much like a hot lemon curd. They are amazing, and I am going to try them again for Christmas.
... Of course, this will be very interesting, as I have no idea as to how equipped or underequipped our kitchen is for making French desserts. And we have no ramekins. And I will have to convert everything to metric.
But this time, I will turn on the oven and only put in a teaspoon or so of flour!( Giant Thanksgiving pictures )( Giant rat pictures )