Well, hi there! I'm sorry to have disappeared on you for a while. Things have just been so busy, blah blah blah. But I'm back now, and boy do I have a delicious treat for you. Before you see the word "souffle" and run away screaming, let me assure you they are EASY -- definitely easier than you imagine, and actually, just downright easy.
These were especially easy for me... since Mark made them :) But he gave me his blessing to post them for you here. And in my defense, I have made many a souffle in my time, so bear with me.
I have no idea how I got so lucky with Mark -- and that's true on a number of levels, but one of my favorites is that he's a spectacular cook. One Sunday morning recently he woke up just feeling like whipping up some cheese souffles. (I know, right??) Who was I to say no? In fact, not only did I not say no, I said yes, to 3 of these wondrous dishes. Count 'em -- 3. Ahem.
Anyway -- that's just a testament to how delicious they are. We had them for breakfast, but you can serve them for dinner with a big salad. You can also make one big one to present at the table. Whatever suits your fancy. Just be sure to use the best cheese possible, since it really takes center stage.
(I'm going to post this recipe from Sunset because it's the closest to what Mark did -- but he didn't really follow a recipe. He has the amazing ability to just throw things together and have them come out beautifully. I call him "pathologically competent." I mean it in a loving way, really.)
1/4 cup unsalted butter (plus more for buttering ramekins)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheese (Cheddar or Gruyere -- I think Mark threw in some Parmesan as well)
6 large eggs, separated
1. Generously butter 6 1 1/4-cup ramekins and set them on a large, rimmed baking sheet.
2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth and bubbling. Add milk, cayenne, salt and pepper and cook, whisking, until sauce boils and thickens, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted, then whisk in yolks. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a clean, dry bowl using clean, dry beaters, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a flexible spatula, fold one-third of whites into cheese sauce. Fold in remaining whites until just blended. Spoon mixture into ramekins.
4. Bake until tops are golden and cracks look fairly dry, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.