Ken was an excellent cook; his last job was as a private chef to one of the Pillsbury family. When we first dated, Ken would get me a card and try to buy something or take me out for my birthday.
In March egg season is in full swing, and one year I asked him to make me a souffle. He did and it became our habit. Each year he would ask what I wanted for my birthday, and I would answer, “Well, if I can’t have world peace, how about a souffle?”
Each year Ken would get some nice cheese in February; he especially liked Gruyere for a souffle. And each year he made a souffle for me on my birthday. I once made one and can tell you it is not so much difficult as many steps.
The care (or lack of) taken at each step affects the outcome. It was like many things Ken did – making pottery, cutting wood, gardening, etc. and he enjoyed doing it well.
So, to make a souffle, as I remember, requires a Bechamel and adding grated cheese and beaten egg yolks; this is set aside to cool. In a bowl one beats egg whites to stiff peaks.
These two mixtures and whatever else – salmon or asparagus or spinach, are carefully folded together to maintain the lift from the egg whites and then the mixture is placed in a souffle pan (Ken made those, and we joked how few were used for souffles) set in a pan of water and baked.
We liked it slightly underdone so that it was more like whipped egg cheese cream.
Such a treat from such a guy. And what a fond memory. How lucky I was, and how lucky I am to have had him when I did