Hot Dogs and Soufflé

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I ate my last hot dog at the Kosher stand at Yankee Stadium in 2009.  Hot dogs and I have a strained relationship.  While growing up in New York, my favorite was slathered with creamy cole slaw and mustard.  As an adult, my love for them is unrequited.  They abuse my stomach, yet I hope they will return my affection one day.  The back story: three years ago I ate myself sick in Paris doing research for The Kosher Baker and since then, I have to live a life without tomato sauce, orange juice, red meat and hot dogs. 

While in Los Angeles in February, my Kosher blogger buddies all directed me to Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage.  Armed with Rolaids, I ordered the smoked chicken/apple sausage.  It may have been a girlie choice, but it came covered with manly fried onions and dark mustard.  I couldn’t resist the sweet potato fries which were perfection.  The sausage was light yet flavorful and  confirmed Jeff’s worth the stomachache.  I was actually ok, so maybe a hot dog and I can go out on a date every once in a while.

If eating at Jeff’s was like the joy of Toy Story 3, then La Seine was like Inception with lingering questions about how dishes were prepared.  The place is hip with edgy decor.  The cuisine is French/Asian fusion and fascinating: the chef makes cheese from cashews for a pasta and marries sushi with chimichuri.  The Bordeaux braised short ribs were the winning entree.  For dessert I had chocolate souffle with coffee sauce.  The meal confirmed my belief that Kosher food can be as creative and delicious as any other food.

As I do not cook on Shabbat, I baked these souffles prior and served them to my guests BEFORE dinner, to enjoy them warm and gooey.  We had a second dessert course later and learned that the cooled souffles were just as tasty.  It is imperative that if baking parve (dairy-free), use the best quality chocolate you can find such as Aprose, Schmerling or Camille Bloch.  This recipe makes 6, but 14 of us grabbed spoons and shared.  Finally, if you have time, bake one souffle at 18 minutes and see how it comes out; then adjust the time for the rest depending on how gooey or dry you like it.

Chocolate Souffles            makes 6
1 tablespoon butter or margarine for greasing
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
5 large eggs, separated, whites at room temperature for at least 2 hours
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces

If baking immediately, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rub the butter or margarine around the sides and bottoms of 6 small ramekins.  Add the tablespoon sugar to one, turn to coat and then tap out excess into the next ramekin.  Repeat until all coated, using more sugar if needed.  Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate.

In a medium bowl, place the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of the 1/2 cup of sugar.  Mix vigorously with a hand whisk.  Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave: heat for one minute and mix well, another 45 seconds and mix well and then 30 seconds and mix well, each time stirring the unmelted pieces into the melted parts.  Add the chocolate to the egg yolk mixture and whisk.  

Beat the egg whites on high speed until thick.  Turn the mixer speed to low, add the remaining sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, and when all added, turn the speed up to high for 30 seconds or until whites are shiny and stiff.  Mix into the chocolate mixture in four parts, mixing a little slower each time until all the whites are mixed in.  Divide among the ramekins.  If baking later, cover with plastic and refrigerate until baking.  Bake for 18 minutes.  Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve.