Monday, December 28, 2009
My brother is funny and he's a very good cook too!! I had him on my TV show a few times when I first started doing television and he kept me and everyone else entertained. Lately my producer won't let me invite him on the show. With my new Cooking Class series, they say I act too familiar with him that I'm not teaching John anything that he doesn't already know. They're probably right!
Around the dinner table when we were kids, he would keep us laughing for hours. He still does. He's very handsome too! At least that's what girls say when they write to me after seeing him on my TV show. They'd ask if he had a girlfriend or was married.
John is a funny, handsome and has no excuses for not being a great cook! We had an incredible cooking teacher, our Mom. and he also studied with my professional cooking teacher, Madeleine Kamman, for a year when we both lived in Boston.
Truthfully, thank God John studied cooking! When we were kids he made the weirdest concoctions in the kitchen. He'd throw anything and everything into a big pot! The flavors were "complex" alright, not one single thing was identifiable. I think my mother liked it though. Anyway she said she did!
New Year's Eve makes me think of my brother, John. He always makes a big chocolate souffle for his wife and kids. I'm sure it's delicious,-- at least that's what he tells me!
This year I thought I would give him a present,-- I wrote a recipe for little chocolate almond souffles that take one quarter of the time to cook in individual ramekins! Another cool thing,--you can make them completely ahead of time and bake them at the last minute. So this year John, when the ball is falling in Time Square, you don't have to be in the kitchen whipping egg whites. And when they are hot out of the oven, give everyone their own spoon with instruction to cut a hole in the center and spoon generously the cocoa nib cream inside!
Happy New Year John, I love you! And to everyone else, I wish you and your family a wonderful, prosperous and healthy New Year!
LITTLE CHOCOLATE ALMOND SOUFFLES WITH COCOA-NIB CREAM
3 tablespoons cocoa nibs
1 cup heavy cream
Sliced and toasted almonds, finely chopped
12 ounces excellent quality 70% chocolate, chopped
1 1/ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/ 2 cup milk
5 egg yolks
1/ 4 teaspoon pure almond extract
6 egg whites, room temperature
1/ 2 cup granulated sugar
Place the cocoa nibs and the heavy cream in a saucepan. Bring to a scald. Remove from the heat immediately and let sit 1 hour. Strain and place in the refrigerator.
Butter eight 5 to 6-ounce ramekins. Dust lightly with almonds. Set aside.
Place the chocolate, butter and milk in the top of a double boiler over boiling water. Whisk until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Add the almond extract and stir together.
Preheat an oven to 375 ̊ F. Place the egg whites in a large clean bowl and whip to soft peaks. Add the sugar gradually and beat until they are very stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared ramekins. This can be done several hours in advance.
When you are ready to serve, bake the soufflés in the oven until puffed and cracked on top, 14 to 17 minutes. While the soufflés are baking, whip the cream and confectioner’s sugar until soft peaks. Place in a bowl.
To serve, with a spoon, open the center of the souffle and spoon the cream into the center.