Thursday, January 07, 2010

la gougere

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Part of the reason why I love food blogging is that I feel as if there's a joint effort to feed my family. I scour my brain (nothing but a few loose marbles), a few cookbooks (ideas sometimes good, sometimes bad), then a few reference sites (epicurious, etc - meh.). If I can't find anything, I go to the food blogroll. Now, I realize that I should just start there because I will most often find my inspiration among its lists. I invite you to begin to think of the foodblog world as a cookbook that never stops growing. And best of all it comes with reviews and revisions.

A few nights ago I found this on Tastespotting: a new-to-me blog, Thibeault's Table, and on it a recipe for "la gougere". I've made gougeres before, miniature ones that you can pop in your mouth. Heaven. But this was family sized, and I loved the look of it. I loved the feeling of it, very french countryside. Hunks of cheese in the fridge, leftover from the holiday parties. Now a way to use them, at least some part of them. A giant cheese puff. Alongside grilled sausages and a green salad topped with oven roasted tomatoes. Who wouldn't love that? Even my finicky four year old loved it - I did have to call it pizza. Nevermind a little deception.

Recipe for La Gougere
politely borrowed from Thibeault's Table
La Gougere
1 cup water (or half milk/half water)
1/3 cup butte
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh grated nutmeg

cayenne pepper
1 cup flour

4 eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 cup gruyere cheese (I used a combination of comte, aged gouda, and pecorino)
1 tsp milk
extra cheese for top

Bring the water/milk to a boil and add butter. When butter has melted, remove pan from heat and add flour, salt, cayenne, nutmeg, pepper and stir vigorously with a big wooden spoon. The mixture should come away from the sides of the pan and form a ball. Place mixture in the bowl of a large mixer and add one egg at a time beating well, After you add last egg continue to beat well. Mixture will be shiny. Add Dijon mustard and taste for seasoning. Adjust to your taste. Add coarsely grated cheese. Butter a large cookie sheet and flour. Draw a small circle in the flour (about 2 inches wide) and proceed to drop the dough by tablespoon full around the outside of this hole, making a ring, or a crown. Dough should be piled high. Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle the extra cheese over top. Bake the ring in the over for 45 minutes at 400°F. Do Not Open Door. After baking, open the door of the oven and leave the Gougere in the oven for 5 minutes. It should be firm to the touch and golden brown. Goes great with a glass of burgundy or with a white Alsatian wine.

So is there a down side to food blogging? Sure. Perhaps it's the time spent writing and even more spent surfing. Perhaps it's the jealousy that brews as I look at the evidence that other people have way more time to cook and photograph than I do. But is there an upside? Absolutely. Just ask my family.

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