|Family dinner birthday cake with my girls|
|12 kids between us . . . how did that happen?|
So, I turned 38 two weeks ago. Age and numbers are so strange sometimes. I look in the mirror and I know I'm getting older but I don't feel 38 at all. Two days before my birthday Little got sick - fever, sniffles, laying on the floor completely listless. I was sad for her and a little sad for me and having to reschedule plans but on Friday night, we sent Big & Middle to their Friday night drop off anyways and after putting the sick baby to bed, I made myself a birthday dinner. My husband and I learned long ago that going out to eat on Valentine's weekend (aka my birthday weekend) is not always a great experience. Before we had kids and when they were very young, we'd cook an elaborate and fancy dinner at home instead, working together in the kitchen. Resurrecting this tradition (with our only kid at home asleep) was really fun this year and I made a couple of new things. Stay tuned for the risotto . . .
I still had Meyer lemons and decided to make souffles for dessert. You may need to adjust the recipe below for cooking time if you use big ramekins like I did but the recipe will yield enough for 6 small ramekins. I forget how easy and satisfying souffles are and it was nice to have a different treat from cupcakes and cakes. Not that I didn't appreciate them but I ate. too. much. cake. My mom made me an awesome birthday cake for family dinner and my BFF bought Valentine's cupcakes on my actual birthday. Did I mention that party? It was going to be me, 3 of my girlfriends and our families. We ordered pizza, drank wine, ate the cupcakes and had a really fun evening. But when we lined up the kids for that photo above, it was amazing to see how some friendships between girlfriends have now grown to include 15 kids - one friend and her 3 kids weren't there :(. I also got to see my two best childhood friends that weekend and have a rescheduled adult birthday dinner with my parents and all my siblings - I feel loved and celebrated!
One more recipe note: If you've met my husband, you know he always has great ideas for improving any recipe. I didn't make any sauce to pour in the souffles so he mixed together some lemon juice, simple syrup, cointreau and maybe a little brandy and poured it in the middle . . . it was divine! So, you may want to make a sauce to go with these.
Meyer Lemon Souffles (serves 6)
from Sunset 3/97
1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice
2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
4 T butter (plus more to butter the ramekins)
1/4 c. flour
1 cup half n half
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
6 large eggs, separated
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
Powdered sugar for serving
Begin by buttering your ramekins and coating with granulated sugar. Once they're prepared, stick them in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Melt 4 T butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, then half and half, and then 1/3 cup sugar. Whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and then boil for 30 seconds before removing from the heat. Use a little of this hot mixture to temper your egg yolks and then incorporate egg yolks and 1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice, and lemon peel. Pour this mixture (it'll resemble a custard or lemon curd) into a large bowl and let it cool slightly while you beat the egg whites.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat just until the egg whites hold glossy straight peaks when you lift the beaters. I like to use the whisk attachment of my stand mixer and I take the whisk off to check the stiffness of the egg whites.
Stir about one cup of egg whites into the lemon/yolk mixture. Then, very gently fold the remaining egg whites into the batter until you can barely see any white streaks. Do NOT overmix at this point.
Scoop into prepared ramekins, filling them almost to the edge. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-13 minutes. The souffles should barely ripple in the middle if you gently shake them. This will give the souffles a creamy texture. If you like a drier or stiffer texture, you can bake a few additional minutes.
Serve warm with a little powdered sugar dusted on top!