Sunday, November 8, 2009



Many people get intimidated or stressed when they entertain.  They're afraid of making a fool of themselves.  One way to lessen that stress is to make something that you've made before.  Another is to make a food that you know your guests like, even if its burgers.  Yet another is simply to have it catered.

Well, catering is not an option in these economic times and Richard loves to cook... so this weekend when our wonderful thirty-something cousin, Ilona (yes, there are two of us in our family), came for a two day visit, Richard decided to make a food she loves in a dish she read about and liked on my blog (October 20th's "Dinner With Friends")... Giada DeLaurentiis' salmon in lemon brodetta with pea puree  (recipe can be found on-line or on my Oct. 20th blog).  Fool proof.  What's even more fool proof about this dish is that most of it can be made in advance which left Richard time to relax and spend time with Ilona as we sipped wine by candlelight outside on the deck (yup, it's still warm enough) and enjoyed a simple cheese platter (with the remainder of that truffle oil, of course) and a couple of other things he put together earlier in the day.  No fool he.

The salad for the night was endive petals filled with cubed roasted beets and chopped walnuts topped with a mustard, balsamic, EVOO vinegarette made with the Edmond Fallot walnut Dijon mustard I wrote about on November 4th in "Mustard of the Gods."  The salad soared to the heavens (I know, I know... I just couldn't resist).

But it was dessert that was truly fool proof.  Full-proof chocolate souffle.  You simply can't look like a fool when you serve it because you can't screw it up.

This full-proof, fool-proof recipe was given to us some years ago by our friend, Ren - a incredible cook and beautiful entertainer.  When she served it we were amazed that she had time to make individual chocolate souffles for a dinner party while playing hostess and taking care of twin toddlers.  I mean it's chocolate souffle!  Something you have to order in a restaurant before you start your meal so the chef has time to prepare it on the spot.  Something that can literally 'crash' if you're not paying strict attention.  Yet there she was sitting at the dinner table enjoying her guests, eating her entree without a care in the dessert world.

It was later that she 'fessed up' and shared her full-proof recipe. Now I'm sharing it with y'all (to quote Paula Deen).

So while eating our dinner Richard was able to enjoy Ilona's company while the souffles, prepared earlier in the day, baked.  And a few minutes after the dishes were cleared he served the warm, very chocolate-y dessert in their individual ramekins.  Ilona loves chocolate.  It's her favorite food 'group.'  Chocolate souffle, coupled with some of that French hot chocolate I've written about before, couldn't have been more perfect.  Fool proof.


1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (yup chocolate chips)
1 cup heavy cream
5 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese cut into pieces
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put chocolate chips in blender.  Heat cream to boiling point, pour into blender and blend for about a minute.
Add eggs, one at a time with blender running.
Add remainder of ingredients, and blend til "nicely blended."

Pour mixture into a buttered and sugared 1-1/2 quart souffle dish and bake at 375 for 50 minutes to one hour.  Top will be slightly cracked.  Serve with whipped cream.
Serves six.
or as Richard does it

Pour mixture into individual ramekins and bake for about 20 minutes.  This method serves about 6 or 7, depending on the size of your ramekins.

The great thing:  The entire dish can be assembled earlier in the day in the souffle dish or ramekins and stored in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.

Also - you can do half the recipe which will make four servings


Kessham said...

That's the same delicious dinner Richard made for me and Dan when we visited in the Spring. Yum. I can't wait to try the chocolate souffle recipe -- so easy! This is a keeper!

ilona saari said...

You'll love it, Sandy - I promise.

Richard said...

You won't find an easier to make souffle anywhere...

You can also whip some cream and dress it up with a dollop on top... but the naked chocolate works beautifully, too.

Chimi said...

Ummm ... Yeah, I do have an aversion to making a fool out of myself. Unless I'm playing Guesstures in which it would not only come with the territory, but almost be a requisite.

WHAT? There are TWO Ilonas running around on the loose? LOL

Salmon in lemon brodetta with pea puree is fool proof? Must be some new line of Giada DeLaurentis 30-second Microwave Seafood Pouches. :-)

Endive Petals? I'm even afraid to Google that! Flowers, perhaps? I'd be eating flowers?

Chocolate Souffle can't be screwed up? You wanna bet? LOL

ilona saari said...

LOL -- it's all relative Chim - the salmon is fool proof for Richard because he's made it a few times (for me - not so much) -- but, yeh - even I couldn't screw up the chocolate souffle ;o)-- Re: the endive petals - I thought it sounded "prettier" than endive leaves - like a lettuce leaf. And,run for the hills - the ilonas are taking over... ;o)

Chimi said...

Ohhhhh! So I wouldn't be eating flowers. I'd be eating TREES! OMG!

Alexandra said...

the souffle looks incredible.. and surprisingly easy! we have some friends in town this weekend. i think i'll try this desert - with extra whip cream :)

ilona saari said...

Yes - the whip cream or vanilla ice cream is a great topping... Don't tell, ilona2, but Richard forgot the topping by the time we got to the dessert ;o) -- Even he makes a mistake once in a while. But it is really, really delicious w/o the topping, so I didn't even notice.