The first time I made a souffle it was for a birthday party I threw for Paul. In hindsight, the fact that I gave this party kind of amazes me. I've always been very interested in food, and at the time I was definitely watching a lot of Food Network, but I rarely actually cooked. I was not the least bit confident in my cooking skills, and was too nervous to cook for Paul or anybody really. But for some reason I
offered agreed to host a dinner party for his birthday. We invited six of his friends to my tiny apartment, and somehow came up with a menu. He thinks it was my idea, I think I may have given him some ideas but that he definitely made the final choices. We decided on bruschetta to start (fine, but the least memorable part of the night), with beet salad and lasagna as the main course. We still love that beet salad, and I actually just made the lasagna again this week. (I always substitute ground turkey and chicken sausage for the beef and pork and cut down on the sugar, but even though I love making fresh pasta and more complicated lasagnas now, sometimes I still love having a classic lasagna.)
For dessert, I made Ina Garten's Raspberry Orange Trifle (a bit time consuming, but truly excellent!) and a Sara Moulton chocolate souffle (I can't find the recipe). If I had known that souffles were supposed to be scary and hard to make there's no way I would have agreed to make it. But I knew too little to be scared. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. Sara made the recipe sound easy enough, and I liked that I could prepare the souffles ahead of time and just bake them off when I was ready to serve dessert. When it was time for dessert I put out the trifle and had everybody sit down, and then I pulled my souffles out of the oven and brought them immediately to the table. They had risen beautifully, and everybody got to see them before they started to sink. It was a great night.
Since then, I've never been afraid of souffles. I've made dessert souffle a few more times, and have also made a few different cheese souffles. We loved this cheese souffle. It was reasonably easy to put together, and came out puffed and golden. The only problem was that although it looked done, when I started to serve it I realized that the middle wasn't cooked properly. The first problem I've ever had with a souffle! Luckily it was just the two of us, so I served us each a (cooked) portion from the outside, covered it with foil, and put it back in the oven. I was pretty annoyed at myself, though. I had a feeling the top was cooking too quickly, but I was afraid to open the oven to cover it with foil, so I took my chances and was wrong. Oh well, it still tasted great. Next time I'll know to turn the oven down a bit, and/or be brave and use the foil.