It was lunch on a Tuesday and I was home, alone, eating cheese soufflé minutes after pulling it from the oven and taking this photo. I should have invited you, but I didn’t think of it until it was too late, since, as you may know, cheese soufflé doesn’t wait for anyone.

Something else that waits for nobody is a baby. They arrive according to their own schedule and immediately start making demands. They want everything NOW, which is why, when my first child was born, her needs took over our lives, and luxuries, such as date nights with Mr. Mom’s Kitchen, went the way of a good night’s sleep. Parenthood took precedence and we spent way more time gazing at our newborn daughter than one another.

It took me a little while to figure out that date night should be non-negotiable. Now 14 years into motherhood, I don’t know of a better gift for my children than finding the time to gaze across the table at their dad, preferably with some candles lit and a glass of wine in hand.

It’s not easy, staying connected, when you have a small person, or three or four of them, underfoot. Getting out is trickier than it might seem to the uninitiated. Babysitters are pricey, children are rarely thrilled when you leave; some days the effort of changing out of yoga pants for a night on the town feels nothing short of Herculean.

Despite all of the challenges, Mr. Mom’s Kitchen and I eventually figured out how to have a weekly date. It’s usually a simple evening, in our own neighborhood, that lasts a couple of hours, tops. Sometimes, when the complications are just too much, we stay in and have a “date night at home.”

We do our best to act like it’s a real date: setting a proper table, lighting candles, opening a favorite wine. Mr. Mom’s Kitchen tinkers with the iPod, I do most of the cooking. It’s pretty remarkable that even in the familiarity of our own dining room, the right atmospherics can make an evening feel like more than just another night at home. We have a couple of unspoken ground rules:

• The kids have to be in bed (preferably asleep). Children crawling under the table is a real mood killer.

• No showing up at the table in sweats. Bathing is always good, too.

• Cooking gets a little fancier and ingredients a little spendier than usual.

Which brings me back to the subject of soufflé and what possessed me to make one and eat it all alone on a Tuesday afternoon. It was a test run before next week when I plan to make it for a particularly special “date night at home:” Valentine’s Day.

The recipe comes from the beautiful, “just released” Newlywed Cookbook written by my talented friend Sarah Copeland. It seems a fitting source for a Valentines Day recipe. There’s a little bit of magic in cooking out of a newlywed book. It reminds us that even if we’ve been married forever, we don’t have to act like it. What could be more romantic?
Don’t be intimidated by cheese soufflé. This was my first crack at it, too. Sarah’s instructions gently walk you through the whole thing. The end result is an ethereal wonder, worth every decadent bite. Plus, you won’t be going it alone. You’ll have your beloved right there…to gaze at, and perhaps remember, just for a little while, what it was like before the babies arrived, when every night at home was date night.

There is nothing cozier than a cheese soufflé for two, hot from of the oven. Light a candle, bring the dish to the table with two forks and an herb-y salad for two, and let the world melt away.

• 1/2 cup finely grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus 2 tbsp for topping
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for brushing
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose/plain flour
• Pinch of nutmeg
• 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
• 3/4 cup whole milk
• 1/2 small garlic clove, minced or pressed
• 3/4 cup finely grated semi-hard cheese such as Manchego, Gruyère, or Comté, or a blend
• 3 large eggs, separated
• 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375˚F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8-cup/ 2-L soufflé mold and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano to coat completely all the way to the top. Shake any excess cheese out into a bowl. Put the molds in the freezer to chill.

Melt the 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour, nutmeg, and salt; whisking constantly, cook the flour without browning, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the milk and garlic and continue to cook, whisking, at a low simmer until the mixture is smooth and thick like pudding, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the Manchego and any Parmigiano-Reggiano left over from coating the molds and cook, stirring, until the cheese melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolks, one at a time. Continue stirring vigorously with a rubber spatula to cool.

Whisk the egg whites and lemon juice in spotless bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until they just hold a soft peak. The key is to not over-whip the whites, which would give your soufflé a cloudy instead of creamy consistency.

Fold one-fourth of the egg whites into the cheese mixture with a rubber spatula, carefully turning the bowl and mixing gently until the whites are streaked throughout. Add the remaining whites and fold in but don’t overmix, which can deflate the whites.

Transfer the batter to the chilled mold and scatter the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top. Place the dish on a baking sheet/tray and set in the oven, decrease the oven temperature to 325˚F/ 165°C/gas 3, and bake until the soufflé is golden, puffed, and set but just a touch wobbly inside, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

Cheese primer: A cheese soufflé is the sexiest way imaginable to use up leftover cheese since it benefits from a blend of different kinds. I like to use Spanish Manchego for the soufflé’s tender insides, and a well-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano for a crisp, golden crust. Other cheeses like Gruyère or Comté, semi-hard alpine cheeses that age slightly sweet and buttery, are classic and excellent choices for a soufflé as well.

From The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland. Published with Permission by Sarah Copeland and Chronicle Books.

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  1. Kim D
    02.08.2012 at 10:01 AM #

    Wow, that looks incredibly delish so I’m going to have to give it a try. This may be a pointless question, but curious if you have any hints to reduce the fat or cholesterol?

    • katiemorford
      02.08.2012 at 10:10 AM #

      This is one of those recipes, I think, that shouldn’t be tinkered with. You might want to share it between the family…and then pair it with a super nourishing salad and veggie sides Eat it as is, just less.

  2. Anne Mullen
    02.08.2012 at 10:18 AM #

    I tried a cheese souffle…. once. Years ago. I was, of course, nervous about the whole effort. I was right to be nervous. When I put it on the table in front of John, he said, “Hmmm, scrambled eggs for dinner?” Surprise, surprise, I haven’t tried it since. Maybe I will again because I do love them, even when they fall.

  3. Rebecca Branch
    02.08.2012 at 10:21 AM #

    Looks incredible!!! I love nothing more than a souffle. But I think you are right, everything in moderation.

  4. Pam
    02.08.2012 at 10:44 AM #

    I love souffles! And they are actually quite easy. I’ve made the base ahead of time (up to a day) and refrigerated it in the mold(s), then bring it up to room temp while whipping the whites and preheating the oven. Great for entertaining b/c only whites have to be finished at last minute.

    • katiemorford
      02.08.2012 at 11:05 AM #

      Great tips

  5. Jenny Lee
    02.08.2012 at 11:13 AM #

    I’ve always thought souffles would be intimidating, but this looks very doable, and I bet my girls would love it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Pam Hochman
    02.08.2012 at 11:33 AM #

    I’ve made chocolate souffles for date nights at home too, but many years ago, when I could count on having my girls in bed and asleep by 8:30 or so. I may have to try one again, and cheese is my other favorite. The problem will be that they’ll want to eat it! Can you make 2 at once?

    • katiemorford
      02.08.2012 at 11:36 AM #

      Sure, you can make 2 at once. This is also a generous portion and quite rich… you could made one and then have a few side dishes. That might not go over well with your other half, though!

  7. Pamela
    02.08.2012 at 11:34 AM #

    What a great reminder of the importance of romance! I am smiling and will try the souffle too!

  8. Julie
    02.08.2012 at 12:09 PM #

    Don’t think I’ve had souffle since a VERY romantic dinner at cafe jacqueline enough years ago that we may have had only 1 or even 0 kids. Thanks for the valentines planning!

  9. Sherry
    02.08.2012 at 12:14 PM #

    I’ve never made or even had souffle but I would be willing to try it!

  10. Chinelle
    02.08.2012 at 12:51 PM #

    Oh my, that looks delicious. I know I could use some new ideas and dishes to make dinner more fun. Thanks!

  11. Ellen
    02.08.2012 at 1:11 PM #

    I’ve never made a souffle but you’ve convinced me it’s worth trying!

  12. Vicki
    02.08.2012 at 1:35 PM #

    Wow! Souffles are one of those intimidating recipes that I’ve been afraid to try but I’m willing to try. Thanks for the easy step by step instructions.

  13. Spring
    02.08.2012 at 1:58 PM #

    sounds fabulously romantic!

  14. Meggin
    02.08.2012 at 3:30 PM #

    I have a few small souffle cups. Do you think they would turn out if I divided the batter into them instead of buying a larger size?

    • katiemorford
      02.08.2012 at 3:52 PM #

      Yes, you can make this in smaller soufflé cups. Fill them about 2/3 of the way up the sides and watch the time. They will cook more quickly. Look for the golden brown color across the top and a bit of firmness to the touch. Enjoy!

  15. Natalie
    02.08.2012 at 5:45 PM #

    This looks yummy!
    Thanks for sharing the book looks great!

  16. Sarah
    02.08.2012 at 6:45 PM #

    You can’t order souffles like this anywhere. Homemade is the only way to get these puffy wonders.

    • katiemorford
      02.08.2012 at 6:52 PM #

      I hear Sally is rather fond of soufflé.

  17. Tina
    02.08.2012 at 10:28 PM #

    I just noticed this cookbook at the bookstore over the weekend! What a funny coincidence to see it featured today.

  18. marlene
    02.09.2012 at 11:05 AM #

    Very pretty cookbook, I thumbed through it at the bookstore. Would love to win.

  19. Jennifer
    02.09.2012 at 5:57 PM #

    I haven’t made a souffle since well before the little ones entered the picture. You’ve inspired me to try it again – thank you!!

  20. 02.09.2012 at 8:18 PM #

    Perfect timing as I was just wondering what to send to a shower I cannot attend for a friend who LOVES to cook and her foodie, fiance’ and what to make for Valentine’s day. Thanks Katie & Sarah

    • katiemorford
      02.09.2012 at 9:11 PM #

      You’ll be tempted to keep it for yourself once you have a look at it….it’s a stunner!

  21. Megan
    02.10.2012 at 5:59 PM #

    Im generally intimidated by souffles but your post gave me confidence to try it for my at home vday (with kids in bed). Thanks!

    • katiemorford
      02.10.2012 at 6:09 PM #

      Oh good. It’s pretty heavenly! Have fun.

  22. Kaye
    02.11.2012 at 7:57 AM #

    Cheese soufflé is always a special treat!

  23. Natalie
    02.11.2012 at 10:33 AM #

    I bought a souffle dish months ago… I’m doing this for V-day for sure! Thanks for the inspiration. One really quick question, for the Parmigiano, should it be hand grated or grated finely in a food processor? I never know which is appropriate for what dish.

  24. 02.11.2012 at 7:47 PM #

    That is a gorgeous cookbook. I’ve always wanted to try a souffle, but I’ve always been intimidated! This looks so yummy.

  25. mara
    02.12.2012 at 6:36 AM #

    that cookbook looks & reads beautifully (at least the preview does). I’ve always wanted to try a cheese souffle, maybe I’ll too do one on feb,14th, yours sounds easy enough for me to manage

  26. Amanda
    02.12.2012 at 9:54 AM #

    This looks like a great recipe– and it’s always nice to see things sized for two, instead of 6 or 8!

  27. Cat
    02.12.2012 at 12:09 PM #

    Sounds like a great cookbook! Would love to have it :)

  28. Natalie Brown
    02.13.2012 at 8:55 AM #

    Decadent! Hubby deserves some cheese souffle, a glass of wine, and ME! (kiddo free!)

    • katiemorford
      02.13.2012 at 9:15 AM #

      Lucky him!

  29. Meghan
    02.13.2012 at 5:54 PM #

    Beautiful! On the subject of cutting down (slightly) on the decadence, I like to bake cheese souffles in little individual ramekins and pair them with a salad or vegetarian soup that’s substantial enough to make the souffles a smaller fraction of the meal. It’s one of my favorite things to make, and I’ll have to try this souffle next time!

    • katiemorford
      02.13.2012 at 7:41 PM #

      Sounds like a great approach. No need to have to give up soufflé…just fill in with lots of other wholesome sides. I like it.

  30. Rebecca
    02.14.2012 at 2:51 PM #

    It looks like a great book!

  31. 02.13.2014 at 11:41 AM #

    Dish for two? My number two won’t eat cheese so this I can easily eat all by myself and not feel bad =) Looks great!


  1. The Courier » 9 Recipes for a Very Special Valentine Dinner - 02.11.2014

    […] Cheese Soufflé for Two – I know, the name says “for two,” but this recipe can easily be doubled, or you can save it for that late-night snack when everyone else is tucked into bed. […]

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