- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 15, 2004

When I think back on all the gifts my sisters and I gave our Dad for Father’s Day, they fall into two categories: power tool and sentimental.

The power-tool choices were and still are endless; just browse the local home-improvement store and see for yourself. And the sentimental choices, such as photos, inscribed pottery or a handmade necktie, are pretty limitless, too.

So this Father’s Day I’ve come up with a compromise. It’s a meal involving a kitchen power tool, of sorts, that smacks of sentiment — a yummy cheese souffle supper made in the whizzing, high-powered blender.

No, it won’t trim the hedges, change TV channels or hold phone numbers and personal data, but the blender is the power tool of choice in the kitchen.

With it, you can blend together a quickie cheese souffle thickened with bread crumbs, not some fancy white sauce.

Yes, by making a cheese souffle with bread, cheese, milk, eggs and other ingredients right at hand and by cooking this souffle mixture in small ramekins, mother and children can assemble and bake a delicious dinner for Dad in no time. Add a soup of his choice, a green salad and some fun pie for dessert — fudge and apple are our house favorites — and you’ve got a high-powered, low-stress dinner he’s sure to remember.

Time-shaving tips

• Smash a fresh garlic clove with the side of a heavy knife to break the skin. Peel it away with your fingers, then slice it into three quick pieces that go into the blender.

• If you want a garlic- and herb-seasoned souffle, add 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped chives or parsley when you add the garlic.

• You’ll need 6 ounces of bread pieces to thicken this mixture. You choose the bread and break it apart ahead of time, place it in a plastic bag, and let it sit until ready to cook.

• Choose pre-shredded cheese in the bag.

• To save baking time, pour the batter into small glass baking cups or ramekins.

Father’s Day menu from the children

Blender cheese souffles

Gazpacho or tomato soup

Green salad

Brownie pie with ice cream

Blender cheese souffles

2 teaspoons butter, at room temperature

1 large clove garlic, peeled

1 package (8 ounces; 2 cups) pre-shredded sharp cheddar cheese

4 slices (6 ounces) sourdough bread, each slice torn into 3 or 4 pieces

4 large eggs

2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rub 8 ramekins (4 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep) with the butter.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and set aside.

With the blender or food processor running, drop the peeled garlic clove down the feed tube and process until minced, 5 to 10 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the cheese and bread; process until the bread has become crumbs, 30 seconds. Stop the machine, and add the eggs and the milk; process until well-combined, 15 seconds.

Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared ramekins, filling them three-quarters full. Carefully place the baking sheet with the ramekins in the oven.

Bake the souffles until they puff up and are golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve at once.

Makes 8 servings.


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