Sunday, January 15, 2012

24 Soufflés

I've never been a baker. In fact, before the 24 Roast Chickens project, I barely even knew how to operate an oven. And really, I only started making an effort to bake a year ago.

I don't know why. Maybe it's because people say baking's like a science, and science, let's just say, is not my forte. Maybe it's because I generally tend to enjoy savories more than sweets. Maybe it's because my favorite part about cooking is the ability to adjust a recipe on a whim, and according to popular opinion, baking isn't so forgiving. Or maybe it's because I'm a Type I diabetic. Yeah, let's just say it's because of that last one.

So two weeks ago, I made a resolution to take on more baking. To get over this unwarranted fear of baking. To get over this silly aversion. Sure, whenever I bake, I never get to have more than a couple bites, but I was ready to put my foot down and make some baked goods, dagnabbit. I just didn't think I'd tackle baking in the form of a "24" project.

I had a ton of difficulty in figuring out what my next "24" project would be. In many ways, roast chickens were a perfect subject, centering on a single versatile protein and a single technique. The joy I derived from that project came from the insanely fun range of recipes and the prospect of mastering that technique.

Naturally, my first thoughts were to tackle another protein. But what was I going to do? Roast 24 fish? Stuff myself with 24 steaks? Sacrifice 24 lambs? None of those sounded particularly compelling, so I turned to technique. Could I sous vide 24 proteins? Bake 24 breads? Whip up 24 sauces? But nothing seemed to fit the bill. Everything just seemed a little too wide in scope.

That's when it came to me. Soufflés.

Okay, so it's not a protein, but it's a technique specific enough to master over the course of the year, yet versatile enough to keep things interesting. From cheese soufflés to caramel soufflés, chocolate to spinach, lemon to crab meat. The possibilities are endless, and exciting.

Unlike last year's project, I'm going to try to devote up to half of the two dozen soufflés to my own recipes once I feel like I've gotten a handle on the technique. But if things go south, I might just be contributing one somewhat original soufflé recipe to the interwebs, like I did with the Thai-Marinated Roast Chicken last year.

So here's to baking 24 soufflés in 2012. Expect the first one in about two weeks and some restaurant posts in the interim. Wish me luck. And if you're in Seattle or LA, help me eat them.


  1. Soufflés sounds great idea to tackle. It sounds already exciting and tempting!! Bon voyage and hope I can join to taste as many soufflés as possible:}.


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