gougère – let’s get this party started!

Tonight, I’m having friends in and Gougères are the perfect little bite to get the party started! Escoffier, Julia Child, Epicurious, Bon Apetit, Martha Stewart, The Joy of Cooking, David Lebovitz all have their own little twist for making gougère. I’ve tried them all…

Three years ago, with no clue what I was doing, I became a blogger. Curating my life in and out of my kitchen. The stuff I buy, cook, eat and serve mixed with memories and daily musings, stirred together and offered up for public consumption.

Am I nuts?

Truth be told, there are moments when I’m convinced I’m suffering from an extended mid-life melt-down. The pitiful remnants left after my children vacated our family home. For three years, I’ve complained, whined, cried, reflected, worried and occasionally gushed over my family.

There have been several mis-steps…

URGENT E-MAIL FROM MEAGHAN: “Mom, there are some things that we do not share on the internet! I believe you told me that, when I was fourteen.”

My kids aren’t the only ones who’ve reprimanded me. Friends, fake friends, acquaintances and readers have shared their criticism with me. Some of it extremely helpful, some of it extremely hurtful. It took no time to differentiate between the two. It took a long time to understand the contract I’d accepted by agreeing to blog. As I have the right to express myself, others have the right not to like it.

Writing my blog has become a joyful way to continue the conversation that I started with my mom, when I was a little girl. The same conversation that I continued with my daughters as they grew up. I would tell Mom and later the girls stories about my day. Ordinary moments that felt special to me but incomplete until I shared them with my family.

Whenever I’m tasked with trying to explain what kind of blog I write, inevitably the response back is, “Oh, I thought you wrote a food blog.”

I do.

I write a blog that finishes with food because, no matter what, we have to eat. No matter what’s happening in my life, food will be prepared.

Your time, interest, comments and support mean the world to me. Cheers!

I’ve started working with amazing local photographer Kelly Lawson. She’s learning to cook more and I’m learning more about photography. We steal two hours a week and learn everything we can from each other. I’m definitely getting the lion’s portion of the barter! Today, I’m teaching Kelly to bake gougèreLovely little cheesy puffs of bread-stuff to serve with a drink before dinner. I’m choosing dishes that are shrouded in mystery in order to feel worthy of her time! Pate choux [eclair pastry] is one of those elusive food-things that cooks avoid, thinking they must be difficult to make because they’re a french pastry. Not true! They’re as easy as pie! Ha – I guess it’s all relative.

Gougère
Preheat oven 400*F

1 cup water
½ cup butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

THE STEPS:

  • Position the oven racks to divide the oven into thirds
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Bring the water, butter and salt to a boil in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over high heat.
  • Lower the heat to medium-low
  • Add the flour all at once and immediately start stirring with a wooden spoon. The dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring—frantically—for another minute or two to dry the dough. The dough should now be very smooth. 

  • Let the dough sit for one minute
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next.

  • Beat in the grated cheese. Once the dough is made, it should be spooned out immediately.

  • Using 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougère, drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the mounds.

  • Smooth the tops of the dough by wetting your finger with water and rubbing it over the top.
  • Place the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 15 minutes then reduce the over heat to 350*F
  • Continue baking until the gougères are golden and firm – another 15 minutes.
  • Serve warm, or transfer the pans to racks to cool. I freeze mine until needed then pop them in a 350*F oven to crisp them up.

THE LOVE: Stir until your arm aches!

one year ago: skor and chocolate chip biscotti

two years ago: buttermilk biscuits

three years ago: fresh tomato salsa

Happy Anniversary to you, my precious readers. Thank you so much…

shots of me by Kelly Lawson

  • Yum. Thanks for the mentions Michelle! See you tonight 🙂

    • Michelle

      Can’t wait…

  • Jody

    Writing anything for public consumption is very brave, cooking en masse is also very brave….both are judged and critiqued. Fortunately Michelle, you are very good at both and all of us, in real life and the blogosphere are thankful that you are sharing!

    • Michelle

      xo We need a date…

      • Jody

        Agreed!

  • I love your blogs; and I empathize with your daughters! But it’s your blog 🙂 I remember learning to make these from a great chef years ago in Philadelphia. Before I opened my restaurant, I did a ten-day stint at Deux Cheminees. Not that I was going to be the chef, but Fritz wanted me to ‘get’ what a first-class restaurant was really all about. As to the gougeres, I wasn’t allowed to stop until I could roll them in both hands simultaneously. It’s a wonder I’m still not at it. Haven’t made one since, but you’re such an inspiration…………….

    • Michelle

      Hi Jay, your encouragement and support over the last three years has been wonderful. Putting yourself ‘out there’ is tricky at best. Your kindness and insight is most welcome and has kept me lifted. xo

  • Meggie

    Happy anniversary mom! My favourite part of the morning is waking up and reading your blog. Xoxox

    • Michelle

      Thank you Sweetheart! My favourite part is telling you a story…xo

  • Kaitie

    Happy anniversary mama! I love when I get bitten! Xo

    • Michelle

      bite bite bite