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Cheese

Irma R., a novice home cook, turns to F&W's Tina Ujlaki with her kitchen questions. This month the topic is cheese: how to make simple, no-fail fondues and soufflés in 30 minutes or less.

Question

Dear Tina,

I'm a fondue failure. Whenever I try to make it, I end up with a stringy, gloppy mess. Help! —Irma

Answer

Dear Irma,

Maybe you add the cheese too quickly; maybe you use too much cornstarch; maybe there isn't enough acid in the wine you cook with. Or perhaps you don't have a good recipe! To get a great one, I phoned Terrance Brennan, of Artisanal in New York City. You can make the recipe above with cheeses other than the ones suggested, but don't use blues (they'll overpower the others), goats (they don't melt nicely) or dry, aged Parmesan-like cheeses (they remain grainy) here. And remember, the best way to swirl your bread in the fondue is in a figure 8! —Tina

Question

Dear Tina,

Wow! That fondue was amazing. On to my next cheese obsession—soufflés. Mine never rise, and they're always bland. What can I do? —Irma

Answer

Dear Irma,

You could always add another beaten egg white, but it really doesn't matter if your soufflé doesn't reach the sky: In fact, my family loves a flatter soufflé, which has more crust. Blandness is easy to fix—just taste the soufflé base before adding the eggs and be sure it's seasoned highly, with tasty cheese, a bit of mustard or simply salt and pepper. I use all the odds and ends in my cheese bin—but avoid mozzarella, which gets stringy. I serve this soufflé straight from the baking dish, with a salad or steak. I think (I hope) this recipe will make you happy, Irma. —Tina

Published February 2003
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