souffle, cookbooks, and a day of shopping

Julia Child is wonderful. I borrowed my mother’s copy of The Way to Cook, and both recipes I’ve used so far have worked perfectly. Her crepe recipe is my favorite of the ones I’ve made so far, and tonight I tried a varient of her souffle.

She gives suggestions for souffle variations after the main recipe, and when I saw the salmon one, I remembered that I had a can of smoked salmon in the cupboard. I’d never even eaten a seafood souffle before, but it sounded good. I added the smoked salmon, thyme, cracked pepper, and parmesan cheese to the white sauce base, skipped the swiss cheese from Julia’s master recipe (mostly because I don’t have any on hand), and left out the fifth egg white because I was feeling too lazy to deal with a spare egg yolk afterward. The flavor was good, and if it poofed up just a little less, I don’t mind. I served it with fresh homemade french bread, canned peaches, and Chateau St. Michelle Riesling (I’m sure a drier white wine would have been better, but this is what we happened to have… we don’t tend to have wine wine on hand, because I don’t have any idea what to buy). I don’t know if I’ll try a souffle like that again, but it was an interesting experiment.

Today’s main event was a meandering shopping trip along Hawthorne. Lucas and I walked down toward the Yarn Garden first, stopping on the way at a small store deli/grocery named Taste of Europe, which had every German chocolate I can remember having while in Germany, including Kinder eggs, plus interesting fruit and vegetable preserves, a banana/chocolate spread from Croatia (kind of like Nutella), and more things than I can remember to list. I bought a small box of saffron, lemon wafer cookies (I think the brand is Manner), and a Limonata soda for Lucas.

Next was Yarn Garden, a store that disappoints me more often than not. If I go in there with something specific in mind, odds are I have to get help to find the right yarn, because the store is organized by some scheme I can’t comprehend, and then they’ll only have it in a few colors. It’s really frustrating. I much prefer Woodland Woolworks, but getting there is an afternoon excursion rather than a short walk. Anyhow, I had to give up on matching even the brand of yarn for the socks I started last month, so I’m finishing with Dale Heilo instead, which should be close enough to the weight of Naturespun sport to make this work. I hope. At least I did a toe-up sock, so the last part is the top of the sock where it won’t matter so much.

After that were stops at American Apparel (the no-sweatshop aspect is appealing, and I like a lot of what they have, but I wish all of the clothing would come in an XL. Clothing makers are idiots about this. Why shut out so many potential customers by assuming everyone wears a medium?), followed by Hawthorne Coffee Merchant, Jackpot Records, and then the Powell’s cookbook store.

I should never ever ever go into a Powell’s store, even a specialty one, thinking I’m just going to look, because invariably I find things I want to buy, things that very well might not be there later. Last summer I was in the sewing aisle of the downtown store when I spotted a collection of sewing correspondence school books from the 40s. A complete set, too. I’m fascinated by older cooking and sewing books, and when I find something different from the books already in my collection, it’s hard to resist, but this was completely out of my budget at the time. Lucas was with me, and knowing how much I wanted these, he tried to go back the next day to purchase them for my birthday present, but someone beat him to it. Alas. (but I’m very appreciative that he tried).

Anyhow, today I wanted to take a look at Marcella Hazan’s newest cookbook, because the reviews I’ve been seeing made it sound like I’d enjoy it, plus she was on NPR this morning. They had one of her previous cookbooks, Marcella Cucina, marked down to $15 (for a hardcover! with glossy pages and pictures!). And after I’d decided to get that, I spotted an affordable used copy of the second volume of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which is the one with the section on baking. So that was a must-buy, too.

Even here, our shopping trip was not over. I wanted to pick out more French cheese from Pastaworks, which was right next door. The week before Christmas was my first stop in there, and I got a slice of Comte. This time I picked something called Morbier, with a creamy texture and a blueish vein through the middle. Not a strong flavor, but good.

And then, on the way to our last stop, the wine store, we ran into a pair of fellow Timbers Army folks, so we stopped and chatted for a while. I was amused that I noticed the green TA scarves they were wearing first, and then registered that I actually knew these people.

I can’t remember the names of anything we got at the wine store, so I’ll have to write about that later. I’m amazed at what you can get for under $10 a bottle, though. We’ve found some nice things in that range. Three bottles of wine came to $20 total, and I’m looking forward to tasting them. But right now, I think I’m going to pour another glass of Riesling.

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