I've been asked to a get-together this Friday for a not for profit I volunteer with. The group is 49 Writers and I coordinate book signings once a month. The theme of the soiree is “resolve to write” and the invite asks that attendees bring a bottle of a favorite beverage and a “comfort food”.
Everyone loves comfort foods, of course, but it’s hard to get agreement on what they are. I’m comforted by Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings. People in France find the very idea of turkey nauseating. See where I’m going here? What to bring is the question. I want it to be appealing, tasty and easy to serve – while mac n cheese is super comforting, it would involve plates and utensils and such. I think, as I usually do when hunting for food ideas, it’s time to go Creole.
So here is what I will probably settle on, a recipe from the NOLA Times-Picayune food section that is perfect for just this type of occasion: no dips or other messy semi-liquid items and each individual morsel can be eaten with your hands. It’s blue cheese puffs and oh, do Creoles love their blue cheese.
4 tbsps butter
¾ cup water
¾ cup all purpose flour
3 eggs, room temperature
¼ pound blue cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease (preferably with butter) two baking sheets.
In a heavy saucepan and over high heat, bring the butter and water to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan, forming a smooth ball. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat until smooth after adding each egg. Add the blue cheese and stir to combine. Set the pan aside for 15 minutes.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the baking sheets. Space the balls about two inches apart. Bake until golden, about 20 to 30 minutes.
This makes approximately two dozen puffs, which in France are known as gougeres (from the verb gorger, to stuff). They can be served warm or room temperature so they’ll be perfect to travel with. If they’re a hit, I may make more for the Super Bowl. No matter what I do, that won’t be as wonderful as last year. But good food always helps. Bon appetite ~
Header: Two Girls in Black by Pierre-Auguste Renoir c 1881