Blue Cheese Souffle
Fingerling Potatoes with Aioli
Meanwhile we see friend Michael arranging flowers in his shop. Ina comes in and tells him she needs chic flowers. She wants to do a "deconstructed French bouquet." (Does that mean throwing them around on the floor?) She gets enough flowers to decorate Versailles. I like how she gets basically one color.
Now she's on to the heart of the meal - THE COCKTAIL.
For an hors d'oeuvre, she's serving fingerling potatoes with aioli. That's fine as long as you're sure EVERYONE is eating the aioli, so that everyone will be equally garlic-scented.
Ina tells us that this makes a "light" dinner as she adds the bleu cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. She pours the base into 2 different mixing bowls. She has 10 egg whites at room temperature (very important) She adds 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar and beats them on HIGH.
The correct amount of cream of tartar, according to Rose Levy Beranbaum in The Cake Bible is 1/2 teaspoon for 4 egg whites or 1 teaspoon for 8. Ina is using 10 whites, so technically the proper amount of cream of tartar is 1 1/4 teaspoons. The cream of tartar virtually guarantees that you can't overbeat the whites and that's an assurance that I want when I'm dealing with that many egg whites. Obviously, we're talking about COOKED egg whites here. If you're using them uncooked, then don't add cream of tartar. You don't want the sour taste. Ina also adds salt. I wish I knew why. They dry out the egg whites and add to the beating time. Don't do it.
Ina claims that she never quite has a handle on the table setting. PULEEZ!!! Our Contessa is all-knowing about flower arrangements and tabletop design. That bouquet could have been done for a State Dinner, it's so beautiful.
The California folks have arrived. They're really tucking into the potatoes. (Where's Jeffrey?)
The tarts go In the oven. If this were LA, they'd be sitting at the table too. JUST KIDDING. The timer rings. "The moment of truth. Now isn't that a WOW?" Her guests are thrilled. The soufflés are presented to much acclaim.