Tired of soup, sandwiches or salad for lunch, I decided to make a cheese souffle. Instead of an hour and fifteen minutes in the oven, I’d cook it in the microwave. I assembled eggs, cheese, flour, margarine, milk and salt and used a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Lunches and Brunches cookbook. Melting 1/4 cup margarine, stirring in 1/4 cup flour, ½ teasponn salt and adding 1 cup of milk was easy. I’d done that before. Stirring constantly and grating ½ pound of cheese at the same time, well, I needed three hands for that. Instead, I turned the heat down to low, stirred well, and then grated cheese for about a minute. I went back to stirring for a minute. Luckily, nothing had stuck to the bottom of the pan. I grated cheese for another minute. Now the sauce in the pan was bubbly and thickened, so I took it off the heat and finished grating the cheese. I added the cheese to the sauce, stirred, and put it on low heat until the cheese was melted. Separating 4 eggs with an egg separator was a snap. I beat the egg yoks with a whip and then used a cake mixer on the egg whites until they were shiny and would peak when I lifted the beater.
Remembering what I’d learned in Foods 101, I added the hot cheese sauce mixture to the egg yolks a little at a time so I would not heat up the egg yolks too fast. When that was mixed, I added a little at a time to the egg whites and folded it in gently with a rubber scraper to make a nice airy mixture.
About that time, my husband asked, “Are you going to use this souffle dish like this? It looks dirty.” “No, I answered, those are scrape marks on the metal surface. Duh. I can’t use metal in the microwave. Out came a Corningware casserole dish. Square instead of round, but it would do. Carefully, I filled the casserole and set it in the microwave. Since a microwave oven cooks food in about half the time, I tried to set the microwave for 35 minutes, but it would only allow 30. That should have been my first clue. Before the time was up, I thought I was smelling the aroma of a finished souffle. After the microwave oven dinged, I took out a crusty, darkened mess. My husband, bless his heart, said, “Put some on my plate. There must be a part that isn’t burned too much.” After I spooned out the blackened pourous mess, he took one look and agreed it wasn’t edible. Instead we had scrambled eggs with green pepper and green onions.
By the next day, I was determined to master the souffle, this time in the regular oven. I followed the same procedure mentioned above, poured it in the souffle dish, set it in an oven preheated to 300 degrees and waited. It actually took a little longer than an hour and fifteen minutes for a knife inserted in it to come out clean, but it was worth the wait. The souffle was golden brown and puffed high. It tasted good, too, even though, like most souffles, it fell a little as it cooled.
The moral of this story: Not everything cooks well in a microwave.