Day 17: How to Make Gougere (They’re Basically Cheese Puffs. Awesome Cheese Puffs.)

A few months ago when the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids opened, Chris and I went wandering around to see what there was to see and to try some of the offerings from some of the vendors. Not all the vendors were up and running at full capacity and some only had a limited  selection of their wares. One of those vendors was Field & Fire.

Field & Fire’s head baker-dude was one of the head baker dudes at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, so needless to say, I had a few expectations of what F&F would have to offer, and that it should be phenomenally good.

I was right.

That first day was also the first time I’d ever tried a gougere. If you’ve ever had a cream puff, a gougere really isn’t all that different. It’s a kind of a puffy-bready-savory-peppery thing. Looks like a roll or a biscuit and then you bite into it and then AWESOMENESS ENSUES.

They’re so amazing that it’s a semi-regular thing we do – stop at Field & Fire for gougere and to Simpatico (the coffee place in the Downtown Market) for coffee (cappuccino for me, latte for him).


Sometimes it is not logistically feasible to go to the Market. So I wanted to try to make gougere on my own.

Know what? It’s not that hard.

Mine are not yet as amazing as the ones from Field & Fire (which shouldn’t be a surprise – trained professional versus me), but they’re not bad.


Here’s how you do it.

  1. Preheat your oven to 425° (you’ll want the racks to be kinda in the middle).
  2. Lightly butter a baking dish (or go sans butter if you’re using parchment paper or a Silpat).
  3. In a large saucepan, combine: 1 stick unsalted butter, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and 1 cup water and bring it to a boil.
  4. Once it boils, remove it from heat and add 1 cup flour. Whisk until smooth. [Note: at this point, when you whisk it all together, it will pull away from the sides of the pan and become this sort of blobby ball of shiny dough. This is called “pate-au-choux” or “pat a shoe” as my kid calls it.]
  5. Let it cool slightly and either dump into the bowl of your stand mixer or dig in your cupboards for an electric mixer.
  6. One by one, add 4 eggs, beating thoroughly after you add each egg.
  7. Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese {I’ve made it with white cheddar, I’ve made it with orange cheddar. I’ve added parmesan once. Some recipes say to use gruyere. So, add the cheesy goodness of your choosing}
  8. Mix in about 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper – you can add more if you love pepper, or less if you don’t. I love a really peppery gougers, so… I don’t really measure, just add it til it looks right.
  9. Scoop in heaping spoonfuls onto your baking dish (I make very very big scoops).
  10. Bake at 425° for about 27 minutes-ish, turn your oven down to 400 and then bake for another 7 – 10 minutes.
  11. Let ’em cool a bit.

If you have a lot left over, I’d say to pop them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer… left out at room temp, they lose their appeal after about a day – and with all that egg and cheese it seems it should proooooobably be kept cool.

{And if you’re in Grand Rapids, you should stop by Field & Fire for a gougere. Or a loaf of bread. Or croissants. I’m not getting paid to say nice things about them. They’re just that good.}

Thursday Ten: Art and Music and Onion Rings, Oh My! Edition

1.  Last week, I posted a review of Maroon 5’s new album, “Hands All Over”. This week, I’m letting you know that A&M is letting me giveaway an autographed copy of this album. You want it? Leave a comment for me telling me so. I’ll randomly pick a winner next week Thursday.

2. I’ve been still hooked on visiting ArtPrize. I had a two day span where I didn’t go see art, and I was starting to get a little bit TWITCHY. It’s one of the coolest things Grand Rapids has to offer, and I look forward to them announcing the Top Ten pieces later today. The public votes on the winner.

One of the pieces I love is made entirely out of wine corks. Wonder if the artist drank all the wine himself?

3. During ArtPrize, I’ve been loading all my pictures into a Flickr – it’s been fun to see other people’s shots of ArtPrize and to share my own. The downside? Even though I do not have my photos labeled with a Creative Commons license, I’ve noticed that a few of my pictures have been used on other blogs. And it’s a weird feeling – I want to be flattered that someone liked it enough to use it but… That’s Stealing. Odds are, if someone had asked, I’d have said okay. Please pay attention when you’re taking images from Flickr to see if the owner of that picture has authorized its use. If he/she hasn’t, try asking them if you can use it. (Okay, off my soapbox)

4. As I type this, the dog is at the vet getting neutered. Poor little dude – not. Meanwhile, while he’s not underfoot, I have vacuumed and scrubbed my floors. Having the dog not in the house is not unlike when your toddler takes a nap at the crucial point where you need to get a lot of stuff done. Yes, I’m saying dogs and toddlers are similar… except I’ve never REALLY been allergic to a toddler.

5. Music of the week — My friend Lotus clued me in to the free single on iTunes this week, Cory Morrow’s “Second Chance”. Loter’s hubby plays guitar for Cory, and though country music is not usually my thing, the song is pretty good and hey, it’s Lotus-by-proxy. And that’s a good thing. Other recent downloads include (blush) a few of the Glee renditions of Britney songs.

6. Let’s talk about Glee for a second, why don’t we? I like the show – a lot. But I’m beginning to hate these themed episodes. It feels like all the dialogue in between is just filler to get to the next themed song. And while Britney’s music doesn’t annoy me, this episode kind of did and not just because of that BIG EFFING SNAKE. Of all the Britney things to copy, they had to copy the snake? Why didn’t they copy the ratty jean shorts with the gas station bathroom key in one hand and a bag of Cheetos in the other? MUCH less freak-outty than the snake.

7. I saw this clip posted of Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake and The Roots with the History of Rap. Starting and ending with Sugarhill Gang, this is a pretty awesome clip. (If the embedding doesn’t work, it’s worth the click through)

8. After three days of craving onion rings and a failed attempt making healthy oven baked onion rings at home, I caved and ordered them in a restaurant last night. They were SO GOOD, as I knew they would be. They also made my stomach hurty later. Me and fried foods? Not friends.

9. Tomorrow is the FIRST DAY OF OCTOBER. And you know what that means? My birthday month. Yes, month. Eventually, I will get to hate my birthday and won’t celebrate it (no, I won’t) and won’t require a whole month of celebration, but for now? OCTOBER’S (almost) IN THE HOUSE!

10. And since October is traditional Breast Cancer Awareness month, I want to remind you to not limit your awareness of this disease to a mere 31 days a year. So many amazing groups doing great things. My friend Rachel and her friend Tricia are working on a Saving 2nd Base project – also, if at any time you feel like donating to support me in my 2011 Avon Walk, my donation link can be found HERE.

Weekly Winners: Art Prize Style

Some of my favorite shots this week have been from Grand Rapids’ Art Prize competition which is ongoing. I’ve been twice – and will likely go several more times before it’s over.

For more weekly winners, visit LOTUS.

Memorial for Stephanie J Tubbs (Artist: M. Murphy)

Street Pianos, Luke Jerram

Lure/Forest (Artist: Beili Liu)

Collage of "Seven Days of Creation" (Artist: Suzi Furtwangler) - this is made entirely of crayons!

Vessel (Artist: Amanda Katz)

Dream Big (Artist: Pete Fecteu) - made entirely out of Rubik's Cubes

Dream Big (detail)

Dream Collection (Artist: Heather Holloman)

Dream Collection

Thursday Ten: What A WEEK! Edition

1. I think I overscheduled this week. I know, I was complaining about it in last night’s post – but back to back back-to-school nights… well, that may have pushed me over the edge. The plus side is that I am really digging both of my daughters’ teachers, and I am crossing my fingers that both my girls have an amazing school year.

2. I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to dog saliva. How fabulous is that? I was so giddy that I wasn’t actually allergic to Sir Doggy Dog, but… I think his spit makes me itch. And he’s teething so he’s constantly trying to mouth people’s arms (specifically MINE) and ugh. I’m not sure what to do now!

3. Grand Rapids’ Art Prize started yesterday. I’m hoping to get out this week and see some of the fantastic art and support some local businesses downtown. I’m not always the biggest fan of west Michigan – but I really dig Art Prize, what it’s about and getting a chance to expose my kids to some really creative minds and fabulous sights.

4. Storms in Grand Rapids knocked out a lot of power… including many many traffic lights. It’s amazing how many people have forgotten that when the light is out, the intersection should be treated as a four-way stop. Driving around yesterday was kind of scary – since most of Michigan has evidently forgotten driver’s training.

5. Music of the week… I already talked about Maroon 5, but Michael Franti and Spearhead had a new album released on Tuesday and it’s FANTASTIC. It’s a little more pop and a little less political than some of their previous albums, but I still have crazy crazy love for this collection. “Hey Hey Hey” is on repeat right now, and the song makes me so totally happy, I could listen to it all day.

6. In guitar class, we’re working on open seventh chords and I hate them. I hate them big time. But we’re swinging back around to work on “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall to utilize some of those ugly chords.

7. I spent forty minutes on the phone with an insurance company today and got absolutely nowhere. I am so grateful that I have insurance. I’m not grateful for how tedious the process is. Surely, surely, surely it could be a little less of a mess. Right?

8. My sister and I went shopping the other day and were lured into Victoria’s Secret, drawn in by their Collegiate Collection.  You’re not a true fan if you don’t have game day undies (GO BLUE!). I even bought a Michigan State pair for my sister, though it somewhat pained me to do so. But clearly, I’m a nice big sister.

9. Halloween decorations and stuff are starting to come out at stores (Starting? I kid. I know they’ve been out since August). Do you like Halloween? Do you get into it and dress up along with your kids or do you think it’s a silly “holiday”? I’m not a fan. Except for the candy part.

10. Glee is back and they sang a bunch of songs I don’t like. Sigh. I don’t like Lea Michele’s bangs, either. I did love all the plastic surgery jokes, though. If you’re a Glee nerd like me, what’d you think?