Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Thomas Keller - Cookbook Club

We had a beautiful French Laundry Charm City Cookbook Club last week to finish off the week of Thomas Keller. Go to the the Charm City site and check out my Blogpost.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday night fun with salt

It was gorgeous out yesterday. I got to pick up Evan from the bus and we came home and made chocolate chip cookies for dessert. I don't know who was luckier, me, cuz I got to spend time with Evan, or him, cuz he got to lick the beaters. He certainly looked happy with his mouth covered in chocolate (sorry peeps, no picture).

Chris and Pam came over with a big slab of Himalayan pink salt to bake on and Chris tried it out last night on our grill. Isn't it beautiful? The kids were playing with the croquet set and the dulcet tones of their laughter, with good food and great friends made for a very enjoyable, relaxing evening.

You have to warm the salt block up for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes before you can use it, so we sat and talked and relaxed outside on the patio, the first beautiful evening of the year. Chris made shrimp, lobster and scallops, they were all verrry salty. Since we're all saltaholics, this worked out well, the scallops were almost too salty though. We're thinking a steak would be perfectly salted on the slab.

I made a huuuuge stir fry with the leftover Thai vegetables and herbs from Renee's brother Christopher's Thai cooking night on Monday. Sorry about the bad picture, I'll replace it when I get the other ones up.

We started with warm cookies, we ended with cold cookies and warming nut liquor (yes Chris) while the kids were very adorably snuggled up in my bed.

Thanks guys for a great evening!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ad Hoc - In Evergreen

It's a Thomas Keller kind of week. I'm hosting Charm City Cookbooking this week and decided to go a bit on the adventurous side and choose the French Laundry. I don't actually own any Keller books but in order to make up my mind I decided to borrow F/L from my friend Chris. He burdened me with Ad Hoc at Home as well so I was set for a Keller bonanza.

Choosing recipes from Keller's books is not easy. You have to consider time, availability of ingredients, and the level of patience for the recipe. My sweetie, paging through Ad Hoc, decided he was in the mood for spare ribs. He looooves him some ribs and we've decided that we prefer the spare ribs to baby backs as you get more meat from them. We needed to actually pair it with something and so in order to avoid my mundane habit of always wanting potatoes, I chose a celery root dish with melted onions and off we went.

We got a beautiful 5 lb rack of spare ribs and he got up early on Saturday and cut the ribs into sets of two. He mixed up the brown sugar rub to rub all over the ribs. The spice mixture used cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder and a few other things along with a cup of light brown sugar. He smeared this all over the ribs, noting that he'd never used so much rub in his life. There was a lot of rub. They marinated for 6 hours and then he grilled them with a bit of pear and hickory smoke for 2 hours.

The celery root dish was sooo good and sooo buttery. First you had to make the onions which he calls melted. Basically you saute them with a bouquet garni and lots of butter for about 30 minutes.

We had to make a paper cone so that they would steam but some steam woul d come out. I see this in both the Keller books that I'm working with this week. Look at the cute paper cone.

Celery root is bizarre looking stuff, but Keller has very specific instructions on how to cut it up. you cut off the ends and basically carve it down the sides. One of these years I'll get a mandoline, (I like Elizabeth's cheap one better than Chris' expensive one) but I needed to cut my celery root by hand for this exercise.

I had to sauté these in lots of butter with some fresh thyme, it took me about the same amount of time to cut and sauté these as it did to make the melted onions, which my sweetie took care of. The dinner was quite delightfully tasty.