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Cooking with Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home


OliverB
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I made the Borlotti Bean Ragu last night with Rancho Gordo Borlottis - just spectacular, highly recommend. The sauce that it generates (rendered salt pork fat, chicken stock, vinegar, and a stick of butter) is phenomenal, albeit decadent.

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I could go my whole life without ever wishing for a hamburger but Hubby loves them so I just ground up the meat for the hamburger recipe and cooked up a tiny patty to check. I could become a convert!!! This is the juiciest, beefiest best burger I have ever tasted. I can hardly wait for dinner time to see how hubby rates the burgers. Love to throw some on the grill but it's 25 below or thereabouts with the wind chill so I'll be cooking them on the Griddler in the warmth of my kitchen. :biggrin:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I've made the chocolate chip cookies twice now, and I have to say they give my previous favourite (the New York Times famous recipe) a run for their money.

I did them as written in the book, hacking chunks of chocolate off a block of dark and light Callebaut while my 4-year-old hovered like a puppy waiting for scraps. They bake quite thin, and stay remarkably chewy after they cool down. The chocolate doesn't stay in chunks but spreads in layers inside and outside the cookie. You need a silpat or parchment because of this leakage, or you'll get quite a mess on your baking tray.

My first taste of them I thought they were very good. After a day, they seemed to get even better and I ranked them up there near the top of their class. They were still good three days later, and none made it longer than that, so I don't know how they'd store long-term. A visiting friend thought they were the best she'd had.

chocchip.jpg

Edited by agray (log)

www.cookbooker.com - Rate and review your cookbook recipes.

Cookbooker Challenge: July/Aug 2010 - collaboratively baking & reviewing Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home.

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My first post. I gotta say, there seems to be a great group of people and tremendous amounts of information on this forum!:

Made Keller's buttermilk fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and Cobb salad last night. Everything was great; here are a few comments:

-The chicken, involving a brine flavored by lemon and herbs, was very tasty and moist. Perfectly cooked by following Keller's instructions. I liked it, but prefer a more traditional batter-based fried chicken (my dad's is great; I need to get his recipe some day). My wife, however (biased as she may be), thought it was the best fried chicken she had ever had--she really liked the flavors imparted by the brine. Me, not so enamored by it--I guess not 'traditional' enough for me. It was good, but I wouldn't make it again for myself. If the wife asks, no problem.

-The buttermilk biscuits were very good, but just a tad salty. IIRC, the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. I think I'll drop the +1 teaspoon next time.

-The buttermilk dressing and roasted tomatoes in the Cobb salad were winners. Will definitely make this again.

I made the 'wild cod en persaillade' a couple weeks ago as well. A nice simple dish, but I was a bit heavy-handed with the salt (I think I may be taking Keller's recommendations for seasoning well with salt just a bit too far). I am put off just a little bit by the recipe title though--all cod, is of course, wild. I think we need to save that designation for fish that can be farm-raised (farm-fattened is more accurate), like salmon. Otherwise, it doesn't really make sense.

I really enjoy this cookbook. I read through TFL cookbook, and decided I'll get back to those recipes. For now, I'll concentrate on ingredients and a skillset more at my level--this book suits me perfectly in that regard.

Edited by TimS (log)
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I have now also made the pouissin recipe and the buttermilk fried chicken. Both were excellent, but the latter really shone. I have never made fried chicken before and have always been intimidated by deep frying. I used a 20qt stockpot and lots of cheap Costco oil. The seriously large amount of oil was still less than 1/3 of the pot, as Keller recommends, and having that much made maintaining tempertature very easy.

I did everything Keller said, exactly as he said it, and it came out perfectly. Super juicy on the inside, very crispy on the outside, huge flavor. Once again, bravo Thomas!

I shall save the oil, as I was taught to do at the FCI. Chef X. said we could get five or six uses out of one batch of oil. Considering that the whole bottle was only $7, that works out to very economical!

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TimS - you may want to check your salt if it's not Diamond Crystal; I had a similar issue with Keller's recipes until I realized the brand of Kosher salt I was using was about 40% more per volume as the lighter Diamond Crystal that he uses. So now I cut back the salt I put in his recipes by about 40% and the salting seems about right. Also, as someone mentioned earlier in this thread, his recipes are often a bit heavy on the salt, which is not uncommon for restaurant cooking.

Just made his Soup Crackers last night. They were pretty good, though for once, following his directions to the letter didn't quite work for me - I ended up rolling them thinner than the 1/8th inch he suggested and cooking them a few minutes longer. I also found that adding extra salt to them (sprinkling with fleur de sel) before baking made them a bit too salty for my taste. As soup crackers they're a little bit basic (as they're supposed to be, I think) - I'm going to try adding some herbs or parmesan cheese next time I make them.

www.cookbooker.com - Rate and review your cookbook recipes.

Cookbooker Challenge: July/Aug 2010 - collaboratively baking & reviewing Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home.

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TimS - welcome!

But I must just pick you up on one thing ...

I made the 'wild cod en persaillade' a couple weeks ago ... I am put off just a little bit by the recipe title though--all cod, is of course, wild. I think we need to save that designation for fish that can be farm-raised (farm-fattened is more accurate), like salmon. Otherwise, it doesn't really make sense.

...

Actually ... farmed cod has been around for a few years ... http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2003/apr/07/fish.food

The Guardian, Monday 7 April 2003

The first commercially farmed cod in Britain will be harvested tomorrow, heralding a revolution in fish farming which the producers hope will save the nation's traditional fish and chip supper. ...

The first batch has been sold to the gourmet restaurant trade in the US, but as production builds up the Johnson family firm at Vidlin, in the Shetlands, is hoping to supply British restaurants and ultimately the nation's fish and chips shops. ...

Mr Johnson said: "The American broker wanted to buy the entire first year's production but we were not happy with that idea. There is plenty of demand for farmed cod, so we are anxious for as many people to try it as possible because we believe it is better than the wild version.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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dougal-

Thanks for the welcome. And thanks for pointing out the cod farming article. As a recreational fisherman who likes to stay abreast of fisheries management and conservation issues, I thought I knew what was going on WRT fish farming. Looks like I need to stay better informed; I really do appreciate the info.

agray-

I've been using Morton's kosher salt up to now, and specifically went out and bought Diamond for the brine, since I noted the weight difference between the two. But, I used the Morton's for the cooking (being frugal, I figured I should use up the last of my Morton's before transitioning my basic cooking salt to the Diamond). Looks like that may have been the culprit of my dishes being just a bit too salty. I'll have to try the recipes again using the Diamond and compare.

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Santa Maria-style Tri Tip

Tri tip ready for oven.JPG

Ready for the oven

Trip tip out of  oven.JPG

Coming out of oven

tri tip sliced2.JPG

Sliced

Words would be superfluous.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Tonight, made the buttermilk fried chicken. My g/f always said she didn't really "get" fried chicken; it was ok, but no more than that. After having this she said "Now I see what the obsession with fried chicken is all about". Absolutely fantastic. I will make again.

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tri tip sliced2.JPG

Sliced

Words would be superfluous.

yes that looks just wonderful and I'll be doing that sometime next week. although my wife wants the roast chicken and I want the fried. that tri-tip may be a stop gap compromise. beef stroganoff is also on the shortlist....

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Santa Maria-style Tri Tip

Looks perfect - care to share the details on what you did?

I followed the recipe to a t. It involves seasoning the beef with pepper, piment d'Espelette and paprika and wrapping it tightly in plastic food wrap for an overnight seasoning, browning the beef in oil on one side then adding butter and aromatics and basting while browning the second side and then into the oven until it reaches 135F and then a 30 minute rest in a warm place before slicing thinly against the grain (this was challenging as the grain changes in this cut of beef).

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Yesterday I made the lemon bars:

lemon bar 2 (3).JPG

Now I must say I am not a baker and except for bread rarely attempt anything that must be baked but I love lemon squares and these seemed simple enough. The crust was a lot less easy than it appeared to be and mine would have likely won a quilting prize for the patchwork but I baked it and it held together. The lemon filling itself was easy enough but here's where I have to ask, "Thomas, what were you thinking?" The recipe calls for you to take the upper portion of a double boiler or a bowl (I had to use a bowl) and pour it through a fine sieve onto the crust. Walk your way through this in your imagination. :shock: Unless you have another pair of hands at the ready it is really, really challenging. You need one more hand than you have to scrape out the bowl and encourage the curd to filter through the sieve. The bars are lovely and I am sure would be even better topped with meringue but I quit before I got into real trouble with a blow torch in my hands.

Today I made the onion and cranberry marmalade:

IMG_1476.JPG

No difficulties here and it smells amazing while it is cooking. I expect this to become a staple in my house.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I've been dying to try those lemon bars and would go all out and torch the meringue since I regularly use a torch in my regular job, it's not intimidating. that technique you describe though is.

I did the blueberry cobbler today - looks lovely though I haven't tried it yet. I'll let the wife be the judge since she's the expert.

the whole roasted chicken w/ root veg is in the oven and I'm enjoying another (third?) glass of wine while it finishes.

I love lemon bars and those look great. no powdered sugar sprinkled atop?

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I've been dying to try those lemon bars and would go all out and torch the meringue since I regularly use a torch in my regular job, it's not intimidating. that technique you describe though is.

I did the blueberry cobbler today - looks lovely though I haven't tried it yet. I'll let the wife be the judge since she's the expert.

the whole roasted chicken w/ root veg is in the oven and I'm enjoying another (third?) glass of wine while it finishes.

I love lemon bars and those look great. no powdered sugar sprinkled atop?

The chicken with root veggies was on my meal plan for Thursday this week but number 2 son who usually joins us for dinner on Thursdays is sick so I may have to move it to the following week.

No sugar - I was just anxious to take the photo and was not about to serve them at the time!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Chicken on a bed of roast vegetables. This was my first disappointment. I would like to know what Thomas considers "a large cast iron skillet". Mine is a 12 inch skillet which I would consider about the largest cast iron skillet most home cooks would use. However, it simply cannot accommodate a 4-4 1/2 lb chicken AND all the vegetables called for in this recipe. My chicken was closer to 3 1/2 lbs and I used about 1/2 the amount of vegetables called for and even so it was crowded almost to the point of overflowing. The meal was perfectly edible but bland. I don't think I would repeat it.

IMG_1478.JPG

Anxious to know if any one else has attempted this and what verdict you reached. :smile:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Chicken on a bed of roast vegetables. This was my first disappointment. I would like to know what Thomas considers "a large cast iron skillet". Mine is a 12 inch skillet which I would consider about the largest cast iron skillet most home cooks would use. However, it simply cannot accommodate a 4-4 1/2 lb chicken AND all the vegetables called for in this recipe. My chicken was closer to 3 1/2 lbs and I used about 1/2 the amount of vegetables called for and even so it was crowded almost to the point of overflowing. The meal was perfectly edible but bland. I don't think I would repeat it.

I made this last Sunday, I used a 12" skillet and a chicken about the same size and everything seemed to fit in fine for me. I agree with you on the bird, the flavor and browning was "meh"...good, but not great. I'm surprised he doesn't suggest brining it, that would help in the flavor department. This is pretty much the same recipe/method for the simple roasted chicken in Bouchon.

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I did the pave potatoes on the weekend, and I can't say they rocked my world. The outer crispy parts were great, but the rest of the potato lacked flavour. Terrific presentation though. We're discussing that possibly infusing the cream with the garlic and thyme would help and perhaps sprinkling some picked thyme on a few of the layers. It just needs something.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I did the whole roast chicken and root vegetables last week and while tasty enough it certainly wasn't wonderful. the chicken was succulent moist and tender and the skin browned adequately, but not to my liking. the vegetables were great. I'd never eaten rutabaga before and can't remember the last time I ate a turnip and found both to be quite good. the potatoes and onions though were delicious. should I choose to make this dish again, I will brine it and maybe flip it over at some point to get some browning on the bottom of the chicken.

P2020003.JPG

I made the chocolate chip cookies on friday and they were super!

Edited by twoshoes (log)
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I did the pave potatoes on the weekend, and I can't say they rocked my world. The outer crispy parts were great, but the rest of the potato lacked flavour. Terrific presentation though. We're discussing that possibly infusing the cream with the garlic and thyme would help and perhaps sprinkling some picked thyme on a few of the layers. It just needs something.

I was not impressed with these, either. Especially considering the time they took.

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I did the lemon bars this weekend.

I love making pastry and consider myself experienced. However, I found this crust a challenge. I refrigerated the crust overnight and it got too hard to roll easily, and had to be softened up a bit. However, then it got too soft very quickly. I found that I had to put it back into the fridge to harden up a bit a couple of times in the process. Once it was rolled and baked however, it was fabulous. My husband, who usually thinks that pastry is just something to hold the filling loved this. The other thing that I found is, that once the crust is baked it is very fragile.

The filling is tasty with just the right jiggle consistency and sweetness. I did the meringue piping and the presentation was fabulous. It is a great excuse to get out the torch :laugh:

Note - the receipe, oddly enough, does not give instructions on how to make the meringue. I simply used my standard recipe with icing sugar and cream of tartar with the left over 6 egg whites. However, I think that it is strange that a meringue receipe was not given in the book, in the interest of completeness. I am assuming this was an oversight or error.

Life is short, eat dessert first

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I made the butter braised Brussels with radishes and the chocolate brownies and both turned out amazing, sorry I forgot to take a pic, I was too hungry. It's a great book though.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"

Oscar Wilde

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I did the lemon bars this weekend.

. . .

Note - the receipe, oddly enough, does not give instructions on how to make the meringue. I simply used my standard recipe with icing sugar and cream of tartar with the left over 6 egg whites. However, I think that it is strange that a meringue receipe was not given in the book, in the interest of completeness. I am assuming this was an oversight or error.

Actually he does give the recipe for the meringue. Check again - in the ingredient list it refers you to page 344 for the meringue recipe. :smile:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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