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"Les Halles Cookbook" by Anthony Bourdain


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Here's what I love.... Meez!  ok I try to make 5 dinners a week from scratch after I come home from work and just go at it - so what's a little bit of chaos?  I should know better, everything in place , even a brief stint in culinary school taught me mise en place but, over the years bad habits sink in again. Bourdain's relentless reminder to get it together FIRST has got me back prepping prior to just jumping in.

I do my "meez" before leaving for work in the morning. This includes putting the pots/pans on the stove; measuring and combining the nonperishable ingredients; and putting the utensils that I'll use on the counter. This saves me a lot of time.

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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Inspired by the wonderful Boeuf Bourguignon we had at Tony's book party at Les Halles last week ("Perlow, you'd better stay close by and try it, that shit is fucking awesome") we had to try to make that recipe for ourselves. Rachel made it from the recipe in the book -- however inspired by Tony's culinary school stories in Kitchen Confidential we took a shortcut and cheated on the Demi Glace. Instead we used "Better than Bouillion" with water and the wine and reduced the hell out of it, it came out really good. Actually we haven't eaten it yet, its been sitting developing flavors in a big plastic container in the fridge this week. We did have some of the gravy over some Goya frozen french fries. Not anywhere close to the frites you get at Les Halles, but they went great with the kosher hot dogs we had as gussied up Disco Fries. Tonight we are going to have the beef for dinner with some mashed potatoes. Although, come to think of it, I'm leaning towards Tater Tots.

To add to these despicable crimes, I will confess that as I didn't have an actual Burgundy in house, we used a California red blend with a medium tannin profile -- the Ca' Del Solo Big House Red 2002 from Bonny Doon. I had some really expensive Italians and some nice Spanish wines I could have used that had more tannins that might have worked better, but I wasn't cracking one open and sacrificing it to the French beef stew gods. I think what clinched the deal for me is that, not only does the bottle have a screwcap (which Rachel tried to get off with a conventional screwpull, hilarity ensuing) the label has a distinctive drawing of a well known California penal institution on it, which maked the wine seem right for going with a Tony Bourdain recipe. So between the demi glace shortcut and the American wine imposter, we really cocked up and thumbed a big one at those pesky frogs, but it came out tasty. Sorry Tony.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Drum Roll .....................................................................

Laaaaadies and Gentlemen,

This years James Beard Award for Culinary Bravery is awarded to (more drums and some of those cool horns like they have in old knight movies featuring Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone)

Rachel and Jason Perlow for their soon to be famous Beef Bourguignon and Tater Tots!

That's right ladies and gentleman! Gastronomes world wide are constantly amazed by the originality showed by these two culinary giants, but this one tops them all. Who woulda thunk it, folks? From the vineyards of Burgundy to the endless potato fields of Idaho, farmers and mere bystanders are marveling at the originality of this amazing dish!

What'll it be next year? How will they ever hope to keep up this kind of work? We can only hope that they do not collapse under the weight of the standard they have chosen to bear. Our hats are off to Rachel and Jason and we wish them the best of luck next year.

And now a word from our sponsor.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Tater Tots will be appearing in the Winter menus at El Bulli, Per Se, and ADNY shortly. Mark my words.

The Tater Tot is one of the best inventions known to mankind. It's neither a French Fry nor a Croquette. Its a Tater Tot. It has the unique quality of being crunchy on the outside, but potatoey and coarse on the inside. When used in combination with mashed potatoes, it gives you two or three different textural elements for conveying the rich beef gravy.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Made the pork shoulder with beer-mustard sauce yesterday (sorry, don't have the book with me at the office for the exact French translation). Came out just great, heck, even the carrots and onions used for the sauce tasted good. My only (minor) criticism is that the recipe doesn't specify what kind of beer to use. Given that it's French bistro cooking I went out and bought a bottle of Fischer Amber and it worked out just fine.

Has anyone else made this one yet? And if so, what kind of beer did you use?

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I have a question regarding cooking the Boeuf Bourguignon. Here's a quick summary of the recipe: Brown beef, set aside. Brown onions, sprinkle with 2 T flour, add wine, optional: add demi glace (I added a little broth), add carrots and meat back to pot, add water to cover. Simmer for 2 hours or until beef is tender.

Now, when I had just added the wine and broth, the sauce came together and looked to be the right finished consistancy, but of course the meat had to cook. Adding water to cover completely thinned out the sauce, but it did have 2 hours to simmer and reduce. The meat actually took closer to 3 hours to become fork tender.

I was wondering if it would make more sense to add less (or no) water, and cover the pot? The meat would cook faster and this would be more of a braise, yes? I was using a Le Cruiset dutch oven, so the pot is plenty heavy and so is the lid.

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I was wondering if it would make more sense to add less (or no) water, and cover the pot? The meat would cook faster and this would be more of a braise, yes? I was using a Le Cruiset dutch oven, so the pot is plenty heavy and so is the lid.

I would definitely cover the pot when making a stew or pot roast both of which call for a braising technique. The only caution would be to make sure the contents didn't come to a rolling boil. Covered pots will boil up at a lower temperature than uncovered ones. I'd also consider covering the surface of the stew with parchment paper, although I'm not sure that's not just a habit, it seems to me that it keeps the meat moister and reduces the need to add too much liquid. The best stews are made with a good broth or bouillon. When that's just fresh broth or a reduced demi-glace diluted with water shouldn't make much difference.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I have a question regarding cooking the Boeuf Bourguignon. Here's a quick summary of the recipe: Brown beef, set aside. Brown onions, sprinkle with 2 T flour, add wine, optional: add demi glace (I added a little broth), add carrots and meat back to pot, add water to cover. Simmer for 2 hours or until beef is tender.

I had this dish in France and it also included lardons, which I thought were a great addition. Was that an anomaly? Even if it's unconventional, I might have to add them to the dish when making this recipe....

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To add to these despicable crimes, I will confess that as I didn't have an actual Burgundy in house, we used a California red blend with a medium tannin profile -- the Ca' Del Solo Big House Red 2002 from Bonny Doon. I had some really expensive Italians and some nice Spanish wines I could have used that had more tannins that might have worked better, but I wasn't cracking one open and sacrificing it to the French beef stew gods. I think what clinched the deal for me is that, not only does the bottle have a screwcap (which Rachel tried to get off with a conventional screwpull, hilarity ensuing) the label has a distinctive drawing of a well known California penal institution on it, which maked the wine seem right for going with a Tony Bourdain recipe. So between the demi glace shortcut and the American wine imposter, we really cocked up and thumbed a big one at those pesky frogs, but it came out tasty. Sorry Tony.

Jason:

I don't think you or Rachel need apologize to anyone. The Big House Red sounds like a great choice to make the stew with. I'd have been severely disappointed in you if you'd dumped the bottle of Gevrey-Chambertin in the pot to cook with! :shock:

I'm sure the Bourgogne natives use local "table" wine to make their stews with too.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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My Tourendos Rossini was exellent! Thank you Mr. Bourdian.

I would cut the recipe quite a bit more then I did for the two of us next time (maybe 2044, very expensive). The suace was freakin awesome! The only ingriedent I kinda cheated on was the truffle, I used a good qaulity jarred truffle piecesed product.

We could have easily split the fitlet between us, and we're big eaters.

Two things I saw lacking in your instuctions and I'm just a home cook with pretty good skills was, and maybe I'm wrong but

The fat from cooking the foie gras should be drained before adding other ingredienets to pan. And saved. PS. I know I cooked them at a lower temp. then you called for, hight heat cooking spooks me in my home kitchen, so more fat as a result. I cooked it on med-high versus high.

The juices accumulated from the roasting pan in which filets have been in the oven should be (I did) added to the sauce....just saying.

I really like foie gras when it's hot. This I'm not sure is the fault of this recipe though. It takes longer to do this recipe when you've never attempted it and want to be precise, so ....cold foie gras.

Overall exceptional meal. I mean Really exceptinal, moan and groan meal!

To round it out I served Baked Oysters, Twiced backed herbed potatoes, and roasted asperagus.

Served with our last bottle of the 1994 Estancia Meritage from Alexander Valley we bought a case of 10 years ago. NICE

I really want to put in a word of thanks to Carithers Meat Market, in Knoxville who I could not have done this meal without thier fine great ingredients. Thanks William for your passion.

He let me in on a Sunday (they're closed, he does not know me from jack) we talked for hours, and I bought the organic Prime fliets, Duck foie gras (who'da thunk, Knoxville), some veal bones to make stock, and a bunch of other great stuff. Please.......please ...Knoxvillians support this great resource! He sliced all my stuff and cryovaced it to order......on HIS DAY OFF! They carry, organic, prime, dry aged, pork, stocks, homemade sausages, goose and duck foie gras! If theres somthing you want they have it, I've no doubt.

Carithers Meat & Seafood

6535 Kingston Pike

Knoxville, TN. 37919

865-584-8130

Owners, William and Ashleigh Carithers

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I had a chance to thumb through the new book...all I can say is it's AWESOME finally a cooks cookbook, a book that actually relates to you as a cook. How cool is that. I felt as if he were speaking to me personally, not in general. I am looking forward to using the book often. The book is destined to be a Beard award winner.

Edited by haunted_chef (log)

JTL

Is a Member of PETA..."People Eating Tasty Animals"

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I got a bit bored tonight so I decided to make the Beef Bourguignon recipe. I was going to make it tomorrow, but since Tony said it tastes better the next day I thought I'd give it a shot. I was a little worried at first because it smelt too much like wine, but after a few hours it mellowed a bit. I gave it a taste as it was cooling, and I have to say it tastes amazing. I included some of the Demi I made using the recipe in the book, and I'm not sure how much it helped, but if it tastes this good today, I can't wait till tomorrow. If I thought I would have extra, I'd be eating a bowl now. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Not quite sure if I'm going to serve it with Tator Tots though....I do have some in the freezer, so it is a possibility.

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Well, generally when a bunch of people recommend something my mule instinct kicks in and tries to take off in the other direction. Spent 1.5 hours at stupid borders reading all the stupid books trying to find something else to use my 20% coupon on and this one won anyway. I'll try the bearnaise in the next week or so. It will be my first attempt but my heart is usually good so I'm optimistic.

PS -- Why didn't you tell people pearl onions are easier to peel if you soak 'em in hot water first? That's just mean.

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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Bourdain, a colleague of mine with whom I have admittedly a rocky, love-hate relationship on certain Internet forums and whom I refuse absolutely to get near in public ever again, is a freak of nature, a former drug addict, an incorrigible miscreant, scoundrel, liar and cheat who discovered in middle age that he could write like a bandit.

Hilarious.

Former?

After spending time with him on Friday night...I now believe everything he has ever written! He is bigger then life in person, smart as a whip and with his lifestyle, I am surprised he is still alive!

WOW! I am going to sleep for a week...

Buy all his books! We need to support him so he keeps going, wait till he really puts an effort into it and starts writing!

Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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I can make hollandaise with my eyes closed. And I have made béarnaise before. If you cook it gently over a double-boiler, it's not hard.

But what happened here was utterly bizarre. It did seem like an awful lot of shallots and tarragon (1 bunch, leaves only, finely chopped) with the vinegar. I followed the directions, reducing the mixture "until nearly dry." I placed my egg yolks in a warm metal bowl. Then I added the reduction, a few drops of water, as Bourdain suggests "as a little insurance against curdling" and placed the bowl over simmering water. The instant I started to whisk, the thing seized up in a blob. It was downhill from there.

Ted asks...

Wouldn't you add the tarragon reduction after your sauce has achieved volume?

Edited by tan319 (log)

2317/5000

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Ok, I am officially pissed. I call in to Jessica's Biscuits to check on my order (Les Halles book and Bouchon and some free book) and she informs me that Bouchon has been shipped but Les Halles will ship as soon as it is available. I ask her if they sold out and she claims they have not recieved it from the publisher yet!! What's up with that? I need to be at the book signing on Monday and I have no book. The least they could do is say it on the website that this book is not available yet (it definitly should be by now you would think), before people order it!

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I'd be grateful for any feedback on the bernaise and coq au vin  recipes from egulleteers.

The results for both top recipes I frequently use (and I learned mine in France! :huh: )... very, very good. Wish I had the chance to "borrow" them before your book made it's way to the public.

Regardless of the heat source on the sauce-b (I opt to go the flattop route), correctly incorporating the ingredients is a no-drama affair. Perhaps LB deserves a copy of the new McGee? It might take some of the mystery out of the method used here. One would think she has enough experience to do this! After all, she received her 2nd JBF-Journalism award for that gazpacho article. :blink:

BTW - If someone has the entire Brenner article available, please post it here (Or, link me to another eG forum that has done so). I tried to get the article off the LA Times website without success. Brenner's review has been moved to archive status and is no longer freely posted in the Food section.

Regards from DC,

CSR

Edited by C_Ruark (log)
"There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic." - Bourdain; interviewed on dcist.com
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