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bilrus

Five courses from the French Laundry Cookbook

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What a great thread.  If my kitchen weren't the size of a postage stamp, I'd join in.  I miss kitchen gadgets.

So, what time should we show up for dinner?????  :biggrin:

Everybody can just come by after Happy Hour at Corduroy - Cooking this for a dozen people would be the same as for 2, right??

Although if I don't plan things right the serving may take longer than an actual meal at French Laundry.


Bill Russell

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If the repairman hasn't already been, Bill, pop your microwave's hood and check the fuse.  More often than not, that's all it is...$2 or less at your local Radio Shack, and  you're good to go.

I was actually just messing with this a few minutes ago when I think I discovered the problem.

The dish I was using last night was a rectangular pyrex dish that was too big to rotate on the carousel. The carousel must have gotten stuck because the plastic piece that spins and holds the microwave dish in place was melted. I'm probably lucky that I'm not posting on the "Ever start a fire in the kitchen" thread that is going on now.


Bill Russell

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Re: gelatin sheets vs powder. I believe they work the same by weight.

General rule of thumb is a quarter ounce per pint of liquid will give you a delicate gel.

Do you have a scale? If not, get one--not terribly expensive and they're invaluable tools.

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Re: gelatin sheets vs powder.  I believe they work the same by weight.

General rule of thumb is a quarter ounce per pint of liquid will give you a delicate gel.

Do you have a scale?  If not, get one--not terribly expensive and they're invaluable tools.

Thanks. I definitely have a scale - when I'm not cooking elaborate meals like this I'm trying to be on Weight Watchers, so a food scale (in addition to a regular one) is a kitchen staple.


Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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Great thread Bill! I'm getting inspired. :smile:


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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If you can find frozen petite pois, they are a tiny green pea, they have a great flavor especially for something like this that is going to be pureed. The other reccomendation I have is to intensify the flavor of the "pea" is to use some dried peas. Here is the link for the company that makes them, but Whole Foods usually carries them.

One other thing about pea soup, you'll go from a bright green soup to "split pea" soup color in about 5 minutes, so plan accordingly for service.


Patrick Sheerin

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Way to go Bill. I am living vicariously through you. Good Luck and I am looking forward to all th prep and final pics.

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One other thing about pea soup, you'll go from a bright green soup to "split pea" soup color in about 5 minutes, so plan accordingly for service.

It's likely that Keller recommends this, but immediately chilling the peas in ice water after cooking should keep the color fine. Then one only has to go gently on the reheating to keep the color.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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One other thing about pea soup, you'll go from a bright green soup to "split pea" soup color in about 5 minutes, so plan accordingly for service.

It's likely that Keller recommends this, but immediately chilling the peas in ice water after cooking should keep the color fine. Then one only has to go gently on the reheating to keep the color.

That is in the recipe. In fact he instructs to have the peas in ice water before and after cooking.


Bill Russell

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One other thing about pea soup, you'll go from a bright green soup to "split pea" soup color in about 5 minutes, so plan accordingly for service.

It's likely that Keller recommends this, but immediately chilling the peas in ice water after cooking should keep the color fine. Then one only has to go gently on the reheating to keep the color.

That is in the recipe. In fact he instructs to have the peas in ice water before and after cooking.

Yeah, they'll hold their color for a while. You can do them early (but not the day before) and put them in the fridge to chill while you tend to other business.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Re: gelatin sheets vs powder.  I believe they work the same by weight.

General rule of thumb is a quarter ounce per pint of liquid will give you a delicate gel.

Do you have a scale?  If not, get one--not terribly expensive and they're invaluable tools.

What I teach my students is 10 sheets of gelatin is equal to 1 oz. of powder (by weight). I agree that a ktichen scale is worth it's weight in gold!! Best of luck, keep posting the pics, they are great!!


Tonyy13

Owner, Big Wheel Provisions

tony_adams@mac.com

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One other thing about pea soup, you'll go from a bright green soup to "split pea" soup color in about 5 minutes, so plan accordingly for service.

It's likely that Keller recommends this, but immediately chilling the peas in ice water after cooking should keep the color fine. Then one only has to go gently on the reheating to keep the color.

That is in the recipe. In fact he instructs to have the peas in ice water before and after cooking.

Yeah, they'll hold their color for a while. You can do them early (but not the day before) and put them in the fridge to chill while you tend to other business.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty much at the point where there aren't many more tasks I can do far in advance. I figure I can make the cucumber jelly in advance, and maybe make the vinaigrettes the day before. And I need to do a little more "sourcing" so I can have things as fresh as possible. I bought too many things early in the excitement of getting started without thinking about the implications. For example, I bought some frisee yesterday and this morning it was already looking a little tired.

But I forsee a lot of activity in my kitchen on Saturday. And a lot of posting during my breaks.


Bill Russell

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Unfortunately, I'm pretty much at the point where there aren't many more tasks I can do far in advance.  I figure I can make the cucumber jelly in advance, and maybe make the vinaigrettes the day before.  And I need to do a little more "sourcing" so I can have things as fresh as possible.  I bought too many things early in the excitement of getting started without thinking about the implications.  For example, I bought some frisee yesterday and this morning it was already looking a little tired.

But I forsee a lot of activity in my kitchen on Saturday.  And a lot of posting during my breaks.

What about your wine picks? Saw that you were leaning towards that white Burgogne but what else has caught your eye?

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• No Morel mushrooms yet either - if they aren't enough in season to actually find any, I guess I have two options - 1) use rehydrated dried morels or 2) use some other mushrooom.  Anyone have any thoughts on this?

• My one short cut I am resigning myself to is that I am probably to use a veal/duck demi glace from d'Artangan as the basis for my "quick" duck sauce.  Only Keller could call a sauce that starts with two separate stocks and four rounds of reducing and deglazing a "quick" sauce.  I know he likes to use a lot of "quotation marks" in his menus, but this is just overkill.  Besides, I'm doubting that I am going to find duck bones soon enough.

Regarding the mushroom issue i would strongly discourage you to use redhydrated morels, I personaly don't like it or any other dried mushroom for that matter. You are better off using any other kind of fresh mushroom, even cheap regular button mushrooms release a wondeful aromatic juice, much better than the dried stuff. The day i made this dish I did not have morels either so for the garnish i was lucky enough to score some matsutake, it worked wonderfully. Shiitake would work great too.

The "quick" duck sauce can be made without using two different stocks, I generally make it with a regular light brown stock, the deglazing in 4 steps is very easy and I strongly recommend you try it. I rarely get duck bones for a sauce so instead I use duck legs I can get at my butcher, I just make sure I get rid of all the skin before to prevent all the fat from ruining my sauce. The juices in the leg meat is also great for the sauce.

I am amazed at your work so far and will keep on reading with interest!!

Go Bill!!


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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Regarding the mushroom issue i would strongly discourage you to use redhydrated morels, I personaly don't like it or any other dried mushroom for that matter. You are better off using any other kind of fresh mushroom, even cheap regular button mushrooms release a wondeful aromatic juice, much better than the dried stuff. The day i made this dish I did not have morels either so for the garnish i was lucky enough to score some matsutake, it worked wonderfully. Shiitake would work great too. 

The "quick" duck sauce can be made without using two different stocks, I generally make it with a regular light brown stock, the deglazing in 4 steps is very easy and I strongly recommend you try it. I rarely get duck bones for a sauce so instead I use duck legs I can get at my butcher, I just make sure I get rid of all the skin before to prevent all the fat from ruining my sauce.  The juices in the leg meat is also great for the sauce.

I am amazed at your work so far and will keep on reading with interest!!

Go Bill!!

I rehydrated one of the morels last night and I think I came to the same conclusion - it seemed too rubbery and the nibble I took was pretty tasteless for a morel. It had a slightly more earthy taste than a plain button or even porcini, but not all that great. I know Wegman's usually has a pretty good variety of mushrooms (they do often have morels, but not this week), so I think I'll pick out something fresh. We'll see what they have tomorrow night or Saturday morning.

As for the wines that wattacetti asked about above - I'm still not there yet. My selection of reds is almost non-existent. We drink mostly whites at home, as jenrus is not a red fan. I'm planning on drinking the one below with the first two courses and finding something at a wine shop tomorrow - a red, but not too red, if you know what I mean, that would work with duck.

gallery_7851_477_106863.jpg


Bill Russell

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As I mentioned last night, I am pretty close to running out of things to make ahead, but I'm kinda into this at this point and as I was watching TV and eating carry out Thai (I've been cooking my ass off this week, but haven't made a single actual meal), I found myself thinking about what I could be doing in the kitchen and what I could be posting about tonight.

So I made one thing I knew I could do in advance and one of the items I wasn't so confident about.

First up was the Parmesan crisps, which the book says can be made and stored up to two days in advance. This was very easy - the trickiest part was transferring them from the silpat to a paper towel to cool and completely solidify. If you make these, consider using more cheese per crisp than you think you should. Mine are pretty delicate and I added more at the last minute. Here are before and after pics.

gallery_7851_477_153902.jpg

gallery_7851_477_154908.jpg

Considering my questions earlier I was a little hesitant about the cucumber jelly that goes with the crab salad, so I made these in advance in case I needed to adjust my gelatin to juice formula. I used 1/2 packet of Knox gelatin dissolved in a few tbs of warm water mixed with 1 cup of the cucumber juice. This ended up being a nice consistency, not too soft, but not like some "Jell-o Jiggler" chew toy like I feared. I made my cucumber diamonds, as instructed and added those along with the dill sprigs. Looks pretty nice, even without the crab and the rest.

gallery_7851_477_102000.jpg

gallery_7851_477_76992.jpg

If they don't end up keeping well in the fridge, I can make them over pretty easily. The whole thing didn't take more than about 45 minutes (aside from the setting in the fridge).

Tomorrow night I am going out for Happy Hour, so I can't imagine I'll be doing much when I get home. After that it is game day. I still want to plan out my schedule for Saturday which I hope to post tomorrow sometime.

We'll see how well I can stick to it come Saturday.


Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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Tonight I started a few of the tasks that could be done in advance.  Things started well, but I've had one slight problem.

First the setting: this is my kitchen - not very big - probably 8 x 12, but I do have a pretty good amount of counter space.  As they say on MTV Cribs when they enter the bedroom - "This is where the Magic happens."

[

bilrus: Is that a GE Profile stove I see? It looks just like the one I just got about a month ago.


I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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Tonight I started a few of the tasks that could be done in advance.  Things started well, but I've had one slight problem.

First the setting: this is my kitchen - not very big - probably 8 x 12, but I do have a pretty good amount of counter space.  As they say on MTV Cribs when they enter the bedroom - "This is where the Magic happens."

[

bilrus: Is that a GE Profile stove I see? It looks just like the one I just got about a month ago.

Yep. It was basically the best stove I could buy from the builder when we bought the house. I particularly like the fact that the front right burner is high output and the back right burner is for simmering.


Bill Russell

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The Mushroom Lady at the Arlington Courthouse Saturday morning already has a pretty wide variety of 'shrooms, though I find her a little pricey. The Whole Foods near Good Guys usually has an excellent variety of 'shroomers at (relatively) reasonable prices, and if you shop quick you can get a beer next door and still not exceed the 1-hour limit on parking. :biggrin: Think I saw some lovely -- and brutally expensive - porcinis there the other day.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Regarding the mushroom issue i would strongly discourage you to use redhydrated morels, I personaly don't like it or any other dried mushroom for that matter. You are better off using any other kind of fresh mushroom, even cheap regular button mushrooms release a wondeful aromatic juice, much better than the dried stuff. The day i made this dish I did not have morels either so for the garnish i was lucky enough to score some matsutake, it worked wonderfully. Shiitake would work great too. 

The "quick" duck sauce can be made without using two different stocks, I generally make it with a regular light brown stock, the deglazing in 4 steps is very easy and I strongly recommend you try it. I rarely get duck bones for a sauce so instead I use duck legs I can get at my butcher, I just make sure I get rid of all the skin before to prevent all the fat from ruining my sauce.  The juices in the leg meat is also great for the sauce.

I am amazed at your work so far and will keep on reading with interest!!

Go Bill!!

I rehydrated one of the morels last night and I think I came to the same conclusion - it seemed too rubbery and the nibble I took was pretty tasteless for a morel. It had a slightly more earthy taste than a plain button or even porcini, but not all that great. I know Wegman's usually has a pretty good variety of mushrooms (they do often have morels, but not this week), so I think I'll pick out something fresh. We'll see what they have tomorrow night or Saturday morning.

As for the wines that wattacetti asked about above - I'm still not there yet. My selection of reds is almost non-existent. We drink mostly whites at home, as jenrus is not a red fan. I'm planning on drinking the one below with the first two courses and finding something at a wine shop tomorrow - a red, but not too red, if you know what I mean, that would work with duck.

BIll,

I think that a red Burgundy would set the theme nicely for the duck and tie into the Puligny-Montrachet. I'm sure the estimable Mr. Rocks or Mark Slater (Burgundy experts both) would be happy to suggest a few labels for you.


If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Bill, the cucumber jelly looks lovely.  And the wine...mmmmmm.

I bought this bottle after first tasting it (or at least a version of it) at the eG dinner we had at 2941 a while back. It was one of the many bottles of not very cheap wine poured that night, but it was damn good.


Bill Russell

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Yep.  It was basically the best stove I could buy from the builder when we bought the house.  I particularly like the fact that the front right burner is high output and the back right burner is for simmering.

That's what sold me, too! Also, it was the prettiest stove on display (I thought). Fun to cook on/in, especially after 17 years with my 1972 Harvest Gold monstrosity.


I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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If you are looking for gelatine sheets again, they stock it at LaCuisine in Alexandria. I use four sheets equals one package of gelatine as a ratio.


Tony

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Yep.  It was basically the best stove I could buy from the builder when we bought the house.  I particularly like the fact that the front right burner is high output and the back right burner is for simmering.

That's what sold me, too! Also, it was the prettiest stove on display (I thought). Fun to cook on/in, especially after 17 years with my 1972 Harvest Gold monstrosity.

LOL...I guess all builders use these stoves. I also have the same one.

I am enthusiastically following this thread Bill, I cannot wait to see how it turns out Screw the FTV Challenge, this is much better :smile:. Sorry, I do not have much to add to help, since I do not own this fantastic book even though it has been on my wish list for a long time now.

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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